Nearly everyone who appreciates film considers Quentin Tarantino to be a genius. However, there’s considerable disagreement about his individual films.
Take Inglourious Basterds, for example. A few consider it to be his best work, while others see it as a mushy narrative that doesn’t hold together well. Or what about Jackie Brown? When it was released, it was considered his slightest work, but now many consider it to be among his best.
So to rank his ten films, we surveyed 20 critics—including fellow Shrink Tank contributor Jonathan Hetterly—who had ranked all his movies, put the rankings in a big spreadsheet, and came up with a definitive list.
How We Determined the Ranking of Every Quentin Tarantino Masterpiece:
- A film that was ranked first got 1 point; a film that was ranked 10th got 10 points, and so on.
- All 20 scores were added to a final score. The lower the number, the better the ranking. In other words, the best a film could score was 20, while the worst was 200. (Note that the top film in this survey earned a score of 32 and the last film earned a score of 166, so there was a decent amount of spread among the scores).
- Three rankings were derived: Metacritic, Rotten Tomatoes, and IMDB were ranked based on their scores.
- Because Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes are aggregate scores and IMDB is based on User Scores, a second analysis was done with those scores omitted, but it only changed the order of the #2 and #3 ranked films by a slight margin. Whether those scores were used or omitted, the overall rankings remained nearly the same. To decide which rank to use when there a disagreement between the #2 and #3 films, we used the mode, which is the most commonly given ranking.
- Some critics considered Kill Bill Volumes 1 & 2 to be the same movie and ranked it together. In those instances, a tie score was given to each part.
- Only critics or websites that ranked all 10 films were used. Only legitimate outlets that had regular content and contributors were included.
- The outlets ranged from larger platforms, like Variety, USA Today, Esquire, GQ, as well as some relatively smaller platforms. However, no weighting was given to rankings based on the prominence of the platform.
Below, you’ll see the movie’s rank, followed by the best ranking they got from the 20 critics and the worst ranking they got. You’ll also see the “mode” ranking, which is the most commonly given ranking.
Now, here is the definitive ranking of every Quentin Tarantino masterpiece:
We also looked at the standard deviation for each film’s ranking. The bigger the standard deviation, the more disagreement there would be about it.
For example, if half the critics rated Pulp Fiction best and the other half ranked it worst, the standard deviation would be huge. But if they all ranked it best, the standard deviation would be slight.
The film that had the greatest amount of agreement was Pulp Fiction. It is the consensus best Tarantino film on all levels. The film that had the greatest amount of disagreement was Jackie Brown, followed by Kill Bill: Volume 2.
So How Does His Latest, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Fare?
It’s ranked 4th out of 10 with a single top vote (from IMDB Users), three-second place finishes, including our own Jonathan Hetterly, and an average (mode) ranking of 5.
There is not big disagreement about the film, though Variety dogged it at #8 and two others gave it a 7th place finish. The consensus is that it sits in the middle of the pack of the Tarantino canon.
That may ultimately be good news as time has a way of softening perspective of some films, just like it did for Jackie Brown, which had the lowest Metacritic score of all 10 (64) but finished second in this survey.
For now, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is in the middle of the pack.
In fact, the only question left about this definitive ranking is whether Jackie Brown, weighed down by low Metacritic and IMDB scores, deserves the second-place finish or whether that should go to Inglourious Basterds.