Let’s look back on twenty years’ worth of Pulp Fiction trivia and behind the scenes fun. You never know when they will release a Pulp Fiction Trivial Pursuit game right? Also, there are magnificent spoilers here, so you should probably watch the movie first and slap yourself for taking this long.
Here is some music to accompany you.
Chronologically speaking, the last scene in the movie sees Butch and Fabienne drive away on a motorcycle. The very first sound heard at the start of the movie is the same motorcycle’s engine.
Whenever Vincent Vega goes to the bathroom, something bad happens: He emerges at Mia Wallace’s house to find her overdosing, comes out at the restaurant to find a robbery unfolding and is shot dead by Butch after using his bathroom. The moral is…holding it in saves lives?
When Butch shoots Vincent Vega, it isn’t Vince’s gun that’s been left on the side. As Jules had ‘retired’ by this point, Marcellus Wallace is staking out Butch’s house with Vincent, leaving his firearm there while going to get coffee and doughnuts – which is when Butch next sees him. The shot of Marcellus stopping and seeing Butch in the middle of the road is copied directly from Psycho.
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When the Buddy Holly waiter (played by the great Steve Buscemi) asks Mia if she wants her $5 shake “Martin and Lewis or Amos and Andy?” he’s asking if she wants it vanilla or chocolate flavored. Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis are white entertainers (vanilla), whereas Amos and Andy are black comedians (chocolate).
This is a favorite of mine. After the iconic dance scene at Jack Rabbit Slim’s, you see Vincent Vega and Mia Wallace walk into her house holding a trophy. The audience assumes they won the contest, but later when Butch is walking into his apartment and a TV can be heard from the neighbors. A Jack Rabbit Slim’s commercial is on, and the faint voice in the commercial says that the dance competition trophy was stolen.
The dance that Vincent and Mia perform at Jack Rabbit Slim’s is a pastiche of Gloria Morin and Mario Mezzabotta’s dance in the 1963 film 8½.
Marsellus and Mia Wallace never speak to each other on-screen, despite being husband and wife.
When Bruce Willis escapes the pawn shop, he sees a neon sign that says ‘Killian’s Red’, but as some of the letters are missing it reads ‘Kill ed’. Picking up Zed’s keys, Butch looks at the ‘Z’ on the keyring, subliminally spelling out ‘Kill Zed’. It’s then that Butch goes back to save Marcellus.
One of the movie’s (many) unanswered questions is who keyed Vincent Vega’s car. Years after the film’s release, Tarantino admitted it was the work of Bruce Willis’ character, Butch.
The 1964 Chevelle Malibu convertible Vincent drives in the film actually belonged to Quentin Tarantino, and was stolen during production of Pulp Fiction. Earlier this year the car was tracked down, some two decades on, with the owner who had recently purchased having no idea it was stolen.
When Butch is driving from his apartment he’s listening to Flowers on the Wall by The Statler Brothers, and sings along to the lyrics, “Smoking cigarettes and watching captain kangaroo”. In Die Hard With A Vengeance, Samuel L. Jackson asks Bruce Willis’ character John McClane what he’s been doing. His reply? “Oh just smoking cigarettes, watching captain kangaroo.”
Fabienne says, “Any time of the day is a good time for pie.” This line is also said by Alabama in True Romance, written by Quentin Tarantino.
A theme throughout the film is guns not being used as intended. A close-range gunshot miraculously misses Jules, Vincent accidentally shoots Marvin in the face, Butch shoots Vincent with a gun that was meant to kill him and, at the end of the film, it’s Jules’ gun that prevents violence in the coffee shop.
At the end of Pulp Fiction, Jules says he wants to become a “drifter.” In Kill Bill Volume 2, Samuel L. Jackson appears as a piano-playing drifter, called Rufus.
Pulp Fiction cost a relatively modest $8m to make, with over $5m going towards actor salaries. The film went on to make over $210m.
The role of Vincent Vega was originally written for Michael Madsen, who played Vic Vega in Reservoir Dogs. Instead, Madsen opted to play Virgil Earp in Wyatt Earp. Tarantino then made the controversial choice of casting John Travolta, an actor best known for roles in Grease, Saturday Night Fever andLook Who’s Talking. Travolta was paid less than $150,000, but went on to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Actor.
Actor Max Julien was set to play Marcellus Wallace, but refused to do the anal rape scene, meaning Ving Rhames got the role instead.
Jules’ famous and oft-quoted Bible passage was in fact made up by Quentin Tarantino and Samuel L. Jackson. Only the final two lines feature in Ezekiel 25:17.
Butch was originally intended as an up-and-coming boxer, with Sylvester Stallone, Matt Dillon and Mickey Rourke all considered for the role. Eventually, Tarantino amended the character and offered it to Bruce Willis, who previously wanted to play Vincent.
Quentin Tarantino originally wanted to use My Sharona by the Knack during the gimp torture sequence, but the rights had already been sold to another film, Reality Bites. On top of this, one of the members of the band was a born again Christian, and didn’t want the song used in a scene involving sexual violence.
The character of Trudi (Bronagh Gallagher) wears a T-shirt of Irish rock band The Frames. This is because she appeared alongside Frames lead singer, Glen Hansard, in The Commitments , and promised she’d wear their T-shirt in Pulp Fiction if she got a part.
According to her agent, Julia Louis-Dreyfus was offered the role of Mia Wallace, but turned it down as she was committed to Seinfeld. Halle Berry, Meg Ryan, Isabella Rossellini, Daryl Hannah, Joan Cusack and Michelle Pfeiffer all auditioned for the role.
The ‘Bad Mother F*cker’ wallet Jules has in the film actually belonged to Quentin Tarantino. The inscription is a reference to the theme song of Shaft, a role Samuel L. Jackson later went on to play.
Quentin Tarantino hesitated over playing Jimmie or Lance. He eventually chose Jimmie as he wanted to be behind the camera during Mia’s overdose scene. The shot of Vincent plunging the syringe of adrenaline into Mia’s chest was filmed by having John Travolta pull the needle out, then reversing the footage.
Jules was originally meant to have a massive afro, but a crew member purchased a jheri curl wig instead. Luckily, both Jackson and Tarantino liked it, and it became part of the character.
In the movie’s closing credits the manager of the coffee shop is credited as just “Coffee Shop.” Not coffee shop manager, just coffee shop. It was actually because Tim Roth’s character holds a gun to the manager’s head and asks “Are you gonna be a hero?”, the manager replies “No, I’m just a coffee shop–” before Roth cuts him off and starts screaming again.
During my annual viewing of Groundhog Day this year I actually noticed something new, this movie is so layered it scares me.
During the party scene, where Murray is wooing his way into bed with Andie MacDowell, he is approached by a newly married couple. It’s Michael Shannon as Fred the groom; a much younger Shannon with a seldom seen smile on his mug. God he loves Wrestlemania.