WARNING: Unmarked spoilers ahead!
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Played by: John Travolta
- Affably Evil: While he has a tendency to be a jerk, he does have quite a few friendly conversations with Jules.
- Alas, Poor Villain: It can be sad to see him anticlimactically meet his end right after the story that focused on him.
- Alliterative Name: Vincent Vega.
- Artistic License Gun Safety: When Vincent, an experienced hitman, is talking with Marvin, he rests his hand on the edge of the seat, his pistol pointed straight at Marvin with his finger still on the trigger. When Jules hits a bump,note Vincent accidentally fires the weapon, shooting Marvin in the face and naming a trope. Even after the accident, Vincent doesn't remove his finger from the trigger; he continues waving it around as though the gun had nothing to do with the mess in the backseat.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: Spends most of the movie in a suit. He loses it after the Wolf's clean-up job. Subverted in that whilst he initially comes off as your typical stoic, smooth-as-ice hit-man, as the film progresses Vincent proves to be a useless, idiotic person who causes far more problems than he resolves and is simply too strung out on heroin to let anything faze him. Alongside Jules, a legitimate badass, he manages to appear competent, but on his own it becomes all too obvious that he relies on his partner to do all of the work for him.
- Bad Mood as an Excuse: For insulting Butch.
- The Brute: To Marsellus, as the abrasive but quiet Dumb Muscle.
- Bumbling Sidekick: To Jules. Notably, Vincent's incompetence gets him killed barely a day or two after Jules retires.
- Calling Your Bathroom Breaks: Vincent always crudely announces his need to go, which helps to differentiate him from his more professional counterpart, Jules. It also creates some incongruity with his character, being a professional hitman in a suit and tie.
- Camping a Crapper: He meets his end seconds after leaving Butch's bathroom.
- Deconstructed Character Archetype: Of the standard crime thriller protagonist. He's cool, calm and doesn't let anything faze him, but this is almost entirely because he's on heroin through most of the movie and is unaware of his surroundings. His actual skills as a hitman are highly dubious, as Jules does all of the work for the two of them, while Vincent immediately makes the situation worse whenever he actually does anything. Despite all of this, his charming charisma is enough to fool the audience into believing him to be all that he appears to be for most of the movie.
- Decoy Protagonist: Initially seems to be the typical suave bad-boy protagonist of the film, but the moment the nonlinear format of the movie is revealed he drops out of the spotlight almost completely and dies abruptly and anticlimactically before the movie's end. As a character, he is also shown to be generally useless and more trouble than he's worth, making both Jules and Butch fit the protagonist role better than he does.
- Dies Wide Open: When Butch shoots him down, his eyes are still open.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: After being the central character of the previous story, he comes out of the bathroom and gets shot by Butch before he can even say or do anything.
- Dumb Muscle: An assassin who's dumb as a box of rocks. He has little understanding of gun safety, doesn't appear to be able to even wash his hands correctly and dies because he leaves his weapon where his mark can get to it.
- Genre Blind: He claims that he doesn't watch television, which might explain his many unwise decisions that lead to his demise (being strung out on heroin all the time probably doesn't help either). He doesn't consider that taking a bathroom break during a stakeout mission generally isn't a good idea, and that continuing with the life of a hitman probably isn't the wisest reaction to an apparent brush with a divine miracle.
- The Hero Dies: He is the protagonist of the first story and some consider him to be the protagonist of the movie since he is the only major character to appear in all three stories, and Travolta was nominated for the leading Oscar for his performance (although his appearance in the second is extremely brief). That doesn't stop him from dying like a chump as soon as he goes up against Butch.
- Hero In Name Only: He is one of the main characters and we follow him for one story as the protagonist but he is a rude, drug-addicted hitman.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: When Butch kills him with Marsellus' Wallace's gun. A symbolic way of saying that being attached to Marsellus would get him killed.
- Idiot Hero: For a given value of heroic, but he's definitely not all that bright. Constant heroin use does not a competent hitman make.
- I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: Trope Namer. He waves a loaded gun around with his finger on the trigger, and accidentally shoots Marvin in the face. Later, Vincent leaves a gun lying around when he goes to the bathroom, and his target finds it.
- Jerkass: He happens to behave like this as a result of his bad day.
- Lethally Stupid: Vincent accidentally kills Marvin and spatters the car with blood, in the middle of a talk. He almost accidentally gets his boss' wife killed too.
- The Millstone: He is never much more than a liability in whatever he's involved in. He fails to locate the hiding man in the bathroom while Jules is interrogating the others, accidentally shoots Marvin, gets into a pointless argument with Wolf, almost screws up Jules' peace negotiation with Pumpkin and Honey Bunny, leaves heroin out for Mia to nearly die from an overdose, and gets himself killed waiting for Butch.
- Pet the Dog: How he treats Mia offsets some of his assholish tendencies.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The apathetic, stone-faced blue oni to Jules. In a twist, his cool, apathetic demeanor is the direct result of a drug habit, and thus he is actually less competent and collected than the more emotional Jules.
- Salt and Pepper: The Salt to Jules' Pepper, being the laid-back but incompetent white guy.
- Ship Tease: With Mia. However, because she's married to Marsellus, Vincent knows better than to try anything. Or at least, Mia's overdosing and Vince dying keep him from ever getting to that point.
- Siblings in Crime: With Vic Vega/Mr. Blonde, though it appears the two of them work for different bosses.
- The Spock: To Jules' McCoy.
- The Stoic: When he's 'in character'.
- Those Two Bad Guys: With Jules.
- Too Dumb to Live: Due to being a strung-out heroin addict. He leaves his gun on the counter when staking out Butch's house, resulting in Butch taking the gun himself and killing Vincent with it. Also, he nearly gets himself shot earlier in the film by screwing up Jules' peace negotiation with Pumpkin and Honey Bunny.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Hamburgers.
- Ungrateful Bastard: He spends the entire time after shooting Marvin in the face being whiny and ungrateful to the people trying to help him clean up the mess that he caused. Jules is quick to call him out on it, and he's given a really precise chewing out by Mr. Wolf.
- Villain Protagonist: Along with Jules. They're two hitmen working for an L.A. crime lord who mercilessly execute his partners in a business transaction in the opening.
Played by: Samuel L. Jackson
"If my answers frighten you, Vincent, then you should cease asking scary questions."
- Affably Evil: When not "in character".
- Afro Asskicker: Well, a Jheri Curl Asskicker anyway.
- As the Good Book Says...: He's fond of (mis)quoting Ezekiel 25:17 (with a bit of his own embellishment, as only the final lines of Jules' speech, the ones about "great vengeance and furious anger," appear in the aforementioned passage) before executing someone. As he explains to another character later, he used to think it was just some "coldblooded shit" that one said to someone before "popping a cap in his ass", but he's begun to question his lifestyle after really thinking about its meaning.
- The Atoner: Starts down this by the end of the film."The truth is, you're the weak. And I'm the tyranny of evil men. But I'm tryin', Ringo, I'm tryin' real hard to be the shepherd."
- Badass Baritone: It's Samuel L. Jackson, muthafucka. His voice noticeably deepens when he's talking to a target, suggesting it's just another facet of his hitman 'persona' that he puts on in front of his targets. Unlike Vincent, he is actually a hyper-competent badass able to terrify a man just by eating his burger.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: Wears a suit for most of the movie. After Vincent shoots Marvin, he's forced to wear a really ugly T-shirt.
- Beam Me Up, Scotty!: In-Universe. Jules has taken some serious artistic license in adapting Ezekiel 25:17 into a Badass Creed, since the way he quotes the passage is almost entirely incorrect. But it's still some cold-blooded shit.
- Berserk Button: Not remembering what Marsellus Wallace looks like. Answering a question with "what." Trying to fuck Marsellus Wallace like a bitch. And damn, you'd better remember that Marsellus Wallace don't like to be fucked by nobody but Mrs. Wallace.
- But Now I Must Go: Played with, as when Jules has a near-death and then near-life in prison moment in the same day, he decides he must leave and travel the world. Not only is he not a heroic character, but the story is told out of order.
- Breakout Character: When the movie first came out, Jules was overshadowed by the marketing around Vincent Vega and Travolta's Career Resurrection. Years later, Jules is seen as the most popular character from the film and even gets argued as the "true" main character.
- Co-Dragons: With Paul. Paul is Marsellus' Number Two, while Jules is more visible and active.
- Deadpan Snarker: Usually overshadowed by his Large Ham status, but he does get in some good snarking:
- His response to Vincent's statement that he doesn't watch television:Jules: But you are aware there's an invention called television, and that on that invention, they show shows, right?
- His response to Brett's nervous repetition of the word "what" (when Jules asked him what country he was from):Jules: "What" ain't no country I ever heard of. They speak English in "What?"
- His response to Vincent's statement that he doesn't watch television:
- The Dragon: Jules is Marsellus Wallace's primary enforcer.
- Enemy Eats Your Lunch: He's the trope page image, taken when he eats Brett's burger and drinks from his soda to intimidate him.
- Faux Affably Evil: When "in character". He initially acts rather polite and cordial towards Brett and his friend, but suddenly shoots Brett's friend dead without blinking an eye before starting to really grill Brett about what he did.
- HeelFaith Turn: His reciting from the Bible was initially simply to make himself more intimidating, but when he actually takes the time to think about what he's saying, he decides to become a better person. This is brought on by his near-death experience in the apartment, where a gangster unloads a gun at him at close range, and misses every time. This leaves Jules shaken enough to reexamine his life.
- Heel Realization: The entire final part of the movie involves Jules' realization that he was, in fact, a tool used by wicked men.
- Hitman with a Heart: Believes in a higher power and is arguably more caring than Vincent.
- Holy Hitman: "And you will know my name is the LORD, when I lay my vengeance upon thee." When Jules actually thinks about what this means, especially after almost getting shot, he really starts to wonder about his life choices.
- Hot-Blooded: He can act this way around his target, but it's just a tool for intimidation.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: Vincent is a drug-addled moron who simply cannot do anything right, while Jules is a very smart, very competent professional who backs up his image with action. In fact, his not being around results in Vincent getting himself killed.
- Kirk Summation: He figures "Ringo" out pretty quickly and is able to talk him out of leaving the diner in peace without the briefcase.
- Large Ham: At many points, such as the ending and of course the infamous "Describe what Marsellus Wallace looks like!" bit.
- The McCoy: To Vincent's Spock. This becomes especially emphasized after his Near-Death Experience.
- Messy Pig: Jules gives this as a reason for why, despite not being Jewish or Muslim, he doesn't eat pork.
- Near-Death Experience: The mook in the bathroom nearly kills both him and Vince, but misses every shot. Jules is the only one who takes time to contemplate the situation, however, and decides to call it quits before the mob life gets him killed.
- The Nicknamer: Calls his current targets by nicknames to further assert his power over them.
- No Indoor Voice: Most prominently when he and Vincent meet Brett: he splits the guy's eardrums before splitting his skull.
- Pop-Cultured Badass: He makes references to Green Acres, A Flock of Seagulls, and other bits of pop culture.
- Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: Jules' reading of Ezekiel 25:17, especially the last line. "If I said it — it meant your ass."
- Real Men Love Jesus: An absurdly intimidating hit man who believes in the Bible.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Red to (an unusually wickeder) Paul's blue. He's also the hammy religious red oni to Vincent.
- Salt and Pepper: The Pepper to Vincent's Salt, being a very hammy but also highly competent black guy.
- Scary Black Man: Very much so, enough to be the page image.
- Soul Brotha: Jules wears a Gerry curl hairdo and Porn Stache and speaks with a bit of Jive Turkey. Tarantino is known for his '70s throwback embellishments.
- Those Two Bad Guys: With Vincent.
- Villain Protagonist: Along with Vincent, but becomes more of an Anti-Hero by the end of the film.
- Walking the Earth: Invoked, as his retirement plan.
Played by: Uma Thurman
"Why do we feel it's necessary to yak about bullshit in order to be comfortable?"
- Amazon Brigade: In the TV pilot she starred in. Her character's specialty was knives. And terrible jokes.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted when she overdoses, blood, spittle and all.
- Brutal Honesty: She doesn't have much of a filter and offers her summation of almost every situation. This is likely because her husband is a mob boss, so she's grown accustomed to not being taken to task.
- Deadpan Snarker: Most notable in her banter with Vince.This doesn't sound like the usual, mindless, boring, gettin'-to-know-you chitchat.
- Designated Love Interest: Of a sort. We are told several times she is married to Marsellus, and it's even an important plot point, but they barely interact with each other and only appear on-screen together once and very briefly.
- Drugs Are Bad: Mia nearly dies from an overdose, and the off-the-grid "medical treatment" she receives is rather disturbing.
- Does Not Like Shoes: She is barefoot at home and when she dances, which takes up a large chunk of her screen time.
- Femme Fatale: She does fit the description for the most part, but is depicted as less of a villain than usual.
- Incredibly Lame Pun: She was part of a failed TV pilot called Fox Force Five, where at the end of every episode, she would tell one of these. We only get to hear the first one.
- Morality Pet: To Vincent. He actually seems to lower his guard around her.
- Near-Death Experience: Her accidental heroin overdose. It's only through Vincent getting her to his dealer's house to get a shot of adrenaline to the heart that she lives.
- Noodle Incident: When Vincent asks Mia about the story where Tony Rocky Horror was thrown out of a building for giving Mia a foot massage, Mia points out how stupid and disproportionate this is, then says that no one but Marsellus and Tony know what happened. We never find out.
- Ship Tease: With Vincent. Since Butch gunned Vincent down, it goes nowhere.
- Trophy Wife: Marsellus probably married her because of her beauty and youth.
- Where Da White Women At?: Married to Marsellus.
- Your Cheating Heart: She is very definitely interested in screwing Vincent, and things are going in that direction against his intent, but she finds his baggie of what she thinks is coke...
Played by: Bruce Willis
"That's how you're gonna beat 'em, Butch. They keep underestimating you."
- Accidental Murder: He accidentally kills another boxer in the ring. This is what starts all of his trouble, as he'd promised Marsellus Wallace that he'd take a dive.
- Anthropomorphic Personification: In a symbolic reading of the film, Butch is essentially an Anthropomorphic Personification of Honor. His whole storyline revolves around him attempting to do right by his family legacy, and nearly all of his actions stem from him refusing to do anything that would compromise his moral code. His conflict with Marsellus is ultimately an ideological conflict over whether Power trumps Honor.
- The Atoner: While Butch claims not to care about killing his opponent, he mutters, "Sorry, Floyd," to the air when he hears the news. His compulsion to save Marsellus may be connected.
- Anti-Hero: He is the closest thing the movie has to a good guy since he's not a criminal and saves Marsellus' life, but he's still more than willing to double cross mob bosses and at least pretends he doesn't care that he accidentally killed an opponent in the ring.
- Badass Back: Butch slashes the pawn-shop owner with a katana, walks past him, then finishes him off by thrusting it behind him.
- Badass in Distress: Complete with Breaking the Bonds.
- Bald of Awesome: This is one of Bruce Willis' first roles as a bald man.
- Berserk Button: When he realizes that Fabienne has not packed his father's pocket watch.
- Car Fu: Butch runs down the crime boss who wants him dead after seeing him at a crosswalk. Unlike most, he doesn't get to full speed; he hits him after only going about ten feet. He also manages to injure himself in the process as he was not wearing a seat belt.
- Casualty in the Ring: Happens offscreen to the man Butch fought. This gets him in serious trouble with Marsellus Wallace, because he was supposed to throw the fight for him.
- Chainsaw Good: Subverted. Butch is choosing a weapon to use to rescue Marsellus Wallace. He grabs a chainsaw, and then stops and instead grabs a katana, since it's a much more pragmatic choice to sneak up on someone.
- Conscience Makes You Go Back: Him going back to save Marsellus after escaping The Gimp, even though Butch owes Marsellus nothing.
- Enemy Mine: When Butch goes back to rescue Marsellus. It ends up getting Marsellus to downgrade his punishment from death to exile.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Subverted; he only gets angry twice - when he sees that Fabienne has forgotten the watch, and during the chase with Marsellus.
- Honor Before Reason: It made more sense for Butch to just leave Marsellus behind, but the heroic exploits of his ancestors inspired him to do the right thing.
- Irony: Despite his grandfather having been killed in the Pacific by the Japanese in World War 2 (as explained during the backstory of his precious gold watch), Butch seems to regard the katana (a Japanese sword), with which he commits his first heroic deed, with a fascinated reverence.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: As much of an asshole as he can be, he can still be trusted to do the right thing. Even saving Marsellus when Butch had every reason to leave him for dead.
- Jobber: Subverting this is what got him in trouble with Marsellus.
- Katanas Are Just Better: He chooses this weapon to save Wallace's life in the pawn shop. Made ironic by the fact that his grandfather was killed by the Japanese in the Pacific during World War 2.
- Its also the only weapon he could get his hands on. The only other options are tools or a baseball bat.
- Meaningful Name: "I'm American, honey. Our names don't mean shit." Ironically, his name is meaningful, since "Butch" means "masculine" or "manly".
- Memento MacGuffin: His father's watch.
- Mood-Swinger: He rather frighteningly goes from Tranquil Fury to just plain fury at the flick of a switch.
- Persona Non Grata: Marsellus revokes Butch's "L.A. privileges", but this was a downgrade from an earlier implication that he'd be tortured and probably killed for disobeying Marsellus. Besides, he was planning to ride off into the sunset and never look back anyway, so "never setting foot in L.A. again" wasn't too harsh of a condition.
- Pragmatic Hero: He saves Marsellus due to personal honor.
- Reality Ensues: Driving into someone from just a couple feet away will not kill them, and it will still be enough to hurt you if you're not wearing your seat belt.
- Redemption Earns Life: Not as clear cut as other examples, but Butch's decision to save Marsellus Wallace from being raped might just be what saves him from being killed by Wallace's associates. He crosses Wallace in the beginning, but choosing to save him might spare Butch from being killed later on.Quentin Tarantino: "If he just left [the pawn shop], would he still get out of town with Fabianne? Would he still make it to Tennessee? Would he still have all the money and everything like that? Well, he'd be looking over his shoulder. Right now, he's not looking over his shoulder because he did the moral thing."
- Although, things might change when Marsellus finds out Butch killed his favorite Mook, Vincent.
- Symbolism: Given Tarantino's love of Japanese culture, it's almost certain that the weapon he happened to find, a katana, was meant to tie into the samurai ideal of honor, given that honor is Butch's defining character trait and he went so far as to save his enemy because he refused to turn his back on his sense of honor.
- Throwing the Fight: Marsellus tries to make him do this. He thinks winning the fight and betting everything on himself is a better idea.
- Token Good Teammate: The only half-decent character working for Marsellus, or in the movie's cast (with the possible exception of Jules post-Character Development). He does go against Marsellus' orders, unintentionally killing his opponent in the ring, and flip-flopping about it afterward: he smack talks him, saying if he was a better fighter he wouldn't be dead, but also says to himself "Sorry, Floyd."
- Tragic Keepsake: Why he's so protective of his father's watch.
Winston "The" Wolf
Played by: Harvey Keitel
"I think fast, I talk fast, and I need you guys to act fast if you wanna get out of this."
- The Ace: He is very good at what he does.
- Affably Evil: A dapper, elegant gentleman with excellent manners and a pleasant disposition who will dispose of dead bodies to "solve problems" possibly the nicest thing he does for a living.
- Alliterative Name: Winston Wolf.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: He is in a nice tux for the duration of his screentime and is still badass enough to bark orders at hitmen. Justified as Marsellus called him away from a party he was attending.
- Badass Mustache: And it's pretty classy to boot.
- Cleanup Crew: He "solves problems", those problems in this case being a dead body and a blood-soaked car.
- Clock King: Says he'll arrive at Jimmy's house in ten minutes, and pulls up on his driveway nine minutes and forty-seven seconds later. He isn't as obsessive or smug as the usual type.
- Cool Car: Acura NSX, driven very fast, right up to the fourth wall.
- Deadpan Snarker: "Let's not start sucking each others' dicks quite yet" takes the cake, but he spends a great deal of his screentime snarking at Jimmie, Jules, and Vincent. The Wolf is especially acidic towards Vincent, but does tone it down with Jimmie on the grounds that he's doing them a huge favor by not kicking them out and/or calling the police."If I'm curt with you, it's because time is a factor. I think fast, I talk fast, and I need you guys to act fast if you wanna get out of this. So, pretty please with sugar on top... Clean the fucking car."
- Evil Genius: He's smart enough to clean up Jules, Vincent, and Marvin's corpse in less than an hour and seems to be Marsellus' primary cleaner.
- Hyper-Competent Sidekick: All Marsellus had to do was say that he was putting The Wolf on the job, and a fretting panicky Jules calmed down immediately. He really is as brilliant as his reputation precedes, and at the end, Jules and Vincent were raving about how awesome it was to see him at work.
- Real Men Take It Black: Averted. The Wolf likes his coffee with lots of cream and sugar.
- Red Baron: Usually just referred to as "The Wolf."
- Sophisticated as Hell: He is charming, professional, and cultured in his manner of dress and speech, but he is no less foul-mouthed than his fellow criminals.
- Verbal Business Card: "I'm Winston Wolf. I solve problems."
- Wicked Cultured: He attends elegant parties, sports fine clothes, is well-spoken, and has a nice car. Oh, and he disposes of dead bodies.
Ringo a.k.a. "Pumpkin"
Played by: Tim Roth
"Yeah, well the days of me forgetting are over, and the days of me remembering have just begun."
- Affably Evil: Before holding up the restaurant, he has a rather pleasant and friendly conversation with Yolanda.
- Asian Store-Owner: Ringo laments in the opening conversation about how this trope has made knocking over convenience stores nearly impossible, since many such store owners don't speak enough English to understand "Open the fucking register!" Although he never specifically refers to Asian store owners, only "foreign".
- Brandishment Bluff: He discusses a borderline case about a story he heard of someone robbing a bank by walking in with a phone, and saying there was a little girl on the line that they were going to kill if the teller didn't hand over the money. He points out there was probably never a little girl in the first place, but it proved that you could rob a bank with nothing more than a cell phone.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He includes his girlfriend in his robberies.
- Evil Brit: Going by his accent.
- Hypocritical Humor: During the opening scene, Pumpkin complains about how "too many foreigners own liquor stores", which makes robbing them harder. Pumpkin is an Englishman in America — a foreigner, in other words.
- Karma Houdini: He and Honey Bunny are made to give back the MacGuffin briefcase and Jules' wallet... but, other than that, they get to keep all the loot they've robbed, including the contents of the register, several of the other diners' wallets and a cell phone, and Jules' money, and walk away entirely unharmed — while, admittedly, looking rather shook up.
- Motor Mouth: He does most of the talking when he's with Yolanda but shuts up pretty quickly once he meets Jules.
- No Name Given: We never do find out Ringo's real name ("Pumpkin" is Honey Bunny's pet name for him and Jules only refers to him as "Ringo" due to his English accent).
- Outlaw Couple: With Yolanda.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: In his opening conversation with Honey Bunny, he casually drops slurs against pretty much every racial and religious group that exists.
- Sickeningly Sweethearts: With Yolanda.
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: Drops off quite a lot of swears in the intro scene.
Yolanda AKA Honey Bunny
Played by: Amanda Plummer
Any of you fucking pricks move, and I'll execute every motherfucking last one of ya!
- Affably Evil: At least when not waving around a gun, she can be quite friendly.
- Ax-Crazy: Compared to Ringo. She's ready to blow people's heads off. Except since she and Pumpkin agree at the beginning they don't want to kill anyone, it's apparently just her act during the robbery to scare people into compliance. Note how, when Jules gets the drop on Ringo, she's panicky, crying, terrified and clearly out of her depth — but despite apparently being utterly unstable and psychotic moments before, never pulls the trigger.
- Blah Blah Blah: When she and Ringo talk about quitting robbing.Honey Bunny: When you go on like this, you know what you sound like?
Pumpkin: I sound like a sensible fucking man, is what I sound like.
Honey Bunny: You sound like a duck. Quack, quack, quack, quack, quack, quack, quack...
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: She and Ringo obviously love each other very much.
- Karma Houdini: Along with Ringo, she gets away with the robbery scot-free.
- Nice to the Waiter: She's very pleasant to the waitress who serves her and "Pumpkin" coffee in the diner. Then they hold the place up.
- Outlaw Couple: With Ringo. He's the calm and cool one, she's the frightening and psychotic one.
- Sickeningly Sweethearts: With Ringo, if their conversation before holding up the diner is any indication.
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: Not so much in normal conversation, but she really gets going when the robbery starts.
Played by: Ving Rhames
"Fuck pride. Pride only hurts, it never helps."
- Affably Evil: He's a powerful crime lord but he's polite, calm, kind to his employees and reasonable.
- Anthropomorphic Personification: In a symbolic reading of the film, Marsellus is essentially an Anthropomorphic Personification of Power. Nearly all of the events in the film either happen because of orders that he gives, or because of characters trying to avoid his wrath; he can decide any character's fate on a whim, and it's simply taken as a given that defying his will means death. Even Butch, who comes the closest to actually "beating" him, only gets his happy ending because Marsellus chooses to let him go free. Of course, the only reason Marsellus has the ability to make that choice is because Butch saved his life; the implication seems to be that no Power is absolute.
- Badass Baritone: It's Ving Rhames. The badass part is, when he mentions going medieval on Zed's ass, you better believe him.
- Bald, Black Leader Guy: Clearly. But he doesn't look like a bitch.
- Bald of Awesome: One of the two things Brett describes him as, aside from being black.
- Benevolent Boss: Implied at least. While staking out Butch's apartment, he goes to get coffee and donuts for Vincent and himself. He's also surprisingly understanding when Jules lashes out at him after the whole "Marvin" incident.
- Berserk Button: Given how angry he gets about Butch's ploy and the way he gets personally involved as well as the implication that Brett tried to double cross him, it's fair to say that betrayal is a big one for him.
- Big Bad: A rare cross between this and Villain Protagonist as he's behind all of Vincent and Jules's dirty dealings. Played straight in Butch's story.
- Brick Joke: At the beginning of the movie, Jules says, "Marsellus Wallace don't like to be fucked by anybody except Mrs. Wallace." Near the end of the movie, he is randomly taken captive by two sadistic hillbilly types in the basement of their pawn shop, where they proceed to rape him. "I'm pretty fucking far from okay".
- Cold-Blooded Torture: What he plans to do to his rapist.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Subverted. Everybody thinks Marsellus threw somebody out of a five-story window for giving his wife a foot massage, but Mia denies it ever happened. Of course, Mia is an Unreliable Narrator so the exact truth is left ambiguous to the audience.
- Distressed Dude: Becomes this for Butch to rescue as part of his Redemption Quest.
- The Don: He is the boss of his organization.
- Double Take: When he spotted Butch escaping. Complete with a Precision F-Strike which, if you consider the movie, is improbably precise.Marsellus: ...Motherfucker.
- Dramatic Deadpan: A lot. If he raises his voice, it means some serious shit has gone down.
- The Dreaded: As evident by the fact that almost everyone who knows him expresses at least some hesitation in pissing him off.
- Equal-Opportunity Evil: Marsellus runs a pretty diverse group for an organized crime outfit. It's especially odd, considering Vince is the brother of a guy working for a more typical Mafia group whose leader makes a few rather unfortunate remarks about blacks.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Lets Butch go for saving him from the rapists.
- The Faceless: Up until the "Gold Watch" chapter, when Butch runs into him at the crosswalk. This is the first point in the film where his face is clearly seen, and his face is seen in "The Bonnie Situation" as well, which chronologically takes place well before "The Gold Watch".
- Large and in Charge: He is the largest person in the entire cast and also the most powerful.
- Made of Iron: He takes a lot of abuse, being rammed over by Butch. It doesn't seem to slow him down.
- Major Injury Underreaction: His response to Butch asking him if he's okay after being raped (on top of having been hit by a car not long ago)? "Naw, man. I'm pretty fuckin' far from okay." Downplayed in that he's clearly in a lot of pain, and it's taking him a fair bit of effort to stand up straight.
- Noble Demon: He's genuinely grateful to Butch for saving his life, when it would have been more pragmatic to leave him, and lets him go as a way of thanking him.
- Not So Different: For all his talk about the folly of pride, he's ultimately just as vulnerable to it as Butch. His decision to torture Zed to death is partly motivated by revenge, but it's made pretty clear that he also feels the need to salvage his pride by making an example of the man who emasculated him.
- Pragmatic Villainy: After Butch saves him, Marsellus is willing to make a deal: if Butch never tells anyone else what happened, and leaves Los Angeles that night, Marsellus will forget all the ways Butch has wronged him. Butch agrees, and Marsellus, true to his word, lets him go.
- Rape Portrayed as Redemption: Inverted, since the rape is more about Butch's redemption than Marsellus'. After being saved from the rapists by Butch, he calls off their feud.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: See Even Evil Has Standards. He doesn't get angry at all, not even Tranquil Fury, when Jules gets short with him over the Marvin situation. He also seems to take Jules quitting very well too.
- Scary Black Man: Does he look like a bitch?
- Sharp-Dressed Man: Hes big on suits, and wears natty jumpers when at home.
- To the Pain: Marsellus is about to "get medieval on your ass".
- Villainous Friendship: Jules and Vincent are loyal to him and Marsellus, in turn, treats them well. When they finally get back from the whole business with Brett, Marsellus pulls Vincent into a hug, and even when he and Jules argue over Marvin's death, it's clear there's a friendliness behind it and he personally sends Winston to bail them out.
- Where Da White Women At?: Married to Mia.
Played by: Maria de Medeiros
- Big Beautiful Woman: She either really wants that pot belly, or is giving Butch teasing hints that she wants to have his baby.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Has some shades of this with the things she talks about.
- Funny Foreigner: There is some humor surrounding her accent.
- Inspirationally Disadvantaged: Averted. Though heavily implied to be mentally impaired (Butch teases her cruelly over this before apologizing), she's never presented as being more capable than him on any front.
- The Load: To Butch. He would have just skipped town and avoided all the trouble in his plot line, except that she accidentally left his most valued possession behind in their apartment when she packed their stuff, even though he specifically reminded her to get it. Also, when he shows up at the end, beaten and bloodied and riding a stolen motorcycle, she ignores his repeated pleas for her to hurry up and get on, and just stands there in the parking lot asking him questions.
- Morality Pet: For Butch.
Played by: Christopher Walken
- Ass Shove: How he managed to hide the watch.
- Memento MacGuffin: Delivers one to a very young Butch.
- Mood Whiplash: Koons tells a harrowing story about Butch's ancestors carrying the watch. The story becomes absurd and hilariously ridiculous as he goes on, but his tone never changes. Then again, it's Christopher Walken.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: He was a POW and tortured in Vietnam.
Played by: Eric Stoltz
- Affably Evil: He's a drug dealer but a pretty friendly and pleasant guy.
- Artistic License Medicine: The injection scene would not have worked in real life for a variety of reasons.
- Bystander Syndrome: Tries to do this when Vincent brings an overdosed Mia to his house for treatment. Vincent doesn't take no for an answer.
- Erudite Stoner: He sits around his house all day in a bathrobe but he's smart enough to keep medical journals around his place in case of ODs. He also seems to be one of the more reasonable characters in the film.
- Looks Like Jesus: He has long hair and a beard.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: He casually uses the N Word and implies that he only sells to white people.
- The Medic: As mentioned above, he is capable of bringing people back from ODs.
- The Slacker: He's described in the script as someone who looks like he's never had a job.
- Played by: Rosanna Arquette
- Nightmare Fetishist: She seems to enjoy Mia's OD and revival, at least in retrospect, calling it "trippy" with a big grin.
- Savage Piercings: Largely subverted. She's chock full of facial piercings, and has at least one genital piercing by her own account, but still seems like one of the more normal people in the movie.
- Played by: Angela Jones
- Does Not Like Shoes: Drives her cab barefooted.
- Expy: Jones played a character named Gabriela in a short film in 1991, Curdled, who was about as creepy in the same ways as Esmerelda. Tarantino saw Curdled and created Esmerelda's role for Jones; Pulp Fiction's success subsequently led to Curdled being remade as a full-length feature in 1996. Esmerelda and Gabriela could easily be the same character.
- Funny Foreigner: She speaks with an exaggerated accent that seems to be Played for Laughs.
- Nightmare Fetishist: She is fascinated by death and murder.
- You No Take Candle: "Who ees dees saaade?"
- Played by: Paul Calderón
- Affably Evil: As with most of the criminals in this movie, he's pretty polite when he needs to be.
- The Bartender: Owns the bar that Marsellus conducts his business at.
- Number Two: To Marsellus.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Blue to Jules' red, though he subverts the usual scenario by being much more on the evil side than him.
- Played by: Phil La Marr
- Boom, Headshot!: How he's killed.
- Butt-Monkey: In his short screen time, he's told to shut up, gets traumatized as he watches his friends die, and then he gets his head blown off by accident. Then comes the humiliation of disposing of his body.
- Foreshadowing: Vincent mentions to Jules that one of the men in Brett's apartment is working for them, and thus by extension Wallace. Since Marvin is the only person not killed during the bloodbath, the audience is left to assume it was him, though it's never explicitly revealed.
- I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: The Trope Namer, and his fate.
- The Mole: It's implied he was Jules and Vince's informant, and is also on Wallace's payroll.
- Pretty Little Headshots: Averted. When he gets shot in the face, the entire inside of his head goes all over the car.
- Surprisingly Sudden Death:Vincent: I mean, do you think that God came down from Heaven and stopped- (gunfire, blood and brains splatter over the rear window and Vincent and Jules) Oh man, I shot Marvin in the face.
- Your Head Asplode: His ultimate fate.
- Played by: Frank Whaley
- Asshole Victim: He apparently screwed Marsellus out of a fortune for his own greed. With that in mind, Brett had it coming.
- Butt-Monkey: He's interrogated by Jules, has his food eaten, gets shot in the shoulder, and then gets blown away by both Jules and Vincent.
- Hero of Another Story: He and his group somehow came into possession of the briefcase and did something to get on Marsellus' bad side before the events of the film, but we never really find out how.
- Karmic Death: It's strongly implied that he and his buddies are small-time criminals who had double-crossed Marsellus in a past business deal related to the contents of the briefcase.
- Unlucky Everydude: He doesn't seem to be the criminal type. It's strongly hinted he got in way over his head in the deal and bit off more than he could chew when he screwed over Marsellus.
- Played by: Burr Steers
- All There in the Manual: His name is never spoken in the film's dialogue. Jules refers to him only as "Flock of Seagulls" in reference to his Mike Score-esque haircut.
- Boom, Headshot!: At near point-blank range, courtesy of Jules.
- Unlucky Everydude: Like Brett, he just happened to get in over his head. What's worse is that he barely had anything to say.
Man # 4
- Played by: Alexis Arquette
- A-Team Firing: He takes the lead characters by surprise and unloads a large-caliber revolver at them, only for him to miss every shot and get gunned down after a Beat. Jules interprets this unlikely scenario as divine intervention, and decides to give up the life of a gangster and Walk the Earth.
- Cross-Cast Role: A retroactive example, as Alexis Arquette later came out as a transwoman.
- Four Is Death: Subverted. He fares just as well as the rest of Brett's crew against Jules and Vincent, i.e. not at all.
- Hand Cannon: Attempts to wield one. Attempts.
- Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Somehow misses Jules and Vincent despite the bullets hitting directly behind them, meaning they had to purposely miss their target. Jules notices this.
- Karmic Death: He hides in the bathroom while his partners get killed, then pops out for a surprise attack. It doesn't end well for him.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: This is literally how IMDb credits the character.
- Truth in Television: Handguns are difficult to use accurately, especially under extreme stress. A large-caliber revolver is even worse due to the recoil, so missing six shots from across a room while rapid-firing in a panic is more plausible than one might think. As for the bullets hitting the wall "behind" them, a bullet only needs to miss by a fraction of an inch. All-in-all, the "bullet miracle" scene is fairly believable even without divine intervention.
- Played by: Quentin Tarantino
- Creator Cameo: Stepped in after Steve Buscemi was unable to do it because of his schedule.
- Happily Married: His greatest fear in the whole situation is what his wife will think of him, should she find "a bunch of gangsters doing a bunch of gangster shit" in their kitchen.
- Hypocritical Humor: Telling Vincent and Jules, who are wearing his clothes, that they look like a couple of dorks after putting them on. Jules even points this out. Justified in that they were old clothes from his college days and likely not what he normally wears.
- Jerkass: Justified to some degree, given the situation he finds himself in.
- Knight In Sour Armor: He's not too happy with helping Jules and Vincent out of this jam and he doesn't try to hide it.
- Motor Mouth: He flies off on a tangent when Jules and Vincent show up with a dead body.
- Must Have Caffeine: He swats down Jules' attempts to change the subject (after bringing in Marvin's corpse) by praising his coffee, but he can't quite resist the temptation to brag about his taste for the good stuff.
- N-Word Privileges: He goes on a massive tirade to Jules, casually dropping the n-word numerous times; under the circumstances, Jules lets it slide.
- Odd Friendship: Many people wonder why a gangsta like Jules knows a neurotic suburbanite like Jimmy. He's actually Jules' old partner who quit "the life", just like Jules would by the end of the movie, but still occasionally does him small favors.
- Pet the Dog: He helps Jules and he sincerely loves his wife.
- Reformed Criminal: See below. No wonder he's so pissed when Jules brings him a dead body asking for a favor.
- Retired Badass: Word of God says Jimmy used to be Jules' partner but he quit 'the life' and Jules respects that.
- Skewed Priorities: Never mind the mountain of criminal and legal issues that could arise if Jules, Vince, and Marvin's corpse were found at his house; Jimmy's only real concern, to the point that he's nearly horrified at the very thought, is that his wife would divorce him if she walked in on them and discovered their criminal activities.
Zed and Maynard
- Played by: Peter Greene and Duane Whitaker
- Asshole Victim: Zed, perhaps even moreso than Brett. Admit it, you did not cringe when Marsellus implied his fate.
- Beard of Evil: Maynard.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: What Marsellus plans to do to Zed.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: This is to be Zed's fate according to Marsellus. We don't learn much of the specifics but it will apparently involve a pair of pliers and a blow torch.
- Deep South: They speak with Southern accents.
- Depraved Homosexual: They have a rape dungeon at their place of business.
- Dirty Cop: Zed wears a police uniform.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Subverted for laughs. Maynard has no problem with forcibly abducting other men into his torture dungeon to repeatedly rape them, possibly turn them into long term sex slaves like "the Gimp" and/or possibly kill them. It's implied he's done this frequently before (he says that no one kills anyone in his shop — except him, or Zed). The one moral qualm that gives Maynard pause? He is reluctant to wake up the Gimp when he's asleep. Zed, however, being a monster, has no moral reservations about waking up the Gimp. Or, you know, raping men.
- Eviler Than Thou: They prove to be much more depraved than Marsellus and Zed gets to rape him. Might be subverted in the end, if Marsellus "going medieval" is any indication.
- Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon: Zed is quite physically attractive and an utterly depraved monster.
- Fat and Skinny: Maynard and Zed respectively.
- Fat Bastard: Maynard.
- Faux Affably Evil: Zed is pretty soft-spoken for such a despicable excuse for a human being.
- Groin Attack: Zed is on the receiving end of one, from a shotgun at point-blank range. It's implied that it totally destroys his genitals.
- Hate Sink: They're the only characters in the film with no redeeming features whatsoever.
- Karmic Death: Maynard at least goes quick. Seems like it's going to take longer for Zed.
- Lean and Mean: Zed.
- Mugging the Monster: Zed and Maynard probably didn't realize just how powerful Marsellus is in the criminal underworld.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: They use the N-word when choosing whom to rape first.
- Serial Killer: They are implied to be.
- Siblings in Crime: According to the script, Zed and Maynard are brothers.
- They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: Maynard stands out a bit with his beard and long hair but there's still nothing about either of their appearances that hints at how monstrous they are.
- Those Two Bad Guys: They are arguably the most evil people in this movie.
- Torture Cellar: The basement of their pawn shop.
- Played by: Stephen Hibbert
- The Faceless: We never see the face behind the mask.
- Giggling Villain: He starts giggling like a little schoolgirl when he's left alone with Butch.
- Hell-Bent for Leather: Covered from head to toe in black leather.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: It's implied that despite being a Sex Slave to Zed, he is worse than him. Luckily for us, we don't see him do anything before Butch knocks him out.
- Sex Slave: A rare male example.
- Uncertain Doom: The last we see of him, he's left knocked out with a very angry Marsellus Wallace in the other room.
- The Unintelligible: Due to his mask, probably.
Tony Rocky Horror
- Destination Defenestration: He's mainly known for the time Marsellus threw him out of a four-story building.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Allegedly, Marsellus threw him because he gave Mia a foot massage. Mia denies it, but she may not have been telling the truth.
- The Ghost
- Noodle Incident: Just why did Marsellus hurl him out that window?