A Look At The Music In Tarantino Films

Quentin Tarantino’s new movie, ‘The Hateful Eight‘ came out this weekend. Tarantino, besides his amazing films, is known for picking a perfect soundtrack of pieces. Before watching the new movie, here are some facts and interesting things you might not know about the music in his films!

Kill Bill

There are songs that since Tarantino used that you can’t listen without picturing parts of his movies in your heads. Actually, most of the music from his films are not an original score. When it is an original piece, they are influenced by other movie scores. For example the famous whistle song from Kill Bill:


Bernard Hermann composed that beautiful but chills-giving piece, influenced by many classical Hitchcock scores.

The siren music from the same movie that’s played every time the bride (Uma Turman) spots one of her enemies, is actually the theme song of the classic TV show, ‘IronSide’.

Inglorious Basterds

Like the Kill Bill example, Tarantino LOVES to relate to other movies or TV series. In fact, Almost every shot in his movies are actually a homage to some other movie and so is the same with his music. For instance, Tarantino “Borrowed” almost every piece in ‘Inglorious Basterds’ from other movies.

Tarantino talked about the song ‘Cat People’ from the movie:

“I’ve always loved that song and I was always disappointed at how [director] Paul Schrader used it in ‘Cat People,’ because he didn’t use it — he just threw it in the closing credits,” Tarantino explained. “And I remember back then, when ‘Cat People’ came out, going, ‘Man, if I had that song, I’d build a 20-minute scene around it. I wouldn’t throw it away in the closing credits.’ So I did.” [Billboard.com]

Pulp Fiction:

One of Tarantino’s most popular soundtracks is from ‘Pulp Fiction’. Let’s just start with the music in the opening scene. Tarantino is a master of choosing the perfect track to open his movies with. He spoke about it himself:

“To me the opening credits are very important because thats the only mood time that most movies give themselves. A cool credit sequence and the music that plays in front of it, or note played, or any music“ whatever you decide to do“ that sets the tone for the movie thats important for you. So Im always trying to find what the right opening or closing credit should be early on when I’m just even thinking about the story. Once I find it that really kind of triggers me in to what the personality of the piece should be, what the rhythm of this piece should be […] One of the things I do when I am starting a movie, when I’m writing a movie or when I have an idea for a film is, I go through my record collection and just start playing songs, trying to find the personality of the movie, find the spirit of the movie. Then, ‘boom,’ eventually I’ll hit one, two or three songs, or one song in particular, ‘Oh, this will be a great opening credit song.”

A good director is attached to every single part of the production but needs to enjoy every moment of it too. Tarantino surely does just that as you can see in the behind the scenes of the other most popular music from ‘Pulp fiction’ – The Uma Turman and John Travolta dance scene to the Chuck Berry song “You Never Can Tell”


Django Unchained:

Tarantino’s last movie, ‘Django Unchained’, and his new one, ‘The Hateful Eight’ are both Western films. Tarantino used for the opening scene the title track from the 1966 movie ‘Django’.

“I’ve always loved this song” [Tarantino said], “when I came up with the idea to do ‘Django Unchained,’ I knew it was imperative that I open it with this song as a big opening credit sequence. Because basically this movie is done in the style of a spaghetti western, and any spaghetti western worth its salt has a big opening credit sequence. In fact, if it doesn’t, I don’t really want to see it.” – LA Times

Here’s Taranrino side by side with the original Djengo. Notice the logo has the same typography and he also kept the colors and style western themed.


Tarantino’s composer in the last few years is Ennio Morricone. He composed the original music to Inglorious bastards, as well as the Django Unchained. That is quite amazing, because, for you who don’t know, Morricone is a classical westerner composer and his most famous composition is the theme to the classic western movie, ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’.

Almost a year ago, the new movie’s script was leaked to the internet as well as the list of songs Tarantino is planning to use. I’m sure some of them were changed in the final version but here’s the list he planned to use:


and here’s a playlist of the final soundtrack of the film:


When you get to seeing ‘The Hateful Eight’, keep the soundtrack in mind as you can see that Tarantino pays much thought and homage to the music in his films.

What’s your favorite Tarantino film music-wise?