Unsurprisingly, the briefcase in Pulp Fiction has inspired plenty of theories. Even when Quentin Tarantino's films aren't as successful commercially, they still inspire countless essays and examinations. His unique storytelling technique and the way he leaves certain mysteries unanswered have also led to all kinds of speculation and fan theories from viewers. And Pulp Fiction, among his most complex and convoluted films, may reign supreme when it comes to '90s movies fan theories.
There are several unexpected developments throughout the film, but the biggest lingering question involves the contents of the film's MacGuffin: the briefcase. So what was in the case in Pulp Fiction? It's a mystery that's never explained in the movie, and its cryptic nature has led some fans down a seemingly bottomless rabbit hole to find answers.
Some of the most bizarre (but equally well-thought-out) explanations should provide fans with at least an inkling of what might be glowing in Marsellus Wallace's coveted briefcase. When you're done obsessing over the theories, make sure to also check out our list of more great shows and movies like Pulp Fiction!
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A Light Bulb
For some, it doesn’t matter what fans think is in the case, but rather that the true contents are whatever was in the prop during production. Thanks to Phil LaMarr, who played Marvin in the film, the truth about what was actually inside the briefcase has been revealed.
According to the actor, the case held a “low-wattage yellow bulb” that gave off the infamous glow. It was nothing fancy, as Tarantino has claimed the case holds whatever the viewer desires.Is this what's in the case?
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Of course, it's possible the briefcase doesn't house anything particularly noteworthy or valuable. In fact, this is more than just a fan theory, as director Quentin Tarantino has added weight to this claim himself. He has previously spoken about the idea that the contents of the case are unremarkable and the case is simply acting as a plot device to drive the story forward and give the characters something on which to concentrate.
This is likely a tribute to the MacGuffins often used by Alfred Hitchcock in his movies.Is this what's in the case?
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Lots Of Smack
This particular fan theory from a former Redditor argues that the briefcase is actually filled with an illicit substance. Specifically, the case likely contains a large amount of smack. Evidence for this assertion comes from the fact that Jules and Vincent take the case back from a group of young men who were clearly meant to have it. This could mean they were dealers who were unable to sell the product, leading Marsellus to send men to recover it.
If it is filled with powdery substance, it might explain why Vincent and other likely users (namely, Pumpkin) find the briefcase so alluring. They see the personal value of the contents while Jules isn't as interested since he doesn't partake.Is this what's in the case?
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Risque Pictures Of Mia Wallace
Redditor /u/BigBobbyMurk theorizes the briefcase could hold something more risque than previously imagined. The theory states that the briefcase contain illicit pictures of Mia Wallace. This would help explain why Marsellus is so keen to get the case back.
After all, he threw someone off a roof for allegedly giving his wife a foot massage.Is this what's in the case?