Tarantino Revive-O-Meter: How Actors’ Careers Fared After Working with QT

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Lawrence Tierney
A ‘40s Hollywood tough guy who made his mark in gritty noirs like ‘Dillinger’ (1945), in which he played the bank-robbing title character, and ‘Born to Kill’ (1947), Tierney played hulking badasses long before Tarantino was even born. But under QT’s direction in ‘Reservoir Dogs,’ the 73-year-old was able to play a hardened lug of a boss once again, prompting a resurgence of interest in his career, albeit roles in not so great follow-up movies (see: ‘Junior’). Revival Status: Royale With Cheese (
Harvey Keitel
After his’70s Renaissance working with Martin Scorsese on ‘Mean Streets’ (1973) and ‘Taxi Driver,’ Keitel kept acting—in fact, he was prolific. Problem was, most of his films in the ‘80s did little to show off his talent. But with the one-two punch of ‘Bugsy’ in 1991 and ‘Reservoir Dogs’ the year after, he showed he was still a force to be reckoned with. If only most of his follow-up films were as good as ‘Bad Lieutenant,’ ‘The Piano,’ and, of course, his second film with Tarantino, ‘Pulp Fictio
John Travolta
No one represented white-suited Disco Era decadence better than Travolta. And no one, aside from Dirk Diggler, had a bigger fall from grace in the ‘80s. By 1992 he was reduced to playing himself in a cameo role in ‘Boris and Natasha.’ That all changed with a trip to Jackrabbit Slim’s, a little Chuck Berry on the jukebox, and a dance contest with Uma Thurman. A star was re-born. Revival Status: That’s a Bingo! (total success)
Christopher Walken
You could argue that before ‘Pulp Fiction’ and the Tarantino-penned ‘True Romance,’ Walken’s last great role was as the Bond villain, Max Zorin, in ‘A View to a Kill.’ But with his one-scene appearance in ‘Pulp,’ as Captain Koons, the safekeeper of a gold watch with a byzantine history, Walken defined himself forever as the movies’ supreme master of the monologue. A shame that so many of his follow-up films ('Joe Dirt,' 'The Country Bears') have been unworthy of his talent. You could even identi
Pam Grier
The ‘70s blaxploitation goddess of ‘Coffy’ and ‘Foxy Brown’ seemed primed for a late-career boom after her appearance as the title character in Tarantino’s underrated ‘Jackie Brown.’ It never happened. Sadly, even an appearance in ‘The Adventures of Pluto Nash’ was on her horizon. The fact that ‘Jackie Brown’ grossed about a third of the $108 million 'Pulp Fiction' haul is one reason. The other is that, as good as she was in the movie as a stewardess drug mule, she was out-acted by the movie’s s
Robert Forster
A fiercely good looking character actor, Forster helped anchor all kinds of hip projects, like the 1968 Western ‘The Stalking Moon’ opposite Gregory Peck and Haskell Wexler’s blistering portrait of the violence-fueled ’68 Democratic Convention ‘Medium Cool.’ But by the time he appeared in 1980’s ‘Alligator’ his career had pretty well dried up, and years of minor TV guest parts lay ahead. That is, until he became the unexpected star of ‘Jackie Brown,’ as a bail bondsman with a heart of gold who f
Vivica A. Fox
It’s shocking to consider how little work Fox really got after her (in any other universe star-making) turn as Will Smith’s stripper girlfriend in 'Independence Day.' Sadly, her knife-wielding Vernita Green in ‘Kill Bill: Vol. 1’ didn’t really do much to revive her career fortunes. Though we did love her Loretta Black on ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm.’ Revival Status: Zed’s Dead, Baby.
Daryl Hannah
Not many ‘80s actresses have a more impressive roster of films on their résumé: ‘Blade Runner,’ ‘Splash,’ ‘Roxanne,’ ‘Wall Street,’ ‘Steel Magnolias.’ Of course, roles dried up by the time Tarantino tapped Hannah to play the eyepatch-wearing hitwoman Elle Driver for his ‘Kill Bill’ movies. And if she hadn’t been the type to perch in trees to protest deforestation, her career might actually have benefited from it. But, alas, she is that type. Revival Status: Zed’s Dead, Baby. Starting to realize
David Carradine
Grasshopper sprang back into action as Bill, the Superman-obsessed hitman who was the titular target of Uma Thurman’s wrath in ‘Kill Bill.’ And it paid off! The former ‘Kung Fu’ star landed his own highly-lucrative Shatnerian TV ad franchise for YellowBook.com, along with numerous roles on shows like Alias (where he appeared opposite fellow ‘Kill Bill’ alum Vivica A. Fox), before his mysterious 2009 demise in Bangkok. Revival Status: That’s a Bingo!
Ennio Morricone
Film buffs’ enthusiasm for Morricone’s baroque Spaghetti Western scores has never dimmed. But it can be argued that Tarantino helped introduce the composer of Sergio Leone’s Dollars Trilogy (and dozens of other films) to a new generation with the fragments of Morricone’s scores he cannibalized for ‘Kill Bill’ and ‘Inglourious Basterds’ from Spaghetti classics like ‘The Mercenary’ and ‘Death Rides a Horse.’ QT even wanted the maestro to compose original music for ‘Basterds,’ but scheduling confli
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