Follow TV Tropes


Trunk Shot

Go To

A specific type of Compartment Shot, which involves a character placing or retrieving something (or someone) in the trunknote  of a car. POV will usually be from within the trunk looking up at the character opening it, sometimes from the actual POV of a character who's been stuffed into the trunk. In some cases, the trunk shot can also be a character looking at their supplies or armaments before either closing it or picking something up from the trunk.

Popularised by Quentin Tarantino who has a Trunk Shot in all of his films.

See Punk in the Trunk for one of the ways this shot can be used. Distant relative of the Huddle Shot.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 

    Films — Animated 
  • Shark Tale does a variant for the underwater setting. When overzealous betting gets the best of Oscar, he's tied up in kelp and tossed into the mouth of a larger fish by a pair of jellyfish goons. Their talking to him before the mouth shuts clearly evokes the Tarantino examples below.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In He Walked By Night, credited with being the first film to use this trope, the cops thoroughly inspect the trunk of a car.
  • Used in the movie Intent to Kill, where the main character and her partner find drugs from the trunk of a limo, and then a bomb under it before both run for cover.
  • In Cold Blood: The cops put a box in the trunk of the car, after putting Dick in the car.
  • Goodfellas opens with the main characters driving into a secluded area to bury the body of the freshly killed Billy Batts, only to find out that he's still alive when they hear him struggling from inside the trunk. The camera cuts to them opening the trunk, seeing him squirming inside the cloth they wrapped him in, and violently attacking him until they're sure that he's dead. Unlike most cases, the camera is placed behind the trunk rather than inside of it.
  • In Uncle Buck, Buck and Tia look at Bug who is bound and gagged in the trunk.
  • In Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, the camera looks at Mad Max and a group of abandoned children, who find a laddered shaft under the trunk of a car wreck.
  • Every Quentin Tarantino movie ever:
    • Jackie Brown: On two different occasions. One where Ordell Jones wants Beaumont Livingston to get in the trunk. And one where Jackie Brown gets stuff from her trunk.
    • Kill Bill: The Bride is talking to Sophie Fatale, who is in the trunk. Also used when Budd is looking down at the Bride in the cemetery, and when the DiVAS look down at her in the wedding chapel.
    • Pulp Fiction: Jules and Vince when they take their guns from the trunk.
    • Reservoir Dogs: looking out from the trunk where the captured cop is.
  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street: Mrs. Lovett looking at Pirelli's body in the chest.
  • Hot Fuzz. Also an intentional Shout-Out. Ta da.
  • In the short film Cigarettes & Coffee, Bill tells Steve in the trunk of his car "...almost home, Stevie!"
  • Used in Triangle, after Jess stashes the body in the trunk of her car.
  • In Wild Tales, when Simón Fisher loads explosives into the trunk of his car.
  • Meet the Robinsons. Has one as a Shout-Out to Tarantino in a Disney film. With frogs.
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, the camera looks out of the hole in the ground where Jack, Elizabeth and Norrington found a chest.
  • In Lord of War, the opening sequence depicts the journey of ammunition from factory-to-battlefield via the POV of a bullet, including shots of different people opening and peering into ammunition crates to examine their contents along the way.
  • In A Good Day to Die Hard, John and Jack inspect the trunks of three different cars.
  • In Innerspace, Igoe's BMW ("SNAPON")note  and Scrimshaw's Rolls-Royce ("SUB-ZRO").
  • In House of Sand and Fog, where Jennifer Connely's character takes gun out of her trunk to commit suicide in front of her mistakenly evicted home.
  • The Gentlemen: When Coach opens the boot of his car to show Ray the Bound and Gagged Phuc, the shot is from Phuc's POV of the two threatening individuals staring down at him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Breaking Bad: In the Cold Open for the Season 5 Premier, this shot is used as Walt looks at the M60 in his trunk.
  • In the Burn Notice episode "Friendly Fire", after Michael Westen (playing a shadowy demonic figure) throws the Villain of the Week in a trunk, he gives an evil smile as the scene fades to gray and slams the lid.
  • Faking It does it in the season 2 premiere when Shane kidnaps Lauren's boyfriend Tommy.
  • In "And His Watch is Ended" of Game of Thrones, Varys shows Tyrion a trapped sorcerer that is kept in a large box, bound and gagged, Varys and Tyrion are shown watching him from this angle, with part of the lid and the box visible.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia uses this trope in "Paddy's Pub: The Worst Bar in Philadelphia" Given the context, it may be an additional shout-out to Tarantino's films in general
  • Life on Mars: Gene Hunt does this to Sam Tyler at least once.
  • Monk: In "Mr. Monk and the Other Detective," Monk and Marty Eels look at the store manager's car and the camera shooting them from inside the trunk.
  • My Mad Fat Diary uses this trope in its first episode, when Karim is first introduced.
  • The pilot episode of The Streets of San Francisco (1972) contains one near the end of an episode, when Stone, Keller and Malone find a chest with victim's belongings.
  • Stranger Things: In "The Bathtub", Hopper gets one when he and his lieutenants find the monster hunting equipment in Jonathan's trunk.
  • In Supernatural, the Winchesters keep their weapons in the trunk, and so it represents their "family business." The last shot of the pilot is a dramatic trunk shot with the trunk slamming shut serving as a cut to black. Also an example of Book Ends, as season 2 ends with the exact same shot, and line/theme ("We've got work to do").
  • Star Wars, The Book of Boba Fett, "Return of the Mandalorian": During the Extended Disarming scene, we get a lower viewpoint shot from the inside of the case where Din Djarin is putting his weapons, just as he's hesitating adding the Darksaber to the lot.
  • The Walking Dead: Rick and Shane argue about their prisoner in their car.


    Music Videos 
  • The music video for the Dixie Chicks' "Goodbye Earl" uses the trunk shot when the girls take Earl for dumping. It uses a similar shot (not in a trunk) earlier when Earl's on the floor dying of poison.
  • In the video for Axelle Red's 1998 music video Rester femme, Axelle looks at her husband, who is bound and gagged in the trunk.
  • In Shakira's video for Objection (Tango), she is smiling sadistically at her ex-boyfriend and his mistress, who are bound and gagged in the trunk.
  • The music video ,"Kill That B*tch," by "A Sound of Thunder" where the band hunts and kills a woman, throwing her dismembered body in a trunk.

    Video Games 

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • Kaeloo: The audience is treated to a trunk shot in "Gangster Poker", where Mr. Cat takes Quack-Quack hostage and puts him in the trunk of his car.
  • Little Einsteins has done this twice:
    • In "The Christmas Wish", this occurs as the team looks in Annie's wish box and finds nothing in it, before Annie reveals she wished to be with her friends on Christmas.
    • Done again in "The Secret Mystery Prize" when the team looks in the chest to see the Japanese instruments inside.
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated: Used when the gang discover that the Mystery Machine's engine is missing in "The Creeping Creatures".
  • Done in the Sunny Day episode "Band Together" as she looks in a chest for her band's missing drum set.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Tarantino Trunk Shot


Quack-Quack in the Trunk

Mr. Cat takes Quack-Quack hostage, and the audience is treated to a shot of him opening the trunk of his car with Quack-Quack inside.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

Main / TrunkShot

Media sources: