Ever since killing off Adolf Hitler in Inglourious Basterds, Quentin Tarantino has been on a winning streak with a string of movies that fix the injustices of history, like a freed slave going onto plantations and shooting slavers or a stuntman and his dog taking out the Manson Family murderers before they get to Sharon Tate.
These historical revenge fantasies are just the latest form of Tarantino’s exploration of themes of revenge. Before that, he explored the motivation for and purpose of vengeance in Kill Bill, arguably his definitive statement on revenge, and peppered various vendettas throughout his debut trio of crime films.
10 Jackie Brown Plays Ordell And The Cops Against Each Other
Everyone in Jackie Brown underestimates the title character. As gun runner Ordell Robbie plans a big score and the cops try to bring him to justice, both sides see Jackie as a pawn in their game. The cops want Jackie to turn in Ordell in exchange for immunity while Ordell wants to kill Jackie before she can rat him out.
Jackie ends up playing both sides against each other and coming out on top. The biggest mistake made by Jackie’s enemies is underestimating her diabolical genius.
9 Lt. Aldo Raine Carves A Swastika Into Col. Hans Landa’s Forehead
At the end of Inglourious Basterds, the sinister S.S. Col. Hans Landa foils the plot to assassinate Hitler and captures Lt. Aldo Raine and Pfc. Utivich. Seeing an opportunity to be falsely praised as a hero, Landa allows the plan to go ahead in exchange for getting credit for being on it.
Letting Nazis get away with their crimes isn’t the Basterds’ style, so as soon as Landa releases Raine and Utivich, they kill Landa’s cohort and carve a swastika into his forehead.
8 Mr. Orange Shoots Mr. Blonde
Midway through Reservoir Dogs, Mr. Blonde arrives at the rendezvous point with a kidnapped cop in the trunk of his car. With an unconscious Mr. Orange lying in a pool of his own blood, Mr. Blonde is left to his own devices and starts torturing the cop to the sounds of “Stuck in the Middle with You.” He cuts off the cop’s ear and douses him in gasoline.
Just as he’s about to drop his lighter into the gas, Mr. Blonde is riddled with bullets by Mr. Orange, who has regained consciousness and broken down the facade of his undercover persona to save the life of a fellow cop.
7 The Hanging Of Daisy Domergue
After the two sides of the conflict in The Hateful Eight are laid bare and everybody ends up dead except for Major Warren, Chris Mannix, and Daisy Domergue, all horribly injured, Mannix sides with Warren and they have to decide what to do with Domergue.
She was supposed to be hanged in Red Rock, as were the wishes of John Ruth, who was killed by her gang, so Warren and Mannix honor Ruth by using their last ounces of strength to hang her from the rafters of the haberdashery.
6 Zoë, Abernathy, And Kim Beat Stuntman Mike To Death
Easily Tarantino’s least acclaimed movie, Death Proof is a combination of car movies, exploitation movies, and slashers. It revolves around a misogynistic stunt driver who uses his “death-proof” car to kill unsuspecting young women.
In the climactic car chase, he reckons with the wrong women. The movie’s glorious final moments see Zoë, Abernathy, and Kim run Stuntman Mike’s car off the road, drag him from its wreckage, and beat him to death.
5 Shosanna Dreyfus Burns Hitler’s Top Brass Alive
Although it’s Donny Donowitz who ultimately gets to kill Hitler, Shosanna Dreyfus’ own assassination plot ends the lives of many of his highest-ranking associates. All the top brass of the Nazi Party attend the premiere of Nation’s Pride.
Once the screening begins, Shoshanna locks them all inside, shows them a pre-recorded message in which she declares her vengeance, and then lights a huge film fire that burns the place to the ground.
4 The Bride Kills Bill With The Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique
The title of Kill Bill kind of spoiled the ending. Obviously, the Bride was going to kill Bill at the end of the movie, but the fact that he’s spent the years she was in a coma raising their daughter adds an unexpected layer of drama.
At the end of the hell that Bill put the Bride through, it’s satisfying to see her use the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique on him, sending him traipsing to his death.
3 Cliff Booth And Brandy Take Care Of The Manson Family Murderers
This scene can be viewed as Tarantino and his creations exacting justice in their world for something that happened in our world. In our world, a group of murderers from the Manson Family killed a pregnant Sharon Tate and her friends on the night of August 8, 1969.
But in the Tarantino-verse, they went next door to Rick Dalton’s house instead, and Rick’s stunt double Cliff Booth and his dog Brandy brutally beat and mauled them to death before they could kill anybody.
2 Sgt. Donny Donowitz Shoots Adolf Hitler In The Face
The boldest story move in Inglourious Basterds is killing off Adolf Hitler in a historically inaccurate (and very gruesome) way. This established Tarantino’s style of revisionist history that has continued to define his career since Basterds hit theaters.
Apparently, Tarantino was struggling to work out the third act and couldn’t decide what to do with Hitler until he just decided to kill him. He killed him in a very satisfying way: getting shot in the face by a Jewish soldier while his top brass burn alive around him at the hands of a Jewish refugee.
1 Django Kills Everyone At Candyland And Blows It Up
Django’s plan to infiltrate the Candyland plantation and liberate his wife goes off without a hitch until Calvin Candie wants Dr. Schultz to shake his hand. Then, Schultz is killed and Django and Broomhilda are both sold back into slavery.
After escaping from his new captors, Django rides across America in search of Broomhilda, then they head back to Candyland to kill all of Candie’s sadistic associates on the night of his funeral. Before leaving, Django blows up the plantation.
NEXT: Pulp Fiction: 5 Ways It’s Tarantino’s Best Movie (& 5 Alternatives)
Harry Potter: 5 Reasons Why Voldemort Is A Sympathetic Character (& 5 Of His Most Redeeming Traits)
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