The film Quentin Tarantino called “possibly the greatest movie ever”

As one of cinema’s most influential voices, Quentin Tarantino has the extraordinary ability to tilt the balance of popular culture in the direction of his liking, making each and every one of his cinematic releases a mammoth filmmaking event. Not dissimilar from the attraction of Christopher Nolan, Denis Villeneuve or Steven Spielberg, Tarantino creates spectacular, stylish tales, though favours narrative and character over aesthetic wonder. It means that his verdict on some of cinema’s finest films is always welcomed by those cinephiles who follow his every move.

A self-confessed student of cinema, Tarantino often borrows from the history of film, lovingly taking creative licence from Japanese cinema in particular, such as in Toshiya Fujita’s Lady Snowblood, which heavily influenced 2003s Kill Bill. In a discussion with The Talks, he notes how he absorbs cultural influences to use in his writing, commenting: “[My] head is a sponge. I listen to what everyone says, I watch little idiosyncratic behaviour, people tell me a joke, and I remember it. People tell me an interesting story in their life, and I remember it”.

Known for his ingenious storytelling tactics, pervasive violence as well as profane dialogues, Quentin Tarantino is vocal in his cinematic tastes, often discussing his favourite films in various interviews throughout modern journalism. Releasing a list of his eleven favourite films, the collection includes Taxi Driver from Martin Scorsese, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly from Sergio Leone and Quentin Tarantino’s favourite Steven Spielberg film, Jaws.

In fact, when Quentin Tarantino appeared on Jimmy Kimmel in 2021, the director stated, “I think Jaws is maybe, possibly the greatest movie ever made”. While we may not be able to award it such a lauded accolade, it’s hard to ignore the power of Jaws.

Dealing with the deep, dark blue of the unknown, Speilberg’s classic horror-drama stalks the activity of a killer shark causing chaos in the waters of a local beach community. Featuring groundbreaking cinematography that places the viewer within the shark’s gaze, just beneath the break of the water’s surface, Jaws creates an unprecedented tension that screams of inevitable bloodshed. Considering the film’s soft PG rating and relative lack of visceral violence, the terror it has created of the deep dark blue for a whole western culture is staggering.

Whilst it is common knowledge that Quentin Tarantino notes Sergio Leone as his major cinematic influence, the impact of Steven Spielberg on the filmography of the Pulp Fiction director is less discussed.

Speaking in an interview with Charlie Rose shortly before the release of Saving Private Ryan in 1998, Quentin Tarantino stated: “He’s just such a perfect filmmaker. When he comes up with the ‘Taking of Shanghai’ sequence, for instance, in Empire of the Sun. I talked to him about Saving Private Ryan and he goes, ‘Oh, we’re going to create the greatest ‘Taking of Omaha Beach’ ever!’ I have no doubt he will”.

Continuing, he adds, “He’s just a master. I’m sure he’s going to do the greatest ‘Taking of Omaha Beach’ ever captured on film. That kind of filmmaking language, I think I’ve got it, too but in a different way. I could learn something from him”.

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