Quentin Tarantino is one of the most celebrated film directors of our generation. After gaining a small cult following with Reservoir Dogs, he hit the big time with Pulp Fiction. With an impressive cast of stars, Pulp Fiction was nominated for seven different Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.
Tarantino parlayed that success into an incredible movie career. This includes directing a total of nine official films and writing or guest directing in several other projects — often working with friend and fellow director Robert Rodriguez.
Often violent and vulgar, Tarantino’s movies feature some of the most interesting characters ever written. Many of them are also prone to cold-blooded murder, regardless of whether you consider them good or bad. Here are the deadliest characters from Tarantino flicks.
Warning: This article contains plenty of spoilers. So, consider yourself warned if you haven’t actually bothered to watch any of these movies yet.
We’re starting with someone who isn’t really a bad guy at all.
Butch Coolidge, an over-the-hill pro boxer played by Bruce Willis in Pulp Fiction, is mostly just trying to survive through this thing called life. Along the way, he ends up being surprisingly deadly.
Early in the film, Coolidge accepts a bribe from organized crime boss Marsellus Wallace to throw a fight. Then things go haywire as Coolidge double-crosses Wallace. He not only wins the fight but also accidentally kills his opponent in the ring.
Later, after a series of unfortunate events, Coolidge and Wallace are being held captive by Maynard and Zed. Coolidge escapes and slices up Maynard with a Samurai sword.
Finally, in a scene that is completely out of chronological order, Coolidge returns to his house to retrieve his father’s gold watch, a precious and sentimental family heirloom. After the double-cross of Wallace, a hitman is waiting for him. Luckily, he happens to catch Vincent Vega with his pants down literally and Coolidge shoots the assassin dead with his own gun.
While Shosanna Dreyfus from Inglorious Basterds is the first female on this list, she won’t be the last as Tarantino loves to write strong characters for the fairer sex.
Dreyfus was initially the victim, as a group of Nazi’s murdered her family while they were hiding under the floorboards in the home of a French dairy farmer. She escapes and goes on to run a theater in Paris, using a different name.
A few years later, Dreyfus’ theater is chosen by the Nazis to host the screening of a propaganda film. She uses this opportunity to hatch a plan of revenge. Her plan involves locking all of the high-ranking Nazi officials inside and setting the theater on fire. She even goes so far as to splice a message into the climax of the film, telling the audience they are about to be burned alive by a Jew.
John “The Hangman” Ruth
Played expertly by Kurt Russel in The Hateful Eight, John Ruth is a ruthless bounty hunter operating in the United States sometime after the Civil War. He earns the colorful nickname of “The Hangman” because he brings his bounties in alive, so he can watch them hang after collecting the reward.
Unfortunately, the events of the movie don’t go very well for The Hangman. After drinking poisoned coffee, Ruth was gunned down by the very bounty he was trying to bring to justice.
Major Marquis Warren
It makes sense to put Samuel L. Jackson’s Major Marquis Warren next to John Ruth since they share a profession. Warren is also a bounty hunter in The Hateful Eight. Unlike Ruth, he prefers to kill his bounties. When we first meet him, Warren has already killed three wanted men and is transporting their bodies into town for the reward.
Later, as the motley crew is trapped inside Minnie’s Haberdashery during a blizzard, Warren provokes Smithers into raising a gun towards him by claiming to have done horrible things to his son. When Smithers finally reacts, Warren shoots him in cold blood. Later, he executes Bob simply because he doesn’t believe his story.
Finally, Warren is responsible for the killing of Jody and Daisy Domergue, who are a pair of dangerous outlaws.
While we don’t actually see crime boss Marsellus Wallace do a lot of killing in Pulp Fiction, everyone else is obviously scared of him. Played perfectly by Ving Rhames, the bulky gangster sends hitmen after Butch Coolidge after being double-crossed. Later, he prepares to physically torture Zed by promising to bring some of his cronies down to the pawnshop to “get medieval on his ass.”
Wallace also has serious connections. He is able to summon “The Wolfe,” a man who can clean up any situation.
Lastly, Vincent Vega is tasked with entertaining Wallace’s wife Mia. All you need to know about how dangerous Wallace can be is written on the terrified face of Vincent when Mia accidentally overdoses on heroin.
Jules and Vincent
Along with the aforementioned Vincent Vega, Jules Winfield is another one of Marsellus Wallace’s hired guns. Together, they form a deadly pair who are routinely tasked with taking out anyone who crosses their boss. While Pulp Fiction doesn’t show it, it’s clear that they have a ton of experience in this field.
What the movie does show is enough to show just how deadly they are. Jules shoots Brett just to prove a point. Later, Vincent accidentally shoots Marvin in the face. Together, they manage to diffuse a diner robbery at the end of the movie, as Jules apparently has an epiphany and wants to leave the crime world.
Dr. King Schultz
If you’re a fan of Tarantino’s work, it will come as no surprise to you that Dr. King Shultz, played by Christoph Waltz, is a bounty hunter. Yes, another one.
In Django Unchained, Shultz is a former dentist who realizes there’s more money to be made in tracking down and killing fugitives. Shultz buys Django as a slave because he can identify the Brittle brothers — Shultz’s next targets. Along the way, Shultz kills Ace Speck, the Brittles, and most of Spencer Bennett’s gang.
Later, the former dentist kills Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) before finally meeting an untimely passing at the wrong end of a shotgun. His killing ways lived on though, in the hands of his protege Django.
The Deadly Viper Assassination Squad
Kill Bill‘s Deadly Viper Assassination Squad definitely belongs on this list. After all, “deadly” is in their name and their jobs are literally to kill people for money. Comprised of Vernita Green (Vivica A. Fox), O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu), Budd (Michael Madsen), and Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah), the fearsome foursome was trained by the legendary Bill and follow his orders explicitly.
We see them work together once in the tale, taking out The Bride during a wedding rehearsal. Later, we see their individual dangers, although The Bride manages to take them all out on her vengeful killing spree.
O-Ren is especially deadly, having risen to become the first female leader of the legendary Yakuza. She brutally decapitates one associate who dares to question her legitimacy as the leader.
Okay, so From Dusk till Dawn isn’t technically a Tarantino movie. Although it was directed by Robert Rodriquez, the screenplay was still written by Tarantino. Tarantino stars in the movie as Richard Gecko. Richard is one half of the infamous Gecko Brothers, who are wanted for a series of murders and robberies in the Southern United States.
Although his brother Seth (George Clooney) is pretty deadly in his own right, it’s really Richard who takes the cake. He is prone to rash decisions, unlike his cool and calculated older brother. His actions result in killing a liquor store clerk and a female hostage.
Richard is as dangerous as he is deranged. The movie shows that he is a sexual predator in addition to being a violent criminal.
Tarantino burst onto the scene with the ultra-violent Reservoir Dogs. While the movie was about a diamond heist, the robbery is never really shown. Just the events leading up to the robbery and the complex aftermath.
The crew involved all receive color-related codenames by the mob boss who organizes the whole thing. This includes Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen), who’s recently released after a four-year prison sentence. The audience soon discovers that Mr. Blonde is a certifiable psychopath.
During the heist itself, which goes horribly wrong, Blonde murders several innocent bystanders. He also kidnaps a policeman and proceeds to torture him, trying to get information about whether the police knew about the robbery beforehand.
In a memorable scene, Blonde cuts off the policeman’s ear while “Stuck in the Middle With You” by Stealers Wheel plays on the radio. Blonde almost sets the poor cop on fire, before he is shot by undercover officer Mr. Orange.
Kill Bill‘s Gogo Yabari is easily the most dangerous member of the Crazy 88. She acts as O-Ren Ishii’s personal bodyguard.
Although Yabari is eventually dispatched at the hands of The Bride, a short flashback reveals just how sadistic she really is. While still just a teenager, Yabari disembowels a drunken man at a bar who tries to hit on her.
Later, when The Bride gives her an opportunity to walk away from the fight, Yabari refuses and attacks with a meteor hammer. She almost strangles The Bride to passing on with a chain, before a conveniently placed piece of broken furniture turns the tide.
Death Proof may be a quirky outlier in Tarantino’s filmography, but we happen to really like it. As part of the Grindhouse double bill, Death Proof stars Kurt Russell as Stuntman Mike, an actual serial killer.
Stuntman Mike is a twisted and ruthless character. He uses his charm to convince young women to take a ride in his stunt car. He explains to them that because the car is built for performing movie stunts, it is “death proof.” Unfortunately, he later reveals that the safety of the car only extends to the person driving, before purposely crashing the car and killing his poor passenger.
Mike commits an untold number of these murders, before encountering stuntwoman Zoe Bell — a woman just as tough as he is.
Django Freeman (Jamie Foxx) is the titular character of Tarantino’s revisionist American Western flick Django Unchained.
Django begins the movie by being the exact opposite of deadly. In fact, he’s a slave who has been separated from his wife Broomhilda. It’s only after being purchased and then set free by bounty hunter Dr. Schultz that he truly starts to morph into a dangerous character.
Under the tutelage of Dr. Schultz, Django goes on a bloody rampage to get his wife back, who is owned by the cruel Calvin Candie. By the end of the movie, Shultz is dead but Django has shot or blown up a small army of racist bad guys as he rides off into the sunset with his now-free wife.
Like the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, the titular Basterds of Inglorious Basterds are a group of deadly characters. Headed up by First Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt), the Basterds are a group of Jewish-American soldiers who hunt down and kill Nazis during WWII. They become incredibly feared and almost obtain mythical status in Germany. In fact, Nazi soldiers live in constant fear that the Basterds may come for them.
The Basterds include Lieutenant Archie Hicox (Michael Fassbender), Staff Sergeant Donny “The Bear Jew” Donowitz (Eli Roth), Sergeant Hugo Stiglitz (Til Schweiger), Corporal Wilhelm Wicki (Gedeon Burkhard), plus a handful of other killers. Many of them die in the cinema fire, set by Shosanna. Before that, however, they killed many, many Nazis, putting them high on this list of deadliest Tarantino characters.
Daisy and the Domergue Gang
For the majority of The Hateful Eight, Daisy (Jennifer Jason Leigh) is nothing more than a handcuffed prisoner on her way to meet the business end of a noose. It’s not until the film’s climax that the audience realizes just how deadly and dangerous Daisy and the rest of the Domergue Gang is. Her brother Jody (Channing Tatum) and the rest of the gang (Bob, Mobray, and Gage) arrived at the inn earlier in the day and murdered everyone except Smithers. They hide the bodies and plan an ambush to free Daisy.
While they all end up dead by the time the credits roll, the Domergue Gang is revealed to have a lucrative bounty on their heads. This proves just how deadly the authorities consider them to be.
Colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz), a high-ranking member of the Nazi party, is one of the most terrifying antagonists in movie history. In the opening scene of Inglorious Basterds, he subtly intimidates and threatens a French dairy farmer into giving up the Jewish family hiding under his floorboards. He’s so good at tracking down Jewish people hiding from Hitler’s reign of terror, that he is given the nickname “The Jew Hunter.”
Landa is a deadly combination of charm, brilliance, cruelty, and relentlessness. He speaks at least four different languages. But the most dangerous part of Landa is his arrogant self-interest. He’s willing to make whatever decision will result in the best outcome for himself, including switching sides near the end of the film to avoid being killed by the Basterds. It almost works too. Well, until Lt. Raine carves a swastika into his forehead — marking him for life.
Pai Mei is the mysterious kung fu master from Kill Bill. The man who trained Bill himself, along with Elle Driver and The Bride. He’s a no-nonsense man, who hates Americans and females, which led to some very obvious tension while training the future Deadly Viper Assassin Squad members.
Despite his crankiness and seemingly old age, Pai Mei was an incredibly skilled fighter. He mastered the Three-Inch Punch and the Five-Point-Palm Exploding Heart Technique, which he would teach to The Bride during her training.
According to legend, Pai Mei once slaughtered an entire temple of Shaolin monks because one of them did not give a “slight nod” of acknowledgment while passing the kung fu master on the street. He also snatched out Elle Driver’s right eye when she called him a “miserable, old fool.”
Pai Mei would meet his end when Elle poisoned the kung fu master. The Bride would avenge his passing by plucking out Driver’s other eye in a battle in Budd’s trailer.
With the codename of Snake Charmer, the titular Bill (David Carradine) of Kill Bill was the leader of the Deadly Vipers. Not only was Bill a proficient killer, but he was also a gifted leader and master manipulator. When Bill couldn’t use violence, charm, or wit to get his own way, he had other tricks up his sleeve. This included an incredibly effective truth serum, which he used on The Bride at one point.
Although we don’t see the fight, Bill engages Pai Mei in one-on-one combat and lives to tell the tale. Between his own deadly ruthlessness and the fact that he commands a team of assassins, Bill is easily the most dangerous man is any of the Tarantino universes.
Yes, the most dangerous man. However, not the most dangerous overall. That title belongs too…
Who else could it be?
The Bride (Uma Thurman), a.k.a Beatrix Kiddo, discovered she was pregnant and attempted to flee the world of being a hired killer. That angered Bill, her lover, who then “overreacted” by gunning down Kiddo and her entire wedding party. Unfortunately for Bill, Beatrix survived the attack and would seek her revenge.
In over four hours of screen time between the two volumes of Kill Bill, The Bride embarked on a bloody and brutal journey of retribution. She killed all the former members of the Deadly Viper Assassins Squad with a custom-made Hattori Hanzo sword.
After dispatching his underlings, The Bride comes for Bill himself. After a brief fight, Beatrix strikes Bill with the Five-Point-Palm Exploding Heart Technique. Bill is amazed that Pai Mei actually taught the legendary technique to anyone. Bill never learned it, after all. Bill takes his last five steps before his heart explodes.
This leaves The Bride as the deadliest character that Tarantino ever created.