Over the past decade, Quentin Tarantino has regularly declared his intention to retire from filmmaking following the release of his tenth movie.
The director and screenwriter, who has helmed such classics as Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs and Kill Bill, initially said in 2009 that he planned to retire once he reached the age of 60 – which he did on March 27 this year – to “go and write novels and cinema literature, stuff like that”.
He reiterated that desire in 2014 during an event to promote his 2015 film The Hateful Eight (saying his post-retirement days would consist of “writing plays and books, going gracefully into my tender years”), before then outlining his 10-movies-and-out plan.
“I like that I will leave a 10-film filmography, and so I’ve got two more to go after this,” he said (via Deadline). “It’s not etched in stone, but that is the plan. If I get to the tenth, do a good job and don’t screw it up, well, that sounds like a good way to end the old career. If, later on, I come across a good movie, I won’t not do it just because I said I wouldn’t. But 10 and done, leaving them wanting more — that sounds right.”
News has emerged in the past few weeks of Tarantino’s tenth feature film The Movie Critic, which will begin filming in LA in the autumn. Could this upcoming movie, then, serve as Tarantino’s swansong?
How many films has Quentin Tarantino made so far?
His list of directed features, which currently spans from 1992 to 2019, includes 10 individual movies: Reservoir Dogs (1992), Pulp Fiction (1994), Jackie Brown (1997), Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003), Kill Bill: Volume 2 (2004), Death Proof (2007), Inglourious Basterds (2009), Django Unchained (2012), The Hateful Eight (2015) and Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (2019).
Tarantino and many of his fans, however, count Kill Bill volumes one and two as one movie (especially as he subsequently fulfilled his original intention of combining the two volumes into a single film), which reduces his overall number of directed features to nine films.
It’s also worth noting that he directed one of the segments of the 1995 anthology film Four Rooms, while he also served as a “guest director” for one scene in 2005’s Sin City. Neither of these works make the official count, however.
What has Tarantino said about his retirement plans?
Back in 2012, Tarantino told Playboy: “You stop when you stop, but in a fanciful world, 10 movies in my filmography would be nice. I’ve made seven … if I stop at 10, that would be OK as an artistic statement.”
Two years later, during the aforementioned Hateful Eight event where he spoke of his “10-film filmography” plan, Tarantino said of his reasons for retiring: “I don’t believe you should stay onstage until people are begging you to get off. I like the idea of leaving them wanting a bit more. I do think directing is a young man’s game, and I like the idea of an umbilical cord connection from my first to my last movie. I’m not trying to ridicule anyone who thinks differently, but I want to go out while I’m still hard.”
It’s a stance he maintained in 2015, telling The Hollywood Reporter: “Well I’m probably only going to make 10 movies, so I’m already planning on what I’m going to do after that. That’s why I’m counting them. I have two more left. I want to stop at a certain point. What I want to do basically is I want to write novels, and I want to write theatre and I want to direct theatre. I actually want to do a theatrical adaptation of Hateful Eight because I actually like the idea of other actors having a chance to play my characters and see what happens from that.”
After telling GQ that The Hateful Eight “could be my best movie, if not at least in my top four”, he added: “If ﬁlm projection goes the way of the dodo bird, well, then, maybe I might not even get to 10 [movies].”
Fast forward to 2021 and an appearance on Real Time With Bill Maher, with Tarantino responding to the eponymous host’s argument that he was “too young to quit, and you’re at the top of your game”.
“That’s why I want to quit!” Tarantino replied. “Because I know film history and, from here on in, directors do not get better… I don’t have a reason that I would want to say out loud that’s going to win any argument in the court of public opinion or Supreme Court, or anything like that. At the same time, working for 30 years doing as many movies as I’ve done, not as many as other people, but that’s a long career. That’s a really long career. And I’ve given it everything I have.”
In an interview with CNN‘s Chris Wallace in November 2022, Tarantino continued to insist that he intends to retire. “I’ve been doing it for a long time. I’ve been doing it for 30 years, and it’s time to wrap up the show. Like I said, I’m an entertainer: I want to leave you wanting more and not just work – and I don’t want to work to diminishing returns. I don’t want to become this old man who’s out of touch, when already I’m feeling a bit like an old man out of touch when it comes to the current movies that are out right now. And that’s what happens.”
What has Tarantino said about his tenth movie?
With it looking likely that Tarantino will indeed retire from filmmaking after movie number 10, all eyes have been on what exactly his next and likely final film will be.
In that 2021 interview with Bill Maher, he revealed that he’d “considered doing a remake of Reservoir Dogs as my last movie”, before quickly adding: “I won’t do it, internet, alright? But I considered it.”
Tarantino also made headlines after news broke in 2017 of his interest in directing a Star Trek movie, but that idea was publicly dropped by the director in 2019: “I think I’m steering away from Star Trek, but I haven’t had an official conversation with those guys yet,” he told Consequence of Sound.
After confirming to The Howard Stern Show in November 2022 that he was “going to make one more movie”, Tarantino added: “But the thing is, I’m not in any hurry now to write a screenplay for a motion picture, because what does that even mean? What is a movie today?”
Five months later, though, came the first news of The Movie Critic, Tarantino’s purported final film. During a Q&A event at the Grand Rex theatre in Paris in late March, Tarantino confirmed that The Movie Critic would be set in 1977 and that filming is set to begin in LA in the autumn.
He added that, contrary to prior reports, the upcoming film will not be centred around the renowned film critic Pauline Kael.