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the 1992 American crime film Reservoir Dogs
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5 Iconic Scenes in the Quentin Tarantino Movie

5 Iconic Scenes in the Quentin Tarantino Movie

Reservoir Dogs follows six criminals before and after carrying out a heist, which is foiled by a police ambush and results in everything going sideways. As Quentin Tarantino’s directorial debut, Reservoir Dogs serves as a fantastic baseline for the remainder of his films that would follow with just as much praise. The film was nominated for a number of accolades and won the Critic’s Award at the Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival in February 1993. Reservoir Dogs holds a solid 90% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and holds a spot at No. 97 on Empire’s list of 500 Greatest Films of all Time (via Cinema Realm).

Despite much of its observed criticisms, Reservoir Dogs is now regarded as a classic independent film and a cult classic. Much like all of Tarantino’s films, Reservoir Dogs has a very unique style to it and, thanks to the level of gratuitous on-screen violence, it has become one of the most iconic films in cinematic history. That being said, some scenes are more memorable than others. Here are five iconic scenes in Reservoir Dogs.


5/5 The Parking Lot Walk

Arguably one of the most iconic scenes to come out of any film in the industry is the slow-motion parking lot walk in Reservoir Dogs. Combined with the opening credits, this scene shows the group walking as one, showing close-ups of each member and identifying their actor while “Little Green Bag” plays in the background. As one of the most memorable opening sequences of all time, this scene sets the tone of the film, allowing the audience to see how the gentlemen view themselves. This scene has been recreated and parodied innumerable times over the years, which speaks volumes to how truly iconic this opening scene has become.

Related: The Best Performance in Every Quentin Tarantino Film, Ranked

4/5 Tipping Argument

At the beginning of Reservoir Dogs, the group of Misters are in a diner enjoying a hardy meal before they execute their carefully planned heist. While they talk about a number of things during their time in the diner, the most memorable topic of discussion comes about when they prepare to pay, and whilst they all throw down money to tip their waitress, Mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi) admits that he doesn’t tip. This starts an argument among the men, with most of them believing that Mr. Pink is in the wrong as the servers depend on tips to make enough money to survive, while he believes that tips are only necessary if someone has truly put in the extra mile. This whole conversation brings about a few good questions with regard to tipping: why aren’t servers paid more so that they don’t need to rely on tips for income?

Related: Reservoir Dogs Gets First 4K Blu-ray Release for 30th Anniversary

3/5 Assigning Everyone a Color

In a flashback, we get to see some of the planning for the off-screen heist, and one of the most hilarious flashbacks in Reservoir Dogs is the scene in which Joe assigns each member of the crew a color. While Joe hopes to simply move on and continue to discuss the plan for the heist, a couple of the guys express their distaste for their individual name, with Mr. Pink and Mr. Brown (played by Tarantino himself) believing their names are inappropriate. While they argue to try to have their code name changed, Joe refuses to acknowledge their grievances and basically tells them to shove it and accept the names he’s given them.

2/5 The Ultimate Standoff

In Reservoir Dogs‘ standoff scene, Joe (Lawrence Tierney) arrives and reveals to the surviving Mr. White (Harvey Keitel), Mr. Pink, and Nice Guy Eddie (Chris Penn) that the mortally injured Mr. Orange is an undercover cop. While Mr. White does nothing but defend Mr. Orange, Joe and Eddie hold their guns up towards Mr. White, while Mr. Pink says that they’re being unprofessional. After a few heated lines are exchanged, the standoff comes to an abrupt end when Joe shoots Mr. Orange, Mr. White shoots Joe, Eddie shoots Mr. White, and Mr. White shoots Eddie. This leaves four dead bodies at the scene while Mr. Pink escapes. As most of Tarantino’s films have a standoff of some kind, part of what makes this one so memorable is its classic nature in which everyone gets shot and goes down at the same time.

1/5 “Stuck in the Middle With You” Torture Scene

The most gruesome and iconic scene of Reservoir Dogs is the torture scene. Mr. Blonde has captured a cop and talks to the cop about Steelers Wheel’s musical history before playing their hit song “Stuck in the Middle With You,” while dancing around the room with a straight razor in his hand. Mr. Blond proceeds to slash his face with the razor before cutting off his ear. In one of the most gruesome scenes in cinematic history, with Wes Craven notoriously walking out during the scene, the realism of the scene was so unsettling that many viewers had a hard time watching it. That being said, the scene is still iconic and unforgettable for not only its gruesome nature, but the way in which Michael Madsen portrayed such a character.