Pulp Fiction was released in October 1994. The description was “The lives of two mob hit men, a boxer, a gangster’s wife, and a pair of diner bandits intertwine in four tales of violence and redemption.” It was a small budget movie that ended up making $210 million. The movie is so incredibly detailed and there was enough jumping back and forth in the time line that viewers couldn’t help but want to watch it over and over again. Here are 27 Pulp Fiction Facts that you may, or may not have known about this iconic movie.
1. When Steve Buscemi’s Buddy Holly character asks Mia (Uma Thurman) if she wants her expensive shake a “Martin and Lewis or Amos and Andy?” he is referring to vanilla or chocolate flavoring. Referring to Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis being white entertainers, and Amos and Andy are black comedians.
2. The adrenaline shot scene was actually filmed in reverse to make the stabbing acting more accurate.
3. Tarantino wanted to use the song My Sharona by the Knack during the torture sequence, but the rights had already been sold to the film, Reality Bites. Believe it or not, on the band’s members became a Born Again Christian, and did not want the song to be featured in a sex scene.
4. Jules’ famous Bible passage was actually made up by Quentin Tarantino and Samuel L. Jackson. It only feature two lines from Ezequiel 25:17.
5. The “Bad Mother Fu*ker” wallet that Samuel Jackson uses in the film was owned by Tarantino. It references the Shaft theme song, which Samuel later played.
6. When Bruce Willis escapes the pawn shop, he sees a neon sign that says ‘Killian’s Red’, but as some of the letters are missing it reads ‘Kill ed’. After picking up Zed’s keys, Butch looks at the ‘Z’ on the key ring, subliminally spelling out ‘Kill Zed’. It’s then that Butch goes back to save Marcellus.
7. Jules was originally meant to have a massive afro, but a crew member purchased a ‘jheri curl’ wig instead. Luckily, both Jackson and Tarantino liked it, and it became part of the character.
8. Butch’s Honda Civic is exact same one used in both Jackie Brown and Kill Bill: Volume 2.
9. The ‘F word’ is said 265 times during Pulp Fiction.
10. The shot of Marcellus stopping and seeing Butch in the middle of the road is copied directly from Psycho.
11. When Butch is driving from his apartment he’s listening to Flowers on the Wall by The Statler Brothers, and sings along to the lyrics, “Smoking cigarettes and watching captain kangaroo”. In Die Hard With A Vengeance, Samuel L. Jackson asks Bruce Willis’ character John McClane what he’s been doing. His reply? “Oh just smoking cigarettes, watching captain kangaroo.”
12. The 1964 Chevelle Malibu convertible Vincent drives in the film actually belonged to Quentin Tarantino, and was stolen during production of Pulp Fiction. Earlier this year the car was tracked down, some two decades later, with the owner who had recently purchased having no idea it was stolen.
13. Pulp Fiction cost a relatively modest $8m to make, with over $5m going towards actor salaries. The film went on to make over $210m.
14. Some of the scenes featuring Quentin Tarantino on-screen as Jimmie Dimmick were directed by an unaccredited Robert Rodriguez.
15. The fight card that Butch appears on advertises Coolidge vs Wilson and Vossler vs Martinez. The first is a reference to US presidents Calvin Coolidge and Woodrow Wilson, the second is a reference to Russell Vossler and Jerry Martinez, two of Quentin Tarantino’s friends from when he worked in a video store.
16. A theme throughout the film is guns not being used as intended. A close-range gunshot miraculously misses Jules, Vincent accidentally shoots Marvin in the face, Butch shoots Vincent with a gun that was meant to kill him and, at the end of the film, it is Jules’ gun that prevents violence in the coffee shop.
17. John Travolta spoke to a recovering heroin addict during his research for Vincent Vega. The addict, a friend of Quentin Tarantino, suggested Travolta get drunk on tequila and lie in a hot pool, as this would be the closest representation of heroin’s effects without actually doing it. Travolta tried this method with his wife in their hotel hot tub, lining up tequila shots along the bath.
18. After the movie’s iconic dance scene, you see Vincent Vega and Mia Wallace walk into her house holding a trophy. The audience assumes they won the contest, but later in the film, a barely audible advert states the trophy had been stolen – meaning Vince and Mia lost the competition then stole the trophy.
19. Whenever Vincent Vega goes to the toilet, something bad usually happens. He emerges at Mia Wallace’s house to find her overdosing, comes out after using the restroom in the restaurant to find a robbery unfolding and is shot dead by Butch after using his bathroom.
20. The Royal with Cheese is a real thing in Europe.
21. The dance that Vincent and Mia perform at Jack Rabbit Slims is a pastiche of Gloria Morin and Mario Mezzabotta’s dance in 1963 film, 8½.
22. Fabienne says, “Any time of the day is a good time for pie.” This line is also said by Alabama in True Romance, written by Quentin Tarantino.
23. The novel Vincent reads on the toilet, Modesty Blaise, is a 1965 ‘pulp’ novel, of course correlating with the movie’s title.
24. Samuel L. Jackson auditioned for the part of the guy who trains Mr. Orange in Reservoir Dogs, but it went to Randy Brooks. Tarantino enjoyed Jackson’s work so much that he wrote the part of Jules specifically for him.
25. Bruce Willis worked on the film for only 18 days.
26. Many people believe that the band-aid on Ving Rhames’ neck was an intentional choice by the filmmakers. In reality, it came from an accident Rhames had while shaving his head. When Quentin Tarantino noticed this, it inspired him to open the “Vincent Vega and Marsellus Wallace” sequence with a close-up of the band-aid instead. Ultimately Tarantino liked showing the band-aid rather than Rhames’ face because it accentuated the character’s mercurial nature and was more visually exciting than a series of single shots of Rhames and Bruce Willis.
27. As to the contents of the mystery briefcase. No actually explanation was ever given. Theories ranging from the briefcase containing the diamonds from Reservoir Dogs to Elvis’ golden suit. In a radio interview with Howard Stern in 2003. A caller asked Tarantino about what was inside the briefcase. He answered “It’s whatever the viewer wants it to be”.
Tarantino set up the briefcase scene flawlessly leaving the view hanging and wanting more. The imagination is limitless. If the viewer is disappointed with what they want it to be, then it they have only themselves to blame for not thinking of something better.