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Trivia / Pulp Fiction

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  • All-Star Cast: With Tim Roth, John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, Uma Thurman, Steve Buscemi, Christopher Walken, Harvey Keitel, Ving Rhames, Phil LaMarr and Tarantino himself. It comes across moreso years later because it was a career resurrection or star-making role for several of its cast members.
  • Award Category Fraud: Uma Thurman was nominated as a leading actress at Bafta, even though she's only a major character in one of the film's three stories, with nothing more than very brief cameos in the other two. This is especially noticeable given Samuel L. Jackson won supporting actor at Bafta for a larger role than Thurman's. At all other ceremonies she was considered a supporting actress.
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!:
    • Jules Winnfield's famous hamburger speech from Pulp Fiction is often misquoted (by putting words or phrases in the wrong order) or quoted correctly but used in the wrong context:
      Jules: What country you from?!
      Brett: W-what?
      Jules: "What" ain't no country I ever heard of! They speak English in What?
      Brett: ...what?
    • The last line is often misquoted as "English, do you speak it, motherfucker?" Regarding context, Jules is sarcastically demanding that Brett give him a clearer answer than "what," but the line is often used in real life against people who are literally not speaking English well or at all.
    • Jules's mangling of "Ezekiel 25:17" is actually a misquote of the introduction to Sonny Chiba's The Bodyguard, from which this passage is lifted almost exactly. The use in The Bodyguard is itself a misquote of the Bible, translations and mistranslations aside.
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    • In an example that's made its way into a trope name, I Just Shot Marvin in the Face is actually "Aw man... I shot Marvin in the face..." with no "just"
  • Breakthrough Hit: Quentin Tarantino's first big hit as a director.
  • Career Resurrection: After Blow Out left his career largely for dead 13 years prior, John Travolta finally found his way back to the A-list with his role here. Sparking his mid 90s resurgence which led to films like Get Shorty, Broken Arrow and Face/Off.
  • Cast the Runner-Up:
    • Tim Roth was considered for Vincent Vega before being cast as Ringo. Bruce Willis was briefly interested before being cast as Butch Coolidge.
    • John Travolta was considered for Winston Wolf before being cast as Vincent Vega.
    • Samuel L. Jackson was considered for Marcellus Wallace, Lance, Captain Koons and Winston Wolf before being cast as Jules Winnfield.
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    • Uma Thurman was considered for Honey Bunny before being cast as Mia Wallace.
    • Rosanna Arquette was considered for Mia before being cast as Jody.
    • Eric Stoltz was considered for Ringo before being cast as Lance.
    • Tarantino had written the role of Jimmie with Steve Buscemi in mind but Buscemi had to turn it down due to scheduling conflicts. Tarantino himself ended up filling the role and Buscemi was given a cameo appearance as the Buddy Holly waiter at Jack-Rabbit Slims.
    • Phil LaMarr read for Jules Winnfield and Brett before being cast as Marvin.
    • Paul Calderón was almost cast as Jules after a great audition. He got the smaller role of Paul.
  • The Cast Showoff: John Travolta and Uma Thurman both get to bust some moves in the famous dance scene.
  • Completely Different Title:
    • Spanish: Violent Times
    • Bulgaria: Criminal
    • Croatia: Hell of a Jerk
    • Slovenia: Trash
    • Taiwan: Black Warrant
  • Creator Chosen Casting: Quentin Tarantino wrote the script with Samuel L. Jackson, Harvey Keitel, Christopher Walken, Tim Roth and Amanda Plummer in mind.
  • The Danza: Paul Calderón plays Paul.
  • Deleted Scene:
    • The scene where Vincent buys heroin from Lance is longer and Lance delivers a monologue about being given wrong directions and complaining about how rude people are.
    • Before leaving to have dinner to the Jackrabbit Slim's, Mia interviews Vincent while shooting with a hand-held video camera. Mia asks Vincent if he's related to folk singer Suzanne Vega and then proceeds with a series of trivia-like questions on his personal preferences (The Brady Bunch or The Partridge Family?) and asks him if he's an "Elvis man or a Beatles man". This explains a later comment ("An Elvis man should love this") that Mia makes in the theatrical version.
    • The taxi ride and conversation between Butch and Esmarelda are longer and there's additional dialogue where Butch explains his feelings about being a boxer and killing his opponent Floyd.
    • At the auto parts yard, Winston Wolf haggles good-naturedly with owner Monster Joe (Dick Miller), followed by Wolf flirting with Joe's daughter Raquel (Julia Sweeney). The cut resulted in Sweeney's cameo being reduced to a walk-on and Miller having a Deleted Role.
  • Doing It for the Art: This was one of several movies in the 1990s in which Bruce Willis took a pay cut to work in an independent film. His presence in the film helped secure a lot of additional funding.
  • Dueling Movies: With Color of Night in a way, which also has Bruce Willis in a starring role, which also was distributed by Disney, and which also was released around the departure of Disney studio chief Jeffrey Katzenberg (who was instrumental in sealing the deal that led to Disney releasing Pulp Fiction in the first place). Color of Night lost by being one of the worst-reviewed films of 1994. They're not all that similar, though, Color being an erotic thriller/murder mystery and Fiction more of a gangster-themed Hyperlink Story.
  • Fake Nationality: Portuguese actress Maria de Medeiros plays a French character (and, comically, in the Spanish-language dub of Pulp Fiction she is incapable of speaking Portuguese rather than Spanish).
  • Image Source:
  • Orphaned Reference: Mia tells Vincent that an "Elvis man" should love Jack Rabbit Slims. This refers to a deleted scene where she interviews him with a video camera and asks him whether he's a Beatles man or an Elvis man.
  • Playing Against Type: Amanda Plummer was chiefly known for playing fey oddballs in movies like The Fisher King. When Quentin Tarantino cast Tim Roth, he was initially thinking of casting Roth as a different character. Roth (who was friends with Plummer) told Tarantino "I'd like to work with Amanda, as long as she's got a really big fucking gun in her hand." Tarantino said "Done", and sculpted the characters of Pumpkin and Honeybunny to fit Roth and Plummer.
  • Pop Culture Urban Legends:
    • There's been this popular conception that had been awhile since the film premiered that all clocks in the film are stuck at 4:20. While the events of the film had an Extremely Short Timespan, there's only one scene that ran around 4:20, the pawnshop.
    • Due to how similar they looked, the "kid with the hand cannon" was misattributed to Jerry Seinfeld. He was portrayed by Alexis Arquette.
  • Production Posse: Tim Roth, Harvey Keitel and Steve Buscemi return for supporting roles after appearing in Tarantino's debut film Reservoir Dogs. Many behind-the-scenes professionals also return.
  • Real-Life Relative:
    • The man who burst from the bathroom in Brett's apartment was played by transgender woman Alexis Arquette (whose sister, Rosanna Arquette, played Jody).
    • The Gimp was played by comedian Stephen Hibbert, at the time married to Julia Sweeney. Later in the film, Sweeney herself has a cameo as Monster Joe's daughter Raquel.
  • The Red Stapler: The UC Santa Cruz Banana Slugs T-shirt that Vincent wears became a hot seller after appearing in the movie.
  • Serendipity Writes the Plot:
    • Many people believe that the band-aid on Ving Rhames' neck was an intentional choice by the filmmakers. In reality, it came from an accident Rhames had while shaving his head. When Quentin Tarantino noticed this, it inspired him to open the "Vincent Vega and Marsellus Wallace" sequence with a close-up of the band-aid instead. Ultimately Tarantino liked showing the band-aid rather than Rhames' face because it accentuated the character's mercurial nature and was more visually exciting than a series of single shots of Rhames and Bruce Willis.
    • Paul Calderón (who plays Marsellus' Number Two) nailed his audition and originally had a lock on the part for Jules. Sam Jackson heard about it and flew in to LA, stopping for a bite to eat on the way. Right before he walked in the room, a crew member came up to him and said "I love your work, Mr. Fishburne," which majorly pissed Jackson off. Tarantino and two of his producers were sitting in the audition room when in walks Jackson, carrying a burger and a drink, smelling like fast food, and looking mean as hell and absolutely furious while at the same time calmly sipping his drink. Ergo, Jules' entire personality in a nutshell, and coincidentally perfect given the character's fondness for cheeseburgers and soda. Tarantino and his producers were so intimidated by Jackson's (genuinely) sour mood that he ended up getting the part.
  • Shoot the Money: The Jackrabbit Slim's set was extremely elaborate and featured lots of extras in costume as 1950s stars. It was the most expensive set piece in the film, so it's easy to see why the camera does a sweeping tour through the whole establishment as Mia and Vincent find their seats.
  • Shrug of God: Quentin Tarantino's explanation for what's in the briefcase: "It's whatever the audience wants it to be."
  • Star-Making Role: For Samuel L. Jackson, Ving Rhames and Uma Thurman.
  • Throw It In:
    • Quentin Tarantino originally wanted Jules to have an actual afro, but the wig wrangler got a jheri curl wig by mistake. Samuel L. Jackson thought it was perfect for the character and insisted they keep it.
    • The scene with Marvin shot in the face was also going to be played out differently. It wasn't until a suggestion from LaMarr to Tarantino that the scene was changed to be what happened in the film.
    • John Travolta ad-libbed the line "That's a pretty good question" after Uma Thurman asks why it's necessary to talk about bullshit.
    • Jules flipping the table over in the beginning was improvised by Samuel L. Jackson and Frank Whaley's reaction was genuine, but they continued with the scene, and it was done in one take.
  • Trope Namer: For I Just Shot Marvin in the Face.
  • Uncredited Role: Some of the scenes of Jimmie Dimmick were directed by an uncredited Robert Rodriguez.
  • What Could Have Been:
  • Word of Dante: Steve Buscemi told The Late Late Show that he believes that his Buddy Holly waiter is really Mr. Pink, who survived the end of the film and is always getting shitty tips as a form of karma.
  • Word of God: Quentin Tarantino was quoted as saying that Butch is responsible for keying Vincent's car.
  • Working Title: Black Mask
  • You Look Familiar: According to Word of God, this is set in the same universe as Reservoir Dogs. Several actors (Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Tarantino himself) return as different characters. If Michael Madsen had returned as Vincent Vega (see above), presumably this would have made Vincent and Vic (Mr. Blonde from Reservoir Dogs) twins.
  • Pulp Fiction was the very first film Miramax financed with new distribution partner Disney, after studio chiefs there sealed a deal in 1992; this began a 16-year long relationship between the two studios.
  • Pulp Fiction is also on Roger Ebert's Great Movies List.