Pulp Fiction: Quentin Tarantino Classic Arrives On 4K Ultra HD

John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction. Courtesy of Miramax/Paramount.

Pulp Fiction, the 1994 Oscar-winning classic written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, makes its arrival on 4K Ultra HD.

The film’s 4K release also comes a few weeks after Lionsgate upgraded Reservoir Dogs to 4K UHD for its 30th anniversary. There’s no milestone anniversary here but the film is now available on 4K UHD, including a Limited Edition Collector’s SteelBook. All of the bonus features are also on the previous home entertainment releases.

When one thinks of films that changed the game, Pulp Fiction is one of them. The 1990s were a different time for cinema but there were a number of indie filmmakers who were doing it themselves, including Quentin Tarantino. Miramax certainly had an interesting game plan for the indie film. While they could have done a platform release and grow the audience, they opted for a wide release instead. The end result: the first indie film to surpass over $100 million at the box office. This sort of feat probably impossible to think about now, what with the rise of streaming and all. Inglourious Basterds may be my favorite Tarantino film but there’s no disputing that Pulp Fiction is his masterpiece.

Pulp Fiction focuses on three different but interrelated storylines using Tarantino’s trademark of non-linear narrative storytelling:

  1. “Prologue—The Diner” (i)
  2. Prelude to “Vincent Vega and Marsellus Wallace’s Wife”
  3. “Vincent Vega and Marsellus Wallace’s Wife”
  4. Prelude to “The Gold Watch” (a—flashback, b—present)
  5. “The Gold Watch”
  6. “The Bonnie Situation”
  7. “Epilogue—The Diner” (ii)

If told in a linear format, the running order would be as follows: 4a, 2, 6, 1, 7, 3, 4b, 5. That being said, 1/7 and 2/6 overlap and are told from differing points of view. While the storylines are interrelated, they each have their own different protagonists: hitman Vincent Vega (John Travolta); prizefighter Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis); and Vincent’s partner, Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson).

What is there to say about this film that has not already been said? I’m not really going to get into the plot because there’s a good chance that you already know it. I mean, this is one of the best crime dramas of all time. There are so many scenes and images from this film that people know because filmmakers and TV series would pay homage. Upon Nick Fury’s fake death in Captain America: The Winter Solider, the tombstone quotes Samuel L. Jackson’s monologue in this film. It’s a passage recited quite a few times in the film. Speaking of the Bible quote, I would also be remiss if I did not discuss its translation. When one does a bit of research, we learn that Tarantino was drawing from a martial arts movie for the bulk of the quotation.

This is a part of Jules’ monologue when citing Ezekiel 25:17:

“The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness, for he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy My brothers. And you will know I am the Lord when I lay My vengeance upon you.”

According to Sefaria, this is what the text says in Ezekiel 25:17 according to the most recent JPS translation in 1985:

I will wreak frightful vengeance upon them by furious punishment; and when I inflict My vengeance upon them, they shall know that I am the LORD.

The verse is preceded by verses of retribution against both Edom and the Philistines. Feel free to read the contents of Ezekiel 25 for yourself. I can see where Tarantino draws upon it for inspiration but there’s nothing in the text discussing the path of the righteous man. Initially, the chapter prophesizes against the Ammonites and Moab. A few verses into it, there’s a prophecy for vengeance against Edom for acting vengefully against the House of Judah. Finally, it prophesizes against the Philistines for their ancient hatred and seeking revenge and destruction and this is what the verse in particular is talking about. If you wish to read what Rashi says, feel free to check out his commentary here.

The movie would go onto revitalize Travolta’s career after his appearances in a series of flops. Uma Thurman’s career was practically launched with the film. Without a doubt, Bruce Willis was the biggest name to sign on at the time. The decision by Willis to sign on would show actors that it is impossible to alternate between blockbuster fare and indie films. Ving Rhames was another actor who saw his career benefit from his performance.

Most surprisingly, the film does not feature a score at all. Instead, it features a number of songs appearing throughout the two and a half hour running time. There’s a mix of surf music, rock and roll, pop, and soul. It’s certainly easy to compare the film’s soundtrack to that year’s Forrest Gump. But even then, the music presents two very different cultures of the 1960s.

Pulp Fiction is a cinematic masterpiece.

Bonus Features

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc

  • Not the Usual Mindless Boring Getting to Know You Chit Chat
  • Here are Some Facts on the Fiction
  • Enhanced Trivia Track (subtitle file)

Blu-ray Disc

  • Not the Usual Mindless Boring Getting to Know You Chit Chat                                     
  • Here Are Some Facts on the Fiction                                
  • Pulp Fiction: The Facts – Documentary                                        
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Behind the Scenes Montages
  • Production Design Featurette                                          
  • Siskel & Ebert “At the Movies”- The Tarantino Generation                            
  • Independent Spirit Awards                                
  • Cannes Film Festival – Palme d’Or Acceptance Speech                                   
  • Charlie Rose Show                                 
  • Marketing Gallery
  • Still Galleries
  • Enhanced Trivia Track (text on feature)                                       
  • Soundtrack Chapters (index points in feature)    

CAST: John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Amanda Plummer, Maria de Medeiros, Ving Rhames, Eric Stoltz, Rosanna Arquette, Christopher Walken, and Bruce Willis

Miramax released Pulp Fiction in theaters on October 14, 1994. Grade: 5/5

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.