Jackie Brown is a 1997 comedy crime thriller film written, produced and directed by Quentin Tarantino. It is an adaptation of Elmore Leonard's 1992 novel Rum Punch, the first adaptation from Tarantino, and starring Pam Grier in the title role. The film pays homage to 1970s blaxploitation films, particularly the films Coffy (1973) and Foxy Brown (1974), both of which also starred Grier in the title roles.
Jackie Brown (Pam Grier) is a flight attendant for a small Mexican airline, the latest step down for her career, since she used to work for larger airlines. To make ends meet, she smuggles money from Mexico into the United States for Ordell Robbie (Samuel L. Jackson), a black-market gun runner living in the Los Angeles area under the ATF's close watch, forcing him to use couriers.
Ordell learns that another of his couriers, Beaumont Livingston (Chris Tucker), has been arrested. Assuming that Livingston will become an informant in order to avoid jail time, Ordell arranges for bail with bondsman Max Cherry (Robert Forster), then coaxes Livingston into a car trunk and murders him.
Acting on information Beaumont had indeed shared, ATF agent Ray Nicolette (Michael Keaton) and LAPD detective Mark Dargus (Michael Bowen) intercept Jackie as she returns to the United States with Ordell's cash and some cocaine that Brown was unaware was stashed in her bag. Initially refusing to cut a deal, she is sent to jail on possession of drugs with intent to distribute. Sensing that Jackie may also now be a threat to inform, Ordell goes back to Max to arrange her bail.
Max arrives to pick up Jackie at the jail, and he begins to develop an attraction to her. He offers to buy her a drink and help explain her legal options. Ordell later arrives at Jackie's house intending to murder her for silence. She surprises him by pulling a gun that she surreptitiously took from Max's glove compartment. Jackie negotiates a deal with Ordell to pretend to help the authorities while smuggling in $550,000 of Ordell's money, enough to allow him to retire.
To carry out this plan, Ordell is counting on Melanie Ralston (Bridget Fonda), a surfer girl he lives with who has little ambition past smoking marijuana and watching TV, and Louis Gara (Robert De Niro), a friend and former cellmate. He also intends to use a naive Southern girl, Sheronda (Lisa Gay Hamilton). Unaware that Jackie and Ordell plan to transfer $550,000, Nicolette and Dargus devise a sting to catch Ordell during a transfer of $50,000. Unbeknownst to all, Jackie plans to double-cross everyone and keep the other $500,000 for herself. She recruits Max for her plan and offers him a cut.
After a trial run, the stage is set for the actual event. In the Del Amo Fashion Center, Jackie enters a dressing room to try on a new suit. She has told Ordell that she will swap bags there with Melanie, supposedly passing off the $550,000 under the nose of Nicolette, who has been told that the exchange is to take place in the food court. Instead, the bag she gives Melanie contains only $50,000 and the rest is left behind in the dressing room for Max to pick up. Jackie then feigns despair as she calls Nicolette and Dargus out from hiding, claiming Melanie took all the money and ran.
In the parking lot, Melanie mocks Louis until he loses his temper and shoots her. Ordell asks Louis why he shot her and if she is really dead. Ordell grows even angrier when he discovers that most of the money is gone, and he realizes that Jackie is to blame. When Louis mentions that he saw Max Cherry in the store dress department and thought nothing of it, Ordell kills him and leaves with the bag. Ordell turns his anger on Max, who informs him that Jackie is frightened for her life and waiting in Max's office to hand over the money. A menacing Ordell holds him at gunpoint as they enter the darkened office. Jackie suddenly yells that Ordell has a gun, and he is shot dead by Nicolette, hiding in another room.
Having had her charges dropped for her cooperation and in possession of the money, along with Ordell's car, Jackie decides to leave the country and travel to Madrid, Spain. She invites Max to come along with her, but he declines, preferring to remain in his well-controlled life instead of an uncertain life with Jackie in Spain. Jackie kisses Max goodbye, shares with him a meaningful moment, and leaves.
- Pam Grier as Jackie Brown
- Samuel L. Jackson as Ordell Robbie
- Robert Forster as Max Cherry
- Bridget Fonda as Melanie Ralston
- Michael Keaton as Ray Nicolette
- Robert De Niro as Louis Gara