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Watch Quentin Tarantino name his three desert island movies


It’s no secret that when the influential filmmaker Quentin Tarantino was a teenager his home may as well have been the video store. 

Immersing himself in the world of film, the young Tarantino developed an encyclopaedic knowledge of cinema, embracing everything from Japanese samurai movies to the westerns of Sergio Leone. Growing up in Knoxville, Tennessee, the Pulp Fiction director worked at the Video Archives store in his youth to build up his extensive knowledge of the industry, and of course, earn some pocket change on the side. 

Preferring to simply watch and learn from cinema instead of attending film school, Tarantino became a student of cinema in every sense of the word, building a love for every genre as he learnt from the masters of the art form. 

The one film Quentin Tarantino always “recommended to everybody” when he worked at a video store

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Able to hone and perfect his knowledge of cinema through working at the video store, the young filmmaker often recommended films to visitors, even steering them away from titles that were not to his liking. Speaking to The Talks, the director stated: “[My] head is a sponge. I listen to what everyone says, I watch little idiosyncratic behaviour, people tell me a joke and I remember it. People tell me an interesting story in their life and I remember it”.

We can see some insight into how Tarantino acted whilst working at the video store in a rare clip from the 1994 special Quentin Tarantino Hollywood’s Boy Wonder, where the young filmmaker walks the aisles and reveals his three ‘desert island movies’. 

Strutting the aisles and aisles of videos, Tarantino’s first pick goes to the Brian De Palma film Blow Out, a film the director considers to be “one of the greatest movies ever made”. Gushing over the quality of the 1981 film, starring John Travolta, Tarantino excitedly announces, “It’s Brian De Palma’s finest film which means it’s one of the finest movies ever made because, as we all know, Brian De Palma is the best director of his generation. John Travolta, by the way, gives one of the best performances of all time in this movie”.

With his love for the western genre being well established, it’s no surprise that his second choice goes to the 1959 Rio Bravo, a film that is considered to be one of the most quintessential of the filmmaking form. “This is, as far as I’m concerned, one of the greatest movies ever made,” Tarantino exclaimed, clearly a lover of definitive, grand statements. 

“Ricky Nelson is so cool in this movie and Dean Martin gives one of the best performances ever too,” he continues before hastily making his way across the store, heading to the laserdisc section. 

Holding up a Criterion laserdisc that looks more like a vinyl record than a movie, Tarantino presents the Martin Scorsese classic Taxi Driver as his third and final choice. Presumably knackered from pacing around the store and talking at 100mph, the filmmaker has little time to discuss his love for Scorsese’s movie, simply outlining the cast before he finishes the segment. 

Take a look at the iconic clip, below.