Reservoir Dogs
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A Note Regarding Spoilers

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags are used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Reservoir Dogs can be found here.

Crime boss Joe Cabot (Lawrence Tierney) hires six criminals, all of whom are given false names -- Mr White (Harvey Keitel), Mr Blonde (Michael Madsen), Mr Orange (Tim Roth), Mr Blue (Edward Bunker), Mr Pink (Steve Buscemi), and Mr Brown (Quentin Tarantino) -- to pull off a diamond heist. When the police show up within moments to thwart the robbery and kill Brown in the process, the remaining thieves must contend with the possibility that someone in the group is an undercover cop.

No. Reservoir Dogs is taken from a script by director Quentin Tarantino, although Tarantino has admitted that he was influenced by Stanley Kubrick's The Killing (1956) in terms of them both being "heist" movies.

What does the title mean?

Tarantino doesn't typically answer this question directly, saying that he likes it when people come up with their own definitions for the phrase. He has called it "more of a mood title than anything else." One popular and oft-told story about the origin of the title is that former video store employee Tarantino used to mangle the title of the French film Au revoir les enfants, and his mispronounciation gave birth to the phrase "Reservoir dogs." Lawrence Tierney (who plays Joe Cabot) reportedly told a German reporter that Reservoir dogs was "a very famous expression in America for dogs who hang around a reservoir."

We never learn the real names of Mr. Brown, Mr. Blue, or Mr. Pink. Mr. Blonde's name is revealed to be Vic Vega in one flashback scene, and Mr. Orange is heard saying that his real name is Freddy Newandyke. While only Mr. White's first name, "Larry," is revealed in the film's final cut, his full name, "Laurence Dimmick," is included in deleted scenes and in the original screenplay.

Early on, Mr. White whispers to the wounded Mr. Orange, then combs Orange's hair. Mr. Orange laughs. White says, "It's all right, pal. It's all right," according to the DVD subtitles.

There is no clear answer to this one, and fans love to debate about it. The leading theories are that the ring is a good luck charm, or that it is a prop for Orange's cover story about his life. Film critic Peter Travers cited the song that plays over the scene, Sandy Rogers's "Fool For Love," as a possible hint that the ring is linked to a current or former wife of Orange. With no formal explanation, the ring remains a tantalizing mystery.

There is an unclear bit of dialogue from Mr. Orange as Mr. White drags him into the warehouse. He seems to be saying, "She had a baby, man! She had a baby!" This is likely in reference to the woman that Orange shot, as there is a noticeable child's car seat in the back of the woman's car where the terrified Orange lies after he has been wounded. He kicks the car seat multiple times in that scene. The baby obviously isn't in it and didn't seem to be in the car, so Orange is probably feeling guilty about shooting a woman who might have been a mother. Or it could be the little gun she used to shoot Mr. Orange they were talking about, referencing the "little gun" as "a baby".

There has been some confusion among viewers as to how Mr. Brown is killed. Because Brown is the getaway driver, and we see him crash the car before we see him injured, some viewers come to think that he has been injured in the crash. Others theorize that he is killed by Mr. Orange, to whom he is talking just before his death. In actuality, as Mr. White tells Mr. Pink, Brown was shot by the police (possibly the officers that Mr. White later fires on). He crashes the car as a result of his soon-to-be-fatal injury. Mr. Orange does not harm Mr. Brown - his shell-shocked behavior after Brown's death is due to the violence that he is witnessing and not yet any that he has committed. He has, after all, just seen his friend Mr. White gun down two of his fellow officers.

Just because someone is shot in the head doesn't mean they die instantly, or at all for that matter. The bullet may have skimmed his head but not gone deep enough to be fatal. It's likely that the wound caused Brown to bleed to death rather than dying from brain tissue trauma.

Sharp-eyed fans have spotted the coffins standing in the warehouse where the thieves have their rendezvous. Because the warehouse used as a major shooting location for the film was once an actual mortuary, the set designers decided to run with it, adding the coffins as well as a hearse, which Mr. Blonde can be seen sitting on. The morbid decor can easily be interpreted as foreshadowing.

The graffiti visible in the film's famous torture scene reads "Watch your head," appropriate given that Marvin's ear is being hacked off. There seems to be another word above 'watch your head.' Though it isn't clear if it is or not, it looks like it reads 'Tony.' So the whole saying could be "Tony watch your head." Assuming this is true, we can assume there is a person who works in the warehouse who is unusually taller than everyone else, because the archway is pretty tall, and most people wouldn't need to watch their heads.

Who shot Nice Guy Eddie?

A famous source of confusion for viewers of Reservoir Dogs is how, in the climactic Mexican stand-off, Nice Guy Eddie is killed. The bullets were supposed to fly thusly: Joe shoots Mr. Orange, Eddie shoots Mr. White, and Mr. White shoots Joe and then Eddie. However, during filming Eddie (Chris Penn)'s squib went off before Mr. White was able to get to him, and he fell to the floor anyway. Hence, the confusion began. Tarantino has claimed that he realized the mistake, but left it in the film to give people something to talk about. Seeing as how Mr. Orange did not have a loaded gun at that time, Mr. White is really the only possible candidate for Eddie's shooting and if you watch the scene in slow motion, as Mr. White is falling, he clearly turns and fires at Eddie. A far-fetched theory is that Mr. Pink, hiding underneath the ramp shot Eddie, so Pink would be the last man standing and get away with the diamonds, though he seemed to want to stay out of it completely.

On the commentary track for the 2002 10th Anniversary Edition DVD of Reservoir Dogs, Quentin Tarantino insists that viewers who don't understand why Mr. Orange tells Mr. White that he is an undercover cop (knowing full well that Mr. White is likely to kill him upon finding out) have not understood the film. Mr. Orange tells Mr. White, who has acted as his protector throughout the film, the truth because he feels that he owes it to him as a matter of honor. Tarantino actually described it as something beyond honor, best summed up by the Japanese word "jingi" that has no English equivalent. Having witnessed White sacrifice everything for him; White kills two very good friends of his to protect Orange, taking a bullet and willing to stay behind and lose out on the diamonds and go to prison rather than leave Orange for dead...Orange feels compelled to do likewise. Orange does not reveal the truth until the final moment because it is only then that he is free to do so without forsaking his duty as a police officer. Now that Joe Cabot - the man he was sent in to get - is dead, Orange's mission is over.

How does it end?

Following the Mexican stand-off, Joe and Nice Guy Eddie have been killed. Mr. Pink, who stayed out of the fray, leaves with the diamonds. He may be arrested upon leaving the warehouse by the police officers who have just arrived (shouting can be heard following Pink's exit, followed by shots). Before the police enter the warehouse, a shot and bleeding Mr. White cradles Mr. Orange, who reveals that he is really a police officer. Mr. Orange repeats again and again that he is sorry. A devastated Mr. White puts his gun to Orange's head. The police burst in and are heard off-camera urging Mr. White to put his gun down. As the camera remains tight on White's face, we hear him shoot Orange. The police officers react by firing on White, who is blown out of the frame. The credits roll.

Mr. Blue: Never seen after the opening scene and the "name assigning" scene. It is mentioned by Joe that he is 'dead as Dillinger.' The video game based on the movie reveals he was cornered and shot by the cops in a movie theater, but this may not be canon.

Mr. Brown: Shot in the head while driving the getaway vehicle. He crashes, tries to get the car free (the bumpers were locked up in the crash), then dies.

Mr. Blonde: While torturing Marvin Nash, Blonde decides to burn him alive, at this point Mr. Orange awakens and unloads his gun into Mr. Blonde.

Marvin Nash: Saved from burning to death by Mr. Orange, but when Nice Guy Eddie and the others arrive and find Mr. Blonde shot to death it so enrages Eddie that he shoots Marvin three times in the chest, killing him.

Joe Cabot: Shot by Mr. White in the Mexican stand-off at the end.

Nice Guy Eddie: Also shot by Mr. White in the Mexican stand off. (Though this is debated, the logical answer within the film is that Mr. White turned and shot him as he fell over. Watching the sequence in slow motion also shows this.)

Mr. Orange: Shot in the gut during the original getaway by the woman who's car he and Larry stole, bleeding out and unconscious through most of the scenes after the robbery, he comes to and is shot again by Joe in the Mexican stand-off because he suspected Orange of being a cop/rat. Though he doesn't die from this injury, a wounded Mr. White cradles his friend, Mr. Orange, in his arms, trying to console him, hearing the sirens outside. Mr. Orange revealed that he was actually a cop and says he is sorry. Mr. White, realizing that he just killed two of his best friends to protect a new friend who was in fact a cop, is overcome with emotion, pulls out his gun, places it against Mr. Orange's head and pulls the trigger.

Mr. White: He is first shot by Eddie in the Mexican stand-off, and the police storm the warehouse just in time to see Mr. White putting the gun against Mr. Orange's head. They order him repeatedly to drop the gun, but he shoots Mr. Orange and in turn is gunned down by the police.

Mr. Pink: The only person to survive the ordeal. He tries to reason with the others during the Mexican stand-off but after realizing that nobody is listening to him, he hides underneath the ramp until the shooting stops. He then crawls out, grabs the diamonds and leaves. If you listen closely to the background you can hire sirens, cars crashing and gunfire. This leads people to believe he was killed; however, there is dialogue afterward where you hear police yelling at him to get out of the car, and Mr. Pink can be heard saying "Don't shoot me; I've been shot, goddamn it!" and then the police yell "Are you a cop killer? Did you kill a cop?" Seconds later they break into the warehouse to find Mr. White and Mr. Orange. In the videogame, depending on how many people you kill, Mr. Pink can: (1) die, (2) get arrested, or (3) get away without the diamonds (although he did put two handfuls in his pockets).

Following the incredible critical and popular success of Tarantino's movies in the mid-1990's, it was rumored that Reservoir Dogs was actually an uncredited remake of Ringo Lam's Hong Kong actioner Lung fu fong wan City On Fire. The rumor was fueled by Who Do You Think You're Fooling?, a short film by Mike White that spliced together clips of Reservoir Dogs and Lung fu fong wan to reveal their similarities. And there are clear similarities. Both films deal with a robbery, and feature a warehouse rendez-vous spot, a climactic Mexican stand-off, and the relationship between a veteran thief and an undercover cop, but Lung fu fong wan deals mostly with events leading to the robbery, while Reservoir Dogs is about the aftermath of an unseen heist gone wrong. Also, the Mexican stand-off in Lung fu fong wan does not end with all the guns going off and all the gunmen hitting the floor. The poetic justice and irony of Reservoir Dogs at the end of the movie is also absent from Lung fu fong wan. Instead, the police officer character bleeds to death. There are similar elements between the two films, but much of what makes Reservoir Dogs a classic - pacing, style, and some famous plot twists - is not present in Lung fu fong wan. Nevertheless, the debate has continued among some film fans.

What's the song...?

People often have questions about the music in the film. The following is a list of the songs that are used in the film and their artists, as well as what part of the film the each song is associated with.

Song: "Little Green Bag"/Performer: The George Baker Selection/Movie Moment: This song plays during opening credits sequence, when the entire cast walks iconically in slow motion.

Song: "I Gotcha"/Performer: Joe Tex/Movie Moment: This song plays while Nice Guy Eddie is on the phone en route to the warehouse ("I don't know who's dead, I don't know who's alive...") while at the same time Mr. White and Mr. Pink are brutally interrogating Marvin.

Song: "Stuck in the Middle with You"/Performer: Stealers Wheel/Movie Moment: This song infamously plays when Mr. Blonde is sadistically torturing Marvin, eventually cutting off his ear in one of the movie's most talked-about sequences.

Song: "Magic Carpet Ride"/Performer: Bedlam/Movie Moment: This Steppenwolf cover can be heard during the bar scene when Mr. Orange tells the others his "commode story."

Song: "Harvest Moon"/Performer: Bedlam/Movie Moment: This song can be heard faintly when Freddy meets with Holdaway at the diner.

Song: "Fool for Love"/Performer: Sandy Rogers/Movie Moment: This unlikely bit of country music is heard playing in Freddy's apartment just before he gives himself a pep talk in the mirror and gets into the car with Nice Guy Eddie, Mr. White, and Mr. Pink.

Song: "Hooked on a Feeling"/Performer: Blue Swede/Movie Moment: This Swedish cover of the B.J. Thomas pop hit can be heard on the radio of the pair of cops tailing Freddy ("Let's get a bearclaw.") as well as in the car with Nice Guy Eddie, Mr. White, Mr. Orange, and Mr. Pink as they discuss E. Lois and Pam Grier.

Song: "Coconut"/Performer: Harry Nilsson/Movie Moment: This quiet song plays jarringly over the film's end credits, immediately following the final shoot-out.

Tarantino has said that there is no place in this claustrophobic and testosterone-fueled film for wives or girlfriends. However, his original script did include the female cop McKlusky. McKlusky's scenes were shot with Nina Siemaszko in the role, but they were ultimately cut, primarily for pacing reasons. The deleted scenes have become available on DVD. Tarantino would later direct the female-dominated Kill Bill: Vol. 1, Kill Bill: Vol. 2, and Death Proof.

The most commonly cited connection between characters in Reservoir Dogs and another Quentin Tarantino film is that Mr. Blonde (aka Vic Vega) is the brother of Vincent Vega from Pulp Fiction. Tarantino has often discussed the possibility of creating a prequel to both films called "The Vega Brothers." As years pass, the likelihood of the film materializing seems to grow slimmer. It has nevertheless been a popular source of Internet rumors. Mr. White also shares the last name "Dimmick" with Pulp Fiction's Jimmy Dimmick. There is also a link to the Tarantino-penned True Romance. Mr. White talks to Joe about his former partnership with a woman named Alabama. Alabama was the name of the call girl-turned-fugitive in True Romance. Other less obvious connections include the fact that both Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction feature unfortunate characters named Marvin and Marcellus. Fans also point out that Steve Buscemi's Reservoir Dogs character Mr. Pink famously spoke about his refusal to tip waitresses - and then Buscemi played a waiter in Pulp Fiction. There's also a colorful connection between the names of Tim Roth's reservoir dog Mr. Orange and his Pulp Fiction character, Pumpkin. Finally, when Joe and Mr. White are talking, Joe mentions 'Marsellus Spivey.' In True Romance, the pimp's name is Drexel Spivey. Mr. Blonde's parole officer's name is Seymour Scagnetti. In Natural Born Killers (for which Tarantino wrote the story) Tom Sizemore's character is called Jack Scagnetti. Finally, the person Mr. Pink pulls out of her car in this film is the same person that gets shot by Marcellus Wallace after the car wreck in Pulp Fiction.

Vincent Vega (Pulp Fiction) and Victor Vega (Reservoir Dogs) are brothers. Laurence Dimmick a.k.a. Mr. White (Reservoir Dogs) and Jimmy Dimmick (Pulp Fiction) may be related somehow. Jack Scagnetti (Natural Born Killers) and Seymour Scagnetti (mentioned in Reservoir Dogs) could be related. One theory that has been suggested is that they are the same person, that Seymour had changed his name to Jack for unknown reasons. Drexl Spivey (True Romance) and Marsellus Spivey (mentioned in Reservoir Dogs) could be related. Earl McGraw (From Dusk Till Dawn, Kill Bill Vol. 1, Grindhouse: Planet Terror and Grindhouse: Death Proof) and Edgar McGraw (From Dusk till Dawn 2, Kill Bill Vol. 1, Grindhouse: Death Proof) are father and son. Bill and Budd are brothers. Sgt. Donny Donowitz (Inglorious Basterds) and Lee Donowitz (True Romance) might be father and son or Uncle and Nephew. When Mr. White and Joe Cabot are talking in a flashback Joe Cabot mentions that Mr. White worked with a women called Alabama which could be Alabama Whitman (True Romance). Note that the names of the characters somewhat correspond with the "career choice" of the other, an example being that Drexl is a pimp and Marsellus was a diamond fence who was doing 20 years in prison. Jack Scagnetti was a popular detective and Seymour was a parole officer, etc. In a deleted scene from Reservoir Dogs, Nice Guy Eddie talks about getting a nurse to help our Mr. Orange. The nurse is named, Bonnie: the name of the nurse in Pulp Fiction married to Jimmy who is coming home soon thus forcing Jules and Vincent to get Marvin's remains cleaned up on the quick. This could very well be the same Bonnie

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