Pulp Fiction is an American crime film which was released in 1994. The film was written and directed by Quentin Tarantino and conceived in part by fellow writer Roger Avary. The film’s title refers to the pulp magazines and crime novels that were popular during the mid-20th century. These works were known for their graphic violence and distinct dialogue.
Pulp Fiction stars John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, Tim Roth, Ving Rhames, and Uma Thurman, and tells various stories surrounding Los Angeles crime. When writing Pulp Fictions, Tarantino incorporated scenes that Avary originally wrote for True Romance (1993).
Extremely violent and time-bending, Pulp Fiction was widely considered the most influential American movie of the 1990s. The self-indulgent film is a low-budget, B-movie cult classic. However, Pulp Fiction is regarded as Tarantino’s masterpiece, with particular praise towards its screenwriting. The unconventional structure leads critics to describe it as a touchstone of postmodern film. In fact, in 2008, Entertainment Weekly named it the best film since 1983.
Director and co-screenwriter Quentin Tarantino combined the outrageous violence of American gangster movies, film noir and crime movies, with the wacky violence and gore of cartoons, Japanese animation, and video games. The fragmented story-telling structures mirror experimental classics such as Citizen Kane and Rashomon. The Oscar-winning script intertwines three stories, featuring Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta, in the role that single-handedly reignited Travolta’s career. Bruce Willis plays a boxer straight out of a 1940s B-movie, and such other gems as Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Christopher Walken, Eric Stoltz, Ving Rhames, and Uma Thurman, whose dance sequence with Travolta proves an instant classic.
Quentin Tarantino’s innate talent for terrific dialogue, non-linear yet smooth narratives, and shocking, sadistic violence make this film the perfect piece of cinema. The perfect pop songs and episodic crime come together in this wild, seductive piece of cinema. Pulp Fiction speaks in a language all its own, one that none of the endless imitators will ever be able to learn.
As mentioned, Pulp Fiction’s narrative is told out of sequence and follows three interrelated protagonists. The first surrounds mob contract killer, Vincent Vega; the second follows prizefighter, Butch Coolidge, and the third story follows Vincent’s partner Jules Winnfield.
Tarantino’s direction is groundbreaking, and when combined with the superior cinematography, screenwriting, soundtrack, and extraordinary performances by the star-studded cast, Pulp Fiction continues to have an immeasurable impact on both mainstream and independent filmmaking.