Music is such an integral part of the world of Quentin Tarantino, it’s difficult to think about your favorite scenes from one of his films without hearing a ’70s soul classic or a track from some obscure spaghetti Western score. Tarantino’s eclectic approach to creating movie soundtracks has led to some intense, surreal, and hilarious big-screen moments. Here are 10 of Tarantino’s best musical moments.
Tarantino kicks off his third film in great style, with Pam Grier’s flight attendant/smuggler racing to make her flight to the tune of Bobby Womack’s soul classic “Across 110th St.”
April March’s bouncy throwback tune “Chick Habit” is the perfect come down from the beat down the girls give Mike following their high-speed chase.
Tarantino has no qualms about ditching period-specific music in favor of a contemporary tune that perfectly fits the mood of scene. David Bowie’s “(Cat People) Putting Out Fire,” the theme song to the 1982 horror flick Cat People, provides a suitably epic accompaniment to Shoshanna’s fiery plan for the Nazis.
The Django Unchained soundtrack is a typically Tarantino-esque mix of cult movie themes and contemporary hip hop tracks. Rick Ross’ “100 Black Coffins” serves as a moody introduction to Calvin Candie’s Candyland plantation.
That eerie tune Elle whistles on her way to kill The Bride is the theme song to the 1968 British psychological thriller Twisted Nerve. The man responsible for the music, Bernard Herrmann, penned many classic Hitchcock scores. (No wonder it sends chills down our spine.)
When the color-themed gangsters of Reservoir Dogs walked in slow motion to the tune of “Little Green Bag” by The George Baker Selection, Tarantino officially announced himself as a major filmmaker with a knack for picking the perfect music for an opening scene.
Pulp Fiction is filled with memorable music moments. (We have a hard time hearing “Flowers on the Wall” without thinking of Bruce Willis running over Ving Rhames.) But we’ll never forget the sight of Uma Thurman dancing across the room to Urge Overkill’s cover of the Neil Diamond classic.
Before Tarantino’s breakthrough film, “Stuck in the Middle With You” was a catchy ’70s AM radio tune. Now we can’t hear it without thinking of Michael Madsen going to town on a poor cop’s ear with a razor blade.
Tarantino has a knack for pulling sonic gems from his disparate musical influences. So it probably won’t surprise you to learn that the high-pitched siren cue that happens every time The Bride spots one of her enemies comes from the theme song to the classic TV series Ironside.
Vincent Vega and Mia Wallace doing the twist to Chuck Berry’s “You Never Can Tell” isn’t just one of the most iconic dance scenes in movie history. It’s the moment we all remembered that John Travolta — who experienced a career resurgence thanks to Tarantino — can really boogie.