Characters: Reservoir Dogs

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.

  • Affably Evil: 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: Probably the best case in the film; White is winning a fistfight with Pink when guns (and Blonde) get introduced and shoots two cops while escaping from the scene of the crime.
  • Berserk Button: Gets mad when Mr. Blonde calls him an asshole.
  • Big Brother Mentor: To Orange.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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.

  • 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.
  • 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: An unusual case early on, where he gets a little annoyed with the interpretations of Like a Virgin and gives a straighter, less sexist one.
    • A lesser instance where he's also just as irritated with Mr. Pink for not tipping as the others.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Averted, strangely enough. If you listen, he's actually the character who spews the least amount of racist, misogynist, and homophobic dialogue throughout the movie.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Stoic: Like Spock, but a murderous nut.
  • 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.

Mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi)

A young robber, logical yet neurotic.

  • Karma Houdini: Subverted; he's the only major character to make it out alive, but 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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.
  • Na´ve Newcomer: the other crooks see him as young and inexperienced, which is why White takes him under his wing.
  • 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.

Mr. Brown (Quentin Tarantino)

The getaway driver for the heist.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Mr. Blue (Eddie Bunker)

An old robber, one of the six men assembled for the heist.

  • 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?
  • 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.

"Nice Guy" Eddie Cabot (Chris Penn)

Joe Cabot's son, helping the latter run the Family Business. Not actually nice.

  • Non-Sibling Rivalry: He and his pal Mr. Blonde seem to have a little of this going on in their relationship with Joe. Subverted in that both men are genuinely loyal to one another.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: More so than the rest of the cast it seems.
  • Villainous Breakdown: When he finds out from Mr. Orange about Mr. Blonde wanting to kill all of them, and again when he gets involved in the Mexican Standoff between himself, his dad and Mr. White.

Joe Cabot (Lawrence Tierney)

A local gangster boss and the mastermind behind the jewel heist. Father of Nice Guy Eddie.

Marvin Nash (Kirk Baltz)

A police officer taken hostage by Mr Blonde.