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50 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Pulp Fiction

50 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Pulp Fiction

50 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Pulp Fiction
16 October 2013

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What do they call a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in France? What does Marcellus Wallace look like? What, for the love of Christ, was in the briefcase? Pulp Fiction was always a film that asked more questions that it answered. Until now.

Two decades after its release, Quentin Tarantino's insta-classic is still one of the best loved and most quoted ("Say what again, I dare you") in cinema history, and quite possibly Tarantino's finest work.

And, in true Tarantino style, the movie was steeped in meta, littered with in-joke and featured a whole heap of tributes to other films. So, just in case you were not already aware, here are 50 facts about the bloodiest, seediest, sweariest film of 1994.

Related: 50 Incredible facts about The Big Lebowski

(Images: All Star, Rex, YouTube)


Whenever Vincent Vega goes to the toilet (which is a lot - constipation is a side effect of heroin), something bad happens. He emerges at Mia Wallace's house to find her overdosing, comes out at the restaurant to find a robbery unfolding and is shot dead by Butch after using his bathroom.


When the 'Buddy Holly' waiter (Steve Buscemi) asks Mia her if she wants her $5 shake "Martin and Lewis or Amos and Andy?", he's asking if she wants it vanilla or chocolate flavoured. Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis are white entertainers (vanilla), whereas Amos and Andy are black comedians (chocolate).


When Butch flees in a cab after killing his boxing opponent, the taxi driver (Angela Jones) actually played the same character in a TV show pilot - as a crime scene cleaner - where she was fascinated with death. This explains why she asks Butch what it's like to kill a man.


At the end of Pulp Fiction , Jules says he wants to become a "drifter." In Kill Bill Volume 2, Samuel L. Jackson appears as a piano-playing drifter, called Rufus.


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.


Butch was originally intended as an up-and-coming boxer, with Sylvester Stallone, Matt Dillon and Mickey Rourke all considered for the role. Eventually, Tarantino amended the character and offered it to Bruce Willis, who previously wanted to play Vincent.


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 it. Travolta tried this method with his wife in their hotel hot tub, lining up tequila shots along the bath.


The shot of Vincent plunging the syringe of adrenaline into Mia's chest was filmed by having John Travolta pull the needle out, then reversing the footage.


When Butch shoots Vincent Vega, it isn't Vince's gun that's been left on the side. As Jules had 'retired' by this point, Marcellus Wallace is staking out Butch's house with Vincent, leaving his firearm there while going to get coffee and doughnuts - which is when Butch next sees him.


Marsellus and Mia Wallace never speak to each other on-screen, despite being husband and wife.


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.


Quentin Tarantino originally wanted to use My Sharona by the Knack during the gimp torture sequence, but the rights had already been sold to another film, Reality Bites. On top of this, one of the members of the band was a born again Christian, and didn't want the song used in a scene involving sexual violence.


Quentin Tarantino hesitated over playing Jimmie or Lance. He eventually chose Jimmie as he wanted to be behind the camera during Mia's overdose scene.


Jules' famous and oft-quoted Bible passage was in fact made up by Quentin Tarantino and Samuel L. Jackson. Only the final two lines feature in Ezequiel 25:17.


The character of Trudi (Bronagh Gallagher) wears a T-shirt of Irish rock band The Frames. This is because she appeared alongside Frames lead singer, Glen Hansard, in The Commitments , and promised she'd wear their T-shirt in Pulp Fiction if she got a part.


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 a reference to Russell Vossler and Jerry Martinez, two of Quentin Tarantino's friends from when he worked in a video store.


According to her agent, Julia Louis-Dreyfus was offered the role of Mia Wallace, but turned it down as she was committed to Seinfeld. Halle Berry, Meg Ryan, Isabella Rossellini, Daryl Hannah, Joan Cusack and Michelle Pfeiffer all auditioned for the role.


The 'Bad Mother F*cker' wallet Jules has in the film actually belonged to Quentin Tarantino. The inscription is a reference to the theme song of Shaft, a role Samuel L. Jackson later went on to play.


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'. Picking up Zed's keys, Butch looks at the 'Z' on the keyring, subliminally spelling out 'Kill Zed'. It's then that Butch goes back to save Marcellus.


Quentin Tarantino wrote the character of Jules especially for Samuel L. Jackson, after he missed out on a role in Reservoir Dogs, but the role was nearly given to Paul Calderon after a great audition. Hearing this, Jackson flew to Los Angeles and auditioned again, in order to secure the role. Calderon ended up with a small role in Pulp Fiction as Paul.


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.


Pam Grier auditioned for a role in Pulp Fiction, as Lance's wife Jody. Though Tarantino was a fan of Grier, he didn't cast her as he didn't believe she could get pushed around the way the character does. He later wrote Jackie Brown's eponymous character especially for Grier.


Some of the scenes featuring Quentin Tarantino on screen as Jimmie Dimmick were directed by an uncredited Robert Rodriguez.


Pulp Fiction cost a relatively modest $8m to make, with over $5m going towards actor salaries. The film went on to make over $210m.


The role of Vincent Vega was originally written for Michael Madsen, who played Vic Vega in Reservoir Dogs. Instead, Madsen opted to play Virgil Earp in Wyatt Earp. Tarantino then made the controversial choice of casting John Travolta, an actor best known for roles in Grease, Saturday Night Fever and Look Who's Talking. Travolta was paid less than $150,000, but went on to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Actor.


Actor Max Julien was set to play Marcellus Wallace, but refused to do the anal rape scene, meaning Ving Rhames got the role instead.


In a deleted scene, Vincent Vega tells Mia he's been fantasising about being beaten up by Emma Peel from The Avengers. Uma Thurman later played Emma Peel in the 1998 film.


Courtney Love once claimed Quentin Tarantino wanted Kurt Cobain and herself to play Lance and Jody. Tarantino, however, denies ever offering Kurt the part, or even meeting him.


One of the movie's (many) unanswered questions is who keyed Vincent Vega's car. Years after the film's release, Tarantino admitted it was the work of Bruce Willis' character, Butch.


Uma Thurman originally turned down the role of Mia Wallace, but Quentin Tarantino was so desperate for her to play the role, he read her the script over the phone, eventually convincing her to take it.


Chronologically speaking, the last scene in the movie sees Butch and Fabienne drive away on a motorcycle. The very first sound heard at the start of the movie is the same motorcycle's engine.


Board games The Game of Life and Operation are both visible in the back of shot while Vincent and Lance are attempting to revive an overdosing Mia.


Uma Thurman was originally against the the song played during the Jack Rabbit Slim's Twist Contest, and told Quentin Tarantino she thought it didn't sound right. Tarantino stood firm, telling Thurman, "Trust me, it's perfect."


Daniel Day Lewis was famously overlooked for the role of Vincent, and Gary Oldman was originally favoured for the role of Lance, after portraying a similar character in the Tarantino-penned True Romance.


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 on, with the owner who had recently purchased having no idea it was stolen.


Tarantino is evidently a Kool & The Gang fan. In 'The Bonnie Situation' Jules says "Kool and the Gang", the second track at the start of the movie is their hit, Jungle Boogie and can be heard in the background whilst Jules and Vince discuss Amsterdam.


A deleted scene from the film sees Jules shoot and kill Lance through a table, spin round and fire at Jody. The camera then cuts back to Lance talking, revealing that the shootings in fact happened in Jules' imagination.


Mia Wallace's Fox Force Five character, Raven McCoy, is a reference to three characters from X-Men. The name Raven is a nod to Raven Darkholme (Mystique's real name), McCoy is the last name of Beast (Hank McCoy) and Mia describes her character as being raised by circus performers, just like Kurt Wagner (Nightcrawler). Also, all three characters are blue.


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, .


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."


The film's title is self-referential. 'Pulp' magazines were popular during the mid-20th century and famed for their graphic violence and punchy dialogue - exploited to attract a readership. The film's content mirrors these overt, unapologetic stylings.


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.


The innocent bystander shot by Marsellus Wallace after Butch runs him over is the same actor pulled from her car by Mr. Pink in Reservoir Dogs.


The 'F word' is said 265 times during Pulp Fiction.


Pumpkin/Honey Bunny's style of robbery - rounding up a mass of people and stealing their money - is a direct reference to The Great Train Robbery (1903).


Marcellus Wallace being raped is ironic. He tells Butch, "In the fifth, your ass goes down." When interrogating Butch's trainer, he says to "Set the dogs on his ass", and when asked about Butch, he says "If he goes to Indo-China I want a nigger in a bowl of rice ready to pop a cap in his ass." Wallace's preoccupation with punishing his enemies in 'the ass' comes back to bite him in his own.


The novel Vincent reads on the toilet, Modesty Blaise, is a 1965 'pulp' novel, in keeping with the movie's title.


The shot of Marcellus stopping and seeing Butch in the middle of the road is copied directly from Psycho.


Butch’s Honda Civic is exact same one used in both Jackie Brown and Kill Bill: Volume 2.


The mystery of what's in Marcellus Wallace's briefcase has raged for years. Some argue it's Elvis' gold suit from True Romance, others the diamonds from Reservoir Dogs. The most popular theory is that it's Marcellus Wallace's soul, hence the case's glow, the plaster on the back of Wallace's head (this is where the soul is removed) and the combination - 666. In reality, the band aid on Wallace's head was used to cover a shaving scar suffered by actor Ving Rhames, and though Quentin Tarantino's original script had the briefcase containing diamonds, he quickly dismissed this as it was too similar to Reservoir Dogs. Instead, Tarantino thought it better to never reveal (or even decide) what was in the case, in the hope people would guess, speculate and create their own theories. It worked.

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