The Film’s Plot and Characters
Pulp Fiction is a 1994 American neo-noir crime film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. The film is known for its nonlinear narrative structure and its ensemble cast consisting of John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Samuel L. Jackson, Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Amanda Plummer, Maria de Medeiros, Ving Rhames, Eric Stoltz, Rosanna Arquette, and Bruce Willis.
The film tells several stories of criminal Los Angeles, and the title refers to the pulp magazines and hardboiled crime novels popular in the mid-20th century. The film’s narrative is presented out of chronological order, and follows the intersecting lives of several characters.
Vincent Vega (Travolta) and Jules Winnfield (Jackson) are hitmen with a penchant for philosophical discussions. In one of the film’s key moments, they accidentally shoot a man while driving him to their boss’s hideout.
Mia Wallace (Thurman) is the wife of Vega’s boss, Marsellus Wallace (Rhames). She enjoys dancing and snorting heroin, which leads to a dangerous overdose. Butch Coolidge (Willis) is a boxer who double-crosses Marsellus and has to flee Los Angeles, leading to a perilous encounter with a pawn shop owner.
The Controversy Surrounding the Film’s NC-17 Rating
Pulp Fiction was initially given an NC-17 rating by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) due to its graphic violence, drug use, and sexual content. The NC-17 rating is a classification that restricts viewership to adults aged 18 and over, and is often seen as a kiss of death for films seeking commercial success.
Tarantino and Miramax, the film’s distributor, appealed the rating and eventually received an R rating, which allowed the film to be shown in theaters and reach a wider audience. However, the controversy surrounding the NC-17 rating helped to generate buzz and added to the film’s notoriety.
The Film’s Critical Reception and Legacy
Pulp Fiction was a critical and commercial success, grossing over $200 million worldwide and winning the Palme d’Or at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival. The film is widely regarded as a masterpiece of modern cinema, and has been praised for its innovative storytelling, memorable characters, and iconic soundtrack.
The film’s influence can be seen in countless works of popular culture, from television shows like Breaking Bad to music videos like Madonna’s “Material Girl.” Pulp Fiction has also been the subject of academic and cultural analysis, with scholars examining the film’s themes of violence, masculinity, and postmodernism.
Pulp Fiction NC-17 remains a controversial and groundbreaking film over two decades after its initial release. Its nonlinear narrative and ensemble cast have become hallmarks of Tarantino’s filmmaking style, and its influence can be felt in many works of popular culture. Whether you love it or hate it, Pulp Fiction is a film that continues to captivate and provoke audiences around the world.