Revenge is a dish best served as often as possible, at least according to Quentin Tarantino. The director’s latest movie, Django Unchained (out Christmas Day) tells the story of a freed slave (Jamie Foxx) who teams up with a bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) to rescue his wife from a smarmy plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio), killing more than a few people in the process. Basically, it’s yet another story about bloody revenge, Tarantino’s favorite subject.
Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Mr. Blonde’s way of getting even for a botched jewel heist includes kidnapping a cop, slashing off his ear and dousing him in gasoline with the intention of setting him on fire and if revenge wasn't the main motive, Michael Madsen’s Blonde is bloodthirsty enough to have done it just for the giggles. We typically root for revenge plots in Tarantino’s films, but here we just feel bad for the poor cop – even if we can’t stop imitating Madsen’s dance to “Stuck in the Middle with You.”
Pulp Fiction (1994)
It’s a running joke throughout the film that Marcellus Wallace (allegedly) sought revenge on “Tony Rocky Horror” for (allegedly) massaging his wife’s feet by throwing him out a four-story window. But the real act of retribution in the movie happens when Butch and Marcellus get medieval on Zed and his friend for holding them captive in their homemade sex dungeon. Though The Gimp doesn’t play a big part in their capture, he doesn’t make it out alive, either.
Jackie Brown (1997)
Jackie Brown’s revenge plot is born more out of necessity than bloodlust - the authorities are going to throw her in jail if she doesn’t help them catch gun runner Ordell; meanwhile, Ordell wants to kill her before she can rat him out. Jackie manages to double-cross both parties with a brilliant plan that ends with Ordell shot by ATF agents and her holding onto his secret retirement fund of $500,000. It's the only of his films where the protagonist doesn't kill anyone.
Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003)
Beatrix Kiddo – aka The Bride – needs two whole movies to get her revenge on the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, her former colleagues responsible for killing her husband, nearly killing her, and kidnapping her baby. Volume 1 features the magnificent battles between The Bride and Vernita Green (slain by a knife in the chest) and O-Ren Ishii (scalped by a Hanzo sword). 450 gallons of "blood" were used making the two Kill Bill films.
Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2004)
The Bride finishes her epic tale of vengeance, though she gets a bit of help offing Bud, who is bitten by a snake provided by Elle Driver. (The eye patch-wearing vixen gets her comeuppance when The Bride plucks out her one good eye). The sweetest revenge, though, is killing Bill, and it surprisingly happens in the least bloody way possible – using the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique, which is basically instigating a heart attack..
Death Proof (2007)
After murdering a group of young women with his car, deranged stuntman Mike McKay gets a taste of his own medicine in Tarantino’s contribution to schlock double picture Grindhouse. In an impressively filmed high-speed chase the driver nearly kills three other girls, who decide they’d rather get even than go to the police, though. The film ends with the women chasing Mike down, then savagely beating him to death. Girl power!
Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Tarantino opted for two simultaneous revenge plots in his World War II epic. Shosanna, whose family was killed by the Nazis, gets payback by locking the doors to her movie theater (filled with Nazi party leaders) and setting the place on fire. If that wasn’t enough, Tarantino boldly rewrote history by having his fictional Basterds brutally murder Hitler with a machine gun and a bomb. It might not be what really happened, but it’s revenge we can all get behind.