Reservoir Dogs


1h 39m 1992
Reservoir Dogs

Brief Synopsis

When a jewelry heist goes wrong, the surviving crooks turn on each other.

Film Details

Also Known As
hänsynslösa
MPAA Rating
R
Genre
Crime
Drama
Thriller
Release Date
1992
Production Company
Film Finances, Inc.; Judy Garland & Associates; Keylite Production Services, Inc.; Knb Efx Group, Inc.; Mario's Catering; Marvel Entertainment; National Basketball Association; Star Casting Service; Sundance Institute; Swelltone Labs; Technicolor Weddington; Title House, Inc.; Truman Van Dyke
Distribution Company
MIRAMAX; Concorde Productions; Live Home Video; MIRAMAX; Metropolitan Filmexport; Momentum Pictures Limited; Rank Film Distributors Ltd
Location
Los Angeles, California, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 39m

Synopsis

Six unacquainted professional criminals are brought together by a veteran thief to execute an intricately planned diamond robbery.

Crew

Dennis Adams

Bestboy Grip

L. Wayne Alexander

Legal Services

Jacqueline Aronson

Set Costumer

Roger Avary

Logo Creator (Dog Eat Dog)

Roger Avary

Background Radio Dialogue

Marina Bailey

Unit Publicist

Wendy Baker

Production Assistant

Ron Bartlett

Rerecording Mixer

Jamie Beardsley

1st Assistant Director

Lawrence Bender

Producer

Nikki Bernard

Song ("Wes Turned Country")

Warren Betts

Other

Matt Beville

Other

Ian Blackman

Other

Jonathan Bobbitt

Swing Gang

Rebecca Boss

Special Thanks

Benjamino Bouwens

Song ("Little Green Bag")

Joey D Brown

Electrician

Juliet Brown

Assistant Coordinator

Michelle Buhler

Makeup Artist

Mike Carlon

Special Thanks

Doug Cawker

Apprentice Editor

Suzanne Celeste Brown

Dialect Coach

Michael Chaskes

Apprentice Editor

Merry Cheer

Special Thanks

Linda R Chen

Unit Photographer

David Coffee

Driver

Mark Coffey

Other

Bruce Comtois

Set Security

Steve Croff

Driver

R Blaine Currier

Production Accountant

Jay Dahlquist

Bestboy Electric

Steve Delollis

Special Effects

Kelly Dixon

1st Assistant Editor

Mike Doggett

Transportation Consultant

Pat Domenico

Key Special Effects

Ziad Doueiri

1st Assistant Cameraman

Joe Egan

Song ("Stuck In The Middle With You")

Melinda Eshelman

Assistant Wardrobe

Larry Fioritto

Special Effects Coordinator

Stephen Hunter Flick

Supervising Sound Editor

Peter Floyd

Special Thanks

Carrie Elizabeth Foresman

1st Assistant Editor

Billy Fox

Location Manager

Billy Fox

Location Manager

Ben C Giller

Transportation Captain

Terry Gilliam

Special Thanks

Richard Gladstein

Executive Producer

Judy Goldman

Assistant Location Manager

Carlos K Goodman

Legal Services

Marian Green

Stunt Player

Debra Grieco

Assistant Accountant

Ulu Grosbard

Special Thanks

Randall Guth

2nd Assistant Cameraman

Mary Claire Hannan

Costume Supervisor

Jimn Harper

Other

Betsy Heimann

Costume Designer

Paul Hellerman

Production Manager

Monte Hellman

Executive Producer

Dwayne S Henkel

Boom Operator

Jonathan Hodges

Property Master

Marcia Holley

Stunt Player

Alison Howard

Special Thanks

John Hulsman

Assistant Sound Editor

Nancy Hurlbut

Music

Matrix Alliance Inc

Editorial Facilities

Post Plus Inc

Editorial Facilities

Mark James

Song ("Hooked On A Feeling")

Cathryn Jaymes

Special Thanks

Iain Jones

Hair Design

Enid L Kantor

Production Coordinator

Ross Katz

Grip

John Kay

Song ("Harvest Moon")

Harvey Keitel

Co-Producer

Jeannie H Kelly

Craft Service

Peggy Kennedy

Casting Associate

Kelly Kiernan

2nd Assistant Director

Martin Kitrosser

Script Supervisor

Clifford Lane

Property Assistant

Mark Lass

Negative Cutting

Ken Lesco

Stunt Coordinator

Ken Lesco

Stunt Player

John Lieberman

Promotional Thanks

James R Lowder

Transportation Coordinator

Francis R Mahony Iii

1st Assistant Director

Greg R Mccullough

Gaffer

Kenneth J Mcgregor

Special Thanks

Pat Mcgroarty

Stunt Player

Douglas Matthew Mcmahon

Property Assistant

Brandon Mcnaughton

Apprentice Editor

Stephanie Jo Meckler

Live America Legal Services

Jamie Melbourne

Makeup & Hair Assistant

Sally Menke

Editor

Neal Michaelis

Electrician

Melanie Molyneux

Set Medic

Mark Emery Moore

Steadicam Operator

David Moreno

Other

Rushton Moreve

Song ("Harvest Moon")

Peter Morris

Song ("Country'S Cool")

Kathy Nelson

Music Supervisor (Mca)

Henrik Nielson

Song ("It'S Country")

Katie Nilson

Bestboy Electric

Harry Nilsson

Song Performer ("Coconut")

Harry Nilsson

Song

Harry Nilsson

Special Thanks

Donald Ortiz

Assistant Sound Editor

Lilly Parker

Special Thanks

Cecilia Perna

Foley Mixer

Nancy Perry

1st Assistant Editor

Steve Petix

Assistant Wardrobe

Laurie Post

Special Thanks

Edward J Protiva

Swing Gang

Jennifer Pyken

Post-Production Assistant

Karyn Rachtman

Music Supervisor

Gerry Rafferty

Song ("Stuck In The Middle With You")

Cathy Ragona

Assistant (To Richard N Gladstein)

Sandy Reynolds-wasco

Set Decorator

Moses Robinson

Production Assistant

Mary Louise Rodgers

Foley

Sandy Rogers

Song

Sandy Rogers

Song Performer ("Fool For Love")

Chris Rossi

Grip

Geoffrey G. Rubay

Supervising Sound Editor

Stephen Sacks

Special Thanks

Tony Safford

Special Thanks

Mike Salvetta

Foley

Scott Sampler

Production Assistant

Mary Santiago

Extras Casting (Star Casting Service)

Michelle Satter

Special Thanks

Curt Schulkey

Sound Editor

Tony Scott

Special Thanks

Ken Segal

Production Sound Mixer

Andrzej Sekula

Dp/Cinematographer

Andrzej Sekula

Director Of Photography

Stacey Sher

Special Thanks

Alan Sherrod

Dp/Cinematographer

Alan Sherrod

2nd Unit Director Of Photography (2nd Unit)

Charles Ewing Smith

Sound Editor

Lynn Smith

Steadicam 1st Assistant

Steve F.b. Smith

Dolby Stereo Consultant

Robert John Speer

Driver/Generator Operator

Andy Spilkoman

2nd Assistant Director

Boyd Steer

Negative Cutting

David E Stone

Sound Editor

Rachelle Tanner

Hairdresser

Quentin Tarantino

Background Radio Dialogue

Quentin Tarantino

Screenwriter

Joe Tex

Song

Joe Tex

Song Performer ("I Gotcha")

Todd Thaler

Special Thanks

Miles Thomas

Bestboy Grip

Steve K Thomas

2nd Assistant Director

Nicholas Toth

Animal Handler

Elizabeth Treadwell

Production Assistant

Bill Unger

Special Thanks

Ric Urbauer

Key Grip

Truman Van Dyke

Production Insurance

Daniel Villalovos

Other

Manuel Villalovos

Other

Greta Vinsteinbauer

Special Thanks

Jan Gerbrand Visser

Song ("Little Green Bag")

Ronna Wallace

Executive Producer

David Wasco

Production Designer

Greg Wilkinson

Assistant Propmaster

William W Williams

1st Assistant Editor

Dennis K Wilson

Dolly Grip

Chuck Winston

Color Timer

Frank H Woodard

Electrician

Rick Yale

Special Effects

Ronnie Yeskel

Casting

Film Details

Also Known As
hänsynslösa
MPAA Rating
R
Genre
Crime
Drama
Thriller
Release Date
1992
Production Company
Film Finances, Inc.; Judy Garland & Associates; Keylite Production Services, Inc.; Knb Efx Group, Inc.; Mario's Catering; Marvel Entertainment; National Basketball Association; Star Casting Service; Sundance Institute; Swelltone Labs; Technicolor Weddington; Title House, Inc.; Truman Van Dyke
Distribution Company
MIRAMAX; Concorde Productions; Live Home Video; MIRAMAX; Metropolitan Filmexport; Momentum Pictures Limited; Rank Film Distributors Ltd
Location
Los Angeles, California, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 39m

Articles

Reservoir Dogs


Quentin Tarantino's quotable blast of post-modern crime movie cool is one of the most attention grabbing directorial debuts in recent history. Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, and Steve Buscemi play members of a gang of thieves recruited for a jewel heist who regroup in an empty warehouse after the robbery goes bad, leaving two others dead or unaccounted for and one of the survivors bleeding his life away through the gut. It's a bloody, brutal movie with blithely racist and sexist characters who are both the heroes and the villains of the piece and sharp, vivid dialogue, and Tarantino plays with the conventions of the crime movie with his character collisions and non-linear storytelling. The film jumps back in time to show how the major characters were drafted into the heist crew by gangster Joe Cabot (Lawrence Tierney) and his son Nice Guy Eddie (Chris Penn), why they were given code names for the job, and how they got away (or didn't) when the alarms sounded and the cops arrived. What Tarantino doesn't show, against all expectations, is the robbery itself, usually the highlight of any heist film. For Tarantino, it's all about the characters, the chaos, the relationships under pressure, and of course the delicious dialogue, strewn with entertaining asides, entertaining stories, and gallows humor.

Tarantino never went to film school. He never even finished high school, dropping out to attend acting classes and work as a clerk at Video Archives in Manhattan Beach, where he schooled himself on everything from the classics of world cinema to American exploitation films to European horror. Inspired by conversations with fellow clerks and movie-loving customers, he started writing his own scripts, grabbing ideas from films across the spectrum like a magpie, mixing them together, molding them into new shapes, transforming influences into his own voice. Reservoir Dogs (1992) is his take on the heist genre and Tarantino has cited Phil Karlson's Kansas City Confidential (1952), with its crew of crooks who don't know the identities of their cohorts, and Stanley Kubrick's The Killing (1956), which slips into flashbacks to show the unraveling of a robbery, as specific influences. He borrowed the code names -- Mr. White, Mr. Blonde, Mr. Pink, etc. -- from the original The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974) and much of the plot of the heist gone bad (and the distinctive image of the crew with guns drawn in a round-robin stand-off) from Ringo Lam's undercover cop thriller City on Fire (1987). Even the iconic wardrobe of black suits and ties was a tip of the hat to French gangster auteur Jean-Pierre Melville. It's all raw material that Tarantino takes for inspiration and then reworks into a distinctive, unique story.

Fledgling actor and aspiring producer Lawrence Bender was introduced to Tarantino through his script for True Romance (1993), which was making the rounds and they formed a partnership to get Reservoir Dogs made. The script was given to Monte Hellman, who was ready to sign on as director, but Tarantino changed his mind after selling True Romance to Tony Scott. He decided to hold onto Reservoir Dogs for his own directorial debut. Impressed with Tarantino's skill and commitment, Hellman signed on as a producer with Bender. Bender and Tarantino were ready to shoot the film on a $30,000 budget, taking lead roles themselves and filling out the rest of the film with friends and colleagues, when Bender (thanks to his acting class contacts) managed to get a copy of the script to Harvey Keitel. Keitel signed on and asked to take a hand as co-producer, which gave them the clout to raise a budget of $1.5 million and hire a professional cast. Keitel even flew Tarantino and Bender to New York City to open up their casting possibilities, where they found Steve Buscemi.

Just as important to finding the right actors was creating an ensemble. Robert Forster auditioned for the role of gang boss Joe Cabot but Tarantino was sold on Lawrence Tierney, the star of low budget cult noir films The Devil Thumbs a Ride (1947) and Born to Kill (1947) among others. He matched him with Chris Penn in the part of his son, Nice Guy Eddie. Tarantino remembered Forster from the reading and wrote the role of Max Cherry in Jackie Brown (1997), his third feature, specifically for him. Perhaps there was a little repentance in it as well, for Tierney was the only problem actor on the film. He got into fights with Tarantino (other cast members recall having to separate the two) and even landed in jail during the production. According to Tarantino, he arrived on set one morning directly from being bailed out.

Keitel settled on the role of Mr. White, the veteran of the crew, with Tarantino's blessing. Michael Madsen was cast as the sadistic Mr. Blonde. George Clooney and Samuel L. Jackson both read for Mr. Orange but the part was given to Tim Roth, then a rising young British actor making his American film debut, despite the fact that he refused to audition for the part. He was cast on the strength of his previous work, in particular The Hit (1984). Tarantino wrote the role of Mr. Pink specifically for himself but gave it up to Buscemi because he felt the actor would better mesh with the ensemble. Tarantino took the role of Mr. Brown, a character who dies early in the film while Eddie Bunker, a former career criminal (famed as the youngest felon ever sent to San Quentin) turned novelist and actor, played the sixth and final member of the crew, Mr. Blue.

Weeks before shooting began, while they were deep in preproduction, Tarantino was accepted into the Sundance Institute Directors Workshop Lab, a program that helped young directors and writers with mentorship and practical experience. Tarantino, whose only previous directing experience was an unfinished short film, got the opportunity to direct scenes with video cameras and professional actors before taking on his first feature.

$1.5 million was a low budget even for an early nineties indie production and the team worked to stretch the budget. Some of the actors wore their own clothes for the film. They picked up shots on the streets without official permits. Tarantino bartered special make-up effects from Robert Kurtzman, who worked for free in return for Tarantino rewriting a script that he was trying to get made called From Dusk Till Dawn (1996). Since they couldn't afford to pay top professionals, they searched for other collaborators with the talent and the ambition to make the jump to feature filmmaking. Cinematographer Andrzej Sekula made his feature debut on the film and film editor Sally Menke, whose career was largely in documentary filmmaking, made her reputation and a lifelong professional relationship with Tarantino on the film.

Along with the signature violence, non-linear storytelling, and cool, sleek style, the film is distinctive for its use of pop music. Tarantino chose not to score the film with a traditional soundtrack, instead picking an offbeat selection of songs from the seventies, and he put his idiosyncratic soundtrack on a fake radio station, K-Billy's Super Sounds of the Seventies, which played through the background of the film, often in counterpoint to the brutality of the scenes. As the opening credits roll, the iconic imagery of the crew strolling down the street is set to funky "Little Green Bag" by The George Baker Selection, the end credits play out to the nonsense song "Coconut" by Harry Nilsson, and most famously a torture scene is played out with "Stuck in the Middle with You" by Stealers Wheels rocking on the radio. Comedian Steven Wright, known for his deadpan delivery, voiced the radio deejay. When the soundtrack was released, Tarantino included choice selections of dialogue and radio patter along with the songs.

The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 1992, where it became the talk of the festival, and played at Cannes and Toronto (where it won an award for Best First Film) before hitting American theaters in October, 1992. Reviews were generally good, though controversy over its violence and racist comments in the dialogue; Siskel and Ebert notoriously gave it "two thumbs down" (Ebert's review was mixed but supportive: "I liked what I saw, but I wanted more."). While not exactly a big hit in the U.S. -- it was more talked about than seen in theaters -- it made a substantial profit worldwide and earned a cult following stateside that led to a big success on American home video. It was also enormously influential, inspiring a whole cottage industry of second-rate (and worse) imitators making crime films with brutal acts of violence, foul language, idiosyncratic dialogue, homages to other (better films), and "clever" twists, most of which ended up going straight to video. Those films missed Tarantino's most creative contributions to the crime genre: his love of movies, his gift for creating distinctive characters, and his playful approach to storytelling. Where copycats try to show off their hipness by making a point of referencing cult movies, Tarantino never drew attention to his homages. It wasn't the quote that mattered, it was how the idea was reworked in a new context to become a piece of cinema storytelling in its own right.

By Sean Axmaker

Sources:
Quentin Tarantino: Interviews," edited by Gerald Peary. University Press of Mississippi, 1998.
"A Chat With Mr. Mayhem," Hilary de Vries. Los Angeles Times, September 11, 1994.
"Dogs Gets Walkouts and Raves," John Hartl. Seattle Times, October 29, 1992.
Commentary track and video interviews on Reservoir Dogs: Tenth Anniversary Special Edition DVD. Artisan, 2002.
"Quentin Tarantino: 20 Years of Filmmaking" documentary on Tarantino XX Blu-ray box set. Lionsgate, 2002.
IMDB
Reservoir Dogs

Reservoir Dogs

Quentin Tarantino's quotable blast of post-modern crime movie cool is one of the most attention grabbing directorial debuts in recent history. Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, and Steve Buscemi play members of a gang of thieves recruited for a jewel heist who regroup in an empty warehouse after the robbery goes bad, leaving two others dead or unaccounted for and one of the survivors bleeding his life away through the gut. It's a bloody, brutal movie with blithely racist and sexist characters who are both the heroes and the villains of the piece and sharp, vivid dialogue, and Tarantino plays with the conventions of the crime movie with his character collisions and non-linear storytelling. The film jumps back in time to show how the major characters were drafted into the heist crew by gangster Joe Cabot (Lawrence Tierney) and his son Nice Guy Eddie (Chris Penn), why they were given code names for the job, and how they got away (or didn't) when the alarms sounded and the cops arrived. What Tarantino doesn't show, against all expectations, is the robbery itself, usually the highlight of any heist film. For Tarantino, it's all about the characters, the chaos, the relationships under pressure, and of course the delicious dialogue, strewn with entertaining asides, entertaining stories, and gallows humor. Tarantino never went to film school. He never even finished high school, dropping out to attend acting classes and work as a clerk at Video Archives in Manhattan Beach, where he schooled himself on everything from the classics of world cinema to American exploitation films to European horror. Inspired by conversations with fellow clerks and movie-loving customers, he started writing his own scripts, grabbing ideas from films across the spectrum like a magpie, mixing them together, molding them into new shapes, transforming influences into his own voice. Reservoir Dogs (1992) is his take on the heist genre and Tarantino has cited Phil Karlson's Kansas City Confidential (1952), with its crew of crooks who don't know the identities of their cohorts, and Stanley Kubrick's The Killing (1956), which slips into flashbacks to show the unraveling of a robbery, as specific influences. He borrowed the code names -- Mr. White, Mr. Blonde, Mr. Pink, etc. -- from the original The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974) and much of the plot of the heist gone bad (and the distinctive image of the crew with guns drawn in a round-robin stand-off) from Ringo Lam's undercover cop thriller City on Fire (1987). Even the iconic wardrobe of black suits and ties was a tip of the hat to French gangster auteur Jean-Pierre Melville. It's all raw material that Tarantino takes for inspiration and then reworks into a distinctive, unique story. Fledgling actor and aspiring producer Lawrence Bender was introduced to Tarantino through his script for True Romance (1993), which was making the rounds and they formed a partnership to get Reservoir Dogs made. The script was given to Monte Hellman, who was ready to sign on as director, but Tarantino changed his mind after selling True Romance to Tony Scott. He decided to hold onto Reservoir Dogs for his own directorial debut. Impressed with Tarantino's skill and commitment, Hellman signed on as a producer with Bender. Bender and Tarantino were ready to shoot the film on a $30,000 budget, taking lead roles themselves and filling out the rest of the film with friends and colleagues, when Bender (thanks to his acting class contacts) managed to get a copy of the script to Harvey Keitel. Keitel signed on and asked to take a hand as co-producer, which gave them the clout to raise a budget of $1.5 million and hire a professional cast. Keitel even flew Tarantino and Bender to New York City to open up their casting possibilities, where they found Steve Buscemi. Just as important to finding the right actors was creating an ensemble. Robert Forster auditioned for the role of gang boss Joe Cabot but Tarantino was sold on Lawrence Tierney, the star of low budget cult noir films The Devil Thumbs a Ride (1947) and Born to Kill (1947) among others. He matched him with Chris Penn in the part of his son, Nice Guy Eddie. Tarantino remembered Forster from the reading and wrote the role of Max Cherry in Jackie Brown (1997), his third feature, specifically for him. Perhaps there was a little repentance in it as well, for Tierney was the only problem actor on the film. He got into fights with Tarantino (other cast members recall having to separate the two) and even landed in jail during the production. According to Tarantino, he arrived on set one morning directly from being bailed out. Keitel settled on the role of Mr. White, the veteran of the crew, with Tarantino's blessing. Michael Madsen was cast as the sadistic Mr. Blonde. George Clooney and Samuel L. Jackson both read for Mr. Orange but the part was given to Tim Roth, then a rising young British actor making his American film debut, despite the fact that he refused to audition for the part. He was cast on the strength of his previous work, in particular The Hit (1984). Tarantino wrote the role of Mr. Pink specifically for himself but gave it up to Buscemi because he felt the actor would better mesh with the ensemble. Tarantino took the role of Mr. Brown, a character who dies early in the film while Eddie Bunker, a former career criminal (famed as the youngest felon ever sent to San Quentin) turned novelist and actor, played the sixth and final member of the crew, Mr. Blue. Weeks before shooting began, while they were deep in preproduction, Tarantino was accepted into the Sundance Institute Directors Workshop Lab, a program that helped young directors and writers with mentorship and practical experience. Tarantino, whose only previous directing experience was an unfinished short film, got the opportunity to direct scenes with video cameras and professional actors before taking on his first feature. $1.5 million was a low budget even for an early nineties indie production and the team worked to stretch the budget. Some of the actors wore their own clothes for the film. They picked up shots on the streets without official permits. Tarantino bartered special make-up effects from Robert Kurtzman, who worked for free in return for Tarantino rewriting a script that he was trying to get made called From Dusk Till Dawn (1996). Since they couldn't afford to pay top professionals, they searched for other collaborators with the talent and the ambition to make the jump to feature filmmaking. Cinematographer Andrzej Sekula made his feature debut on the film and film editor Sally Menke, whose career was largely in documentary filmmaking, made her reputation and a lifelong professional relationship with Tarantino on the film. Along with the signature violence, non-linear storytelling, and cool, sleek style, the film is distinctive for its use of pop music. Tarantino chose not to score the film with a traditional soundtrack, instead picking an offbeat selection of songs from the seventies, and he put his idiosyncratic soundtrack on a fake radio station, K-Billy's Super Sounds of the Seventies, which played through the background of the film, often in counterpoint to the brutality of the scenes. As the opening credits roll, the iconic imagery of the crew strolling down the street is set to funky "Little Green Bag" by The George Baker Selection, the end credits play out to the nonsense song "Coconut" by Harry Nilsson, and most famously a torture scene is played out with "Stuck in the Middle with You" by Stealers Wheels rocking on the radio. Comedian Steven Wright, known for his deadpan delivery, voiced the radio deejay. When the soundtrack was released, Tarantino included choice selections of dialogue and radio patter along with the songs. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 1992, where it became the talk of the festival, and played at Cannes and Toronto (where it won an award for Best First Film) before hitting American theaters in October, 1992. Reviews were generally good, though controversy over its violence and racist comments in the dialogue; Siskel and Ebert notoriously gave it "two thumbs down" (Ebert's review was mixed but supportive: "I liked what I saw, but I wanted more."). While not exactly a big hit in the U.S. -- it was more talked about than seen in theaters -- it made a substantial profit worldwide and earned a cult following stateside that led to a big success on American home video. It was also enormously influential, inspiring a whole cottage industry of second-rate (and worse) imitators making crime films with brutal acts of violence, foul language, idiosyncratic dialogue, homages to other (better films), and "clever" twists, most of which ended up going straight to video. Those films missed Tarantino's most creative contributions to the crime genre: his love of movies, his gift for creating distinctive characters, and his playful approach to storytelling. Where copycats try to show off their hipness by making a point of referencing cult movies, Tarantino never drew attention to his homages. It wasn't the quote that mattered, it was how the idea was reworked in a new context to become a piece of cinema storytelling in its own right. By Sean Axmaker Sources: Quentin Tarantino: Interviews," edited by Gerald Peary. University Press of Mississippi, 1998. "A Chat With Mr. Mayhem," Hilary de Vries. Los Angeles Times, September 11, 1994. "Dogs Gets Walkouts and Raves," John Hartl. Seattle Times, October 29, 1992. Commentary track and video interviews on Reservoir Dogs: Tenth Anniversary Special Edition DVD. Artisan, 2002. "Quentin Tarantino: 20 Years of Filmmaking" documentary on Tarantino XX Blu-ray box set. Lionsgate, 2002. IMDB

Edward Bunker (1933-2005)


Edward Bunker, the tough, charismatic ex-convict who eventaully turned his life around and became a respected writer, (No Beast So Fierce) and actor (Resevoir Dogs), died in Burbank on July 19 after complications developed from a surgical procedure to improve circulation in his legs. He was 71.

He was born on December 31, 1933 in Hollywood, California to a mother who was a chorus girl in a few Busby Berkely musicals, and a father who was a studio grip; two of the lesser positions in the Hollywood hierarchy. After his parents divorced when he was four, he spent the next several years in various foster homes and juvenile reform schools. By 14, he notched his first criminal conviction for burglery; at 17, he stabbed a youth prison guard; and by 19, he was considered so violent a felon, that he became the youngest inmate ever at San Quentin.

For the next 20 years, Bunker would be in and out of prison for numerous felonies: robbery, battery, and check forgery, just to name a few. While in prison, he read the novel of another San Quentin inmate, Caryl Chessman, whose book, Cell 2455, Death Row, was a reveleation to Bunker, so he set about devoting himself to writing.

He enrolled in a correspondence course in freshman English from the University of California, and after several years of unpublished novels, he struck gold in 1973 with No Beast So Fierce. The novel, about a paroled thief whose attempt to reenter mainstream society fails, was as tough and unforgiving as anything ever written about a parolee's readjustment to the outside, and it rightfully earned Bunker acclaim as a writer to watch.

After he was released from prison in 1975, Bunker concentrated on writing and acting. His big film break happened when No Beast So Fierce was turned into the movie Straight Time (1978) starring Dustin Hoffman. He co-wrote the screenplay, and also had a small part as one of Hoffman's cronies.

Bunker's next big hit as a screenwriter and actor was Runaway Train (1985), a pulsating drama about two escaped convicts (Jon Voight and Eric Roberts) where again, he had a small role as Jonah. It was obvious by now that Bunker, with his gruff voice, unnerving gaze, broken nose, and his signature feature - a scar from a knife wound that ran from his forehead to his lip - would make a most enigmatic movie villian.

A few more roles in prominent pictures followed: The Running Man, Shy People (both 1987), Tango & Cash (1989), before he scored the best role of his career, Mr. Blue in Quentin Tarantino's celebrated cult caper Reservoir Dogs (1992). It couldn't have been easy for Bunker to hold his own in a cast of heavyweights (Harvey Keitel, Lawrence Tierney, Tim Roth and Steve Buscemi), but he did - and with a muscularly lithe style that was all his own.

After Reservoir Dogs, Bunker was in demand as a villian. His next few films: Distant Cousins (1993), Somebody to Love (1994), were routine, but he proved that he could deliver with professional, if familiar performances. Actor Steve Buscemi helped Bunker get his novel Animal Factory to the screen in 2000, with Bunker again adapting his own work for film. He was last seen as a convict, although with sharp comedic overtones, in the recent Adam Sandler farce The Longest Yard (2005). He is survived by his son, Brendan.

by Michael "Mitch" Toole

Edward Bunker (1933-2005)

Edward Bunker, the tough, charismatic ex-convict who eventaully turned his life around and became a respected writer, (No Beast So Fierce) and actor (Resevoir Dogs), died in Burbank on July 19 after complications developed from a surgical procedure to improve circulation in his legs. He was 71. He was born on December 31, 1933 in Hollywood, California to a mother who was a chorus girl in a few Busby Berkely musicals, and a father who was a studio grip; two of the lesser positions in the Hollywood hierarchy. After his parents divorced when he was four, he spent the next several years in various foster homes and juvenile reform schools. By 14, he notched his first criminal conviction for burglery; at 17, he stabbed a youth prison guard; and by 19, he was considered so violent a felon, that he became the youngest inmate ever at San Quentin. For the next 20 years, Bunker would be in and out of prison for numerous felonies: robbery, battery, and check forgery, just to name a few. While in prison, he read the novel of another San Quentin inmate, Caryl Chessman, whose book, Cell 2455, Death Row, was a reveleation to Bunker, so he set about devoting himself to writing. He enrolled in a correspondence course in freshman English from the University of California, and after several years of unpublished novels, he struck gold in 1973 with No Beast So Fierce. The novel, about a paroled thief whose attempt to reenter mainstream society fails, was as tough and unforgiving as anything ever written about a parolee's readjustment to the outside, and it rightfully earned Bunker acclaim as a writer to watch. After he was released from prison in 1975, Bunker concentrated on writing and acting. His big film break happened when No Beast So Fierce was turned into the movie Straight Time (1978) starring Dustin Hoffman. He co-wrote the screenplay, and also had a small part as one of Hoffman's cronies. Bunker's next big hit as a screenwriter and actor was Runaway Train (1985), a pulsating drama about two escaped convicts (Jon Voight and Eric Roberts) where again, he had a small role as Jonah. It was obvious by now that Bunker, with his gruff voice, unnerving gaze, broken nose, and his signature feature - a scar from a knife wound that ran from his forehead to his lip - would make a most enigmatic movie villian. A few more roles in prominent pictures followed: The Running Man, Shy People (both 1987), Tango & Cash (1989), before he scored the best role of his career, Mr. Blue in Quentin Tarantino's celebrated cult caper Reservoir Dogs (1992). It couldn't have been easy for Bunker to hold his own in a cast of heavyweights (Harvey Keitel, Lawrence Tierney, Tim Roth and Steve Buscemi), but he did - and with a muscularly lithe style that was all his own. After Reservoir Dogs, Bunker was in demand as a villian. His next few films: Distant Cousins (1993), Somebody to Love (1994), were routine, but he proved that he could deliver with professional, if familiar performances. Actor Steve Buscemi helped Bunker get his novel Animal Factory to the screen in 2000, with Bunker again adapting his own work for film. He was last seen as a convict, although with sharp comedic overtones, in the recent Adam Sandler farce The Longest Yard (2005). He is survived by his son, Brendan. by Michael "Mitch" Toole

TCM Remembers - Lawrence Tierney


A SCREEN TOUGH GUY WHO WAS MEANER THAN A JUNKYARD DOG

Lawrence Tierney, one of the screen's toughest tough guys, died February 26th at the age of 82. He first startled audiences with his impassioned work in the 1940s but Tierney's rowdy off-screen life eventually pushed him out of the limelight. Though he kept working in small parts, Tierney found a new generation of fans with a few memorable roles in the 80s and 90s.

Tierney was born March 15, 1919 in Brooklyn, New York. He grew up in New York and was a track star in school before becoming interested in acting. (His two brothers also became actors though they changed their names to Scott Brady and Ed Tracy.) He went through the usual period of stage appearances before getting bit parts in little-remembered films. His first credited role was in Sing Your Worries Away (1942) but Tierney quickly made his mark playing the title role in Dillinger (1945). A string of memorable roles followed in films like San Quentin (1946), The Devil Thumbs a Ride (1947), Born to Kill (1947) and the Oscar-winning circus drama from director Cecil B. DeMille, The Greatest Show on Earth (1952) in which Tierney played the villain responsible for the epic train wreck toward the film's conclusion. However, Tierney had a knack for real-life trouble and was arrested several times for disorderly conduct and drunken driving. By the end of the 50s he only found sporadic acting work, sometimes not working for several years between films. During this period his best-known work was in Custer of the West (1967) and Andy Warhol's Bad (1977).

Slowly in the 1980s, Tierney landed small but frequently noticable parts in Hollywood films such as Prizzi's Honor (1985) and The Naked Gun (1988). He appeared on TV shows like Hill Street Blues, Star Trek: The Next Generation and Seinfeld (as Elaine's father). In 1992 that changed when Quentin Tarrantino cast Tierney as the crime boss in Reservoir Dogs, an unforgettable part that gave him new fans. While the subsequent roles or films didn't get any bigger, Tierney was finally a recognized name. One of his oddest roles was the half-hour Red (1993) based on the infamous mid-70s Tube Bar tapes where a real-life bar owner responds with startlingly over-the-top remarks to prank phone calls. (If that sounds familiar it's because The Simpsons based Moe's responses to prank calls on these tapes. Tierney provided a voice in the 1995 Simpsons episode "Marge Be Not Proud.") Tierney's last film appearance was in Armageddon (1998)!

By Lang Thompson

CHUCK JONES, 1912 - 2002

Animator Chuck Jones died February 22nd at the age of 89. Jones may not have boasted quite the name recognition of Howard Hawks or John Ford but he was unquestionably one of the greatest American directors. His goals might have been primarily to entertain, which he did so wonderfully that his 50 and 60 year old cartoons seem fresher than most anything produced in the 21st century. But Jones displayed a sense of movement, timing and character barely equalled elsewhere. Literary critics have a saying that while there are no perfect novels there are certainly flawless short stories. Several of Jones' cartoons reach a perfection that Hawks and Ford could only have dreamed about.

Jones was born September 21, 1912 in Spokane, Washington but grew up in Hollywood. As a child he would watch films by Charlie Chaplin and others being made in the streets, absorbing the process and supposedly even appearing as an extra in Mack Sennett shorts. After graduating from L.A.'s Chouinard Art Institute (now California Institute of the Arts), Jones started selling pencil drawings on street corners. He soon landed a job in 1932 with ground-breaking animator Ub Iwerks as a cel washer (somebody who removes ink from the expensive celluloid frames so they could be reused). The following year Jones began to work for Leon Schlesinger Productions which was sold to Warner Brothers. There he directed his first film, The Night Watchman in 1938.

Jones would stay at Warners for almost 25 years until it closed the animation division. Here is where Jones did some of his most-beloved work, putting Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, the Road Runner, Marvin Martian and numerous others through many of their most memorable exploits. Who can forget Bugs and Daffy's hilariously convoluted arguments about hunting season in Rabbit Seasoning (1952) and Duck Rabbit Duck (1953)? Or the Coyote's tantalized, endless pursuit of the Road Runner? What's Opera Doc? (1957) sending Elmer and Bugs to Bayreuth? A cheerfully singing and dancing frog that, alas, only performs for one frustrated man? Daffy tormented by the very elements of the cartoon medium in Duck Amuck (1953)? That's only a fraction of what Jones created while at the Warners animation studio, affectionately known as Termite Terrace. This building on the Warners lot boasted an array of individualist talents that Jones, like Duke Ellington, could pull into a whole. There was voice artist Mel Blanc's impeccable timing, writer Michael Maltese's absurdist love affair with language, music director Carl Stalling's collaged scores and perhaps best of all a studio that knew enough to just leave the gang alone so long as the cartoons kept coming.

After Warners shuttered its animation division in 1962, Jones moved to MGM where he worked on several Tom & Jerry cartoons, his inimitable lines always immediately apparent. In 1966 he directed How the Grinch Stole Christmas from Dr. Seuss' book, one of the finest literary adaptations. A feature version of Norman Juster's classic The Phantom Tollbooth followed in 1969. Along with his daughter Linda, Jones was one of the first to see the value of original animation art and in the late 70s began a thriving business. (For more info see http://www.chuckjones.com.) Jones made cameo appearances in Joe Dante's Gremlins (1984) and Innerspace (1987). In 1989, he wrote a touching and funny memoir, Chuck Amuck, that's pretty much essential reading.

Jones won an Best Short Subject Cartoons Oscar for The Dot and the Line (1965), having earlier been nominated twice in 1962. His Pepe LePew film For Scent-imental Reasons (1949) and public-health cartoon So Much for So Little also won Oscars though not for Jones himself. In 1996 he was awarded an honorary Oscar "for the creation of classic cartoons and cartoon characters whose animated lives have brought joy to our real ones for more than a half century."

By Lang Thompson

GEORGE NADER, 1921 - 2002

Actor George Nader, best known for the B-movie anti-classic Robot Monster, died February 4th at the age of 80. One-time co-star Tony Curtis said, "He was one of the kindest and most generous men I've ever known. I will miss him." Nader was born in Pasadena, California on October 19, 1921 and like many other actors started performing while in school. His first film appearance was the B-Western Rustlers on Horseback (1950) and he made other appearances, often uncredited, before the immortal Robot Monster in 1953. This dust-cheap, charmingly inept film (originally in 3-D!) features Nader as the father of Earth's last surviving family, everybody else having been wiped out by a gorilla in a diving helmet. Shortly after, Nader landed major roles in RKO's Carnival Story (1954) and with Curtis in Universal's Six Bridges to Cross (1955), bringing a beefy charm that earned him numerous fans. As a result, in 1955 Nader shared a Golden Globe for Most Promising Male Newcomer. He then appeared in numerous lower profile studio films before closing out the decade playing Ellery Queen in a short-lived TV series. He relocated to Europe in the sixties where he found steady work. As secret agent Jerry Cotton, he made a series of spy thrillers which earned him a cult reputation in Europe, starting with Schusse aud dem Geigenkasten (aka Operation Hurricane: Friday Noon) (1965). The eighth and final entry in the series was Dynamit in gruner Seide (aka Dynamite in Green Silk) (1968). His film career ended in the mid-70s when a car wreck damaged his eyes so that he could no longer endure a film set's bright lights. Nader began writing novels, most notably the recently reprinted Chrome (1978), an acclaimed science fiction novel with openly gay characters.

By Lang Thompson

TCM REMEMBERS HAROLD RUSSELL, 1914 - 2002

Oscar-winning actor Harold Russell died January 29th of a heart attack at age 88. As a disabled veteran whose hands had been amputated in The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), Russell won Best Supporting Actor but also an honorary award "for bringing hope and courage to his fellow veterans." This made Russell the only person to receive two Oscars for the same role. Russell was born in Nova Scotia on January 14, 1914 but grew up in Cambridge Massachusetts. He joined the US Army after the attack on Pearl Harbor and while training paratroopers lost both hands in an accidental explosion. He then made a training film where director William Wyler saw Russell. Wyler was so impressed that he changed the character in The Best Years of Our Lives from a man with neurological damage to an amputee so that Russell could play the part. After winning the Oscar, Russell followed Wyler's advice and went to college, eventually running a public relations company and writing his autobiography. He made two more film appearances, Inside Moves (1980) and Dogtown (1997), and appeared in a few TV episodes of China Beach and Trapper John MD. Russell made waves in 1992 when he decided to sell his acting Oscar to help cover expenses of his large family. The Motion Picture Academy offered to buy the statue for $20,000 but it sold to an anonymous bidder for $60,000. About the other statute, Russell said, "I'd never sell the special one. The war was over, and this was the industry's way of saying thank you to the veterans."

By Lang Thompson

TCM Remembers - Lawrence Tierney

A SCREEN TOUGH GUY WHO WAS MEANER THAN A JUNKYARD DOG Lawrence Tierney, one of the screen's toughest tough guys, died February 26th at the age of 82. He first startled audiences with his impassioned work in the 1940s but Tierney's rowdy off-screen life eventually pushed him out of the limelight. Though he kept working in small parts, Tierney found a new generation of fans with a few memorable roles in the 80s and 90s. Tierney was born March 15, 1919 in Brooklyn, New York. He grew up in New York and was a track star in school before becoming interested in acting. (His two brothers also became actors though they changed their names to Scott Brady and Ed Tracy.) He went through the usual period of stage appearances before getting bit parts in little-remembered films. His first credited role was in Sing Your Worries Away (1942) but Tierney quickly made his mark playing the title role in Dillinger (1945). A string of memorable roles followed in films like San Quentin (1946), The Devil Thumbs a Ride (1947), Born to Kill (1947) and the Oscar-winning circus drama from director Cecil B. DeMille, The Greatest Show on Earth (1952) in which Tierney played the villain responsible for the epic train wreck toward the film's conclusion. However, Tierney had a knack for real-life trouble and was arrested several times for disorderly conduct and drunken driving. By the end of the 50s he only found sporadic acting work, sometimes not working for several years between films. During this period his best-known work was in Custer of the West (1967) and Andy Warhol's Bad (1977). Slowly in the 1980s, Tierney landed small but frequently noticable parts in Hollywood films such as Prizzi's Honor (1985) and The Naked Gun (1988). He appeared on TV shows like Hill Street Blues, Star Trek: The Next Generation and Seinfeld (as Elaine's father). In 1992 that changed when Quentin Tarrantino cast Tierney as the crime boss in Reservoir Dogs, an unforgettable part that gave him new fans. While the subsequent roles or films didn't get any bigger, Tierney was finally a recognized name. One of his oddest roles was the half-hour Red (1993) based on the infamous mid-70s Tube Bar tapes where a real-life bar owner responds with startlingly over-the-top remarks to prank phone calls. (If that sounds familiar it's because The Simpsons based Moe's responses to prank calls on these tapes. Tierney provided a voice in the 1995 Simpsons episode "Marge Be Not Proud.") Tierney's last film appearance was in Armageddon (1998)! By Lang Thompson CHUCK JONES, 1912 - 2002 Animator Chuck Jones died February 22nd at the age of 89. Jones may not have boasted quite the name recognition of Howard Hawks or John Ford but he was unquestionably one of the greatest American directors. His goals might have been primarily to entertain, which he did so wonderfully that his 50 and 60 year old cartoons seem fresher than most anything produced in the 21st century. But Jones displayed a sense of movement, timing and character barely equalled elsewhere. Literary critics have a saying that while there are no perfect novels there are certainly flawless short stories. Several of Jones' cartoons reach a perfection that Hawks and Ford could only have dreamed about. Jones was born September 21, 1912 in Spokane, Washington but grew up in Hollywood. As a child he would watch films by Charlie Chaplin and others being made in the streets, absorbing the process and supposedly even appearing as an extra in Mack Sennett shorts. After graduating from L.A.'s Chouinard Art Institute (now California Institute of the Arts), Jones started selling pencil drawings on street corners. He soon landed a job in 1932 with ground-breaking animator Ub Iwerks as a cel washer (somebody who removes ink from the expensive celluloid frames so they could be reused). The following year Jones began to work for Leon Schlesinger Productions which was sold to Warner Brothers. There he directed his first film, The Night Watchman in 1938. Jones would stay at Warners for almost 25 years until it closed the animation division. Here is where Jones did some of his most-beloved work, putting Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, the Road Runner, Marvin Martian and numerous others through many of their most memorable exploits. Who can forget Bugs and Daffy's hilariously convoluted arguments about hunting season in Rabbit Seasoning (1952) and Duck Rabbit Duck (1953)? Or the Coyote's tantalized, endless pursuit of the Road Runner? What's Opera Doc? (1957) sending Elmer and Bugs to Bayreuth? A cheerfully singing and dancing frog that, alas, only performs for one frustrated man? Daffy tormented by the very elements of the cartoon medium in Duck Amuck (1953)? That's only a fraction of what Jones created while at the Warners animation studio, affectionately known as Termite Terrace. This building on the Warners lot boasted an array of individualist talents that Jones, like Duke Ellington, could pull into a whole. There was voice artist Mel Blanc's impeccable timing, writer Michael Maltese's absurdist love affair with language, music director Carl Stalling's collaged scores and perhaps best of all a studio that knew enough to just leave the gang alone so long as the cartoons kept coming. After Warners shuttered its animation division in 1962, Jones moved to MGM where he worked on several Tom & Jerry cartoons, his inimitable lines always immediately apparent. In 1966 he directed How the Grinch Stole Christmas from Dr. Seuss' book, one of the finest literary adaptations. A feature version of Norman Juster's classic The Phantom Tollbooth followed in 1969. Along with his daughter Linda, Jones was one of the first to see the value of original animation art and in the late 70s began a thriving business. (For more info see http://www.chuckjones.com.) Jones made cameo appearances in Joe Dante's Gremlins (1984) and Innerspace (1987). In 1989, he wrote a touching and funny memoir, Chuck Amuck, that's pretty much essential reading. Jones won an Best Short Subject Cartoons Oscar for The Dot and the Line (1965), having earlier been nominated twice in 1962. His Pepe LePew film For Scent-imental Reasons (1949) and public-health cartoon So Much for So Little also won Oscars though not for Jones himself. In 1996 he was awarded an honorary Oscar "for the creation of classic cartoons and cartoon characters whose animated lives have brought joy to our real ones for more than a half century." By Lang Thompson GEORGE NADER, 1921 - 2002 Actor George Nader, best known for the B-movie anti-classic Robot Monster, died February 4th at the age of 80. One-time co-star Tony Curtis said, "He was one of the kindest and most generous men I've ever known. I will miss him." Nader was born in Pasadena, California on October 19, 1921 and like many other actors started performing while in school. His first film appearance was the B-Western Rustlers on Horseback (1950) and he made other appearances, often uncredited, before the immortal Robot Monster in 1953. This dust-cheap, charmingly inept film (originally in 3-D!) features Nader as the father of Earth's last surviving family, everybody else having been wiped out by a gorilla in a diving helmet. Shortly after, Nader landed major roles in RKO's Carnival Story (1954) and with Curtis in Universal's Six Bridges to Cross (1955), bringing a beefy charm that earned him numerous fans. As a result, in 1955 Nader shared a Golden Globe for Most Promising Male Newcomer. He then appeared in numerous lower profile studio films before closing out the decade playing Ellery Queen in a short-lived TV series. He relocated to Europe in the sixties where he found steady work. As secret agent Jerry Cotton, he made a series of spy thrillers which earned him a cult reputation in Europe, starting with Schusse aud dem Geigenkasten (aka Operation Hurricane: Friday Noon) (1965). The eighth and final entry in the series was Dynamit in gruner Seide (aka Dynamite in Green Silk) (1968). His film career ended in the mid-70s when a car wreck damaged his eyes so that he could no longer endure a film set's bright lights. Nader began writing novels, most notably the recently reprinted Chrome (1978), an acclaimed science fiction novel with openly gay characters. By Lang Thompson TCM REMEMBERS HAROLD RUSSELL, 1914 - 2002 Oscar-winning actor Harold Russell died January 29th of a heart attack at age 88. As a disabled veteran whose hands had been amputated in The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), Russell won Best Supporting Actor but also an honorary award "for bringing hope and courage to his fellow veterans." This made Russell the only person to receive two Oscars for the same role. Russell was born in Nova Scotia on January 14, 1914 but grew up in Cambridge Massachusetts. He joined the US Army after the attack on Pearl Harbor and while training paratroopers lost both hands in an accidental explosion. He then made a training film where director William Wyler saw Russell. Wyler was so impressed that he changed the character in The Best Years of Our Lives from a man with neurological damage to an amputee so that Russell could play the part. After winning the Oscar, Russell followed Wyler's advice and went to college, eventually running a public relations company and writing his autobiography. He made two more film appearances, Inside Moves (1980) and Dogtown (1997), and appeared in a few TV episodes of China Beach and Trapper John MD. Russell made waves in 1992 when he decided to sell his acting Oscar to help cover expenses of his large family. The Motion Picture Academy offered to buy the statue for $20,000 but it sold to an anonymous bidder for $60,000. About the other statute, Russell said, "I'd never sell the special one. The war was over, and this was the industry's way of saying thank you to the veterans." By Lang Thompson

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Fall October 23, 1992

Expanded Release in United States November 30, 1992

Re-released in United States July 8, 1994

Released in United States on Video April 7, 1993

Released in United States 1992

Released in United States January 1992

Released in United States September 1992

Shown at Montreal World Film Festival (out of competition) August 27 - September 7, 1992.

Shown at Toronto Festival of Festivals September 10-19, 1992.

Feature directorial debut for Quentin Tarantino who wrote the screenplay for "Reservoir Dogs" in October 1990 and workshopped the project at the Sundance Institute's Filmmakers Lab in June 1991. Tarantino was named best non-British newcomer by the London Film Critics Circle (1993).

Completed shooting August 31, 1991.

Began shooting July 29, 1991.

Expanded Release in United States November 30, 1992

Re-released in United States July 8, 1994 (New York City)

Released in United States on Video April 7, 1993

Released in United States 1992 (Shown at Montreal World Film Festival (out of competition) August 27 - September 7, 1992.)

Released in United States January 1992 (Shown at Sundance Film Festival (in competition) in Park City, Utah, January 16-26, 1992.)

Released in United States September 1992 (Shown at Toronto Festival of Festivals September 10-19, 1992.)

Released in United States Fall October 23, 1992