Each week, this column will cover one film on the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 greatest American films of all time, covering my general thoughts on the film and whether or not I think it belongs on the list. You can also see my personal ranking here. To celebrate Noirvember, I’ll be covering some remaining film noir from the list. This week’s film is #94 on the list: Pulp Fiction (1994).
Pulp Fiction is arguably the most culturally significant film of the 1990s. It popularized the fractured narrative storytelling which still remains prominent today and became a box office sensation at a time when independent films were not popular. The state of independent cinema would look far different today (especially since blockbuster filmmaking only became increasingly more popular in the 21st century) if it weren’t for Quentin Tarantino’s breakout hit. And even though it’s been ripped off countless times in the decades since, Pulp Fiction feels as bold and radical today as it was in 1994. Tarantino’s dialogue has never been more punchy, especially with the star-studded cast as its vessel, and the characters are so rich and dynamic, even Christopher Walken’s brief appearance makes a lasting impression. It’s filled top-to-bottom with quotable lines and iconic sequences, but remains endlessly rewatchable, even if you have most of it committed to memory. Pulp Fiction is one film that undoubtedly lives up to its reputation.
Does It Belong on the List?
Absolutely. Not only for its monumental cultural significance, but because it genuinely is one of the greatest American films of all time.