30 Pulp Fiction Movie Facts You Probably Didn’t Know
Pulp Fiction is undoubtedly one of the best films ever made. It’s one of those films that you can watch a hundred times and find something new and interesting every single time. The film single-handedly changed the face of cinema, became a huge box-office success and won more awards than we can count. We’ve gone through and put together a list of the most interesting facts about the movie in one place so you don’t have to go looking for them. Read on to find out 30 things you probably didn’t know about the hit movie Pulp Fiction.
1. Vince and Mia’s Dance
One of the most memorable scenes in Pulp Fiction is when Vince and Mia dance at the 1950s restaurant called Jack Rabbit Slims. The pair competed in a dance competition at the restaurant and they, presumably, won. Why do we only presume that they won?
It’s only presumed because they leave with the trophy we assume they won. But never is it actually stated that they won. It is quite possible that they just stole the trophy (wouldn’t put it past ‘em). Later on, during Butch Coolidge’s storyline, a TV announcer can be overheard stating that the trophy was stolen.
2. Mia’s Backstory later turned into Kill Bill
Throughout the movie, we don’t learn that much about Uma Thurman’s character, Mia Wallace. But we do learn that she starred in a TV pilot called Fox Force Five. Her character was a deadly secret agent who was an expert with a knife, demolition and kung fu. Sound familiar?
Tarantino took Mia Wallace’s onscreen character and made it into the Kill Bill series. He used the same template of the all-female secret agent team and turned it into the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad that was seen in both movies. Small world!
3. Those $5 Shakes
One part of the movie that may have left some viewers scratching their heads (well, to be honest, there were quite a few) is when Mia, at Jack Rabbit Slims, orders a $5 shake from the Buddy Holly impersonator waiter.
The waiter askes her “Martin and Lewis or Amos and Andy?” What he is really asking is whether she wants vanilla or chocolate. Martin and Lewis were white entertainers while Amos and Andy were black comedians. Also, you may not have caught it but that waiter is actually actor Steve Buscemi.
4. More Than One Mia
More than one actress was up for the iconic role of Mia Wallace. Today, we couldn’t imagine the movie without Uma Thurman, but there were two other actresses that nearly took the role. Those included Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Jennifer Aniston.
There was only one problem with trying to cast either of the actresses: they were already big stars on popular TV shows at the time. Neither actress had time to do work on a big movie production while starring in hit shows like Seinfeld or Friends at the same time.
5. The Drifter
Toward the end of Pulp Fiction, Jules Winnfield, played by Samuel L Jackson, states that he was to become a drifter. Well, his wish actually came true. Just not in the same movie. Jackson appears in Tarantino’s Kill Bill Volume 2.
Jackson’s role in Kill Bill Volume 2 is that of a piano-playing drifter. Be careful what you wish for! Maybe he would have had a larger role otherwise. Read on to find out some more thrilling facts about the iconic cult film Pulp Fiction.
6. The Mystery
There are many mysteries left unsolved in Pulp Fiction, like the contents of Marsellus Wallace’s briefcase. But what intrigued audiences even more, was the Band-Aid located on the back of his head and there are plenty of theories out there.
One theory claims that the Band-Aid covers up the spot where Wallace’s soul was snatched from his body. But, in reality, actor Ving Rhames just cut himself shaving one day and the director decided to keep it in the film.
7. A Dillon Butch
It might surprise you to hear that actor Matt Dillon was offered the role of Butch. Dillon reportedly told the producers that he would have to think about it. While he was thinking about it, he ended up losing the part.
“I’m sure Matt Dillon has lost many things because he takes forever to read,” casting director Ronnie Yeskel later said. While Dillon was thinking the part over, Yeskel met with Bruce Willis about the part. Willis was very adamant that he wanted the role.
8. A Nervous Dancer
John Travolta is no stranger to the art of the dance, having been in legendary movies like Saturday Night Fever and Grease. But Uma Thurman was not so adept at dancing and was actually quite nervous before the first dancing scene.
“I was so embarrassed and awkward and shy,” the actress later confessed in an interview. It took some time but the two eventually got it down perfectly. After all, it didn’t matter if Thurman danced well or not, just that she looked confident and was having fun.
9. The Music
Quentin Tarantino wrote the script of Pulp Fiction to certain songs, which he wrote down and gave to his music director to make sure that he could get the songs in the movie. According to the music director, Karyn Rachtman, even finding the songs was a challenge.
The issue was not because they were obscure songs, but because Tarantino wrote them all down and he, according to Rachtman “could not spell.” She also couldn’t find the songs because Tarantino didn’t write down the correct names for the songs, so it became detective work.
10. Jackson’s First Read
The role of Jules was actually written for Samuel L. Jackson, but he wasn’t automatically cast in the role and he still had to audition. According to the casting director, he didn’t do so well. He apparently thought he was already a shoe-in for the part.
“Sam Jackson came in to read it and he sucked. He thought he had the role, so he didn’t put any effort into reading it. And he didn’t get the role,” casting director Ronnie Yeskel stated. After auditioning a number of other actors, they let Jackson come back in and give it another go. It seems that he landed it.
11. Travolta’s Almost Non-Comeback
Pulp Fiction was a big comeback for actor John Travolta but he almost didn’t have a part in the film. “John wasn’t supposed to do this movie, it was Michael Madsen who had the role,” casting director Ronnie Yeskel said.
Due to a scheduling conflict, Madsen, who was filming Wyatt Earp at the time, had to drop out. Travolta came in to audition for the role and eventually got the part even though the head of Miramax wanted Daniel Day-Lewis.
12. The Keyed Car Unveiled
In the movie, Vincent Vega’s car is keyed by an unknown assailant. The perpetrator is never revealed in the movie but a deleted scene and Tarantino’s own testimony give us an answer. According to Tarantino, it was none other than….
…Butch, Bruce Willis’ character! A deleted scene from the movie also suggests that Butch was the perpetrator behind the keying of Vincent’s car. The two, according to the storyline, would have just had their awkward encounter at the strip club while meeting Marsellus.
13. Robert Rodriguez
Quentin Tarantino played the role of Jimmy in Pulp Fiction but seeing as he was also the director he had to ask for a bit of help for the parts where he would be in front of the camera. Tarantino had close friend and fellow filmmaker Robert Rodriguez step in.
Rodriguez and Tarantino met at the Toronto Film Festival, each with their own debut films, Reservoir Dogs and El Mariachi. The two have worked on numerous projects together after the success of Pulp Fiction.
14. Released Elsewhere First
Pulp Fiction was officially released in the United States on October 14, 1994. But before that, the movie had been seen in cities all around the world AND the movie was released in a few other countries before being released in the US.
Pulp Fiction was released in South Korea, Japan and Slovakia before the US October release. The film had also been shown in a number of different venues, such as at the Cannes Film Festival in France, and film festivals in Munich, Germany, and Locarno, Switzerland.
15. A Pint-Sized Budget
Today we think of Pulp Fiction as this huge cultural phenomenon, and it is, but it didn’t always start out that way. The film is actually an independent film and it was made on a very small budget, despite the big names.
The budget for filming the movie was just $8.5 million- a tiny sum compared to the average movie production budget totaling around $50 million at the time. At least $5 million of that budget went to the actors and actresses alone.
16. The Writing of The Script
Quentin Tarantino wrote the entire first draft of Pulp Fiction in a one-room apartment in Amsterdam. He had no phone or fax machine in his room and wrote the entire draft in his notebook. In the end, he had reached the huge amount of 500 pages.
According to Tarantino, he spent his mornings strolling around the beautiful canals of Amsterdam drinking tons of coffee, then returned to his room to write as much as possible. Some of the dialogue was affected by his time in Europe, including the famous scene about what a quarter pounder is called in France.
17. Everyone Needs a Bit of Help
Quentin Tarantino’s handwritten draft needed a lot of help for it to become the epic movie it came to be. For that, Tarantino enlisted the help of Linda Chen, who was a photographer, to type it all up. As unconventional as she was, she certainly got the job done!
After going through the very first draft, will all the grammatical and syntax errors, plus Tarantino’s illegible handwriting, Chen said that it was like “the diary of a mad man.” The two had a very close relationship in the making of the movie and Chen served as a photographer on the movie.
18. Like World War III
Hide your children and run for cover because Pulp Fiction contains enough F-bombs to completely destroy the world. In fact, there are an entire 265 of them. That may seem like just a few dozen too many but the colorful language adds a lot to the movie.
We caution readers not to make a drinking game out of the F-bombs in Pulp Fiction because alcohol poisoning is real and it kills. Read on to find out more amazing facts you probably didn’t know about Pulp Fiction.
19. That Malibu
Vincent Vega, played by the talented John Travolta, drives a gorgeous 1964 Chevelle Malibu convertible in the film. The car actually belonged to Quentin Tarantino. During the production of the movie, however, it was stolen off the set.
The car was reported stolen and police went on the lookout for the vehicle for some time before giving up hope of finding it. Almost two decades later the convertible was found. The man who owned the car had no idea it was stolen or that it belonged to the famous filmmaker.
20. Something You Might Have Missed
You might have missed it, but the marquee advertising Butch’s fight read Coolidge vs. Wilson referring to the two former presidents. But unfortunately, the little nod was a mistake given that President Calvin Coolidge never ran against President Woodrow Wilson. Oops.
The sign also mentions a match between Vossler and Martinez, a pair that weren’t presidential candidates or fighters… So who were they? They were friends of Tarantino’s. Russell Vossler and Jerry Martinez used to work at a video store together with Tarantino when they were younger.
21. Mia Overdose Scene
So, that scene where Mia Wallace overdoses and John Travolta’s character is forced to plunge a syringe of adrenaline into her heart? Yeah, that wasn’t all movie magic… A real needle was involved and everyone was on edge during the scene.
To make it easier for everyone, the scene was filmed backwards, so a syringe was carefully inserted into Uma Thurman’s chest and then pulled out, yikes! When the footage was reversed it looked as if Travolta was slamming the needle into an unconscious Thurman.
22. Honey Bunny
Before Honey Bunny was a gun-slinging robber alongside her loveable partner Pumpkin, she was a rabbit. That right, Honey Bunny is named after an actual bunny. Tarantino’s typist/camerawoman Linda Chen had a bunny named Honey Bunny, which she asked Tarantino to watch while she was away.
For one reason or another, Tarantino didn’t end up watching the rabbit and it passed away some time later so he decided to dedicate one of his characters to the beloved pet. Chen was instrumental in the success of the movie and even received a special thanks in the credits.
23. The Original Poster
The very first poster advertising the movie Pulp Fiction showed Uma Thurman smoking, as in the later posters, but in the first one she was smoking from a pack of Lucky Strikes. Miramax neglected to obtain the rights to use such imagery.
Instead of trying to obtain the rights from Luck Strike, Miramax just decided to scrap the posters that were already made and had them redone. If you are one of the lucky few to still have an original poster it can fetch several hundred dollars.
24. The Flowers on the Wall
The song, Flowers on the Wall, was a very last minute addition to the score of Pulp Fiction. On the day the scene was being shot (the one when Butch gets his gold watch and runs Jules over) they still hadn’t decided on a song.
As the script called for Butch to be singing along with the song on the radio they didn’t really have an option of changing their mind once the scene was shot (or else have to reshoot later down the road), so they choose the Statler Brother’s Flowers on the Wall.
25. Continuity Mistakes
Like any movie, there are bound to be some continuity flubs, and Pulp Fiction is no different. For example, the scene when John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson are shot at in the apartment and the shooter misses, the bullet holes are already in the wall even before shots are fired.
Another mistake is that before John Travolta gives Uma Thurman the adrenaline shot in the chest, they mark the spot with a red marker. Later on in the scene, the red mark disappears, without ever explaining how. Did she wash it off??
26. The Car Ride Conversation
The scene where John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson are riding in the car talking about Amsterdam and Europe was inspired by filmmaker Quentin Tarantino’s time spent in Europe while writing the script. In fact, almost all of it is true.
Travolta goes on about weed culture in Amsterdam and how it is legal to buy and smoke in certain areas. That’s all true. The only flub was the reference to what a quarter pounder is called in France. Travolta states that it’s called a “Royale with cheese,” when in fact it’s just a “Royale cheese.”
27. Guns Aren’t What They Appear
You might have noticed that guns are a big motif throughout Pulp Fiction. But they aren’t always used in the method you would imagine. In fact, they are used in the opposite manner as intended and that’s because many of the close-range shots miraculously miss their targets.
In one of the close-range shots, Marvin is hit by mistake, while another was intended to kill Vincent but doesn’t. Furthermore, it’s Jules’ gun that prevents the violence that was about to erupt at the coffee shop. Tarantino made a point in the film to make guns a theme but not in an expected way.
28. Vincent’s Real Pulp Fiction
The book Vince can be seen reading throughout Pulp Fiction is a real novel by Peter O’Donnell featuring the action comic character “Modesty Blaise.” The comic strip and book series are based on a young woman who has many hidden talents and a dark criminal past, much like the characters of the movie.
Pulp fictions, for those who don’t know, were cheap magazines published from 1896 until the 1950s. They were called “pulps” because of the cheap paper material they were published on, similar to low-quality comic books. Prior to the pulps, cheap publications were also referred to as “penny dreadfuls” and “dime novels”.
29. Board Game Lover
The maker of the film, Quentin Tarantino, absolutely loves board games. That’s why they appear so frequently in his movies. In Pulp Fiction you can find both Operation and The Game of Life in certain scenes.
Tarantino even convinced John Travolta to hold an all-day marathon of playing board games based on shows and movies in which Travolta starred, such as Grease, Welcome Back Kotter, and Saturday Night Fever. Read on to find out more exciting facts about the hit movie Pulp Fiction.
30. My Sharona
In the scene where Marsellus Wallace is attacked and violated in the basement of a pawn shop, there is a song playing in the background called Comanche by “The Revels.” But that wasn’t the song that Quentin Tarantino wanted originally for the scene.
Tarantino had originally wanted to have the song My Sharona by “The Knack” playing in the background for more effect. Unfortunately, not all of the band members wanted their song in the scene, citing religious reasons. So, Tarantino was forced to find another song.
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