“When people ask me if I went to film school I tell them, ‘No, I went to films.’“—Quentin Tarantino
Quentin Tarantino has established himself as one of the most acclaimed contemporary filmmakers with iconic works like Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs, among others. Tarantino is a self-admitted cinephile who learnt a lot about the craft while watching the works of other great directors, starting from his childhood when he worked at Video Archives. It’s an undoubted trait of Tarantino films that he loves paying tributes to the iconic pictures that he enjoys, including the ten thrillers listed below which are recommended by him as essential works for fans of the genre.
While talking about the evolution of film audiences, Tarantino said, “What I feel about the audience—particularly after the Eighties where films got so ritualised, you started seeing the same movie over and over again—intellectually the audience doesn’t know that they know as much as they do.
“In the first ten minutes of nine out of ten movies—and this applies to a whole lot of the independent films that are released, not the ones that can’t find a release—the movie tells you what kind of movie it’s gonna be.”
He added, “It tells you everything that you basically need to know. And after that, when the movie’s getting ready to make a left turn, the audience starts leaning to the left; when it’s getting ready to make a right turn, the audience moves to the right; when it’s supposed to suck ’em in, they move up close… you just know what’s gonna happen. You don’t know you know, but you know.”
At a time when cinemas remain closed amid the strict social distancing measures, we’re turning to Tarantino for cinematic guidance. With the likes of Dario Argento, Abel Ferrara, and more, these are the director’s thriller recommendations.
See the full list, below.
Quentin Tarantino’s 10 favourite thriller films:
- Battle Royale (Kinji Fukasaku – 2000)
- The Getaway (Sam Peckinpah – 1972)
- Fist of Fury (Lo Wei – 1972)
- Bullitt (Peter Yates – 1968)
- Rolling Thunder (John Flynn – 1977)
- The Bird With The Crystal Plumage (Dario Argento – 1970)
- Dead of Night (Alberto Cavalcanti, Robert Hamer, Basil Dearden, Charles Crichton – 1945)
- The Taking of Pelham 123 (Tony Scott – 2009)
- Joint Security Area (Park Chan-wook – 2000)
- Ms. 45 (Abel Ferrara – 1981)
In a 2009 interview with Sky Movies ahead of the release of Inglorious Bastards, Tarantino said, “[Battle Royale] is actually my favourite movie that has come out in the last 17 years.
“All the other ones, I can’t really rate them…if there’s any movies that have been made since I have been making movies that I wish I had made, it’s [Battle Royale].”