Quentin Tarantino Says Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is his best film

Quentin Tarantino says his latest film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, is also his best.

In an interview with Howard Stern to promote his new book, Tarantino was asked point blank which of his films he considers his best. He didn’t hedge.

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“For years people used to ask me stuff like that,” Tarantino told Stern. “And then I would usually say something like, ‘Oh, they’re all like my children, and da da da da da da.’ Then I would change it to, ‘Well, it kind of depends on when you ask me. If you ask me one year, or one moment, I could say, oh, Kill Bill. Another one I could say something else.’ But I really do think Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is my best movie.”

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, released in 2019, is expected to be the second-to-last of Tarantino’s career. The writer-director has said he’s finished after his 10th film, and is very vocal in his opinion that “most directors have horrible last movies.” He wants to go out on top and avoid becoming one of the many directors who overstay their welcome.

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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is rooted in the fear of decline. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio as actor Rick Dalton, who fears his career is collapsing, and Brad Pitt as his stuntman and friend, Cliff Booth, whose fortune rises and falls with Rick’s. Margot Robbie plays Sharon Tate, Rick’s neighbor, whose star is rising. Lurking in the background of their respective career dramas is the creepy, malevolent ambition of the Manson family. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was among the films that was nominated for Best Picture in 2020 but lost to Parasite.


Tarantino also looks back in the Howard Stern interview to the very start of his career. He said he knew the script to Reservoir Dogs, his first film, had to be so good that a studio would do anything to make it — including let him direct. He said his producer-partner Lawrence Bender used to tell studios that Tarantino wouldn’t even meet with them unless they would allow him to direct Reservoir Dogs.

He said he and Bender told studios: “Don’t try to talk him into anything — we’ll just leave.”