Pulp Fiction is a 1994 American black comedy crime film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, from a story by Tarantino and Roger Avary. Directed in a highly stylized manner, Pulp Fiction connects the intersecting storylines of Los Angeles mobsters, fringe players, small-time criminals, and a mysterious briefcase.
"Pumpkin" (Tim Roth) and "Honey Bunny" (Amanda Plummer) are having breakfast in a diner, and discussing their life as robbers. They decide to rob the restaurant after realizing they could make money off the customers as well as the business, as they did during their previous heist. Moments after they initiate the hold-up, the scene breaks off and the title credits roll.
Prelude to "Vincent Vega and Marsellus Wallace's Wife"
As Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson) drives, Vincent Vega (John Travolta) talks about his experiences in Europe, from where he has just returned: the hashish bars in Amsterdam, the French McDonald's and its "Royale with Cheese." The pair—both wearing dress suits—are on their way to retrieve a briefcase from Brett (Frank Whaley), who has transgressed against their boss, gangster Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames). Jules tells Vincent that Marsellus had someone thrown off a fourth-floor balcony for giving his wife a foot massage. Vincent says Marsellus has asked him to escort his wife while Marsellus is out of town. They arrive at Brett's place, where they confront him and two of his associates over the briefcase. As Vincent finds the briefcase that Brett has (apparently) stolen from Marsellus, Jules confronts Brett with a gun, while Brett attempts to talk his way out of the situation. Jules shoots one of Brett's associates, then delivers a passage from Bible before executing Brett with Vincent.
"Vincent Vega and Marsellus Wallace's Wife"
In a virtually empty cocktail lounge, aging champion boxer Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis) accepts a large sum of money from Marsellus after agreeing to take a dive in his upcoming match. Vincent and Jules—now dressed in T-shirts and shorts—arrive to deliver the briefcase, and Butch and Vincent briefly cross paths. The next day, Vincent drops by the house of Lance (Eric Stoltz) and his wife Jody (Rosanna Arquette) to purchase high-grade heroin. He shoots up before driving over to meet Mrs. Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) and take her out. They head to Jack Rabbit Slim's, a 1950s-themed restaurant staffed by lookalikes of the decade's pop icons. Mia recounts her experience acting in a failed television pilot, Fox Force Five.
After participating in a twist contest, they return to the Wallace house with the trophy. While Vincent is in the bathroom, Mia finds his stash of heroin in his coat pocket. Mistaking it for cocaine, she snorts it and overdoses. Vincent rushes her to Lance's house for help. Together, they administer an adrenaline shot to Mia's heart, reviving her. Before parting ways, Mia and Vincent agree not to tell Marsellus of the incident.
Prelude to "The Gold Watch"
Television time for young Butch (Chandler Lindauer) is interrupted by the arrival of Vietnam veteran Captain Koons (Christopher Walken). Koons explains that he has brought a gold watch, passed down through three generations of Coolidge men since World War I. Butch's father died of dysentery while in a POW camp, and at his dying request Koons hid the watch in his rectum for two years in order to deliver it to Butch. A bell rings, startling the adult Butch out of this reverie. He is in his boxing colors—it is time for the fight he has been paid to throw.
"The Gold Watch"
Butch flees the arena, having won the bout. Making his getaway by cab, he learns from the death-obsessed driver, Esmarelda Villa Lobos (Angela Jones), that he killed the opposing fighter. Butch had bet his payoff on himself at favorable odds in a double-cross of Marsellus. The next morning, at the motel where he and his girlfriend, Fabienne (Maria de Medeiros), are lying low, Butch discovers that she has forgotten to pack the irreplaceable watch. He returns to his apartment to retrieve it, although Marsellus' men are almost certainly looking for him. Butch finds the watch quickly, but thinking he is alone, pauses for a snack. After putting Pop-Tarts in a toaster, he notice a machine pistol on the kitchen counter. Hearing the toilet flush, Butch readies the gun and confronts a startled Vincent Vega exiting the bathroom. As the pair face each other in an intense standoff—during which time Butch is holding Vincent at bay with his own weapon, the toaster pops-out the pastries and startles Butch who accidentally guns down Vincent, killing him.
Butch drives away, but as he waits at a traffic light, Marsellus walks by and recognizes him. Butch rams Marsellus with the car, then another automobile collides with his. After a foot chase the two men land in a pawnshop. The shopowner, Maynard (Duane Whitaker), captures them at gunpoint and ties them up in a half-basement area. Maynard is joined by Zed (Peter Greene), a security guard; they take Marsellus to another room to rape him, leaving a silent masked figure referred to as "the gimp" to watch a tied-up Butch. Butch breaks loose and knocks out the gimp. He is about to flee, when he decides to save Marsellus. As Zed is sodomizing Marsellus on a pommel horse, Butch kills Maynard with a katana. Marsellus retrieves Maynard's shotgun and shoots Zed in the groin. Marsellus informs Butch that they are even with respect to the botched fight fix, so long as he never tells anyone about the rape and departs Los Angeles, that night, forever. Butch agrees and returns to pick up Fabienne on Zed's chopper.
"The Bonnie Situation"
The story returns to Vincent and Jules at Brett's. After they execute him, another man (Robert Arquette) bursts out of the bathroom and shoots wildly at them, missing every time before an astonished Jules and Vincent return fire. Jules decides this is a miracle and a sign from God for him to retire as a hitman. They drive off with one of Brett's associates, Marvin (Phil LaMarr), their informant. Vincent asks Marvin for his opinion about the "miracle" and accidentally shoots him in the face.
Forced to remove their bloodied car from the road, Jules calls his friend Jimmie (Quentin Tarantino). Jimmie's wife, Bonnie, is due back from work soon, and he is very anxious that she does not encounter the scene. At Jules' request, Marsellus arranges for the help of his cleaner, Winston Wolfe (Harvey Keitel). "The Wolf" takes charge of the situation, ordering Jules and Vincent to clean the car, hide the body in the trunk, dispose of their own bloody clothes, and change into T-shirts and shorts provided by Jimmie. They drive the car to a junkyard, from where Wolfe and the owner's daughter, Raquel (Julia Sweeney), head off to breakfast. Jules and Vincent decide to do the same.
As Jules and Vincent eat breakfast in a diner, the discussion returns to Jules' decision to retire. In a brief cutaway, "Pumpkin" and "Honey Bunny" appear shortly before they initiate the hold-up from the first scene of the film. While Vincent is in the bathroom, the hold-up commences. "Pumpkin" demands all of the patrons' valuables, including Jules' mysterious case. Jules surprises "Pumpkin" (whom he calls "Ringo"), holding him at gunpoint. "Honey Bunny" (whose actual name is Yolanda) becomes hysterical and trains her gun on Jules, while Vincent emerges from the restroom with his gun trained on her. Jules reprises the biblical passage he recited at Brett's place (Ezekiel 25:17), this time with sincerity rather than for effect. Jules expresses his ambivalence about his life of crime. As his first act of redemption, he allows the two robbers to take the cash they have stolen and leave, but they leave the briefcase behind for Jules and Vincent to return to Marsellus. Thus, Jules finishes his final job for his boss.
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 the seven sequences were ordered chronologically, they would run: 4a, 2, 6, 1, 7, 3, 4b, 5. Sequences 1 and 7 partially overlap and are presented from different points of view; the same is true of sequences 2 and 6. In Philip Parker's description, the structural form is "an episodic narrative with circular events adding a beginning and end and allowing references to elements of each separate episode to be made throughout the narrative." Other analysts describe the structure simply as a "circular narrative."
- John Travolta as Vincent "Vince" Vega
- Samuel L. Jackson as Jules Winnfield
- Uma Thruman as Mia Wallace
- Harvey Keitel Winston "The Wolf" Wolfe
- Tim Roth as "Pumpkin"
- Amanda Plummer as "Honey Bunny"
- Bruce Willis as Butch Coolidge
- Ving Rhames as Marsellus Wallace