Reservoir Dogs (1992) Poster


Jump to: Director Trademark (3) | Spoilers (13)
Madonna - who is the main topic of the opening conversation - really liked the film but refuted Quentin Tarantino's interpretation of her song 'Like a Virgin'. She gave him a copy of her 'Erotica' album, signed "To Quentin. It's not about dick, it's about love. Madonna."
The film's budget was so low that many of the actors simply used their own clothing as wardrobe; most notably Chris Penn's track jacket. The signature black suits were provided for free by the designer, based on her love for the American crime film genre. Steve Buscemi wore his own black jeans instead of suit pants.
Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen)'s real name is Vic Vega. This is the same surname as Vince (John Travolta) from Quentin Tarantino's other film, Pulp Fiction (1994). Tarantino has revealed that Vic and Vince are brothers. He also intended to do a prequel to both films called "Double V Vega", which would star the Vega Brothers, but Madsen and Travolta eventually got too old to reprise their roles, and Tarantino has since abandoned it.
Michael Madsen had difficulty filming the torture scenes due to his strong aversion to violence of any kind, and was particularly reluctant when he was required to hit actor Kirk Baltz. When Baltz ad-libbed a line that his character has a child at home, Madsen, who had just become a new father himself, was so disturbed by the idea of leaving a child fatherless that he almost couldn't finish the scene. This take made it into in the movie, and in some versions of the film, you can clearly hear someone, possibly Quentin Tarantino himself, utter "Oh, no no!" off-screen.
For the European release, the distributor used one sheet posters for each of the main characters. This was quite a novel strategy at the time, and has now become very widespread.
At several points, Tim Roth had lain in the pool of fake blood for so long that the blood dried out and he had to be peeled off the floor, which took several minutes.
During filming, a paramedic was kept on the set to make sure that Mr. Orange's (Tim Roth) amount of blood loss was kept consistent and realistic to that of a real gunshot victim.
The budget didn't stretch to obtaining police assistance for traffic control so in the scene where Steve Buscemi forces a woman out of her car and drives off in it, he could only do so when the traffic lights were green.
Quentin Tarantino was originally going to play Mr Pink, although he made a point of letting all the other actors audition for the part. When Steve Buscemi came in to read for it, Tarantino told him that he really wanted the part for himself and that the only way Buscemi could possibly wrestle it from him was to do a killer audition. Buscemi duly complied.
Tim Roth refused to read for the film. He did insist on going out drinking with Quentin Tarantino and Harvey Keitel. He agreed to read for them when they were all drunk.
According to an interview on the DVD, Michael Madsen says that Kirk Baltz asked to ride in his trunk to experience what it was really like. Madsen agreed, but decided as he went along that this was time for his own character development. So he drove down a long alley with potholes, and then a Taco Bell drive-through before taking Baltz back to the parking lot and letting him out. The soda he ordered at said drive-through is the same one he can be seen drinking during his character's first appearance in the warehouse.
Quentin Tarantino wanted James Woods to play a role in the film, and made him five different cash offers. Woods' agent refused the offers without ever mentioning it to Woods as the sums offered were well below what Woods would usually receive. When Tarantino and Woods later met for the first time, Woods learned of the offer and was annoyed enough to get a new agent. Tarantino avoided telling Woods which role he was offered "because the actor who played the role was magnificent anyway". It is widely accepted that the role that Tarantino was referring to was Mr. Orange.
One of the radio ads heard in the background is for "Jack Rabbit Slim's", the fictitious 1950's-themed restaurant and "home of the $5 milkshake" that was also featured in Tarantino's second film, Pulp Fiction (1994)
In an interview on BBC in 2009 Quentin Tarantino said he was proud the movie is often on top ten heist movies even though you never actually see the heist.
The title for the film came to Quentin Tarantino via a patron at the now-famous Video Archives. While working there, Tarantino would often recommend little-known titles to customers, and when he suggested Au Revoir Les Enfants (1987), the patron mockingly replied, "I don't want to see no reservoir dogs!" The title is never spoken in the film, however.
Filmed in 35 days.
Mr. Orange's apartment was actually the upstairs to the warehouse where most of the movie takes place. The filmmakers redecorated it to look like an apartment in order to save money on finding a real apartment.
Armed with $30,000 and a 16mm camera, Quentin Tarantino was all set to make the film with a bunch of friends, including his producing partner Lawrence Bender who was going to play Nice Guy Eddie. It was then that Tarantino received an answerphone message from Harvey Keitel, asking if he could not only be in the film but help produce it. Keitel had gotten involved via the wife of Bender's acting class teacher, who had managed to get a copy of the script to him. Keitel's involvement helped raise the budget to $1.5 million.
Quentin Tarantino originally wrote the role of Mr. Pink for himself. Steve Buscemi originally auditioned for the part of Mr. White. Michael Madsen originally auditioned for the part of Mr Pink. George Clooney read for the role of Mr. Blonde/Vic Vega but was turned down, and Christopher Walken refused the same role. Vincent Gallo turned down the role of Mr. Pink. Samuel L. Jackson auditioned for the role of Mr. Orange. Once Tim Roth was cast, Quentin Tarantino originally wanted him to play Mr. Blonde or Mr. Pink. Robert Forster and Timothy Carey auditioned for the part of Joe Cabot, and the film is dedicated to Carey. Forster eventually played Max Cherry in Tarantino's Jackie Brown (1997), five years later.
Quentin Tarantino had to fight Miramax boss Harvey Weinstein to keep the torture scene in the film, as Weinstein felt it would have a serious negative effect on audiences. Quentin stood his ground and Harvey ultimately relented.
Mr. Blonde's Cadillac Coupe de Ville actually belonged to Michael Madsen because the budget wasn't big enough to buy a car for the character.
On a day off during the shoot, Lawrence Tierney was arrested for allegedly pulling a gun on his nephew. According to Quentin Tarantino, Tierney "was taken from his bail arraignment to the set."
The film was released in America with almost no promotion, so it did not do that well at the box office. In England, however, it was such a huge hit that Quentin Tarantino would be mobbed as he walked down the street in London. British filmmakers have been "influenced" by it since.
Voted best independent film ever by Empire Magazine. It also was voted most influential movie in the past 15 years by the same magazine.
This movie has no orchestral score. All the music you hear are prerecorded tracks.
To avoid alienating the film's backers, producer Lawrence Bender had the tamer scenes shot first, so that the dailies would strengthen the backers' confidence before getting to the nasty, violent scenes.
Although there is no definitive answer to what Mr. White whispers to Mr. Orange, in the French release of the film he says "You don't want a blow job by the way?", in the Italian dubbed version he says "Do you want me to give you a hand job, too?", and in the Spanish dubbed version he says "I'll comb your hair so you look handsome".
The line where Mr. White tells Mr. Pink, "I need you cool. Are you cool?" was added into the script after a conflict between Lawrence Tierney and Michael Madsen. To break the scuffle and continue shooting, Quentin Tarantino said to Tierney, "Larry. I need you cool. Are you cool?"
The film contains 272 uses of the word "fuck".
Terry Gilliam is thanked in the credits in gratitude for advice he gave to Quentin Tarantino during a Sundance workshop.
Quentin Tarantino was considering using "Ballroom Blitz" by Sweet as an alternate song for the "ear" scene, but went with Stealers Wheel "Stuck in the Middle with You".
In an interview with Empire magazine career criminal Edward Bunker (Mr Blue) stated that the film was unrealistic as he would never consider committing a robbery with 5 people he didn't know (and therefore could not trust). He also commented that it would be extremely foolhardy for the distinctively dressed gang to publicly have breakfast together beforehand as when news of the robbery broke witnesses would be certain to remember them.
The first draft script called for Pink Floyd's "Money" where "Little Green Bag" is now. It was later changed because Quentin Tarantino heard "Little Green Bag" over the radio and became extremely nostalgic.
Within the film, not a single line of dialogue is spoken by a woman.
The opening conversation concerns a song by Madonna. Chris Penn, playing Nice Guy Eddie Cabot, was Madonna's former brother-in-law. His older brother Sean Penn was married to Madonna for 4 years.
Pop singer sensation Pink revealed in several interviews that her stage name was inspired by the character of Mr. Pink.
Directly prior to the scene showing the colored bottles of soap, you see two shirts hanging on the wall, and a rag in the distance on the floor. These are appropriately in sync with the surnames of the characters in their present states. Mr. White and Mr. Pink are upright and close to each other, corresponding to the two shirt colors, while the orange rag laying in the distance would be the position of Mr. Orange in the next room.
In then commentary of the True Romance (1993) DVD, Quentin Tarantino says that Tony Scott read both the "True Romance" and "Reservoir Dogs" scripts and told Tarantino he wanted to direct "Reservoir Dogs". Tarantino told him he could have "True Romance" but that he himself was going to direct "Reservoir Dogs".
Editor Sally Menke's agent originally lobbied for her not to take the film. Menke disagreed and went on to edit Quentin Tarantino's first six movies.
Quentin Tarantino and his producer Lawrence Bender used to joke that they were the most inexperienced people on the set.
Quentin Tarantino added the opening diner scene to give Mr. Blue some lines because he was the only character without any.
At the very first screening of the film at Sundance, Quentin Tarantino stood up in the middle of the movie and told them to stop projecting, due to the fact that the entire film is shot in widescreen and the projector only had a normal-sized lens (not meant for widescreen), so half of whatever was shot wasn't up on screen.
Robert Kurtzman did the special make-up effects for free, on the condition that Quentin Tarantino write a script for From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) based on a story by Kurtzman.
In 2014, Quentin Tarantino revealed in an interview that the entire soundtrack budget was spent on securing "Stuck in the Middle with You" for the film. Tarantino was content with having no other music in the film as long as he could use that song. The other songs were secured thanks to the producers managing to make a record deal for the soundtrack. Tarantino and the producers were well aware that that plan might not have worked out at all.
Quentin Tarantino wrote the first draft in three and a half weeks.
(at around 26 mins) In Mr. White's flashback, Joe asks him about a girl named Alabama. This is a reference to Patricia Arquette's character from True Romance (1993). Quentin Tarantino has stated that he originally intended this character to meet up with Mr. White and to become partners in crime. When "True Romance" was released a year after this film, the ending was changed and so this backstory became inconsistent because Alabama never went on to meet up with Mr. White.
The line "Let's go to work" is often attributed to this film, but in fact comes from The Professionals (1966), one of Quentin Tarantino's favourite movies.
Edward Bunker, a former career criminal, was the youngest felon to be sent to San Quentin. (He was 17.) He was a novelist and also played cons in other films - Runaway Train (1985), The Longest Yard (2005) and Straight Time (1978) (which was based on his novel) and worked as a technical advisor on others - Heat (1995), for instance. Jon Voight's character in 'Heat' was based on Bunker.
WILHELM SCREAM: (at around 20 mins) The famous scream is heard when Mr. Pink pushes a pedestrian on the sidewalk while being pursued by cops during his escape from the failed jewel heist.
The warehouse where the majority of the movie takes place was once a mortuary, and thus is full of coffins. Mr. Blonde doesn't sit down on a crate, it's actually an old hearse he perches on.
Monte Hellman was originally tapped to direct the film as Quentin Tarantino was a complete unknown. However, when Tarantino sold the screenplay for True Romance (1993) for $50,000, he lobbied hard to direct the film himself. Hellman took on an executive producer role instead.
The final answer print of the film came back from the lab just 3 days before its world premiere at Sundance.
When Mr. Pink has his speech about him not tipping, he mentions that he worked at a place with minimum wage. This might be a hint to Pulp Fiction (1994) where Steve Buscemi, the actor who plays Mr. Pink, is a waiter at the dining place where Mia and Vincent goes to.
At the end of the breakfast scene you can see Quentin Tarantino raise his arm to end the scene. But the scene carries on anyway, this is because Lawrence Tierney had botched his lines over and over in previous takes. This was left in the final cut of the film.
Kirk Baltz recalls that a more graphic version of the ear-cutting scene was filmed, involving a tube running up to his ear that squirted blood. Michael Madsen, however, has said he thought it was "rather tame", after seeing the scene play out that way.
In the opening scene, when Mr. Pink is giving his tipping speech, he says when he orders coffee he wants his cup filled six times. Earlier in the film, when Chris Penn starts talking about "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia, Mr. Pink can be seen about to take a sip from his cup before realizing it's empty, then looks for the waitress.
The suit Harvey Keitel wears was his own. It had been a specially made gift from French designer Agnès B..
In the script, it was Mr. White who doesn't tip, not Mr. Pink. Also, it was Mr. Pink who had the first lines about "Like a Virgin." This was when Quentin Tarantino still intended to play Mr. Pink himself.
The theatrical release of the film contains no female speaking parts. There are some in the 10th anniversary DVD, including Nina Siemaszko as McKlusky.
Mr. Pink's numerous references to being "professional" are a reference to movie director Howard Hawks, a favorite of Quentin Tarantino's.
According to Steve Buscemi in a recent podcast interview, everyone had a difficult time with Lawrence Tierney because he was easily distracted and kept forgetting his lines. Quentin Tarantino and everyone else were so upset with him that Quentin fired Lawrence on the third day of filming.
While driving in the car, someone mentions Pam Grier. She would later star in Quentin Tarantino's third film, Jackie Brown (1997).
Premiere voted this movie as one of "The 25 Most Dangerous Movies".
Kirk Baltz auditioned four times for the film.
During the bathroom scene where Mr. White and Mr. Pink are discussing who is alive or dead, and specifically Mr. Blonde, there is a hint that Mr. Blonde is alive. Much like the white and pink shirts and the orange rag. The bathroom contains one other item hinting at a character. Behind Mr. White when he is doing his hair there is a yellow sink, suggesting Mr. Blonde is alive.
Viggo Mortensen auditioned for a role. He read the part as a hispanic character for a take where he was performed against Harvey Keitel. More than twenty years later Quentin offered him a role in The Hateful Eight (2015), but Viggo couldn't commit due to scheduling conflicts.
The torture scene between Mr. Blonde and the cop is rated #1 on "watch mojo's top 10 movie torture scenes of all time".
Harvey Keitel and Michael Madsen also appeared together in Thelma & Louise (1991) the previous year.
David Duchovny auditioned for a part.
Before Michael Madsen was known as Mr. Blonde in this film, he was considered to play John McClane in Die Hard (1988) which went to Bruce Willis who he later worked with on Sin City (2005). Quentin Tarantino also worked with Willis two years later in Pulp Fiction (1994). Steve Buscemi also appears in Pulp Fiction as a waiter that resembles Buddy Holly. He also worked with Willis on Armageddon (1998).
Matt Dillon was considered for the role of Mr. Blonde.
Ving Rhames was considered for the role of Holdaway.
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In the French version, the line "If you fucking beat this prick long enough, he'll tell you he started the goddamn Chicago fire" was translated into "he'll tell you he blew the bridge over the River Kwai".
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During the torture scene, you can faintly hear whispering in the background, this is said to be Quentin Tarantino.
Oddly enough, in all the film's advertising, including posters and the theatrical trailer, Tim Roth is billed second while Michael Madsen receives the honorary "and" billing at the end of the roll call. However in the film itself, Madsen and Roth switch billings, as Madsen is now second, behind Harvey Keitel, and Roth with the "and" credit at the end.
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Seymour Cassel and Steve Buscemi went to the audition together. Steve auditioned for Nice Guy Eddie and Seymour auditioned for Joe.
Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
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Picked by Entertainment Weekly magazine as one of the "50 Greatest Independent Films" in a special supplement devoted to independent films that was only distributed to subscribers in November 1997.
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Dennis Hopper was offered the role of Mr Pink by' Quentin Tarantino' and Harvey Keitel, but he was unavailable.
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Was voted the 2nd greatest directorial debut of all time behind Citizen Kane (1941)
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Robert Forster auditioned for the part later taken by Lawrence Tierney.
Even though Quentin Tarantino abhors product placement....minute 32 behind Harvey Keitel there is a can of stain blocker, aptly named "Kilz". To be fair it is partially taped over.
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Lawrence Bender who is the producer of this movie also has a small Cameo appearance in it as one of the police officers that is chasing mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi)
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In the script, the wounded Mr. Orange is laid down on a mattress, instead of on the wooden ramp in the warehouse.
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Steve Buscemi was offered the roles of Mr Orange and Nice Guy Eddie.
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The infamous 'Stuck in the Middle With You' scene was mockingly re-created in the episode "Charlie Catches A Leprechaun" from the comedy show It's Always Sunny in Philidelphia.
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The Reservoir Dogs: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack was released on October 13, 1992 by MCA.
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It's been said that the woman that Harvey Keitel (mr. White) references to named Alabama is honey bunny from (Pulp Fiction)
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Jon Cryer was offered the role of Mr. Pink but he turned it down. He admitted that he did not understand the script and would not have gotten the part.
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Although "Reservoir Dogs" Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth and Steve Buscemi all went on to appear in Quentin Tarantino's even more ambitious follow-up Pulp Fiction (1994), none of them shared a scene together. The only "Reservoir Dogs" to share a scene together were Tarantino and Keitel. Chronologically this was how the pair appeared in Pulp Fiction.
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Mr. Pink states he would rather be called Mr. Purple. Steve Buscemi later lent his voice to Randall Boggs, a purple monster in Pixar's Monsters, Inc. (2001).
The film is highly influenced by Ringo Lamm's, City On Fire. A lot of the scenes and plot points were almost directly borrowed from it.
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The DJ on the radio program 'K-Billy's super sound's of the seventies weekend' was voiced by Stephen Wright.
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Tom Sizemore was a finalist for the part of Mr. Pink. Sizemore later worked with Chris Penn in True Romance (1993) which was written by Quentin Tarantino.
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The film cast includes two Academy Award winners: Quentin Tarantino and Steven Wright; and three Academy Award nominees: Tim Roth, Lawrence Bender and Harvey Keitel.
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In the Father Ted (1995) episode Grant Unto Him Eternal Rest there's a reference to this film. Father Ted Crilly (Dermot Morgan) and Father Dougal McGuire (Ardal O'Hanlon) go to wake Father Jack Hackett (Frank Kelly) up. While Ted is doing something in Father Jack's room he says, "I know you won't mind us leaving you alone, because Father Dougal got you that new video, Reservoir Dogs. It's probably not as violent as the ones you usually like, but still, give it a go".
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Director Trademark 

Quentin Tarantino: apple] Tarantino avoids product-placement in his movies as much as possible. This is why anyone who smokes is smoking a pack of "Red Apples", a brand Tarantino made up. The exception in this movie is when Mr. White offers Mr. Pink a Chesterfield cigarette. (Additionally, any cereal in his films (Fruit Brute, Kabooom!, etc.) are all brands that died out in the 1970s and no longer exist.)
Quentin Tarantino: [long take] (at around 57 mins) While torturing the cop, we follow Mr. Blonde continuously from the warehouse to his car outside, back into the warehouse again.
Quentin Tarantino: [trunk] (at around 37 mins) Before the audience sees the contents of Mr. Blonde's trunk, the camera looks up at Mr. White, Mr. Blonde, and Mr. Pink from inside the trunk.


The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

The opening scene in the coffee shop contains subtle foreshadowing about the identity of the "rat". When Joe demands to know which crook didn't contribute to the tip, Mr. Orange is the one who snitches on Mr. Pink.
According to Quentin Tarantino, Mr. Pink does in fact survive. You can verify this by increasing the volume of the background sounds: When Mr. Pink runs out of the building with the diamonds, police officers can be heard shouting at him to put his hands on the ground. Gunshots can be heard, then Mr. Pink shouts that he has been shot. You can then hear the officers talking to each other as Pink is arrested.
Chris Penn's blood squibs accidentally went off too early in the big stand-off scene, forcing him to fall to the floor. There is not, as is commonly believed, a mystery round being fired off-screen.
The actress who plays the lady Mr. Orange shoots was Tim Roth's dialect coach. Roth insisted that she take the role, as she was very hard on him.
Although he supposedly killed more people than any of the other characters did, Mr. Blonde is never seen killing anyone on-screen.
In the scene where Nice Guy Eddie talks on his cell phone about the botched robbery, an orange balloon can be seen floating past the car. Some believe that this was intentional, as to foreshadow Mr. Orange as the rat. However, Quentin Tarantino claims that it was accidental.
The promotional posters for "Reservoir Dogs" say "Five strangers team up for the perfect crime...". The criminals in the movie - Mr. Pink, Mr. White, Mr. Orange, Mr. Blonde, Mr. Brown and Mr. Blue - are in fact six strangers. It is possible it says 5 instead of 6 as Mr. Orange, being an undercover cop, would already know who the others are.
According to cast member Edward Bunker, there was a scene that would have shown exactly what happened to his character, Mr. Blue but the scene was cut due to the limited budget. He also said actor Lawrence Tierney could never remember his lines, so Tierney's scenes took a while to shoot.
At the end of the scene where Mr. Orange is talking to the other undercover cop in Johnnies restaurant, they are talking about the comic character "The Thing" immediately after he says that it cuts to him in his apartment answering a phone. As he reaches to pick up the phone, he knocks over an action figure of Iron Man, and the action figure of the Thing is visible at he edge of the table.
In the scene where Mr. Brown dies. Mr. White and Mr. Orange walk away from the car and as they are walking away you can see several crew members in the background behind a truck.
The total death count in this film (onscreen and off) is at least 17. Four clerks in the jewelry store, five of the six crooks (Mr. White, Mr. Orange, Mr. Blonde, Mr. Blue, and Mr. Brown), Joe Cabot and his son Nice Guy Eddie, the two cops Mr. White shot, the cop in the trunk (Marvin Nash), the cop Mr. Pink shot, the woman Mr. Orange shot, and the "black girl" Mr. Blonde shoots in the bank. The number of police officers Mr. Blonde had to shoot to escape the jewelry store is not mentioned. It can be assumed that Mr. Pink is not shot after he flees the warehouse; although you hear gunshots, he can be heard very faintly yelling something to the effect of "give up" shortly thereafter.
When asked about Mr. Blue, Joe says that he is 'Dead as Dillinger.' Lawrence Tierney played the title character in Dillinger (1945).
When Mr. Pink is running from the cops, you can see a blue van with a window in the background, after Mr. Brown dies, Mr. White and Mr. Orange are walking away through an alley, the same blue van can be seen parked in the alley.

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