A trend in Tarantino's movies seems to be that the bad characters almost always lose because they make idiotic decisions. Has he explained why this is so?

Reservoir Dogs: despite knowing that there's a rat amidst them, the entire gang still decides to stay at their meet-up place, which they should be able to deduce is known to the Police. Mr Pink even tells them that much, but Tarantino provides no reason for why they don't listen to him (or why Mr. Pink doesn't listen to himself).

Jackie Brown: Ordell trusts Jackie Brown with half a million dollars. Why in the world would he do that? He has trusted her before, but only to bring in small amounts (say, 10-50k dollars) at a time. There's no way a man like Ordell would trust a sneaky, clever, and desperate woman like Jackie to bring the entirety of his fortune in a single go. What makes it worse is, Ordell doesn't even need to do it. The police have currently nothing concrete on him. He can just kill Jackie, lay low for a while, and then bring his money in some time later, small amounts at a time.

The Hateful Eight: While Jon Ruth and OB are dying, why don't Joe Gage, Oswaldo Mubray, and Senor Bob, along with the fella in the basement, immediately strike? WTF are they waiting for? They only need to take out Marquis, as Chris Mannix does not have a gun.

Inglorious Basterds: Why would the Jew Hunter trust a well-known Nazi-hating mad-man like Aldo? Especially when he has no leverage? The only thing he had to offer was "to not make a phone call". Well, he can't make that phone call anymore, so his leverage is gone, so of course he should expect Aldo to utilize that against him.

Pulp Fiction: Vincent going to the f***king bathroom without his machine gun at the place of a person he is hunting.

Kill Bill: Bill had Beatrix sedated, and could've killed her easily. But nope, decides not to. Because giving a speech is more important than surviving I guess. Moron.

  • 2
    The last one is classic narrative-imperative. A good character will kill without compunction. A bad one will want to talk about it for 5 minutes first, to give the goodie time to make their escape.
    – Tetsujin
    May 28, 2019 at 15:00
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    This isn't unique to Quentin Tarantino. Name literally any film ever, and chances are the bad guy does something stupid at some point that leads to his defeat. The Evil Overlord List exists for a reason.
    – F1Krazy
    May 28, 2019 at 15:30
  • No, this isn't "unique" to Tarantino. Nobody said it was. What is the point of your comment? What the question is about is whether Tarantino - not other people - have commented on WHY he engages in this trope. Tarantino is known for being a unique writer who challenges the norms of the industry (while paying homage to others), so the question is relevant on why he copies this cheap trick. Is he perhaps just not a good enough writer to circumvent it?
    – menaci342
    May 28, 2019 at 16:37
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    I think the downvote/close vote build-up here is not because of the essence of the question, it's the appearance of intent behind it. You use some quite emotive & opinionated language, which tends to generate adverse reactions. Perhaps just recast it into 'wanting the information' rather than 'why is this so bad'.
    – Tetsujin
    May 28, 2019 at 17:38
  • Just imagine all the bad things that would happen if the bad characters made smart decisions and so continued to live their lives of crime. They would commit more crimes, harm more good people, and the movies would be too long. May 29, 2019 at 15:18

1 Answer 1


I haven't seen any explanation from Tarantino, but I can assume it's to inject some realism: because they're people, and in real life people make the most stupid mistakes all the time. Too much good faith on other people, too much confidence on themselves, fear or whatever.

Also as mentioned in this accepted answer, Tarantino writes the character's dialogs in a way that makes them more human.

Just do a quick search and you'll find many stupid criminals:


When 48-year-old Dennis Hawkins robbed a Pittsburg bank at gunpoint in July 2010, he chose quite the unique disguise. Hawkins tried to pass himself off as a woman by wearing a blond wig and fake breasts, despite having a noticeable brown goatee. He also executed the robbery in a pair of clown pants.


After Morrison stole a bottle of vodka from a liquor store, he had the nerve to flirt with the shop clerk and gave her his name and number. Well, let’s just say it didn’t take Sherlock Holmes to trace his whereabouts after that.


A thief in Portland, Oregon, broke into a house, went through every inch of the property, opened all the drawers, and stole everything of value he could find without leaving any fingerprints. However, what appeared to be almost the perfect robbery was ruined when the thief grabbed a container of orange juice from the refrigerator and took a gulp directly from it, leaving it in the sink. The container was sent straight to the DNA testing unit at the Oregon State Crime Lab in Clackamas where forensic scientists found a match.

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    There was a bank near my house that was being robbed repeatedly by the same criminals. They got away with it twice, and were arrested the third time. They kept robbing the same bank, and apparently didn't see a potential problem with this strategy.
    – Steve-O
    May 28, 2019 at 17:44
  • @Steve-O maybe they were too lazy to do something new
    – Vishwa
    May 29, 2019 at 11:58

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