If there’s one identifying theme that all of Quentin Tarantino film possess it would have to be something blood-spattered. The director has written his name in the spilt blood and organs of his characters and below we’ve brought together 10 of the most violent in his cinematic universe.
There’s certainly a call for picking out the most dangerous member of that universe but this one, in particular, is a focus on the viciousness and menace of Tarantino’s finest. Expect to see entries from some of the director’s best films but be warned: spoilers are ahead.
Tarantino’s thirst for on-screen blood has never truly been sated and the filmmaker has been constantly forced to answer questions about his penchant for bloodshed ever since his career began. We’d imagine his comments from 1993 are still as aligned today as they were then. “The bottom line is I’m not responsible for what some person does after they see a movie,” the director once said. “I have one responsibility. My responsibility is to make characters and to be as true to them as I possibly can.”
The following year, QT also reiterated that point, “Violence is just one of many things you can do in movies,” he said. “People ask me, ‘Where does all this violence come from in your movies?’ I say, ‘Where does all this dancing come from in Stanley Donen movies?’ If you ask me how I feel about violence in real life, well, I have a lot of feelings about it. It’s one of the worst aspects of America. In movies, violence is cool. I like it.”
He certainly does. The director has never kept violence out of his movies, often playing a pivotal role in them, in fact. But as you’ll see from the below list, some are definitely more geared towards death and destruction than others.
Quentin Tarantino’s 10 most violent characters:
10. Stuntman Mike (Death Proof)
Death Proof may well be seen as one of the quirkier moments of Tarantino’s career but with the creation of character Stuntman Mike, you know that we are in vintage Quentin territory. Kurt Russell’s performance is perfect and his portrayal of the character means the brutish machismo is hard to ignore.
Stuntman Mike is a ruthless character in the film. Using his charm to woo young women he lures them into his powerful car before assuring them that the vehicle is in fact death proof. A quick purposeful crash quickly shows that the safety precautions only affect the driver and Stuntman Mike murders another young girl.
9. Butch Coolidge (Pulp Fiction)
Butch Coolidge is one of the dubious entries into our list only for one reason—unlike many of the entries, Coolidge is actually fairly pure at heart. Throughout most of Tarantino’s seminal film Pulp Fiction, Butch is actually just trying to survive and escape the closing net of Marsellus Wallace.
After Coolidge double-crosses Wallace when throwing a boxing match, Butch killing his opponent in the process, the character finds himself in a more than compromising position with the Mob boss, both tied up and both facing a grisly end.
Coolidge escapes and after freeing Wallace has his debt repaid. The boxer even finds time in the movie, though the exact timestamp is up for debate, to put down with future entries with his own gun. Deadly with his hands or a semi-automatic weapon. And, of course, a samurai sword.
8. Hans Landa (Inglorious Basterds)
One of the most menacing characters in Quentin Tarantino’s entire cinematic universe is Hans Landa, the Nazi commander who goes by the name ‘The Jew Hunter’ in Tarantino’s war epic, Inglorious Basterds. Perhaps the most menacing thing about Landa, played expertly by Christoph Waltz, is his knowing and gleeful smile.
A career war criminal, Landa’s violence is hidden and purposeful, like the cold steel of a gun in your back and an arm around your shoulder. There’s no better capturing of this understated violence than in his infamous pip scene in Soshanna’s farmhouse.
Charming and charismatic, Landa is calculating, cruel and woefully brilliant at being all of them at once. Take on Hans Landa at your peril.
7. Jules and Vincent (Pulp Fiction)
Two of Quentin Tarantino’s most iconic characters, Jules Winfield and Vincent Vega, work as hired guns for Marsellus Wallace and spend much of their time during the film either enacting Wallace’s will and invariably killing the people in question.
Jules Winfield may well be a professional, and there’s certainly something scripted about his killings, but the added scripture he recites makes the violence feel all the more imposing. Vincent Vega is so blase about the killings that the accidental shooting of Marvin in the face seems not to phase him beyond cleaning the upholstery of the car.
We will hold our hand sup that much of the duo’s inclusion in the list is the knowledge of their past numbers.
6. Gogo Yubari (Kill Bill)
We thought the best description of Gogo Yubari came from Beatrix Kiddo: “The young girl in the schoolgirl uniform is O-Ren’s personal bodyguard, 17-year-old Gogo Yubari. Gogo may be young, but what she lacks in age, she makes up for in madness.”
Yaburi is easily the most dangerous member of the Crazy 88 and it’s a taste of his lunacy that we’re given in her flashback which sees he disembowel a businessman for hitting on her as a young child. It’s a wave of similar anger and passion that Yubari brings to her climactic fight with Kiddo.
Though Yaburi meets her end at the hands of Kiddo, nobody will ever forget the purely medieval meteor hammer she breaks out to enter the battle with. An icon of Tarantino’s vision.
5. Mr Blonde (Reservoir Dogs)
If there was one scene that indicated just how far Quentin Tarantino was willing to take things in the gore stakes then the legendary ear-cutting scene from Reservoir Dogs has to be it. And who was the man doing the shuffle to Stealers Wheel ‘Stuck In The Middle With You’? Why, Mr Blonde, of course.
Played expertly by Michael Madsen, Mr Blonde operates as the resident psycho for the group of bank robbers. After briefly meeting and only exchanging code names, the planned heist goes badly wrong and Mr Blonde goes on a shooting spree, taking out innocent bystanders and picking himself up a piece of collateral in a uniformed officer.
What happens next is a gruesome interchange which sees Mr Blonde violently beat and torture the officer before the film’s climactic ending. If there’s one man we wouldn’t want behind the trigger it’s Mr Blonde.
4. Django Freeman (Django Unchained)
Similar to Butch Coolidge, Django Freeman is undoubtedly one of the characters on this list which has his moral compass perfectly aligned. However, that doesn’t stop him being one of the most violent characters in Tarantino’s history.
After being purchased as a slave by Dr. Schultz, Django soon begins to transform into the dangerous character we see at the end of the film, far removed from the beginning of the flick. With some expert advice and tutelage from Schultz, Django embarks on the bloody path to rescuing his wife.
It’s a fruitful path and although Django may have lost his teacher in the battle, the strewn bodies of racist bad guys are worth it.
3. Pai Mei (Kill Bill)
Pai Mei is the central figure of Kill Bill. All of the deadliest assassins in the film were taught by him and learned the way of Eagle Claw technique under his ‘cruel tutelage’. His position in our list comes from a few notable moments. First up is his first introduction to Beatrix Kiddo, not only continually beating her but also proclaiming her arm to be his after he almost breaks it.
Later in the series, we find out that Pai Mei was the man who took Elle Driver’s eye—gauging it out during a training session (something Elle would later position him for). Lastly, perhaps most importantly, Pai Mei’s deathly technique known as the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique.
Though he may have taught it to Kiddo, its first introduction comes via Bill: “Pai Mei was travelling down a road, a Shaolin monk crossed paths with him. Pai Mei gave a slight nod to the monk, who did not return it. Although the motives of the monk remain unknown, whether it was an insult or a misunderstanding, Pai Mei tracked him down at the Shaolin Temple. He demanded that the head Abbot kill himself as a means of retribution, but the Abbot refused. Consequently, Pai Mei single-handedly massacred all 60 of the monks residing in the temple.”
2. The Basterds (Inglorious Basterds)
The Basterds, the anarchic group hell-bent on “killin’ Nahzis”, are one of the most beloved groups in Tarantino’s cinematic universe. Lead by First Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt), the Basterds are a group of Jewish-American soldiers who weren’t just good at what that they did… but enjoyed it too.
They soon become the most feared unit in WWII with Nazi soldiers living in fear that the Basterds and perhaps most pertinently The Bear Jew, were just around the corner and ready to leave most of them dead and survivors with a swastika scar they “can’t take off.”
As well as Raine there is Lieutenant Archie Hicox (Michael Fassbender), Staff Sergeant Donny “The Bear Jew” Donowitz (Eli Roth), Sergeant Hugo Stiglitz (Til Schweiger), Corporal Wilhelm Wicki (Gedeon Burkhard) among other killers. The sheer volume of kills along with their particular brand of revenge has guaranteed them a spot in Tarantino history.
1. The Bride (Kill Bill)
Of course, the most violent character of Tarantino’s cinematic universe could only be The Bride, AKA Beatrix Kiddo. Uma Thurman plays Kiddo, the main protagonist of Kill Bill who tries to leave the criminal underworld of assassins only to be gunned down by Bill. Naturally, the next four hours of cinema, split over two films, sees Kiddo’s continuous attempt to kill Bill.
The two volumes of Kill Bill see Kiddo embark on a brutal and blood-splatter journey to attack the architect of her demise, the killer of her fiancee and her unborn child. Along the way, she encounters the Deadly Viper Assassins Squad and dispatches them one by one in a series of gloriously gory scenes.
Eventually, Kiddo makes her way to find Bill. Bill, an equally trained assassin could have easily featured in this list but his lack of committed acts left him lowly in the stakes but that shouldn’t take away from the film’s climactic moment—Bill is an incredibly dangerous opponent, even for Kiddo.
There’s one thing Kiddo has that Bill doesn’t though—Five-Point-Palm Exploding Heart Technique. Bill is astounded that Pai Mei taught it to Kiddo and reconciles with his former lover before taking his final five steps.