The film's budget was so low that many of the actors were asked to simply bring 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, and Michael Madsen wore a jacket and pants that came from two different suits.
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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."
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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.
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The budget wouldn't cover 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.
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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.
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Mr. Blonde's Cadillac Coupe de Ville belonged to Michael Madsen, because the budget wasn't big enough to rent a car for the character.
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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.
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Mr. Orange's apartment was 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.
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Mr. Blonde's (Michael Madsen's) real name is Vic Vega. This is the same surname as Vince (John Travolta) from 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.
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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.
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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.
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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. Tarantino stood his ground, and Weinstein ultimately relented.
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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, which has now become widespread.
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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.
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Filmed in thirty-five days.
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Robert Kurtzman did the special make-up effects for free, on the condition that Quentin Tarantino wrote a script for From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) based on a story by Kurtzman.
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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 Woods' usual salary. 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 has been speculated that the role to which Tarantino was referring was Mr. Orange.
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At the very first screening of the film at the Sundance Film Festival, Quentin Tarantino stood up in the middle of the movie and told them to stop projecting, due to the fact that the entire film was 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.
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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.
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On a day off during the shoot, Lawrence Tierney was arrested for allegedly pulling a gun on his nephew Michael Tierney. According to Quentin Tarantino, Tierney "was taken from his bail arraignment to the set."
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In an interview with Empire Magazine, career criminal Edward Bunker (Mr. Blue) stated that the film was unrealistic. He would never have considered committing a robbery with five 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. When news of the robbery broke, witnesses would be certain to remember them.
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Quentin Tarantino added the opening diner scene to give Mr. Blue ( Edward Bunker ) some lines because he was the only character without any.
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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.
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One of the radio ads heard in the background is for "Jack Rabbit Slim's", the fictitious 1950s-themed restaurant, and "home of the five dollar milkshake" that was also featured in Pulp Fiction (1994).
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The title for the film first came to Quentin Tarantino while visiting a production company and noticing that they had a pile of unsolicited scripts under the label "Reservoir dogs". All those scripts were fighting with each other for attention as dogs trapped in a reservoir tank. The name got stuck in his mind. Apart from this origin, initially told by Tarantino in interviews, in recent years he started to tell another version that occurred 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 Louis Malle's Au Revoir les Enfants (1987), the patron mockingly replied, "I don't want to see no reservoir dogs!" The fact if this last origin is true or just a funny story devised to answer the question of the origin of the title remains unclear. The title is never spoken in the film, however there are two references to dogs: the German Shepherd present in Mr. Orange's flashback and when Mr. Blonde called Mr. White "doggie".
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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 Tierney that Quentin fired him on the third day of filming.
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Voted best independent film ever by Empire Magazine. It also was voted most influential movie in the past fifteen years by the same magazine.
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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).
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Of his decision to not show the heist itself, Quentin Tarantino has said that the reason was initially budgetary, but that he had always liked the idea of not showing it, and stuck with that idea in order to make the details of the heist undefined. He has said that the technique allows for the realization that the film is "about other things", a similar framework as that of the stage play Glengarry Glen Ross and its film adaptation, in which the mentioned robbery is never shown on camera. Tarantino has compared this to the work of a novelist, and has said that he wanted the film to be about something that is not seen, and that he wanted it to "play with a real-time clock as opposed to a movie clock ticking."
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In the commentary track on 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".
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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?"
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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.
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During a screening at Sitges Film Festival, fifteen people walked out, including Wes Craven and special make-up effects artist Rick Baker. Baker later told Quentin Tarantino to take the walkout as a "compliment", and explained that he found the violence unnerving, because of its heightened sense of realism. Tarantino commented about it at the time: "It happens at every single screening. For some people, the violence, or the rudeness of the language, is a mountain they can't climb. That's okay. It's not their cup of tea. But I am affecting them. I wanted that scene to be disturbing."
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Quentin Tarantino wrote the first draft in three and a half weeks.
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Terry Gilliam is thanked in the credits in gratitude for advice he gave to Quentin Tarantino during a Sundance workshop.
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This movie has no orchestral score. All the music you hear are recorded tracks.
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Quentin Tarantino and producer Lawrence Bender used to joke that they were the most inexperienced people on the set.
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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."
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Quentin Tarantino was considering using "Ballroom Blitz" by Sweet as an alternate song for the "ear" scene, but went with Stealers Wheel's "Stuck in the Middle with You".
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Was voted the second greatest directorial debut of all time behind Citizen Kane (1941).
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Monte Hellman was originally tapped to direct the film, as Quentin Tarantino was completely 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.
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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 (1993) was released, the ending was changed, and this backstory became inconsistent. Alabama never went on to meet up with Mr. White.
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The final print of the film came back from the lab just three days before its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.
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Prior to the scene showing the colored bottles of detergent, 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 lying in the distance would be the position of Mr. Orange in the next room.
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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 favorite movies.
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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.
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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.
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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 was married to Madonna for four years.
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At age seventeen, Edward Bunker, a former career criminal, was the youngest felon to be sent to San Quentin. He was an author, and also played cons in other films, Runaway Train (1985), The Longest Yard (2005), and Straight Time (1978) (which was based on his novel). In addition, he worked as a technical advisor on other films, Heat (1995), for instance. Jon Voight's character in Heat (1995) was based on Bunker.
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On their way to the first meeting about the heist, Misters Pink, White, Orange, and Nice Guy Eddie, are discussing a television show. It is Get Christie Love! (1974), and the actress whose name they can't remember is Teresa Graves.
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WILHELM SCREAM: (At around twenty minutes) 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.
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The warehouse where the majority of the movie takes place was once a mortuary, and thus is full of caskets. Mr. Blonde doesn't sit down on a crate--it's actually an old hearse on which he perches.
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In the opening scene, while the men are having breakfast, before they all stand up, Quentin Tarantino's hand can be seen, to stop filming. However, the men all stood up and left, so he just carried on, and the scene remained.
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The suit Harvey Keitel wore was his own. It had been a specially-made gift from French Designer Agnès B.
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In the first scene of the Mr. Blonde chapter, when Vic Vega is meeting with Joe and Nice Guy Eddie, he states that his parole officer is Seymour Scagnetti. This character may be related to the character Jack Scagnetti, the detective in Natural Born Killers (1994), which was also scripted by Quentin Tarantino.
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Wes Craven famously walked out of a screening of Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs in 1992; and Tarantino famously said, "I can't believe the guy who directed Last House on The Left walked out of Reservoir Dogs". Craven responded "Last House was about the evils and horrors of violence, it did not mean to glorify it. This movie (Reservoir Dogs) glorifies it."
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In an interview featured in the documentary I am fishead (2011) psychologist Robert D. Hare reports that Mr. White (Harvey Keitel) and Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen) illustrate the differences between the mental health diagnoses of sociopathy and psychopathy. Mr. White is a sociopath, a professional criminal who nonetheless has some loyalty and standards of conduct. He takes no pleasure in violence, but regards the use of force as an occasional necessity in his vocation. In contrast, Mr. Blonde enjoys torturing the captured police officer. Mr. White explicitly describes Mr. Blonde as a "psychopath", and condemns his reckless shooting of people.
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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. He then looks for the waitress.
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The film is highly influenced by City on Fire (1987). A lot of the scenes and plot points were almost directly borrowed from it.
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At a Tribeca 25th Anniversary screening of this film in April 2017, Quentin Tarantino recalled that at one showing, there were thirty-three walkouts during the torture scene.
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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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The theatrical release of the film contains no female speaking parts. There are some in the deleted scenes on the 10th anniversary Reservoir Dogs DVD, including Nina Siemaszko as McCluscey.
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Has never been officially released in South Korea as it's illegal to portray the torture or killing of police officers.
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David Duchovny auditioned for a part. According to Duchovny, Quentin Tarantino told him, "I like what you do, I just don't know if I want you to do it in my movie."
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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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Quentin Tarantino was very keen to put dialogue onto the soundtrack CD, knowing that it would act as a great reminder to listeners of the film itself. This proved to be a smart move as the soundtrack sold over 850,000 units in the USA and went platinum in the UK.
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Quentin Tarantino originally planned to film this in black and white for just $16,000.
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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. The original song choice "Money" by Pink Floyd, and the existing song "Little Green Bag" by George Baker Selection, feature colors for the original artist and existing song respectively.
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Quentin Tarantino cast Tim Roth after being impressed by his work in Vincent & Theo (1990). Besides, after auditioning several other prospective actors who mostly wanted to play any character but Mr. Orange, Roth was only too eager to take on that role.
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The soft drink cup that Mr. Blonde is drinking from is from Big Kahuna Burger. While it displays no logo, the distinctive narrow red diagonal stripes, which vary in width, are the giveaway. This same cup pattern is seen in a number of subsequent Tarantino films including, of course, Pulp Fiction (1994) and in the TV show From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series (2000), where we see an actual restaurant - the Stallion Grill in Austin, Texas, which was dressed to look like a Big Kahuna Burger.
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Viggo Mortensen auditioned for a role. He read for a Hispanic character in a scene to be performed with Harvey Keitel. More than twenty years later, Quentin Tarantino offered him a role in The Hateful Eight (2015), but Viggo couldn't commit, due to scheduling conflicts.
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Harvey Keitel paid for the New York City casting sessions that unearthed Steve Buscemi, Michael Madsen and Tim Roth.
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Quentin Tarantino discovered Steve Buscemi "looking like a real criminal" in a test for a Neil Simon movie.
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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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Matt Dillon was considered for the role of Mr. Blonde.
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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.
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Mr. Brown (Quentin Tarantino) only appears in three scenes.
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This is notably Tim Roth's breakthrough American film. In his native England, he had thrived under socialist directors like Mike Leigh and Alan Clarke but, as the British film industry shifted more in the line of Merchant-Ivory and upper-class costume dramas, those avenues were drying up for Roth. Hence, his move to the USA and his embracing of the American independent cinema, spearheaded by Reservoir Dogs (1992).
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Mr pink, Mr brown, and Mr blue are the only members of the heist team whose true names are never revealed.
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Nicolas Cage was considered for the role of Nice Guy Eddie.
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In Pulp Fiction (1994), "The Wolf" (Harvey Keitel) has a phone call while in one of Jimmy's rooms, ending with the line, "You're a good man, Joe. Thanks a bunch." This might be a nod to Reservoir Dogs.
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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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Premiere voted this movie as one of "The 25 Most Dangerous Movies".
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Lawrence Tierney and Edward Bunker had met before: they got into a fistfight in an Los Angeles parking lot sometime in the 1950s. (According to Bunker, Tierney didn't recall the incident.)
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WILHELM SCREAM: First heard faintly when Mr. Pink knocks over a pedestrian. Second time is heard by an officer being shot by Mr. White.
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Producer Lawrence Bender gave the script to his acting coach whose wife then passed it on to Harvey Keitel. The actor was sufficiently impressed with it to sign on as a co-producer, thereby helping Quentin Tarantino push his budget up to $1.5 million.
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Colours as 'noms de criminalité' was previously used in 1974's 'The Taking of Pelham 123' (that gang was Mr. Brown, Mr. Blue, Mr. Gray, and Mr. Green)
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At the end of the first week of shooting Lawrence Tierney was fired and then quickly re-hired by director Quentin Tarantino. Tierney went drinking afterward and ended up firing a .357 magnum into the walls of his Hollywood apartment later that night. He spent the weekend in jail only to be bailed out by his agent Monday morning so that he could finish the film. Quentin and producer Lawrence Bender didn't find out about the incident until filming was almost completed.
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Steve Buscemi was offered the roles of Mr. Orange and Nice Guy Eddie.
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Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
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Some plot elements, particularly the enforced anonymity among the gang, bear a resemblance to the classic noir heist film 'Kansas City Confidential.'
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Seymour Cassel and Steve Buscemi went to the audition together. Buschemi auditioned for Nice Guy Eddie, and Cassel auditioned for Joe.
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Many movie posters replicate the famous still with the gang (Mr. White, Mr. Orange, Mr. Blonde, Mr. Pink, Mr. Brown and Nice Guy Eddie) walking by the parking outside the coffee shop, but with Nice Guy Eddie wearing black suit as the rest of the team when in the movie he wears his blue and green track jacket. However, this is not a mistake, but a post-production change made on purpose to make that all the gang wears in the same way.
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Oddly enough, in all the film's advertising, including posters and the theatrical trailer, Tim Roth was billed second, while Michael Madsen received the honorary "and" billing at the end of the roll call. However, in the film, 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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Even though Quentin Tarantino abhors product placement, 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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The torture scene between Mr. Blonde and the cop is rated number one on Watch Mojo's "top ten movie torture scenes of all time."
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In an edition of Radio Times back in 2001, Andrew Collins wrote an article about the film. "There are actually no reservoirs or dogs in it, Tarantino claims he got the title from mishearing Au Revoir les Enfants (1987)". Collins was correct overall, except he overlooked the scene when Mr. Orange (Tim Roth) goes into the men's room during his fabricated commode story in a flashback. The Los Angeles Sheriffs had a German Shepherd with them.
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Samuel L. Jackson auditioned for the role of Holdaway, which was eventually played by Randy Brooks. After that, Jackson worked in almost of Tarantino's movies (except in Four Rooms (1995), Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003), Death Proof (2007) and Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood (2019)), being nominated to an Academy Award for his role in Pulp Fiction (1994), while Brooks never worked with Tarantino again.
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While searching for producers to finance the film and save them from having to make it themselves on a minuscule budget, Quentin Tarantino and Lawrence Bender fielded several offers that sounded good, but came with strings attached. One producer offered $1.5 million, but only if the ending was changed so that everyone who was dead came back to life, the whole thing having been a hoax or a con of some kind. Another offered $500,000, but only if his girlfriend could play Mr. Blonde. (Bender said it was such a bizarre idea that he and Tarantino actually considered it.)
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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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Tom Sizemore was a finalist for the part of Mr. Pink.
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Mr. Blonde's Cadillac Coupe DeVille actually belonged to actor Micheal Madsen. It was also used in Quentin Tarantino's 2019 film 'Once Upon A Time In Hollywood'. It was sold at a Hollywood prop auction for $56,250 in 2020.
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The prospective first draft screenplay had on its title page: 'Reservoir Dogs (1992) Written and to be Directed by Quentin Tarantino'.
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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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Mr. Pink's, Mr. Brown's, and Mr. Blue's real names were never revealed.
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The first week of its release, Piper's Alley theater in Chicago placed a sign (that was technically illegal - parents are free to decide if their kids can attend movies that are rated 'R') on the ticket-booth window reading: "No-one under 18 will be admitted to 'Reservoir Dogs.'" - and then, underneath that, another note, as if in afterthought: "It is extremely violent." (This, as opposed to the "spaghetti"-like special effects Pauline Kael perceived in her review of "Dawn of the Dead," which she found reassuring in their silliness - which, nonetheless, won acclaim for effects maestro Tom Savini, and an unrated, all-but-unprecedented "No one under 17 admitted" stamp on the film in '79. The mind boggles!)
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Part of the dialogue between police officer Marvin Nash and Mr. Orange is used in the intro of the cover song "I Burn For You" by black metal artist Nargaroth, in his 2001 album Black Metal Ist Krieg.
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Included among the American Film Institute's 2001 list of 400 movies nominated for the top 100 Most Heart-Pounding American Movies.
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About three minutes into the movie a silhouette of Mickey Mouse is seen, cast by a fan in between Steve Buscemi and Edward Bunker.
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Hong Kong film director Ringo Lam saw the Indian film Gaddaar (Vinod Khanna), years ago. He took the basic idea of the plot and made "City On Fire". Quentin Tarantino' saw that film and was inspired to make Reservoir Dogs. Sanjay Gupta decided to make his own version with Kaante.
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The Reservoir Dogs: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack was released on October 13, 1992 by MCA.
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Quinton Tarantino partially financed this film with the fee he received for a now infamous appearance as an Elvis impersonator on an episode of "The Golden Girls." ("Sophia's Wedding Part 1")
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The breakfast scene at the beginning was filmed only 1¼ miles (2km) from the National Security office in National Security (2003).
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The shot where Tim Roth looks at his reflection in the mirror right before leaving his apartment is a reference to a similar shot in the opening scene of 'Le Samourai', a 1962 Jean Pierre Melville film.
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In Harvey Keitel - The first documentary - To be an actor, (available on YouTube), two jobs Keitel did were selling shoes and working as a court stenographer. The hilariously synthesized voice of "Paul", who narrates the text, says of Keitel selling shoes, "But he didn't like the work. The mundanity and the monotony of it rapidly drove him wild". In this movie, Keitel, (as Mr. White), wears black shoes to match his suit. It's ironic that Keitel was a court sternograher, as this is part of law enforcement, given that he has a tendency to play criminals in his films quite often.
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The album "EDC" (1994, Epic) by Seattle alternative rock band Satchel was heavily inspired by the movie and features several dialogues from it as interludes between songs.
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During filming, a paramedic was kept on the set to make sure that Mr. Orange's (Tim Roth's) amount of blood loss was kept consistent and realistic to that of a real gunshot victim.
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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 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.
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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.
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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.
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The actress who played the lady Mr. Orange shot was Tim Roth's dialect coach Suzanne Celeste. Roth insisted that she take the role, as she was very hard on him.
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Many people have asked Quentin Tarantino why Mr. Orange confessed to being a cop to Mr. White at the end of the movie; they argue that he only had to keep quiet for sixty more seconds and he would be in the clear. He mentions this in the DVD commentary for the film. His response to these individuals is that they did not truly understand the movie if they are asking this question. Tarantino says that in all of the Asian countries in which that this movie was released, this question was never once asked. He says that in Japan they have a word for this called "jingi". Without an English equivalent, it basically means that this was something that Mr. Orange had to do as a man, something that he owed Mr. White. Furthermore, he could only do it in those sixty seconds, when Mr. White would have the opportunity to do whatever he deemed necessary.
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According to Quentin Tarantino, Mr. Pink survives. 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 he is arrested. However, having participated in a robbery with such huge loss of life, he would undoubtedly have faced the death penalty.
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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.
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Although he supposedly killed more people than any of the other characters, Mr. Blonde is never seen killing anyone on-screen.
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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 Lawrence Tierney could never remember his lines, so Tierney's scenes took a while to shoot.
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In the scene where Nice Guy Eddie talks on his cell phone about the botched robbery, an orange balloon can be seen, being pulled along int the air current behind the car and seemingly following the car. Some fans and critics believe that this was intentional, to foreshadow Mr. Orange as the rat. However, Quentin Tarantino claims that it was accidental.
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The promotional posters for this film 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 five instead of six, as Mr. Orange, being an undercover cop, would already know who the others are.
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The initial dialogue also shows Mr. White as the "protective" guy (defending the waitresses), as well as foreshadowing his clash of authority with Joe, Mr. Blonde's loyalty to Joe ("Shoot this piece of shit for me, will ya?") and Mr. Pink's individualist attitude. The friendship between Orange and White is foreshadowed without either saying a word to each other - most of White's shots (especially when he's expounding an opinion) include Orange looking at him and reacting to him. Mr Orange's Conflicting Loyalty (and Nice Guy Eddie's raging reaction) is foreshadowed when he is easily convinced by Pink's tirade. In a rare case of foreshadowing that isn't in the first scene, Mr Orange asks his boss to "take care" of Long Beach Mike, the guy who got Orange into the group. His boss very specifically tells him that Long Beach Mike is a piece of shit who he can't trust. Later, Orange tells his friend White that he's the cop.
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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 any that he has committed. He has, after all, just seen his friend Mr. White gun down two of his fellow officers.
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At the end of the scene where Mr. Orange is talking to the other undercover cop in Johnnie's 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 the edge of the table.
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The body count (on-screen and off) is unclear. According to the dialogue, four clerks plus the 'black girl' in the jewelry store are shot. We see Mr Pink shoot one of the police officers pursuing him, and Mr Orange shoots the woman whose car he hijack, but it is unclear whether they die. 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, and the cop in the trunk (Marvin Nash) all die, making a definite bodycount of ten. 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 killed after he flees the warehouse; although you hear gunshots, he can be heard very faintly yelling "Don't shoot, I've been shot, god damn it!" shortly thereafter.
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When Joe (Lawrence Tierney) mentions that Mr. Blue is dead, he says he's "Dead as Dillinger". Tierney played the title role in film Dillinger (1945).
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