Quentin Tarantino has developed quite a reputation for his vast knowledge of films, ranging from Hollywood classics to obscure Asian arthouse action masterpieces. The director of Pulp Fiction has always worn his influences on his sleeve, insisting that it is vital for a filmmaker to recognise that the vast tradition of global cinema before venturing out into the landscape of modern filmmaking.
While talking about the films that inspired him on his own journey as a young director, Tarantino claimed that he had always felt drawn to the cinematic output of Australia. In an interview for The Hateful Eight, Tarantino claimed that the origins of Australian cinema has something in common with his own artistic sensibilities.
Tarantino explained: “From my influences in films growing up, I’ve had two parents — foreign art cinema and exploitation movies and I’ve always been trying to meld the two together for the majority of my career. One of the things I always responded to in Australian cinema is they seem to be made up of the same two parents.”
While recalling the specifics of his connection with Australian cinema, Tarantino also revealed that those films were very popular when he was growing up: “Even at the video store that I worked at, we had a big, giant foreign section that was broken down into different countries and our Australian section was one of the most populated in the ’80s because people really, really liked Australian movies.”
In order to pay a proper tribute to Australian cinema, Tarantino took the time to list some of his favourite films of the country and provided justifications for his selections. Check out the list of Quentin Tarantino’s favourite Australian masterpieces below.
Quentin Tarantino’s favourite Australian movies:
Roadgames (Richard Franklin, 1981)
This lesser-known Australian thriller features the likes of Jamie Lee Curtis and Stacy Keach in a gripping story about a truck driver on the hunt for a notorious serial killer. Roadgames curates an engaging experience that gives the audience an insightful look at the depths of human depravity.
Tarantino praised the script, saying: “Even though he was an American, I think Everett De Roche is the best of the Australian film screenwriters… He wrote some really, really terrific scripts and I think Roadgames is his best script. I think you can remake it tomorrow and there’s no reason to remake it except for the fact that the script is so good.”
Mad Max (George Miller, 1979)
George Miller’s classic action flick features on all the lists of the greatest and most influential Australian films ever made. It imagines a dystopian wasteland where the collapse of societal institutions has contributed to the creation of an anarchically free and dangerous world.
Although he avoided watching it for a while, Tarantino also claimed that the 2015 iteration of Mad Max was a masterpiece: “I resisted seeing it, for a while, because I was like, ‘Mad Max? Without Mel Gibson? Forget that.’ In a world where Mel Gibson exists, how can you cast Tom Hardy? Then I saw the movie. ‘Okay, it’s terrific.’ And he’s pretty good in it, I have to admit.”
Next of Kin (Tony Williams, 1982)
A bizarre horror piece by an unknown director, Next of Kin is a well-crafted film that follows the bizarre events that take place after a woman reads the diaries of her dead mother. According to Tarantino, there are no other horror films like Next of Kin with the significant exception of Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 masterpiece The Shining.
“It literally is a horror film quite unlike any other,” Tarantino commented. “I talked to John Jarratt about it because that director never did another movie and I think they were an industrial filmmaker [who] was able to put a movie together. I barely remember the story.. but it has a very, very unique tone and the closest equivalent to this tone is The Shining.”