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50 Inspiring Quentin Tarantino Quotes on Film-making, Writing and More

Published on January 2, 2020 7:00 AM EST
50 Inspiring Quentin Tarantino Quotes on Film-making, Writing and More

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.

50 Inspiring Quentin Tarantino Quotes on Film-making, Writing and More

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. Check them out and don’t forget to come back for our collection of motivational Matthew McConaughey quotes as well as these quotes from Dove Cameron to brighten your day.

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 

2. “When people ask me if I went to film school I tell them, ‘No, I went to films.’” – Quentin Tarantino

3. “Trying to make a feature film yourself with no money is the best film school you can do.” – Quentin Tarantino 

4. “I steal from every movie ever made.” – Quentin Tarantino

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

6. “If you just love movies enough, you can make a good one.” – Quentin Tarantino

7. “I want to top expectations. I want to blow you away.” – Quentin Tarantino

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

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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

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

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

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

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

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

15. “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

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

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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. “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

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

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

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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

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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

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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

49. “I don’t think there’s anything to be afraid of. Failure brings great rewards – in the life of an artist.” – Quentin Tarantino

50. “Personality goes a long way.” – Quentin Tarantino

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.

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