Pulp Fiction

                                                               

 

   What now? Let me tell you what now. I'ma call a coupla hard, pipe-hittin' n*****,

        who'll go to work on the homes here with a pair of pliers and a blow torch.

        You hear me talkin', hillbilly boy? I ain't through with you by a damn sight.  

                                  I'ma get medieval on your ass.

 

This film keeps with director Tarantino's trademark of non-linear storytelling, and as such the narrative is presented out of sequence. Pulp Fiction is centered around three distinct but inter related stories - mob hitman Vincent Vega, prizefighter Butch Coolidge and Vincent's fellow contract killer Jules Winnfield. Although each storyline focuses on a different series of incidents, they connect and intersect in various ways.

The film starts out with a diner hold-up staged by "Pumpkin" and "Honey Bunny," then picks up the stories of Vincent, Jules, Butch, and several other important characters, including mob kingpin Marsellus Wallace, his wife, Mia, and underworld problem-solver Winston Wolf. It finally returns to where it began, in the diner, where Vincent and Jules have stopped for a bite; they foil the hold-up and set the robbers on a more righteous path. There are a total of seven narrative sequences—the three primary storylines are preceded by identifying intertitles on a black screen:

  1. Prologue—The Diner (i)
  2. Prelude to "Vincent Vega and Marsellus Wallace's Wife"
  3. "Vincent Vega and Marsellus Wallace's Wife"
  4. Prelude to "The Gold Watch" (a—flashback, b—present)
  5. "The Gold Watch"
  6. "The Bonnie Situation"
  7. Epilogue—The Diner (ii)
  • "Pumpkin" and "Honey Bunny" are having breakfast in a diner. They decide to rob it after realizing they could make money off not just the business but the customers as well, as occurred unplanned during their previous heist of a liquor store. Moments after they initiate the hold-up, the scene breaks off and the title credits roll.
  • As Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson) drives, Vincent Vega (John Travolta), riding shotgun, reports on his experiences in Europe, from which he's just returned—the hash bars in Amsterdam; the French McDonald's and its "Royale with Cheese." The dress-suited pair are on their way to retrieve a briefcase from Brett (Frank Whaley), who has transgressed against their boss, gangster Marsellus Wallace. Jules tells Vincent how Marsellus had someone thrown off a fourth-floor balcony for giving his wife a foot massage. Vincent says that Marsellus has asked him to escort his wife while Marsellus is out of town. They Brett in dramatic fashion after Jules recites a baleful "biblical" pronouncement.
  • We then move onto Vincent vega and Mia wallace (Marsellus's wife) meeting up and doing the twist at Jack Rabbit Slim's.
  • Meanwhile at an empty coctail lounge aging prizefighter Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis) accepts a large sum of money from Marsellus (Ving Rhames), agreeing to lose in the fifth round of his upcoming match. Butch and Vincent briefly cross paths as Vincent and Jules—now inexplicably dressed in T-shirts and shorts—come to Marsellus's lounge to deliver the briefcase. The next day, Vincent drops by the house of Lance and Jody to score some high-grade heroin. He shoots up before driving over to meet Mrs. Mia Wallace and take her out. They head to Jack Rabbit Slim's, a slick 1950s-themed restaurants staffed by lookalikes of the decade's pop icons.
  • After participating in a twist contest, they return to the Wallace house with the trophy. While Vincent is in the bathroom convincing himself not to act on his growing attraction to his boss's wife, Mia finds Vincent's stash of heroin in the pocket of his coat. Mistaking it for cocaine, she snorts it and overdoses. Vincent finds her and fearfully rushes her to Lance's house for help. Together, they administer an adrenaline shot to Mia's heart, reviving her. Before the two part ways, Mia and Vincent agree not to tell Marsellus of the incident, fearing what he might do to them.
  • Television time for young Butch (Chandler Lindauer) is interrupted by the arrival of Vietnam veteran Captain Koons. Koons explains that he has brought a gold watch, passed down through generations of Coolidge men since World War I. Butch's father died in a POW camp, and at his dying request Koons hid the watch in his rectum for two years in order to deliver it to Butch. A bell rings, startling the adult Butch out of this reverie. He is in his boxing colors—it's time for the fight that he's been paid to throw...hwoever the plan doesn't quite come off.....

  • Butch flees the arena, having won the bout. Making his getaway by taxi, he learns from the death-obsessed driver, Esmeralda VillaLobos, that he killed the opposing fighter. Butch has intentionally double-crossed Marsellus, betting his payoff on himself at very favorable odds. The next morning at the motel where they're laying low, Butch discovers that his girlfriend, Fabienne, has forgotten to pack the irreplaceable watch. He returns to his apartment to retrieve it, although Marsellus's men are almost certainly looking for him. Butch finds the watch quickly, but thinking he's alone, pauses for a snack. Only then does he notice a machine gun on the kitchen counter. Hearing the toilet flush, Butch readies the gun in time to kill a startled Vincent Vega exiting the bathroom......
  • Driving back from the apartment, Butch encounters Marsellus by chance. Butch rams him with the car, then is almost immediately involved in a collision. A chase on foot ensues, and the two men land in a pawnshop. Butch is about to shoot Marsellus, when the shopowner, Maynard, captures them at gunpoint. Maynard and his accomplice, Zed, take Marsellus into the back room and rape him, leaving a silent masked figure referred to as "the gimp" to watch a tied-up Butch. Butch breaks loose and knocks out the gimp. He is about to flee when he decides to save Marsellus. As Zed is raping Marsellus, Butch kills Maynard. Marsellus retrieves Maynard's shotgun, shooting Zed in the groin. Marsellus informs Butch that they are even with respect to the botched fight fix, so long as he never tells anyone about the rape and departs Los Angeles forever. Butch agrees and leaves......

  • The story then returns to Vincent and Jules at Brett's. After they execute him, another man bursts out of the bathroom and shoots wildly at them, missing every time before an astonished Jules and Vincent can return fire. Jules decides this is a miracle and a sign from God for him to retire as a hit man. Vincent disagrees. They drive off with one of Brett's associates, Marvin, their informant. Vincent asks Marvin for his opinion about the "miracle," accidentally shooting him in the head while carelessly waving his gun.
  • Forced to remove their bloodied car from the road, Jules calls upon the house of his friend Jimmy (Tarantino). Jimmy's wife, Bonnie, is due back from work soon and he is very anxious that she not encounter the scene. At Jules's request, Marsellus arranges for the help of Winston Wolf. Wolf takes charge of the situation, ordering Jules and Vincent to clean the car, hide the body in the trunk, dispose of their bloody clothes, and change into T-shirts and shorts provided by Jimmy. He also pays Jimmy for his linens, used to cover the bloody seats while they drive to a junkyard where Wolf's girlfriend, Raquel, works. Wolf and Raquel leave for breakfast, and Jules and Vincent decide to do the same.
  • Jules and Vincent eat, and the discussion returns to Jules's decision to retire. In a brief cutaway, we see "Pumpkin" and "Honey Bunny" shortly before they initiate the hold-up from the movie's first scene. While Vincent is in the bathroom, the hold-up commences. "Pumpkin" demands all of the patrons' valuables, including Jules's mysterious case. Jules surprises "Pumpkin," holding him at gunpoint. "Honey Bunny," hysterical, trains her gun on Jules. Vincent emerges from the restroom with his gun trained on her, creating a stand off. Jules explains his ambivalence toward his life of crime and as his first act of redemption convinces the two robbers to take the cash they've gathered and go, pondering how they were spared and leaving the briefcase to be returned to its rightful owner.

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Movie Script

Directed by Quentin Tarantino
Produced by Lawrence Bender
Written by Quentin Tarantino
Roger Avary
Starring John Travolta
Samuel L. Jackson
Uma Thurman
Bruce Willis
Harvey Keitel
Tim Roth
Amanda Plummer
Maria de Medeiros
Ving Rhames
Eric Stoltz
Rosanna Arquette
Christopher Walken
Music by  
Distributed by Miramax Films
Release date(s) May 1994
Running time 154 min.
Language English
Budget US$8.5 million

 

 

 

 

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