This post was written by Neil Chase.
Quentin Tarantino is one of the most iconic directors in Hollywood, and his movies are always filled with unforgettable characters, such as Beatrix Kiddo, Vincent Vega, Calvin Candie, Jackie Brown, Cliff Booth, Mr. Blonde, Stuntman Mike, Hans Landa, and Jules Winnfield, among others.
They're the stars of the Tarantino universe. But they wouldn't be half as memorable without the supporting cast that helps them shine.
In this article, we will take a look at some of the best supporting characters found in Tarantino films.
These are not necessarily the main characters in their respective movies, but they all had a huge impact on the story and the audience. Some of these iconic characters are hilarious, while others are downright terrifying.
So without further ado, let's take a look at the 10 best Tarantino movie characters that are not in the main film cast!
1. Captain Koons (Christopher Walken) in Pulp Fiction (1994)
In a movie that boasts John Travolta (as Vincent Vega) in a career-resurgent role and Samuel L. Jackson (as Jules Winnfield) in a career-defining one, not to mention Uma Thurman (as Mia Wallace) and Ving Rhames (as Marsellus Wallace) at their respective bests, it's hard to believe that one performance dwarfs them all.
In a single scene, Captain Koons (Christopher Walken) tells the tale of how Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis) ended up with his late father's watch in a way that only Walken could. It's at once riveting, harrowing, and hilarious. If ever a supporting Tarantino character needed his own film, Captain Koons is it.
2. Floyd (Brad Pitt) in True Romance (1993)
This was the role that proved without a shadow of a doubt that Brad Pitt has terrific comedic timing in addition to his great looks and solid acting. Playing against type as Floyd, a hapless stoner roommate, Pitt lights up the screen each time he appears, injecting comedic relief into an otherwise tense thriller.
It's hard to imagine any other Tarantino characters asking a group of pissed-off and armed mobsters if they want to "smoke a bowl" and getting away with it as easily as Floyd.
3. Gogo Yubari (Chiaki Kuriyama) in Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003)
She may look like an innocent schoolgirl, but 17-year-old Gogo Yubari (Chiaki Kuriyama) is as tough as they come. The personal bodyguard of O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu), and a martial arts master without an ounce of mercy, she's one of the deadliest Quentin Tarantino characters ever put to film.
While not a member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, Gogo can take on any one of its ranks, even Beatrix Kiddo (Uma Thurman) herself.
4. Jody Domingre (Channing Tatum) in The Hateful Eight (2015)
In a film full of hardened killers, it takes a special sort to be even worse. As the leader of The Hateful Eight's villains, Jody Domingre (Channing Tatum) doesn't have much to say, but when he does, he makes each word count.
He'll stop at nothing to free his sister, Daisy (Jennifer Jason Leigh), from the clutches of bounty hunters John Ruth (Kurt Russell) and Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson), as well as anyone else unlucky enough to share their small cabin in the middle of a blizzard.
5. Earl McGraw (Michael Parks) in From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
Texas Ranger Earl McGraw (Michael Parks) almost steals the entire movie in the opening scene of From Dusk Till Dawn, with a tale about a breakfast gone wrong. It's not an easy feat considering a cast that includes George Clooney, Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis, and Quentin Tarantino himself against an army of vampires led by Salma Hayek—though Pete Bottoms (John Hawkes), playing opposite in the same scene, comes a close second.
But you know it's Earl McGraw who's the standout when Tarantino brought him back in Kill Bill Vol. 1 and 2, Death Proof, and Planet Terror. Now that's a memorable character!
6. Hugo Stiglitz (Til Schweiger) in Inglourious Basterds (2009)
In a WWII tale brimming with evil Germans such as Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz), Fredrick Zoller (Daniel Bruhl), and even Hitler (Martin Wuttke) himself, it's comforting that not everyone in the Third Reich follows the party line.
Sgt. Hugo Stiglitz (Til Schweiger) is an anomaly among the rest of the Basterds, as he's the one German among them brave enough to openly take a stand against his own. A man of few words, this rebel's deadly reputation precedes him wherever he goes. As they say, "Everyone in the German Army knows Hugo Stiglitz." They just wish they didn't.
7. Big Daddy (Don Johnson) in Django Unchained (2012)
He's no Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), but as a secondary villain and comedic foil to Django (Jamie Foxx) and Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz), Spencer "Big Daddy" Bennett (Don Johnson) is a cold-blooded plantation owner, as greedy as he is inept.
And when the bounty hunters cash in on two sadistic slave drivers employed by Big Daddy, he takes it upon himself to round up a posse to hunt them down. Thankfully, they're as adept in their pursuit as their leader, leading to a memorable and fitting end for the lot of them.
8. Joe Cabot (Laurence Tierney) in Reservoir Dogs (1992)
It's not just anyone who could make putting perennial tough guys Mr. White (Harvey Keitel), Mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi), Mr. Orange (Tim Roth), and Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen) in their places look so easy and utterly realistic.
When Joe Cabot (Laurence Tierney) barks orders in his gravely no-nonsense tone, everyone listens, and even the most casual viewer could see that if Joe were present in the warehouse from the start, this blood-soaked story would have ended far differently.
9. Ed Wilson in Natural Born Killers (1994)
Mickey (Woody Harrelson) and Mallory Knox (Juliette Lewis) are psychopathic serial killers on a path of death and destruction. But it's Mallory's father, Ed Wilson (Rodney Dangerfield) who is easily the creepiest of Tarantino's characters in Natural Born Killers.
Recounted as a sitcom-styled memory from Mallory's past, Ed gives us a glimpse into her tragic past, complete with inappropriate laugh tracks to accompany his sick desires. With a family like this, it's easy to see how Mallory became so broken.
10. Brandy in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019)
Though she's played by three separate brown Pitbulls (Sayuri, Cerberus, and Siren), this lovable pooch captures our hearts from the first frame. Though surrounded by morally dubious characters, Brandy is the one that stands out as the true hero of the story.
Without her steadfast loyalty and love for her owner, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), he would have ended up six feet under, instead of in Rick Dalton's (Leonardo DiCaprio) eternal debt. It's not often a dog can change history, especially one as tragic as the Manson murders, but Brandy delivers. She's not just one of Tarantino's greatest characters, she's a very good dog, indeed!
Summing Up the Top 10 Supporting Quentin Tarantino Characters
Quentin Tarantino's filmography is full of memorable characters, whether as leads or supporting. These are the minor characters that made the biggest impact on me, but I would love to know if you think that there were any missed or overlooked.
What supporting Tarantino characters are your favorites?
Let us know in the comments!
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