Mr. White / Larry Dimmick (Harvey Keitel)
A veteran gangster and a long-time friend of Joe Cabot, he is one of the six men assembled by the latter for the jewel heist. He is good-natured and persuasive, and believes in a code of honor among criminals.
- Anti-Villain: He is the most polite of the robbers, tips waitresses, and has a distaste for killing innocent people, but as Mr. Orange found out the hard way, "just because he's a nice guy doesn't mean he won't kill you."
- Badass in a Nice Suit: He almost always wears a suit, and wins a fight with Mr. Pink.
- Berserk Button: Gets mad when Mr. Blonde calls him an asshole.
- Big Brother Mentor: To Orange. This is what kills him since not only he overrides No Honor Among Thieves and give him his real name but he is willing to defend him when correctly accused of being a rat.
- Cool Old Guy: Downplayed, he's in his middle ages.
- Decoy Protagonist: He's clearly the main character for the first part of the film, but drops out of the picture for a while after Mr. Blonde and then Mr. Orange take center stage. By the climax, he's back to being in the spotlight alongside Orange.
- Despair Event Horizon: Clearly crosses it after Orange reveals himself as the rat, degenerating into heavy sobbing and ultimately killing both himself and Orange. Considering the fact that he just killed his closest friends and will very soon die himself all for a person he thought he could trust more than anything, it's pretty justified.
- Dragon-in-Chief: Joe's second in command and field team leader. Joe only gets involved in the action right at the end.
- Even Evil Has Standards: He doesn't kill civilians. And he always tips waitresses.
- In the original script, Mr. White was the one who refused to tip the waitress.
- Four-Philosophy Ensemble: Optimist.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Sanguine.
- Hair-Trigger Temper / Hot-Blooded: It's easy to get him angry.
- Honor Before Reason: It may be a twisted sort of honor, but hoo boy.
- Jerkass: Although less so than Joe and Nice Guy Eddie.
- Large Ham: When he gets excited.
- The McCoy: Follows his heart instead of his head. Doesn't end well.
- Meaningful Name: His color certainly fits his sense of honor and moral code.
- Noble Demon: He has a highly developed sense of personal honor, to the point where he'll turn a gun on his own employers to protect his partner.
- Papa Wolf: Towards Mr Orange.
- Protagonist-Centered Morality: His attitude towards Mr. Orange.
- Rated M for Manly: "Shit, you shoot me in a dream and you better wake up and apologize" and other general badassery. Which makes his rather unmanly, undignified sobbing at the end of the movie all the more jarring.
- Too Dumb to Live: He distrusts people he had known for years while betting his life for a guy he only knew for a few days.
- Undying Loyalty: Turns out to be a fatal flaw for trusting Mr. Orange.
- Villain Protagonist: Initially comes off as a clear-cut Anti-Villain and a highly sympathetic character, but we're later treated to flashbacks that definitely show that, while he has morals, he's still a villain.
- Villainous Breakdown: Every now and then due to his Hair-Trigger Temper, but the most prominent one was when he finds out that Mr. Orange was a cop all along.
- Weapon of Choice: A Smith and Wesson 639 pistol.
Mr. Blonde / Vic Vega (Michael Madsen)
A friend of Nice Guy Eddie's and one of the men assembled for the heist. He's a violent psychopath, a fact which is hidden beneath his cheery demeanor.
- Asshole Victim: How Mr. White sees him. And he's right.
- Alliterative Name: Vic Vega. And yes, he is Vincent Vega's brother.
- Ax-Crazy: He's extremely sadistic, and tortures/kills for pure enjoyment. His dark sense of humour don't help.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: Just like his partners, he always wears a suit. He's also willing to provoke Mr. White in a fight.
- Bait the Dog: He's very soft-spoken and polite while everyone else is panicking. Then Marvin Nash finds out the hard way just how he earned his reputation...
- Berserk Button: He gets a little pissed when Marvin Nash calls Eddie his boss, leading him to claim that he's the only boss of himself.
- The Brute: One of the larger thieves and he likes to hurt people. Just ask Marvin Nash.
- Brutal Honesty: He flat-out admits to Marvin Nash what kind of a man he is before torturing him.
- Captain Obvious: When he's asked about Mr. Blue's fate.Mr. Blonde: Either he's alive or he's dead, or the cops got him, or they don't.
- Comedic Sociopath: He has his moments.
- Creepy Monotone: He almost never raises his voice, but unlike most cases he has a cheerful tone of voice.
- Deadpan Snarker: A lot of what he says comes off as darkly sarcastic.
- Dissonant Serenity: He always maintains his calm and carefree demeanor, even as the situation gets increasingly hopeless, or as he's brutalizing a hostage.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Could have easily walked and implicated his boss but chose to take the sentence instead.
- He's also annoyed with Mr. Pink like Mr. White is for not tipping the waitresses.
- Faux Affably Evil: He cheerfully cuts off a struggling cop's ear while dancing to Stuck in the Middle with You. This only serves to amp up how much of a psychopath he is.
- For the Evulz: His motivation for torturing the cop, among other things.
- Four-Philosophy Ensemble: Apathetic.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Melancholic.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: With the exception of the Cabots. White and Pink are understandably pissed at him for having turned a simple heist into a shooting spree.
- Gay Bravado: With Nice Guy Eddie, and then later on with Marvin Nash after cutting off his ear, he asks him, "Was that as good for you as it was for me?"
- Happy Dance: A very dark and twisted version of the trope.
- It Amused Me: His motivation for torturing Marvin Nash, which he admits to the former before doing so.
- Jerkass: An unrepentant asshole, sociopath and provoker, after all.
- Kill It with Fire: Tries to do this to Marvin Nash.Mr. Blonde: You all done? (As Nash begins protesting again) Have some fire, scarecrow.
- Lack of Empathy: He has absolutely no empathy.
- Mean Character, Nice Actor: Michael Madsen found it hard to continue with the torture scene after Kirk Baltz's infamous "I have a family!" ad-lib. The viewer can hear Madsen groaning "Oh no no no" off-camera.
- Moral Sociopathy: He'll torture and murder innocent people, but, he refuses to give info to the authorities on his boss.
- The Only One I Trust: Both Mr Pink and Joe Cabot single him out as being most definitely not an undercover cop, albeit for different reasons (Pink because Blonde's too much of a psycho to be an undercover cop, Joe because Blonde has previously demonstrated his Undying Loyalty).
- Prison Rape: It's implied that he raped people while in prison.
- Psycho for Hire: Extra emphasis on the 'psycho' part.
- Sacrificial Lion: While not sympathetic, he's the first major character to bite the dust, which ups the ante for the film.
- Siblings in Crime: His brother, Vince Vega, is in the same business, although it would appear that the two work for different bosses.
- Smoking Is Cool: In most of his scenes.
- The Sociopath: He's one of the least sympathetic members of the gang for this reason.
- Softspoken Sadist: He never raises his voice even where he's describing to the cop about how much he'll enjoy torturing him, or justifying killing a crowd of people in a store because the alarm went off.
- Spanner in the Works: For both the robbers and the cops. The robbers because he goes on a shooting spree inside the jewelry store, the cops because the shooting spree forces them to tip their hand and tip the robbers off to the set-up, turning a (potentially) nonlethal sting into a massacre for all sides.
- The Stoic: Cool, calm, and a murderous nut.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Offscreen. It's implied that he used to be a nice guy, and his stint in prison really messed him up.
- Tranquil Fury: Never raises his voice or loses his cool, but is strangely aggressive at times.
- Undying Loyalty: For all his numerous faults, he is intensely loyal to the Cabot family.
- Villain Protagonist: Played completely straight when you play as him in the video game.
Mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi)
A young robber, logical yet neurotic.
- Asshole Victim: Suprisingly averted.
- Butt-Monkey: Mocked, disrespected, beaten and dubbed Mr. Pink.
- The Complainer Is Always Wrong: The entire movie, Mr. Pink is trying to convince White to just abandon Orange to his fate so that they could make off with the diamonds on their own. Subverted, as that probably would have been the smartest thing to do.
- Consummate Professional: The only of the robbers who fits the bill.
- Deadpan Snarker: More so than anyone else, especially with his "World's Smallest Violin" line.
- Four-Philosophy Ensemble: Cynic.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Choleric.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Very few of the others seem willing to put up with him.
- Hyper-Competent Sidekick: Despite the heist getting botched, Pink still managed to make it off with the diamonds and shake off the cops.
- Jerkass: Not very sympathetic toward others, as shown during the tip scene and quite callous when it comes to Mr. Orange's injuries, stating that some are lucky and some aren't.
- Karma Houdini: Subverted; he's the only major character to make it out alive, thought it's implied he gets arrested at the end of the movie.
- Lovable Coward: Mr. Pink is an asshole, a criminal and a coward, but his desire to remain professional and avoid letting personal feelings get in the way makes him surprisingly sympathetic.
- Meaningful Name: Pink is kind of a pussy, he is prone to panic but is too scared to really run for it (his partners would kill him) and instead opts to complain about the situation.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Ends up on the receiving end from Mr. White after Pink gets a little too callous about Mr. Orange's injury. When Blonde arrives with a tied-up Nash, Pink, White and Blonde deliver one to Nash to find about The Mole.
- No Name Given: He's the only major character whose name we never find out.
- Only Sane Man: He spends a lot of time playing this role ("Am I the only fucking professional here!?") as things get more heated between the other thieves.
- Pragmatic Villainy: He is a professional criminal, he doesn't shoot or steal or abandon someone for no good reason.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: He wants to do this so badly throughout the movie. He ends up making good on his word in the end when everyone shoots each other, and Pink decides to bail with the jewels.
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: Coupled with Fargo, Steve Buscemi's characters tend to have quite the filthy mouth.
- The Smart Guy: Is shown to have more common sense than the others, opting to leave the hideout right away rather than stay and wait to be caught. He finally goes through with this at the end, but ultimately proves to have waited too long...
- Sole Survivor At the end of the movie.
- Spotting the Thread: The fact that the cops showed up when Mr. Blonde started shooting tipped Mr. Pink off that there's a mole in the group.
Mr. Orange / Freddy Newandyke (Tim Roth)
A rookie robber who becomes Mr White's protege.
- Becoming the Mask: He genuinely did come to love and look up to Mr. White during their time together, which ends up screwing them both over.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Spends the first half of the film either writhing in pain or unconscious, then... well, just look at all of the spoiler tags.
- Conveniently Unverifiable Cover Story: Which he actually gets a Training Montage dedicated to memorizing it.
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: Specifically, in Mr. White's, but not how you would expect it.
- Four-Philosophy Ensemble: Realist.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Phlegmatic.
- Geek: Has a Silver Surfer poster in his apartment and talks about the Fantastic Four and Baretta.
- Good Is Not Nice: He is revealed to be this when we see that he is an undercover cop.
- Heroic B.S.O.D.: On several occasions in the movie, most memorably when he kills a woman.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: Guns down Mr. Blonde when the psychopath tries to set Marvin Nash on fire.
- The Lancer: To Mr White.
- Made of Iron: Instant Death Bullet doesn't apply to this guy, several times over.
- Mirror Monologue: Does one before the heist to psych himself up.
- Na´ve Newcomer: the other crooks see him as young and inexperienced, which is why White takes him under his wing.
- Nerves of Steel: He's an undercover cop who's very good at his job.
- No Kill Like Overkill: Puts thirteen rounds in Mr. Blonde's torso.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: In reality, he's an undercover cop.
- Pop-Cultured Badass: Fan of superheroes and compare Cabot to the Thing from Fantastic Four.
- Screams Like a Little Girl: But so would you if you were shot in the gut.
- Took a Level in Badass: Goes from an unsure rookie cop to a mole who ends up blending in too well.
- Undying Loyalty: He's so overcome with guilt over Mr. White sacrificing everything for him that he reveals to him his identity as a cop literally moments before the cops arrive, essentially forfeiting his own life.
- Walking Spoiler: We don't learn much about him until after The Reveal.
Mr. Brown (Quentin Tarantino)
The getaway driver for the heist.
- All Men Are Perverts: Can be amused by listening to his rant about "Like A Virgin" and him saying that it's about "dick".
- Boom, Headshot: An odd subversion is that he dies from a shot to the head, but not right away.
- Creator Cameo: He's played by the director of the movie.
- Death by Cameo: A Tarantino staple.
- Instant Death Bullet: Averted; he gets shot in the forehead and tries to pull the getaway car out, but crashes it into a police car and ends up dying of his wound before he can help Mr. White and Mr. Orange escape.
- Made of Iron: Manages to drive a car after being given a Boom, Headshot.
- Mauve Shirt: Gets more characterization than Mr. Blue.
- Meaningful Name: His alias is Mr. Brown and he's very much full of shit.
- Motor Mouth: He won't stop talking during the opening scene.
- No Name Given: We never know his name.
- Pop-Cultured Badass: Downplayed on the badass part, he dies quickly but he was semi able to drive before the bullet in the head does him in, and rants about Madonna.
Mr. Blue (Eddie Bunker)
An old robber, one of the six men assembled for the heist.
- Cool Old Guy: An elderly jewel thief who listens to Madonna.
- Deadpan Snarker: When the others are trying to convince Mr. Pink to give the waitress a tip.Mr. Pink: She was okay, but she was nothing special.Mr. Blue: What's special? Take you in the back and suck your dick?
- Everybody Has Standards: Virtually all of his dialogue is him arguing in favor of tipping waitresses.
- Informed Attribute: The only reason we know he died is because Joe said so.
- Killed Offscreen: And no one is sure how.
- No Name Given: Along with Mr. Pink and Mr. Brown, we never find out his real name.
- The Quiet One / The Stoic: He does speak, but less so than the other characters, given his limited screentime.
- Red Shirt: And doesn't even die onscreen.
- Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: Even the tagline sometimes says "five men" instead of six.
- Smoking Is Cool: He smokes cigars, in contrast to the cigarettes the other guys smoke.
"Nice Guy" Eddie Cabot (Chris Penn)
Joe Cabot's son, helping the latter run the Family Business. Not actually nice.
- Asshole Victim: Some mafia prince with crazy eyes isn't a big lost.
- Berserk Button: "STOP POINTING THAT FUCKING GUN AT MY DAD!"
- Beware the Nice Ones: Don't let his nickname fool you. He's worse than you think.
- The Dragon: To his father.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Is somewhat disgusted by Mr. Pink's refusal to tip the waitress. And also opposes torturing Marvin Nash, albeit for pragmatic reasons:Eddie: If you fucking beat this prick long enough, he'll tell you he started the goddamn Chicago fire, now that don't necessarily make it fucking so!
- Fiery Redhead: Dark red hair and a fearsome temper.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Justified, the crew screwed up big time and his dad wants to know.
- Ironic Nickname: He's more of a Comparatively Nice Guy Eddie.
- Fluffy the Terrible: Nice Guy Eddie is more dangerous than his name and clothes leads on. He unceremoniously kill Marvin Nash after Orange's fake story to show he isn't buying it.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: More so than the rest of the cast it seems, which is saying something.
- Villainous Breakdown: When he finds out Mr Orange killed Mr Blonde, and again when he gets involved in the Mexican Standoff between himself, his dad and Mr. White.
Joe Cabot (Lawrence Tierney)
A local mob boss and the mastermind behind the jewel heist. Father of Nice Guy Eddie.
- A Father to His Men: One of his men is his son and Blonde seems to be a surrogate one. He pays for everyone's lunch at the start of the film.
- Bald of Evil: Orange even says he looks just like the Thing.
- Big Bad: He is the one who hired Mr. Blonde, and the mastermind behind the jewel heist.
- Cool Old Guy: When not being a Jerkass.
- Jerkass: He's overall a grouchy, somewhat misogynistic old man. And of course, his cop-hating quality comes out near the end of the film.
Marvin Nash (Kirk Baltz)
A police officer taken hostage by Mr Blonde.
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg: After Mr. Blonde tortured him, Nash begged him to stop once the tape on his mouth came loose.
- Badass in Distress: He's got balls of steel, and spends all his screentime prisoner.
- The Chew Toy: Kidnapped during a robbery, beaten, tied to a chair and tortured by a psychopath and nearly set on fire. In the end he is shot after having had his ear cut off.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Was subjected to this by Mr. Blonde.
- Death by Disfigurement: He's shot to death after having an ear cut off.
- Ear Ache: Blonde slices one of his ears off.
- Human Shield: Mr Blonde uses him as one during the getaway.
- I Have a Family: An ad-lib by Baltz has him say this while begging Mr. Blonde not to burn him alive.
- Made of Iron: He's driven around in a trunk, beaten up, has his face cut and his ear hacked off, and still doesn't give up Mr Orange.