Are you interested in learning about how to succeed as a filmmaker, writer, or all-around creative? The Quentin Tarantino quotes curated below showcase the award-winning director’s successful and eventful life.
What’s your favorite Quentin Tarantino movie?
Born in 1963 in Knoxville, Tennessee, Quentin Tarantino is a filmmaker, actor, and film programmer. He is known for creating a long line of audience-praised, critically-acclaimed, decade-defining films.
For example, his 1994 film Pulp Fiction was preserved in the United States Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 2013. Throughout his career, Tarantino has received many accolades including five Academy Awards, seven Golden Globes, and seven BAFTA awards.
Below are memorable Quentin Tarantino quotes from the filmmaker.
Quentin Tarantino quotes on filmmaking
1. “When I’m doing a movie, I’m not doing anything else. It’s all about the movie. I don’t have a wife. I don’t have a kid. Nothing can get in my way… I’ve made a choice, so far, to go on this road alone. Because this is my time. This is my time to make movies.” – Quentin Tarantino
Everyday Application: We don’t all make incredible movies, but we all have a choice about how we devote ourselves. When you find something that you are passionate about, you might have to sacrifice some other things. Know what you are willing to sacrifice to reach your goals, and be comfortable with the choices you make.
2. “When people ask me if I went to film school I tell them, ‘No, I went to films.’” – Quentin Tarantino
Everyday Application: You do not need to have a degree in something to be successful at it. What you do have to do is learn everything you can about it an immerse yourself into that process. Find a mentor, make connections, and take responsibility for your own learning and you can do anything you set your mind to.
3. “Trying to make a feature film yourself with no money is the best film school you can do.” – Quentin Tarantino
Everyday Application: Struggle and hardship is an incredible teacher. When you are pursuing a passion with few resources it makes it all that much sweeter when you succeed. And every failure along the way is just more education.
4. “I want to top expectations. I want to blow you away.” – Quentin Tarantino
Everyday Application: One of Don Miguel-Ruiz’s four agreements is to always do your best. This means topping your own expectations. Whenever you do anything make it your mission to have it be your best work and blow people away.
5. “I like it when somebody tells me a story, and I actually really feel that that’s becoming like a lost art in American cinema.’ – Quentin Tarantino
Everyday Application: Storytelling is as old as time and it is powerful. It brings language alive and helps us learn new things. Storytelling can also inspire us or move us. Don’t be afraid to tell your own story, or learn from someone else’s.
6. “If you just love movies enough, you can make a good one.” – Quentin Tarantino
Everyday Application: This can be said about most things in life. Passion and love can help forge a path to success. We often expose ourselves to the things we love and go out of our way to learn more about them.
7. “I steal from every movie ever made.” – Quentin Tarantino
Everyday Application: Movies are full of tropes and common themes. Being inspired by others and building off a concept that someone else broached is not necessarily stealing. Stealing other people’s art is bad, however, using small aspects and improving them is not! Especially, when you are Quentin Tarantino…king of the plot twists!
8. “I don’t believe you should stay onstage until people are begging you to get off. I like the idea of leaving them wanting a bit more.” – Quentin Tarantino
Everyday Application: Another great life philosophy! A little bit of a chase, or delayed gratification can be good for the soul. This is similar to the idea that absence makes the heart grow fonder. No matter what the situation leave them wanting a bit more!
9. “I don’t believe in elitism. I don’t think the audience is this dumb person lower than me. I am the audience.” – Quentin Tarantino
Everyday Application: Elitism is the belief that a select group are more likely to be contributing and valuable members of society than others. However, you are not less than anyone else. You matter and you are important. Tarantino recognizes that without his audience no one would be there to appreciate his high intellect. Nor would they purchase tickets to his movies and fund his higher than average income!
10. “Movies are my religion and God is my patron. I’m lucky enough to be in the position where I don’t make movies to pay for my pool. When I make a movie, I want it to be everything to me; like I would die for it.” – Quentin Tarantino
Everyday Application: This is a prime example of taking your passion and turning it into something that not only supports you, but feeds your soul. There are many ways that you can live well doing what you love, especially in this modern age! Be brave enough to seek out opportunities and take risks!
11. “Movies are not about the weekend that they’re released, and in the grand scheme of things, that’s probably the most unimportant time of a film’s life.” – Quentin Tarantino
Everyday Application: Sure, filmmakers and financial backers care about opening weekend. However, true cult classics can a take a while to reach their potential. The true testament of a movie is how some of the lines can become iconic pieces of our culture. Movies can make us cry, inspire us, or remind us what is important. Creatives, like writers, actors, and screenwriters, want to make the audience feel something. That is the true power found in movies.
More Quentin Tarantino quotes on filmmaking
12. “My movies are painfully personal, but I’m never trying to let you know how personal they are. It’s my job to make it be personal, and also to disguise that so only I or the people who know me know how personal it is. Kill Bill is a very personal movie.” – Quentin Tarantino
Everyday Application: Writers, artists, and other creative people draw on their lives, feelings, and experiences to create works that resonate with the masses. Keeping it personal like that, while also making sure it is relatable is one of the challenges that people in creative industries face.
13. “My plan is to have a theatre in some small town or something and I’ll be manager. Ill be the crazy old movie guy.” – Quentin Tarantino
Everyday Application: It is crazy to think of Quentin Tarantino owning a theater in a small town somewhere. However, success looks different for everyone, and we all have our dreams. What does success mean to you? Check out this article about why you should define what success is to you.
14. “In the ’50s, audiences accepted a level of artifice that the audiences in 1966 would chuckle at. And the audiences of 1978 would chuckle at what the audience of 1966 said was okay, too. The trick is to try to be way ahead of that curve, so they’re not chuckling at your movies 20 years down the line.” – Quentin Tarantino
Everyday Application: This is great advice for everyone regardless of your career choice. Stay ahead of the curve, learn new skills, and know what the trick to succeeding in your line of work is. It will help keep you at the top of your game!
15. “If you want to make a movie, make it. Don’t wait for a grant, don’t wait for the perfect circumstances, just make it.” – Quentin Tarantino
Everyday Application: More great life advice! Want to write a book, write it. Want to go to college, then go. Whatever your dream is, you can make it happen. It takes work and action everyday, but you can do it!
16. “As a viewer, the minute I start getting confused, I check out of the movie. Emotionally, I’m severed.” – Quentin Tarantino
17. “I’ve always considered myself a filmmaker who writes stuff for himself to do.” – Quentin Tarantino
18. “If there is something magic about the collaborations I have with actors it’s because I put the character first.” – Quentin Tarantino
19. “I have loved movies as the number one thing in my life so long that I can’t ever remember a time when I didn’t.” – Quentin Tarantino
20. “Emotion will always win over coolness and cleverness. It’s when a scene works emotionally and it’s cool and clever, then it’s great. That’s what you want.” – Quentin Tarantino
21. “It’s very important that every movie I do makes money because I want the people that had the faith in me to get their money back.” – Quentin Tarantino
Also read these memorable Pulp Fiction quotes.
Quentin Tarantino quotes about writing
22. “I always write these movies that are far too big for any paying customer to sit down and watch from beginning to end, and so I always have this big novel that I have to adapt into a movie as I go.” – Quentin Tarantino
23. “When I’m writing something, I try not to get analytical about it as I’m doing it, as I’m writing it.” – Quentin Tarantino
24. “Novelists have always had complete freedom to pretty much tell their story any way they saw fit. And that’s what I’m trying to do.” – Quentin Tarantino
25. “A writer should have this little voice inside of you saying, ‘Tell the truth. Reveal a few secrets here.’” – Quentin Tarantino
26. “Whatever’s going on with me at the time of writing is going to find its way into the piece. If that doesn’t happen, then what the hell am I doing? So if I’m writing Inglourious Basterds, and I’m in love with a girl and we break up, that’s going to find its way into the piece.” – Quentin Tarantino
27. “If I really considered myself a writer, I wouldn’t be writing screenplays. I’d be writing novels.” – Quentin Tarantino
If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to read our collection of writing quotes that will inspire you to begin your own writing journey.
28. “As a writer, I demand the right to write any character in the world that I want to write. I demand the right to be them, I demand the right to think them and I demand the right to tell the truth as I see they are.” – Quentin Tarantino
29. “I am a writer. That’s what I do. It’s a writer’s job not just to write about himself but to look at the rest of humanity and explore it — other people’s way of talking, the phrases they use. And my head is a sponge. I listen to what everyone says, I watch little idiosyncratic behavior; people tell me a joke, and I remember it. People tell me an interesting story in their life, and I remember it.” – Quentin Tarantino
30. “Don’t write what you think people want to read. Find your voice and write about what’s in your heart.” – Quentin Tarantino
Quentin Tarantino quotes on music
31. “I’ve always thought my soundtracks do pretty good, because they’re basically professional equivalents of a mix tape I’d make for you at home.” – Quentin Tarantino
32. “I’m a big collector of vinyl – I have a record room in my house – and I’ve always had a huge soundtrack album collection. So what I do, as I’m writing a movie, is go through all those songs, trying to find good songs for fights, or good pieces of music to layer into the film.” – Quentin Tarantino
33. “To me, movies and music go hand in hand. When I’m writing a script, one of the first things I do is find the music I’m going to play for the opening sequence.” – Quentin Tarantino
Quentin Tarantino quotes about his upbringing
34. “I come from a mixed family, where my mother is art house cinema and my father is B-movie genre cinema. They’re estranged, and I’ve been trying to bring them together for all of my career to one degree or another.” – Quentin Tarantino
35. “I just grew up watching a lot of movies. I’m attracted to this genre and that genre, this type of story, and that type of story. As I watch movies I make some version of it in my head that isn’t quite what I’m seeing – taking the things I like and mixing them with stuff I’ve never seen before.” – Quentin Tarantino
36. “I loved history because to me, history was like watching a movie.” – Quentin Tarantino
37. “If you have the passion to do it, and you do it and it doesn’t work out — I worked for 3 years on a 16mm movie that became nothing but guitar picks. And I was very disappointed when I realized it wasn’t any good. But it was my film school — and I actually got away really cheap. When it was all over I knew how to make a movie.” – Quentin Tarantino
38. “I couldn’t spell anything. I couldn’t remember anything, but I could go to a movie and I knew who starred in it, who directed it, everything.” – Quentin Tarantino
Quentin Tarantino quotes on Hollywood
39. “Digital presentation is just television in public; we’re all just getting together and watching TV without pointing the remote control at the screen.” – Quentin Tarantino
40. “L.A. is so big that if you don’t actually live in Hollywood, you might as well be from a different planet.” – Quentin Tarantino
41. “There is such a thing as my kind of actor, and how well they pull off my dialogue is a very, very important part of it.” – Quentin Tarantino
42. “I’m not a Hollywood basher because enough good movies come out of the Hollywood system every year to justify its existence, without any apologies.” – Quentin Tarantino
43. “None of my costume designers have ever been nominated for an Oscar ’cause I don’t do period movies that have ball scenes with a hundred extras in them.” – Quentin Tarantino
44. “It’s nice to get invited to the parties and to be able to hobnob and celebrate a job well done with your colleagues.” – Quentin Tarantino
45. “There are a lot of bad screenplays so if you write a good screenplay people are going to respond to it.” – Quentin Tarantino
46. “There’s a parenthetical downside to it that is completely dwarfed by the upside. The upside that exists today, filmmaking can be a democratic process. In which other people, other than rich white men, can make movies.” – Quentin Tarantino
Quentin Tarantino quotes on success
47. “I want to risk hitting my head on the ceiling of my talent. I want to really test it out and say: Ok you’re not that good. You just reached the level here. I don’t ever want to fail, but I want to risk failure every time out of the gate.” – Quentin Tarantino
48. “The good ideas will survive.” – Quentin Tarantino
Everyday Application: The good ideas, will hopefully inspire you to take action. This action will help move your idea from the conceptual stage, to the implementation stage. Your actions will ensure that your best ideas see the light of day and survive.
49. “I don’t think there’s anything to be afraid of. Failure brings great rewards – in the life of an artist.” – Quentin Tarantino
Everyday Application: Failure provides you with lessons you would not have learned had you not tried and failed. Aside from the practical things you can learn (like why something didn’t work) you also learn much about yourself. How bad do you want something? How resilient are you? Failure will help you answer each of these questions.
Other Quentin Tarantino quotes
50. “Personality goes a long way.” – Quentin Tarantino
Everyday Application: Personality really does play a bigger role than you might think? If you are a resilient person than your personality traits might include things like optimism and empathy. If you are likeable person your personality traits contribute tour warm or funny nature. Is your personality helping you achieve your dreams or holding you back?
51. “Violence is one of the most fun things to watch.” – Quentin Tarantino
52. “Everything I learned as an actor, I have basically applied to writing.” – Quentin Tarantino
53. “To be a novelist, all I need is a pen and a piece of paper.” – Quentin Tarantino
Everyday Application: To fulfill your dreams you need much less than you think you do. Want to write a book then sit with some pen and paper and write stuff down. Want to be a painter; grab a paint brush and a canvas. Figure out the basics if what you need, everything else will work itself out!
What can you learn from these Quentin Tarantino quotes and his approach to creating?
Throughout Quentin Tarantino’s career, the filmmaker has always encouraged a learning-by-doing approach to life. Unlike other successful filmmakers (Spike Lee, George Lucas, Martin Scorsese, etc.), he didn’t go to film school. He recognized filmmaking as his passion at an early age and worked his way up the Hollywood ladder.
Today, put yourself out there. Whether it’s sending a job application off to your dream job or reaching out to an old friend, do something that lingers on your mental to-do list as days go by. As Benjamin Mee once wrote in his novel We Bought a Zoo, “Sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. And I promise you, something great will come from it.”
Is there an inspiring Quentin Tarantino quote that we left off the list? Leave us your thoughts down below.
June 7, 2022 5:52 AM EST