- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
Cannes’ 1994 jury president, Clint Eastwood, remarked that the experience of seeing 23 films in one week made him “want to cut 20 minutes out of all my movies.” Luckily for Quentin Tarantino — whose Once Upon a Time in Hollywood premieres in competition at this year’s fest — one of the films that Eastwood and his jury liked was Pulp Fiction.
While many thought the Palme d’Or would go to Krzysztof Kie?lowski’s Three Colors: Red, it went instead to Pulp Fiction. “It was a democratic decision,” said Eastwood after the choice was announced. “People thought it was original.” The verdict was a surprise for the filmmakers. “We thought maybe we’d get some kind of special award, like for best ensemble acting,” says producer Lawrence Bender. “When it became clear [as the awards were announced] that we hadn’t won anything and Kie?lowski hadn’t won anything, Quentin and I looked at each other and it was like, ‘Shit, we could actually win this.’ ”
When they did, a woman in the balcony responded by screaming, “Kie?lowski! Kie?lowski! Pulp Fiction is shit.” THR wrote that Tarantino handled this by giving “a jeering protester the finger as he accepted the prize from Kathleen Turner.” The director went on to say, “I never expect to win anything when a jury has to decide because I don’t make the kinds of movies that bring people together. I make the kinds of movies that split people apart.”
In its review, THR liked the film’s dialogue (“Some … lines are so pure, you could mix ’em with talcum and still make a big haul by selling in an alley somewhere”) but didn’t think it would do much at the box office (“Don’t expect John Q. Public to smack down dough for this spray of ammo, torture, old tunes and new noise”). The $8.5 million production ($14.5 million today) went on to win an Oscar for best original screenplay and rake in $213 million worldwide ($365 million currently).
This story first appeared in the May 8 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day