American auteur Quentin Tarantino grew up watching a wide variety of movies and television shows which inevitably shaped his own journey into the world of cinema as a filmmaker. Through his interviews as well as the references he uses in many of his films, it is very evident that his massive knowledge of film history played a major part in the formation of his own artistic vision.
Other pioneers such as Werner Herzog have famously claimed that they don’t even watch many films and have urged aspiring directors to read more books instead. However, Tarantino was always an avid cinephile and was even hailed as a neighbourhood hero when he worked at a local video store where his impeccable taste in films made customers revisit the establishment.
While discussing the primary influences on his work, Tarantino has claimed that the genres which inspired him the most were horror films, exploitation flicks and westerns. Although Tarantino has amplified the works of foreign masters such as Wong Kar-wai, some of his favourite cinematic masterpieces include classics such as Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver and Steven Spielberg’s Jaws.
Taxi Driver was the product of a very fascinating moment in the history of American cinema which is now referred to as the New Hollywood movement. Young artists burst onto the scene with their incredibly creative films which ended up having a huge impact on the landscape of contemporary American cinema as well as the future of the country’s filmmaking tradition.
During his tribute for Warren Beatty, Tarantino referred to the new wave in American cinema as the “silver age of Hollywood” which followed the years in the industry’s history called the classical period. The films that came out in the ’70s in America are now regarded as some of the finest masterpieces ever made and Tarantino rightly traced the origin of that phenomenon to Arthur Penn’s 1967 magnum opus Bonnie and Clyde.
“The cinema of the ’70s really started in 1967 with the release of Bonnie and Clyde,” Tarantino declared. “And when they did Bonnie and Clyde, they started the era that is now known as the silver age of Hollywood.” Indeed, the writers of Bonnie and Clyde were following in the footsteps of French New Wave masters like Jean-Luc Godard and by doing so, they brought the New Wave’s spirit to American shores.