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  • 18
  • Crime, Thriller
  • 1991
  • 99 mins

Reservoir Dogs

Reservoir Dogs


Quentin Tarantino's groundbreaking bloody heist movie. Undeniably brutal, it's also very funny, the killing interspersed with sardonic asides


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Reservoir Dogs announced the arrival of the most exciting director to come along in ages and the iconic opening sequence provided 1990s cinema with one of its most memorable scenes.

After a bank heist goes wrong, the thieves return to their hideout for ear-slicing torture and violent recrimination.

Crisp, funky, dangerous - Quentin Tarantino's debut bristled with a new energy, head-butting a tired genre with dubious morals, cruel humour and a script nodding frantically to the coolest in pop culture. He'd learned his trade working in a video store and, like a DJ mixing old tunes to a pumping new beat, brazenly sampled Boorman, Scorsese, Kubrick and the rest.The language is pure Mean Streets, the repetitive structure comes from The Killing, the opening from footage of Sinatra's Ratpack striding through Vegas, and the denouement from Ringo Lam's exaggeration in City On Fire and Sergio Leone's The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

The colour coordinated gang are all impressive (Steve Buscemi probably has the edge as the plaintive Mr Pink), but what makes it so thrilling is Tarantino's taste and, crucially, an erudition that is all his own.

Browse our reviews of other arresting directorial debuts

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Harvey Keitel, Quentin Tarantino, Chris Penn, Tim Roth, Steve Buscemi, Lawrence Tierney, Michael Madsen, Randy Brooks, Eddie Bunker
  • Director: Quentin Tarantino
  • Screen Writer: Quentin Tarrantino
  • Producer: Lawrence Bender
  • Photographer: Andrzej Sekula

In a nutshell

Undoubtedly one of the best films of the 1990s, and probably one of the best directorial debuts of all time, Reservoir Dogs announced the arrival of one of contemporary cinema's hottest talents - and he came out shooting.

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