Pulp Fiction is a 1994 neo-noir movie written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. The film stars Bruce Willis, John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, and Uma Thurman.
The movie tells several interlocking stories set in criminal Los Angeles. Tarantino initially wrote Pulp Fiction over the course of 1992 and 1993. He used some scenes Avery has originally written for True Romance (1993).
The plot unfolds in non-chronological order. Pulp Fiction is self-referential and heavily stylized throughout. When the movie was turned down by TriStar Pictures, it became the first movie fully financed by Miramax.
“Pulp Fiction was a major success, commercially and critically,” according to Scott Cooper Florida, “It was Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece. Winning the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1994, the movie was also nominated for seven Academy awards, including Best Picture and even won Best Original Screenplay.”
Pulp Fiction’s narrative is relayed out of chronological order.
There are three primary stories, all interrelated.
Action begins with a hold-up in a diner staged by a couple. The stories of Vincent, Butch, and Jules then unfold.
There are seven narrative sequences overall with the story finally coming full circle to the diner where it all began.
Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield, a pair of hitmen, arrive at an LA apartment to retrieve a briefcase that belongs to Marsellus Wallace, their gangster boss. The briefcase is in the custody of a business partner, Brett. Vincent examines the contents of the briefcase then Jules shoots one of Brett’s associates. He then expounds from the Bible before he and Vincent execute Brett for attempting to double-cross Marsellus. Vincent and Jules drop the briefcase to Marsellus, but they first wait while Marsellus bribes boxer Butch Coolidge to ensure he takes a dive in his forthcoming bout.
The following day, Vincent picks up some heroin from Lance, his drug dealer. After shooting up, he drives to a 50s-style restaurant where he meets Mia, Marsellus’s wife. He has agreed to escort her for the evening while Marsellus is out of town. They eat then head back to Mia’s house. Here, she finds Vincent’s stash when he’s in the bathroom. Mistaking the heroin for cocaine, she snorts some and promptly overdoses. Vincent drives directly to Lance’s house where they manage to revive her using a shot of adrenaline straight into the heart.
Butch doesn’t take a dive in his fight, wins the bout, and betrays Marsellus. He accidentally kills his opponent. Hunkered down at a motel with his girlfriend Fabienne and preparing to flee, Butch realizes he forgot to pack the gold watch his father gave him. When he arrives at his apartment, he sees an assault rifle on the kitchen counter and hears the sound of the toilet flushing. As Vincent exits the bathroom, Butch shoots and kills him then departs, leaving the gun inside the apartment.
Waiting at a traffic light in his car, Marsellus spots Butch as he crosses the road. Butch drives into Marsellus. When Marsellus regains consciousness, he grabs a gun and shoots at Butch. Failing to hit him, he then chases Butch into a pawnshop. Although Butch initially gains the upper hand, the owner Maynard asserts control. Both men are tied up at gunpoint in the basement until security guard Zed arrives. They take Marsellus into another room to rape him with a silent figure referred to as The Gimp left to watch over Butch.
Butch escapes and knocks the gimp out. He decides to return and save Marsellus, using a katana he grabs from the pawnshop. After he overcomes the two assailants, Marsellus then grans Maynard’s shotgun and shoots Zed in the crotch. He tells Butch they are even as long as he tells nobody about what just happened, and that he leave Los Angeles for good. Butch collects Fabienne using Zed’s chopper, and they ride away.
Action returns to the aftermath of Vincent and Jules killing Brett. The pair discuss what Jules perceives as a miracle when they escape unscathed from a hail of bullets fired at them by another man in the apartment. Vincent does not view this as a miracle. The two then drive to hide the vehicle at the home of Jimmie, a friend of Jules. Winston Wolfe, Marsellus’s cleaner, is dispatched to fix the problem. He directs Vincent and Jules to clean their car, stash the body in the trunk, ditch their bloody clothes, and take the vehicle to a junkyard.
Jules reveals Vincent his plan to retire from a life of crime at a diner, citing their miraculous survival earlier as a sign of intervention from above. As Vincent is in the bathroom, a couple hold up the restaurant. Vincent tries to intervene but Jules recites a biblical passage before allowing the hold-uppers to leave with his cash. He then leaves the diner with Vincent and the briefcase in tow.
Roger Avery wrote the first part of what would eventually evolve into Pulp Fiction during the fall of 1990.
Tarantino and Avery built this out into a series of sequences with the aim of making a trilogy.
Tarantino started working on the script for Pulp Fiction in March 1992 in Amsterdam as he was accompanying Reservoir Dogs as it journeyed around the film festivals of Europe. This movie has been released in the U.S. in October 1992 to commercial success and critical acclaim.
The script for Pulp Fiction was completed by January of 1993.
Jersey Films offered Tarantino and Bender a $1 development deal. The movie was rejected by TriStar on the grounds it was “too demented”.
The pair then took the script to Miramax. Pulp Fiction become the first film completely financed by the studio.
The premier of Pulp Fiction was at Cannes in May 1994. It went on to win the festival’s top prize, the Palme d’Or.
On October 14, 1994, Pulp Fiction was released in the U.S. Release was gradual just like most indie films, although the marketing campaign was aggressive.
Pulp Fiction ended up grossing $107.93 million against a budget of $8.5 million and marketing costs totaling $10 million making it the tenth biggest film in 1994.
On movie review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, Pulp Fiction has an approval rating of 91% and an average rating of 9.14/10.
On Metacritic, the film has an average score of 94 out of 100, indicating “universal acclaim.
Pulp Fiction won eight major awards including Best Original Screenplay at the Academy Awards.