One Cut Scene That Almost Torpedoed Tarantino's Hit 96%-Rated Crime Drama

One Cut Scene That Almost Torpedoed Tarantino's Hit 96%-Rated Crime Drama
Image credit: Legion-Media, Miramax Films

Quentin Tarantino had no choice but to cut this scene from his classic 1994 movie.


  • While most directors avoid R-rating at any cost, Quentin Tarantino has to tone his movies down to achieve it.
  • Pulp Fiction almost rated NC-17 which would have ruined its box office, but Tarantino removed the problematic scene.
  • The scene where Vincent Vega accidentally shoots Marvin was far more graphic, but its gruesome moments were cut.

There are two kinds of ratings movie directors care about: the critical score their masterpiece will receive after release, and the age rating it will get before premiering. While the former depends solely on the director’s chops, the latter relies on their ability to tone down violent and sexual scenes — because otherwise, it will be the movie’s audience and box office haul that will suffer.

Tarantino Fully Embraces His R-Rating

Generally speaking, the lower a movie’s rating, the better: it means more audiences will be able to watch the movie in theaters. Most directors avoid having R-rating at all costs — Christopher Nolan, for one, only made an exception for his latest movie Oppenheimer, while his entire previous career only consists of lower-rated films.

One Cut Scene That Almost Torpedoed Tarantino's Hit 96%-Rated Crime Drama - image 1

This hasn’t been a concern for Quentin Tarantino, though. Famous for his gritty and often bloody movies, the director fully embraces his R-rated portfolio — and while most others run from the dreaded R, Tarantino has to tone his films down to achieve it. One of the director’s greatest flicks, Pulp Fiction, almost received an NC-17!

Pulp Fiction Was This Close to NC-17

Quentin Tarantino’s outstanding director’s career began with two equally outstanding movies. Both Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction immediately propelled Tarantino to the top of Hollywood’s food chain, but the latter movie was almost torpedoed by one scene: the censors told Tarantino that if he kept it, Pulp Fiction would be rated NC-17.

Apparently, the scene where John Travolta’s Vincent Vega has a finger slip and accidentally shoots Phil LaMaar’s Marvin was initially more graphic. Tarantino showed the criminal’s head exploding, and the censors didn’t like that at all. The director had to remove the most gruesome seconds of the scene to secure the R.

It was a smart move, indeed. Thanks to Tarantino’s genius, the amazing cast, and, of course, the much more liberal rating, Pulp Fiction raked up almost $214M at the box office against its measly $8M budget; review-wise, it also did phenomenally, holding strong 92 and 96% Critic and Audience Scores on Rotten Tomatoes, respectively.

Source: THR