List of Pulp Fiction characters
This is a list of characters with speaking roles appearing in Quentin Tarantino's widely noted 1994 Pulp Fiction. Each of the four stories revolve around a certain character, the first is Vincent Vega as is the second, the third story's protagonist was Butch Coolidge. Lastly, the final story is a partial replay of the first except from Jules Winnfield's point of view.
- 1 Vincent Vega
- 2 Jules Winnfield
- 3 Butch Coolidge
- 4 Mia Wallace
- 5 Marsellus Wallace
- 6 Ringo and Yolanda
- 7 Brett
- 8 Roger
- 9 Man #4
- 10 Marvin
- 11 Fabienne
- 12 Maynard
- 13 Zed
- 14 The Gimp
- 15 Paul
- 16 Lance
- 17 Jody
- 18 Trudi
- 19 Captain Koons
- 20 Jimmy Dimmick
- 21 Winston Wolf
- 22 Raquel
- 23 References
- 24 See also
Vincent VegaVincent Vega
Vincent reads Modesty Blaisein the coffee shop men's room, unaware of the holdup taking place outside. First appearance Pulp FictionLast appearance Pulp FictionCause/reason Deceased Created by Quentin TarantinoPortrayed by John TravoltaInformation Nickname(s) Vince Gender Male Occupation HitmanRelatives Vic Vega (Mr. Blonde)
Vincent Vega is portrayed by John Travolta in an Academy Award-nominated performance. He, Marsellus Wallace and Mia Wallace are the only characters who appear in all the film's separate stories. Vincent is the brother of Vic Vega, a character in Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs.
Vincent is a hitman who has been working for mob boss Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames) in Amsterdam for over three years and recently returned to Los Angeles, where he has been partnered with Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson). Vincent lives in Redondo Beach and drives a red 1960s era Chevrolet Malibu convertible which was in storage while he was in the Netherlands. Mia calls Vincent an Elvis man. He wears a bola tie with his suit, has long hair pulled back into a ponytail, rolls his own cigarettes, uses heroin and orders his Douglas Sirk Steak "bloody as hell." Although Vincent says he does not watch TV he knowledgeably refers the television show COPS along with movie stars from the 1950s and seems very familiar with Arnold the Pig from the 1960s television series Green Acres. At the time of the story he is seen reading a copy of Modesty Blaise. He expresses scrupulous loyalty towards his boss Marsellus. However, he sometimes strongly resents what he sees as authority and can be a cold, selfish bully. Whenever he goes to the bathroom something untowards happens: Mia accidentally overdoses when she finds his heroin in a baggie rather than a balloon and mistakes it for cocaine, the coffee shop gets robbed and in the end Vincent gets killed by Butch.
The role was written for Michael Madsen, who turned it down because he couldn't get out of rehearsals for Wyatt Earp  (Madsen had also played Vincent's brother Vic Vega in Reservoir Dogs). Mia calls Vincent "cowboy," a reference to Travolta's earlier role in Urban Cowboy. Vincent then calls Mia "cowgirl", a reference to Thurman's film Even Cowgirls Get the Blues. Travolta has said some of his dance moves with Uma Thurman during the Jack Rabbit Slim's scene were based on Adam West's Batusi from the 1960s Batman television series. The scene which depicts Vincent plunging a syringe into Mia's chest was filmed with Travolta pulling the needle out; the film was then run backwards. In one of the movie's deleted scenes a reference is made to Vincent Vega's cousin, whose name is Suzanne Vega. Mia asks whether this is the folk singer and Vincent replies that he does not know if his cousin became a folk singer.
Jules WinnfieldJules Winnfield
Samuel L. Jackson as Jules Winnfield. First appearance Pulp FictionLast appearance Pulp FictionCause/reason Retired (“Walking the Earth”) Created by Quentin TarantinoPortrayed by Samuel L. JacksonInformation Gender Male Occupation Former hitman
Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson) is a hitman working alongside Vincent Vega for Marsellus Wallace. He lives in Inglewood, has jheri curled hair and drives a beat up 1974 Chevrolet Nova which he otherwise describes as "tip-top." Jules seems to value friendships and loyalty, appears to be thoughtful, can be gregarious and talkative but has a slow temper, is a remorseless professional killer and is capable of psychologically tormenting a victim before "pop[ping] a cap in his ass." After narrowly avoiding death, Jules is stunned and swiftly re-evaluates his life, deciding to retire as a hitman and "walk the earth" like "Caine in Kung-Fu."
Pseudo biblical passage
In the final diner scene Jules tells how if someone heard him recite a Biblical passage, Ezekiel 25:17, this meant they were about to die. The passage is heard three times in the film, first when Jules and Vincent reclaim Marsellus's briefcase from the doomed Brett, next when the narrative picks up again at this same scene to begin "The Bonnie Situation" and lastly when Ringo hears it during the epilogue at the diner. Jules's version of the passage reads as follows:“ 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 goodwill shepherds the weak through the valley of 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 My name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee. ”
The actual scripture is similar, yet notably different. In the King James Version of the Bible, it reads:“ And I will execute great vengeance upon them with furious rebukes; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall lay my vengeance upon them. ”
Tarantino originally envisioned Jules sporting a giant afro, but a wardrobe assistant mistakenly brought the wrong wig on the set, which was kept anyway.
Butch CoolidgeButch Coolidge
Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis), before the fight of his life. Tarantino said, "Bruce has the look of a 50s actor. I can't think of any other star that has that look."First appearance Pulp FictionLast appearance Pulp FictionCause/reason No other appearance so far. Created by Quentin TarantinoPortrayed by Bruce Willis
Chandler Lindauer(Young Butch) Information Gender Male Occupation Ex-boxer
Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis) is an aging boxer who agrees to lose a boxing match in exchange for a bribe from Marsellus Wallace. He may have scratched Vincent Vega's car with a key after the two had a brief confrontation at Marsellus's Inglewood club. Butch betrays Marcellus by betting on his own victory (with presumably long odds) and wins the match by accidentally killing his opponent in the ring. He escapes to a motel room where his girlfriend Fabienne is waiting for him. However, she has forgotten to bring along his gold watch, which was worn by his father, grandfather and great grandfather during three wars. Butch has a temper but this seems to be dampened by his feelings for others. He becomes very angry at Fabienne for her forgetfulness, throwing a television across the room, but calms down when she screams and becomes frightened. He leaves to retrieve the watch. Warily returning to his modest apartment (where he has abandoned many souvenirs and prizes from his boxing career) Butch pauses to toast a couple of Pop Tarts, spots a machine gun on the kitchen counter, hears the toilet flush and wordlessly kills Vincent when the pastries pop out of the toaster. He tries to kill Marsellus twice, once by ramming him with a car and soon after by almost shooting him in the face before Maynard orders Butch to stop. However when Marsellus is being raped by Zed, Butch frees himself and begins to flee the pawn shop but has second thoughts and returns to save the mobster, killing Maynard and holding Zed at bay with a razor sharp Japanese sword. Marsellus forgives Butch for his betrayal but tells him to keep quiet about the rape, leave LA and never come back. Butch returns to Fabienne on Zed's chopper.
Willis was a major star but most of his recent films had been box-office disappointments. Peter Bart noted Willis' acceptance of a role in the modestly budgeted film "meant lowering his salary and risking his star status, but the strategy...paid off royally: Pulp Fiction not only brought Willis new respect as an actor, but also earned him several million dollars as a result of his gross participation." In conceiving the character, Tarantino said, "I basically wanted him to be like Ralph Meeker as Mike Hammer in Kiss Me Deadly . I wanted him to be a bully and a jerk...."
Mia WallaceMia Wallace
Mia Wallace in 1994’s Pulp Fiction. Her character in the film was based on Danishactress Anna Karina, and was played by Uma ThurmanFirst appearance Pulp FictionLast appearance Pulp FictionCreated by Quentin TarantinoPortrayed by Uma ThurmanInformation Gender Female Occupation Unemployed Spouse(s) Marsellus Wallace
Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) is the wife of wealthy mob boss Marsellus Wallace. She is a former actress who appeared in a failed television pilot called Fox Force Five and is also an apparent cocaine addict. She spends time in Amsterdam once a year, but Vincent was not aware of this. Her behavior with Marsellus is sophisticated, reserved and sleek, but with Vincent she is very talkative, articulate and somewhat more casually dressed. There is gossip among Marsellus' associates he had his henchman Tony "Rocky horror" thrown out of a window and through a glass roof for giving Mia a foot massage. She denies this was the reason, saying what happened to Tony Rockyhorror is between him and Marsellus. She can dance and wins a contest with Vincent Vega at the 1950s retro-themed Jackrabbit Slim's. After this, Mia mistakes heroin for cocaine and has an overdose. She survives and the two agree never to mention the incident again. She ends the encounter by telling Vincent a joke with the punchline catch up. Mia is cold and aloof with Vincent the next time they briefly meet, but this may be because they are within earshot of Marsellus, who at the moment is very angry about having been betrayed by Butch.
Thurman was one of three cast-members from Pulp Fiction to receive an Oscar nomination in the Best Acting category. Thurman beat out Holly Hunter and Meg Ryan to win the role of Mia Wallace. Thurman dominated most of the film's promotional material, appearing on a bed with cigarette in hand. She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her work in Pulp Fiction and was launched into the celebrity A-list. She took no advantage of this new found fame and chose not to do any big budget films for the next three years. Thurman's outfit reappears in two of Tarantino's later films, Jackie Brown (1998) and Kill Bill, Volume 1 (2004) and 2.
Marsellus WallaceMarsellus Wallace
Ving Rhames as Marcellus Wallace in the pawn shop basement, Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis) is in the background First appearance Pulp FictionLast appearance Pulp FictionCreated by Quentin TarantinoPortrayed by Ving RhamesInformation Nickname(s) "Big Man" Gender Male Occupation Mob Boss Spouse(s) Mia Wallace
Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames) is a wealthy Los Angeles mob boss married to Mia, a former aspiring actress. They live in the Hollywood Hills. Marsellus is intelligent, straightforward and loyal but when confronted with a problem may quickly resort to violence and murder, hence all of the characters who know Marsellus are wary of him. After Butch saves his life Marcellus forgives the boxer but tells him to leave town and never come back.
According to Pulp Fiction producer Lawrence Bender, Rhames gave "one of the best auditions I've ever seen." His acclaimed performance led to him being cast in big-budget features such as Mission Impossible, Con Air, and Out of Sight.
Ringo and Yolanda
Pumpkin, called Ringo by Jules because of his southern UK accent (Tim Roth) and Yolanda, also called Honey Bunny by her companion (Amanda Plummer) are a pair of small time crooks who have been robbing liquor stores. During an animated conversation as the film begins they decide to rob a coffee shop and even congratulate each other on how clever they have been for coming up with this notion. However they narrowly avoid being killed by Jules, who instead tries to help them as his first act of redemption.
Tim Roth was previously cast in Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs as "Mr. Orange". The part was written specifically for Roth, even though Miramax preferred Johnny Depp or Christian Slater. Amanda Plummer was introduced by Roth to director Tarantino and the part was written for her and Roth to play onscreen.
Brett (Frank Whaley), is educated, intelligent and smug. He seems to be the leader of a small group of college aged young men who have betrayed Marsellus over a mysterious briefcase (when the two hitmen arrive at the apartment, Jules specifically confirms Brett's identity). Brett apparently has a habit of resolving his problems through talking (but perhaps not sincerely so). Jules deliberately taunts and unsettles Brett before killing him.
Roger (Burr Steers) is called Flock of Seagulls by Jules because of his hair. He is a more passive accomplice in the group (Jules motions for him to remain lying on the couch) and immediately reveals where Jules and Vincent can find the briefcase. He is casually shot by Jules, apparently to taunt Brett.
Man #4 (Alexis Arquette) waits in the bathroom with a .357 Magnum while Roger and Brett are murdered. He then rushes out and empties the pistol with six shots fired at Vincent and Jules but misses altogether. All three pause in surprised shock before the hitmen respond by shooting him.
Marvin (Phil LaMarr) is an informant for Marsellus who lets Jules and Vincent into the apartment at a pre-arranged time. He breaks down somewhat when Brett, Roger and Man #4 are murdered. Riding in the car with the hitmen as they flee the murder scene, Vincent asks Marvin what he thinks about Jules' claim they've witnessed a miracle. Marvin answers, "I don't even have an opinion," but Vincent insists, asking, "Do you think that God came down from heaven and stopped..." whereupon he accidentally shoots Marvin in the face. Later, Mr Wolf characterizes Marvin as "nobody who will be missed."
The original script called for Marvin to be shot in the neck and then mercy killed by Vincent and Jules but Tarantino later thought it would be funnier to dispatch the character with a single head shot.
Fabienne (Maria de Medeiros) is Butch Coolidge's French girlfriend. She is emotionally sensitive, seems to like Madonna and is aware of Butch's plan to betray Marcellus. While packing to leave his apartment and meet him at the motel, she carelessly forgets his gold watch (but he has not told her how important it is to him).
Maynard (Duane Whitaker) is the owner of a pawn shop. He has a beard, speaks with a southeastern US accent, is rather badly groomed and listens to languid, woeful country music. He is prone to (and apparently thrilled by) remorseless violence and victimization. Maynard is killed by Butch with a katana.
Zed (Peter Greene) is a security guard who rides a chopper motorcycle which he calls Grace. He is a friend of Maynard (although more carefully groomed), also speaks with a southeastern US accent and shares Maynard's violent, predatory interests. Zed rapes Marcellus, who later shoots him in the groin with a shotgun and promises to "get medieval on his ass".
The Gimp (Stephen Hibbert), dressed and masked all in black leather, sleeps in a locked, coffin-like box in the basement of the pawnshop. It is unknown whether he stays there voluntarily or not, but there are hints he is not free to leave. The Gimp taunts Butch while he is bound to a chair. When Butch frees himself the Gimp screams for help and is punched in the face (and KOed) by Butch. He apparently strangles to death on the collar and chain which Maynard had earlier used to tie him to the overhead water pipes.
Paul (Paul Calderon) is Marcellus' close aide and perhaps his second in command. Paul works (or poses) as a bartender in Marcellus' Inglewood club and has a friendly personality. He is loyal to his boss, but seems hesitant when Marcellus orders him to put Butch's trainer into the dog kennel to make sure he didn't know about the boxer's plan to betray him.
Calderon almost got the part of Jules after a positive audition, but the part went to Samuel L. Jackson and Calderon got the smaller part of Paul.
Lance (Eric Stoltz) is a heroin dealer who lives in a cluttered Hollywood bungalow. He has known Vincent for a long time and successfully sells him a more expensive grade of heroin. Lance eats Fruit Brute cereal and watches The Three Stooges on television. He has an easy-going personality but is careful in his drug dealings and paranoid about being arrested. Lance refuses to help Vincent when Mia overdoses until he learns she is Marcellus Wallace's wife.
Jody (Rosanna Arquette) is Lance's wife. She claims to have 17 piercings on her body, "all done with a needle," is open about sex and seems to have some understanding of anatomy. At first angry when Lance lets Vincent into the house with the overdosing Mia, Jody becomes enthralled when Vincent injects adrenaline into Mia's heart with a long hypodermic needle.
Trudi (Bronagh Gallagher) is a house guest of Lance and Judy. She seems passive and is seen smoking a bong. Vincent turns down an opportunity to "hang out" with her.
Captain Koons (Christopher Walken) is seen in a flashback depicting how he came to see Butch about 20 years earlier, when the boxer was a child. Koons was a military pilot who had spent years in a Hanoi P.O.W. camp with Butch's father, who was also a pilot and died there. Koons was high-strung and very articulate. He gave young Butch a beat up gold watch which his father, grandfather and great grandfather had each worn during three wars. The captain carefully explained to the youngster that after his father died, he hid the watch "up [his] ass for two years."
Jimmy Dimmick (Quentin Tarantino) has been a gangster and is Jules' "only friend in 818" (LA area code slang for the San Fernando Valley). Jimmy lives in a very domesticated 1960s era tract house in Toluca Lake with his wife Bonnie, a registered nurse. He buys expensive coffee because he likes to taste it. After Jules and Vincent show up and park the blood soaked car with Marvin's body in Jimmy's garage, he tersely expresses his concerns by ranting, claiming that "...storing dead niggers ain't [his] fucking business..." He wants to help Jules but is worried if Bonnie comes home from work and finds a corpse in the garage, she'll divorce him. Winston Wolf arrives, successfully organizes an escape plan, gives Jimmy what appears to be a few thousand dollars and leaves with the hitmen, the car and the corpse before Bonnie comes home. Jimmy may be a relative of Reservoir Dogs character Lawrence Dimmick (who goes by the name Mr. White in the film).
Winston Wolf (Harvey Keitel), also known as The Wolf, drives fast (in an Acura NSX), thinks fast and talks fast to swiftly, calmly and professionally solve problems (as he says to Jimmy), presumably those which arise from criminal activities. Wolf wears a tuxedo, carries large sums of cash, drinks his coffee with lots of cream and sugar and may have a penchant for private, high stakes gambling. He apparently lives in the San Fernando valley.
The part was written specifically for Harvey Keitel after he starred in Tarantino's debut film Reservoir Dogs and helped produce it. He played a similar role as in Point of No Return, which was released a year earlier.
Raquel (Julia Sweeney) is Monster Joe's daughter, who helps Mr Wolf dispose of Jules' "tainted car" along with Marvin's body at Monster Joe's Truck and Tow in the San Fernando Valley. When she sees how Jules and Vincent are dressed after having disposed of their blood-soaked clothes, she smirks and asks the two hitmen if they are "going to a volleyball game or something." Mr Wolf calls her a "character" and the two go off to have breakfast.
- ^ Pulp Fiction (1994) - Trivia
- ^ Michael Madsen biography
- ^ Quoted in Dargis (1994), p. 10.
- ^ Bart (2000), p. 85. Willis's deal for a percentage of the box office gross was presumably on top of a base weekly salary that was identical to the other main actors', per Polan (2000), p. 69; Dawson (1995), p. 148.
- ^ Quoted in Dargis (1994), p. 10. As for Willis himself, "He reminds me of Aldo Ray in Jacques Tourneur's Nightfall . I told him I could imagine Aldo Ray being great as Butch and he said, 'Yeah, I like Aldo Ray, that's a good idea.' So I said let's go for that whole look" (ibid.). Other sources have claimed that Butch was patterned after Ray's Nightfall role—Brooker and Brooker (1996), p. 234; Polan (1999), p. 23. Tarantino's one public statement on the topic, quoted here, is clearly devoted to Butch's look and not his personality.
- ^ Dominic Wills. Uma Thurman Biography. Tiscali. Retrieved on 2006-12-29.
- ^ Dawson (1995), p. 155.
- ^ Ving Rhames Biography. All Movie Guide. New York Times. Retrieved on 2006-12-29.
- ^ Tim Roth at the Internet Movie Database
- ^ Charyn (2006), p. 73.
- ^ Dawson, Jeff (December 1995). Hit Man. Empire. Retrieved on 2006-12-29.
- ^ a b c d e f Pulp Fiction (1994) - Full cast and crew
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