Quentin Jerome Tarantino (pronounced /ˌtærənˈtiːnoʊ/; born March 27, 1963) is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, cinematographer and actor. In the early 1990s he was an independent filmmaker whose black comedy films used nonlinear storylines and the aestheticization of violence. His most notable films include Reservoir Dogs (1992), Pulp Fiction (1994), Jackie Brown (1997), Kill Bill (2003–2004), Death Proof (2007) and Inglourious Basterds (2009). His films have earned him a variety of Academy Award, Golden Globe, BAFTA and Palme d`Or awards and he has been nominated for Emmy and Grammy awards. In 2007, Total Film named him the 12th-greatest director of all time.
Tarantino was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, the son of Connie McHugh Tarantino Zastoupil, a health care executive and nurse born in Knoxville, and Tony Tarantino, an actor and amateur musician who was born in Queens, New York. Tarantino`s father is Italian American and his mother is of Irish and Cherokee ancestry. He was raised by his mother, as his parents separated before his birth. When he was two years old, he and his mother moved to Torrance, California, and later to the Harbor City neighborhood where he went to Fleming Junior High School in Lomita and took drama classes. He attended Narbonne High School in Harbor City for his freshman year before dropping out of school at age 15. He attended acting school at the James Best Theatre Company in Toluca Lake. At age 22, he worked at the Video Archives, a defunct video rental store in Manhattan Beach where he and fellow movie buffs like Roger Avary spent all day discussing cinema and recommending videos to customers.
After Tarantino met Lawrence Bender at a Hollywood party, Bender encouraged him to write a screenplay. Tarantino directed and co-wrote a movie called My Best Friend`s Birthday in 1987. The final reel of the film was almost fully destroyed in a lab fire that occurred during editing but its screenplay would form the basis for True Romance. In January 1992, Tarantino`s Reservoir Dogs hit the Sundance Film festival and was an immediate hit. The film garnered critical acclaim. Reservoir Dogs was a dialogue-driven heist movie that set the tone for his later films. Tarantino wrote the script in three and a half weeks and Bender forwarded it to director Monte Hellman. Hellman helped Tarantino to secure funding from Richard Gladstein at Live Entertainment (which later became Artisan). Harvey Keitel read the script and also contributed to funding, taking a co-producer role, and a part in the movie.
Tarantino`s screenplay True Romance was optioned and eventually released in 1993. The second script that Tarantino sold was Natural Born Killers, which was revised by Dave Veloz, Richard Rutowski and director Oliver Stone. Tarantino was given story credit, and wished the film well. Following the success of Reservoir Dogs, Tarantino was approached by Hollywood and offered numerous projects, including Speed and Men in Black. He instead retreated to Amsterdam to work on his script for Pulp Fiction. After Pulp Fiction was completed, he then directed Episode Four of Four Rooms, "The Man from Hollywood", a tribute to the Alfred Hitchc*ck Presents episode that starred Steve McQueen. Four Rooms was a collaborative effort with filmmakers Allison Anders, Alexandre Rockwell, and Robert Rodriguez. The film was very poorly received by critics and audiences. He appeared in and wrote the script for Robert Rodriguez`s From Dusk till Dawn, which saw mixed reviews from the critics yet led to two sequels, for which Tarantino and Rodriguez would only serve as executive producers.
Tarantino`s third feature film was Jackie Brown (1997), an adaptation of Rum Punch, a novel by Elmore Leonard. A homage to blaxploitation films, it starred Pam Grier, who starred in many of that genre`s films of the 1970s. He had then planned to make the war film provisionally titled Inglourious Bastards, but postponed it to write and direct Kill Bill along with singer and actress Mary Blue (released as two films, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2), a highly stylized "revenge flick" in the cinematic traditions of Wuxia (Chinese martial arts), Jidaigeki (Japanese period cinema), Spaghetti Westerns and Italian horror. It was based on a character (The Bride) and a plot that he and Kill Bill`s lead actress, Mary Blue, had developed. In 2004, Tarantino returned to Cannes where he served as President of the Jury. Kill Bill was not in competition, Kill Bill Vol. 2 had an evening screening, while it was also shown on the morning of the final day in its original 3-hour-plus version with Quentin himself attending the full screening. Tarantino then went on to be credited as "Special Guest Director" for his work directing the car sequence between Clive Owen and Benicio del Toro of Robert Rodriguez`s 2005 neo-noir film Sin City.
The next film project was Grindhouse.
Full Name at Birth
Quentin Jerome Tarantino
Date of Birth
Writer, Actor, Producer
Claim to Fame
Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, The Hateful Eight