There's not a filmmaker alive quite like Quentin Tarantino. His movies are packed with a flourish and flair that's unlike any other artist in the business. He doesn't make that many films, but the ones he does are packed with witty dialog, insane action set pieces, and an overall sense of glee. One of the best elements about his films are the characters, who feel so life-like and fleshed out. And not just the main characters, either - Tarantino bit players are every bit as important to the story and have just as much depth of character.
It doesn't matter if a character is a lead or only in the film for a few lines. Everyone matters. In fact, those who play small roles in Tarantino movies often provide the audience or main characters with crucial information or motivation. This list highlights all the actors and actresses with small roles in Tarantino films and why they make their respective movies practically masterpieces. Vote up your choice for the best bit players in Tarantino films, even though it might be hard to choose between them.
Christopher Walken strolls into Pulp Fiction for a silly, very pivotal, scene. In a flashback, he plays Captain Koons, who gives young Butch (Bruce Willis) his father's watch, while also explaining how many asses it was hidden in before coming to Butch. Hearing Koons describe the circumstances by which the ass watch came to Butch explains why he would go to such great lengths to get it back later in the film.
Film: Pulp Fiction
Actor: Christopher Walken
Before Michael Fassbender took the world by storm, he played a small, but very vital, part in Inglourious Basterds, Lt. Archie Hicox, a British officer sent undercover as a German. Hicox realizes he's going to die once his ruse is discovered, but remains calm to the very end, switching from German to English before the great shoot out, saying, "Well, if this is it, old boy, I hope you don't mind if I go out speaking the King's."
Interestingly, Fassbender was born in Germany and speaks the language flawlessly - he had to affect a non-native accent while speaking German in the film.
Film: Inglourious Basterds
Actor: Michael Fassbender
Pulp Fiction's Brett (Franky Whaley) is one of the classic bit players of all time. His jittery, anxious, petrified demeanor is the perfect opposite to Jules Winfield's confident dominance, and their banter gives rise to the classic Ezekiel 25.17 monologue and one of the great back-and-forths in Tarantino's oeuvre:
Jules: What does Marsellus Wallace look like?
Jules: What country are you from?
Brett: What? What? Wh - ?
Jules: "What" ain't no country I've ever heard of. They speak English in What?
Jules: English, motherf*cker, do you speak it?
Film: Pulp Fiction, Alien
Actor: Frank Whaley, Harry Dean Stanton
In Pulp Fiction, Marvin (Phil LaMarr) learns it’s very important to have an opinion. The inside man with Brett's crew, Marvin drives away from the scene of supposed divine intervention with Jules and Vincent. In the car, Vincent asks Marvin whether or not he believes divine intervention took place, to which Marvin replies “Man, I don’t even have an opinion.”
Marvin's response causes Vincent to turn around, gun in hand, to talk to him. The gun goes off (an accident), spraying Marvin’s brains all over the back windshield. It leads to one of the best lines in the movie - Vincent saying, in a disappointed tone, “Aw man, I shot Marvin in the face.”
Film: Pulp Fiction
Actor: Phil LaMarr