This is one of the most fascinating crime movies ever made.
In this post, you’ll discover our top list of facts about Reservoir Dogs, an amazing Quentin Tarantino Masterpiece.
1. It was Quentin Tarantino’s first feature-length film
Once upon a time, a video store clerk in Redondo Beach dreamed about making his own movies. He wrote a script about a crime movie that he wanted to produce with his friends on a limited budget. Armed with a 30 mm camera and $30,000, they were all set to start shooting.
Somehow, Harvey Keitel, an established actor, got his hands on the script and wanted to star in it. With his connections, enough money was raised to create a serious movie (about $1.2 million).
Reservoir Dogs was Quentin Tarantino’s first movie and it remains a classic. It was the prelude of an amazing career that produced evergreen classics such as Pulp Fiction, The Kill Bill’s, Inglourious Basterds, and Django Unchained (to name a few) would follow.
2. The budget was extremely low
Even though $1.2 million doesn’t sound like pocket change, to make a feature-length movie with a lot of actors, this is actually not a lot.
This resulted in there not being enough budget for some important things, such as clothes!
The black suits were actually donated by a movie enthusiast, Steve Buscemi wore his own black jeans as they didn’t have a suit pants for him, and Chris Penn’s Nike Jacket was his as well.
3. One scene was shot in real traffic
After the robbery goes horribly wrong, Steve Buscemi’s character, Mister Pink, throws a woman out of a car and drives off.
This scene was actually shot in real traffic because there wasn’t any budget to get police assistance for traffic control.
So when he drives off, he actually needed to wait for the traffic lights to turn green to do so.
4. Steve Buscemi had to work to get his role
When the actors came in to audition, Quentin Tarantino made all of them read the part of Mister Pink. He additionally added that he was actually the one who would play this role, and the only way to get this part would be to do a killer audition.
A pretty clever trick and Steve Buscemi must have done a terrific job because he ended up becoming Mister Pink.
5. A heist movie without a heist
Reservoir Dogs is all about a robbery that goes wrong, so it can essentially be classified as a heist movie.
One of the coolest facts about Reservoir Dogs is that it is often listed as one of the top heist movies of all time, even though we never actually see the heist taking place.
Tarantino mentioned that the reason for not including the actual robbery in the movie was mainly budgetary, but he also liked the idea of not putting it in because the details of it might have overshadowed the really important elements of the movie.
This worked out perfectly fine!
6. This is how you get into character
One of the most gripping scenes of the movie is when Michael Madsen (Mister Blonde) comes to the safe house with a cop in the trunk of his car.
The actor playing the cop, Kirk Baltz, had a great idea to prepare himself for this role. he asked Madsen if he wanted to take a drive around the neighborhood with him in the trunk of his car, just so he could understand how it feels like.
Madsen agreed and took off with Baltz in his trunk. To make the experience a bit worse, he actually stopped at the drive-through of a Taco Bell restaurant before driving down a long street full of potholes.
This isn’t quite the stuff that Leonardo DiCaprio went through to get into character for his Oscar-winning performance in “The Revenant,” but Madsen tried his best to make Baltz feel what would really happen if he found himself in the cop’s situation in the movie.
7. This was a fast movie
They didn’t mess around with filming, and how could they if they didn’t even have the budget to buy some suits for the gangsters, right?
The movie was shot in a grand total of 35 days!
Another interesting fact is that Quentin Tarantino wrote the first draft of the script in just three and a half weeks.
8. Did Tarantino want James Woods to play Mister Orange?
Tim Roth did an amazing job playing the undercover police officer that accidentally got shot shortly after the robbery.
He actually got the role after a drinking night with Tarantino and Harvey Keitel, because he refused to read his part during auditioning. He only did so when they were all drunk enough.
Tarantino actually wanted James Woods to play a part in the movie, and it’s believed this was the part of Mister Orange (even though it’s still unknown if this really was the case). Strangely enough, the cash offers made to Woods were refused 5 times without Woods even knowing about it.
When he found out later that he wasn’t even informed about the role, Woods fired his agent and got a new one.
9. Mister Blue was a real criminal once
Edward Bunker, the man playing Mister Blue in the movie, must have had one of the easiest roles of them all. In a previous life, he was actually a convicted felon who was sentenced to jail for bank robbery, drug dealing, extortion, armed robbery, and forgery.
After he decided it was enough, he changed his life in 1975 at age 42 and didn’t just become an actor later on, but actually started writing crime novels as well.
He became Mister Blue in Reservoir Dogs and 11 years before the movie was shot, he wrote a semi-autobiographical novel called “Little Boy Blue.”
he passed away in Burbank, California, in 2005 at the age of 71.
10. The movie initially didn’t do so well
Even though the movie was received enthusiastically at numerous film festivals, including the Sundance Film Festival and at Cannes, it didn’t do too well in box office receipts in the United States. After all, it was hardly promoted due to the lack of budget for marketing.
That doesn’t mean it made a loss though because with over $2.8 million domestically, it still managed to make a nice profit on the $1.2 million budget.
It wasn’t until the movie hit the UK though that it really took off. it grossed £6.8 million in the United Kingdom.
Another one of those remarkable facts about Reservoir Dogs is that it increased in popularity in the United States after the release of Pulp Fiction, just 2 years later.
It turned out to become one of the most well-respected and influential crime movies of all time on which numerous other films in the genre drew inspiration from!
11. Lawrence Tierney caused a lot of problems
One day, the crime boss in the movie got involved in real crime during the shoot. Lawrence Tierney got arrested for pulling a gun on his nephew and got taken from his bail arraignment to play a fictional gangster who organizes a robbery on set.
Apart from that, it appears he was easily distracted and kept on forgetting his lines, which resulted in Quentin Tarantino firing him after just 3 days.
12. A gangster on set claimed that the movie was unrealistic
Mister Blue, played by Edward Bunker, used to be a real-life criminal. Even though he didn’t say too much during the movie and Tarantino even added the opening diner scene so he would get some lines, he did have an opinion on the story.
According to Bunker, the movie was completely unrealistic. First of all, he would never have agreed to do a job like this with a bunch of people he didn’t know because he wouldn’t be able to trust any of them. So the setup is unrealistic, from a criminal’s perspective, to begin with.
Finally, letting a bunch of gangsters in suits meet in a crowded, public diner, is definitely not something real criminals would do. Too many witnesses would be able to recognize at least a few of the guys drinking coffee and discussing their evil plans.
But we don’t care as we’re not criminals. We just want to be entertained, and we were!
13. This was one important song!
If we think about Reservoir Dogs, we’re instantly reminded of Michael Madsen dancing to the song called “Stuck in the middle with you” while preparing to horribly torture the cop he caught. He actually improvised that dance (which kinda shows).
One of the most interesting facts about Reservoir Dogs is that Quentin Tarantino didn’t care about having any other music in the movie, as long as he could secure this song for that scene.
That’s why he blew the entire budget for music on this one song, which required the movie producers to secure a record deal for the soundtrack of the movie.
Risky business, but it worked out just fine!
Just because this epic scene is so memorable and because Tarantino put so much importance towards having this song included, we decided to share it here, check it out:
14. The conditions to shoot the movie weren’t the best
The movie as shot in a dusty warehouse in Los Angeles in the months of July and August. That’s the hottest time of the year and to make things even worse, the warehouse was filled with hot lights as well.
Tim Roth suffered the most from the shooting conditions. As he was being marinated in a sauce of fake blood, it actually became so hot that he felt like being glued to the floor.
We’re not sure if James Woods was aware of this when he fired his agent for not mentioning this role to him, perhaps he did him a favor?
15. Madonna didn’t agree with Tarantino’s version of her song
The opening scene revolves around a heated discussion about Madonna’s song “Like a virgin,” in which Tarantino has his own opinion of what the song is about.
While Madonna liked the movie, she didn’t agree with his version and actually sent him a signed copy of her “Erotica” album with a note saying:
“To Quentin. It’s not about d*ck, it’s about love. Madonna.”Madonna explaining hat “Like a virgin” is about to Quentin Tarantino.
While he laid out his reasonable explanation, Madonna’s ex-brother-in-law, Chris Penn (Madonna was married to Sean Penn for 4 years), was listening carefully as well.