Kill Bill
Seat Quentin Tarantino
Directed by Lawrence Bender
Produced by Quentin Tarantino
Written by Uma ThurmanLucy LiuVivica A. FoxDaryl HannahDavid CarradineMichael MadsenJulie Dreyfus
Website The RZA
Starring Robert Richardson
Music by Sally Menke
Cinematography A Band Apart Super Cool ManChuProduction I.G.
Editing by Miramax Films
Title(s) October 10, 2003 (2003-10-10)[1]
Studio 111 minutes
Distributed by United States Japan
Release date(s) English Japanese French
Running time US$30 million[1]
Country US$180,949,045(worldwide)[1]
Seat Quentin Tarantino
Directed by Lawrence Bender
Produced by Quentin Tarantino
Written by Uma ThurmanDavid CarradineLucy LiuVivica A. FoxMichael MadsenDaryl HannahGordon Liu
Website Robert RodriguezThe RZA
Starring Robert Richardson
Music by Sally Menke
Cinematography A Band Apart
Editing by Miramax Films
Title(s) April 16, 2004 (2004-04-16)[2]
Studio 136 minutes
Distributed by United States
Release date(s) English Cantonese Mandarin
Running time US$30 million[2]
Country US$152,159,461(worldwide)[2]


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Kill Bill

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Teaser poster for Vol. 1

Kill Bill is a two-part action thriller film released in 2003 and 2004 by writer-director Quentin Tarantino, and starring Uma Thurman as The Bride. Originally conceived as one film, it was released in two "volumes" (in late 2003 and early 2004) due to its running time of four hours and seven minutes and presented in a nonlinear narrative style, as is common among Tarantino's films.The film is an epic-length revenge drama, with homages to earlier film genres such as Hong Kong martial arts films, Japanese chanbara films, exploitation films and Italian spaghetti westerns; an extensive use of popular music and pop culture references; and aestheticization of violence. Filming took place in California, Texas, Beijing, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Mexico.


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Volume 1
A pregnant bride (Uma Thurman) lies beaten at her wedding, telling an unseen Bill (David Carradine) that it is his baby, before he shoots her in the head. Sometime later, The Bride finds Vernita Green (Vivica A. Fox) at her home and fights her, but they cease after Vernita's daughter Nikki arrives from school. It is revealed that both women were former members of the Deadly Vipers Assassination Squad; elite assassins under the employ of Bill. The squad was ordered by Bill to attack The Bride's wedding in El Paso, Texas. Vernita attempts to kill her with a hidden gun, but dies after being stabbed. The Bride offers Nikki revenge should she seek it as an adult before leaving. She then strikes Vernita's name off a checklist, the second after one "O-Ren Ishii" has already been struck off.

It is revealed that after the wedding attack, The Bride miraculously survived the head shot but was left comatose. In hospital, another member of the Deadly Vipers, the one-eyed Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah), enters The Bride's room and prepares a lethal injection but is interrupted by Bill on the phone, who states they will take action only if she wakes. Four years later, The Bride awakens and is horrified to discover that she is no longer pregnant, leading her to assume that her baby is dead. Meanwhile, she learns that a corrupt hospital worker by the name of Buck is having sex with her, and paying friends to do so, in her comatose state. She knocks him unconscious, and steals his car. She escapes, swearing revenge, and picks her first target: O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu), an orphan whose parents were killed by gangsters and who eventually took revenge, becoming an assassin. After the attack on the wedding, she has since become the leader of the Tokyo underworld.

The Bride travels to Okinawa to obtain a sword from retired legendary swordsmith Hattori Hanz? (Sonny Chiba), who has become a sushi chef and sworn never to forge again. After learning that her target is his former student, Bill, he agrees to forge his finest sword for her. The Bride then confronts O-Ren at a night club. She severs the arm of Sofie Fatale (Julie Dreyfus), an informant of Bill. She then bloodily fights off all of O-Ren’s henchmen, including the Crazy 88 and her personal bodyguard, 17-year-old sadist Gogo Yubari (Chiaki Kuriyama). The Bride then duels O-Ren, and kills her. Extracting the whereabouts of the other assassins from Sofie by cutting off her other arm, she leaves her at a hospital. Bill visits Sofie, who informs him that The Bride now knows the names and locations of the Deadly Vipers and is out for revenge. Bill then asks if The Bride is aware that her daughter is still alive.

Volume 2
The Bride, along with her groom (Chris Nelson), rehearse their wedding. Bill arrives, and it transpires that The Bride has retired from assassination and left her former lover Bill, in order to settle down with her unborn daughter. Moments later the Deadly Vipers attack on Bill's orders. In the present, Bill warns his brother Budd (Michael Madsen), a bouncer and former Deadly Viper, that he will be targeted next. The Bride arrives at his trailer, but Budd shoots her with a rock salt shotgun and then sedates her. Budd calls Elle to sell her the Hanz? sword, before sealing The Bride inside a coffin and burying her alive. In a flashback Bill takes The Bride to the temple of Pai Mei (Gordon Liu), a legendary martial arts master. Pai Mei has mastered a technique wherein pressure points on the victim's chest are struck leaving them with a few footsteps before their death. Bill informs The Bride that Pai Mei teaches no one the technique. After she trains under Pai Mei, who initially dislikes her, she eventually wins his respect.

The Bride recalls her training with Pai Mei to break out of the coffin to the surface. The next morning Elle arrives at Budd’s trailer for their transaction. Budd is betrayed by Elle, who uses a black mamba and its venomous bite to poison him. Elle expresses regret that a loser like Budd was the one to kill The Bride, whose name is revealed to be Beatrix Kiddo. As Elle leaves the trailer, she is attacked by Beatrix. Elle reveals that her missing eye was plucked out by Pai Mei after she insulted him during her training, and in retribution, she poisoned and killed him. Angered, Beatrix plucks out Elle’s remaining eye, and leaves Elle writhing and screaming hysterically in the trailer with the black mamba.

After finding Bill’s location, Beatrix infiltrates his home. She is shocked to find B.B. (Perla Haney-Jardine), her four-year old daughter, alive and well. The family spend the evening together peacefully with Bill making sandwiches and Beatrix watching a video in bed with her daughter. However Bill shoots Beatrix with a dart containing a truth serum and questions her. A flashback recalls the moment Beatrix found out she was pregnant. She was on an assignment, and her target had sent an assassin of her own to kill Beatrix. Beatrix managed to convince the assassin not to kill her due to her pregnancy and they agree to part ways. Beatrix explains that she ran away without telling Bill in order to protect their unborn daughter from the dangers in her work. Though Bill understands, he remains unapologetic for what he did. Bill attacks Beatrix, but she disables him with Pai Mei's technique, which he secretly taught her. Bill stumbles and dies. Beatrix departs with B.B. in her arms and later they watch cartoons in a hotel together.


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  • Uma Thurman as The Bride, Beatrix Kiddo (“Black Mamba”): The protagonist and a former member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad and described as "the deadliest woman in the world". She is targeted by her former allies in the wedding chapel massacre, and falls into a coma. When she awakens four years later, she embarks on a deadly trail of revenge against the perpetrators of the massacre.
  • David Carradine as Bill (“Snake Charmer”): The former leader of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad. He is also the former lover of Beatrix and the father of her daughter. He is the final and eponymous target of Beatrix’s revenge.
  • Lucy Liu as O-Ren Ishii (“Cottonmouth”): A former member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad. She later becomes “queen of the Tokyo underworld”. She is the first of Beatrix’s revenge targets.
  • Vivica A. Fox as Vernita Green (“Copperhead”): A former member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad. She later becomes a homemaker living under the false name Jeannie Bell. She is the second of Beatrix’s revenge targets.
  • Michael Madsen as Budd (“Sidewinder”): A former member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad and brother of Bill. He later becomes a bouncer living in a trailer. He is the third of Beatrix’s revenge targets.
  • Daryl Hannah as Elle Driver (“California Mountain Snake”): A former member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad. She is the fourth of Beatrix’s revenge targets.
  • Julie Dreyfus as Sofie Fatale: O-Ren's lawyer, best friend, and second lieutenant. She is also a former protégé of Bill’s, and was present at the wedding chapel massacre.
  • Sonny Chiba as Hattori Hanzo: Revered as the greatest swordsmith of all time. Although long retired, he agrees to craft a sword for Beatrix.
  • Gordon Liu as Pai Mei: An immensely powerful and extremely old martial arts master. Bill, Beatrix, and Elle all train under him.

  • Ambrosia Kelley as Nikki Green, Vernita's 4-year-old daughter; She witnesses Beatrix kill her mother, and Beatrix offers her a chance to take revenge for it when she gets older if she still "feels raw about it".
  • Michael Parks as Earl McGraw: A policeman who investigates the wedding chapel massacre.
  • James Parks as Edgar McGraw: The son of Earl McGraw. He is also a policeman.
  • Michael Bowen as Buck: An orderly at the hospital in which Beatrix passes her coma. He has apparently been selling sexual access to her body while she was comatose.
  • Gordon Liu as Johnny Mo: Head general of O-Ren’s personal army; the Crazy 88.
  • Jun Kunimura as Boss Tanaka: A Yakuza who is disgruntled when O-Ren assumes power; when he ridicules O-Ren's nationality, she decapitates him.
  • Chiaki Kuriyama as Gogo Yubari: A sadistic 17-year-old who is O-Ren’s personal bodyguard.
  • Sakichi Satô as Charlie Brown, an employee at the House of Blue Leaves who wears a Kimono similar in design to the shirt worn by the Peanuts character.

  • Stephanie L. Moore, Shana Stein, and Caitlin Keats as Joleen, Erica, and Janeen, Beatrix's best friends who are present at the wedding rehearsal.
  • Bo Svenson as Reverend Harmony: The minister who was to officiate at Beatrix and Tommy’s wedding.
  • Chris Nelson as Tommy Plympton: Beatrix’s fiancé who is killed in the wedding chapel massacre.
  • Samuel L. Jackson as Rufus: The pianist who was to perform at Beatrix and Tommy’s wedding.
  • Larry Bishop as Larry Gomez: The abusive manager of the strip club at which Budd works.
  • Sid Haig as Jay, an employee at the strip club where Budd works.
  • Michael Parks as Esteban Vihaio: A retired pimp. He was the first of Bill’s “father figures”. Beatrix comes to him asking for Bill’s whereabouts.
  • Perla Haney-Jardine as B.B.: The daughter of Beatrix and Bill. She is raised by her father while her mother is comatose.
  • Helen Kim as Karen: An assassin sent to kill Beatrix. Her attack comes moments after Beatrix learns that she is pregnant.
  • Lawrence Bender (uncredited) as Hotel clerk


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The overall storyline of Kill Bill — a woman seeks revenge on a group of people, crossing them off a list one by one as she kills them — is adapted from Lady Snowblood, a 1973 Japanese film in which a woman kills off the gang who murdered her family. The Guardian commented that Lady Snowblood was "practically a template for the whole of Kill Bill Vol. 1". Lady Snowblood was adapted from the manga of the same name written by Kazuo Koike and illustrated by Kazuo Kamimura. Koike also wrote Lone Wolf and Cub (see below).

It references the TV show Yagyû ichizoku no inbô (Japanese > "Intrigue of the Yagyu Clan") by quoting a variant of the speech in the show's opening sequence.

The film also references Samurai Reincarnation (1981) by quoting its iconic line "If you encounter God, God will be cut". Hattori Hanz? is modelled on legendary sword maker Muramasa. The character is also a reference to the Japanese television show Kage no Gundan (Shadow Warriors in America), in which Sonny Chiba portrayed a fictionalized version of Hattori Hanz?, as well as his descendants in later seasons. Tarantino, in Vol. 1 special features, claims that his film's Hanz? is one of those descendants.

Kill Bill pays tribute to film genres including the spaghetti western, blaxploitation, Chinese wuxia, Japanese yakuza films, Japanese samurai cinema, and kung fu movies of the 1960s and 1970s. This last genre, which was largely produced by the Shaw Brothers, is given an obvious nod by the inclusion of the Shaw Scope logo at the beginning of Kill Bill Vol. 1.

Daryl Hannah has claimed that the more slapstick elements of Elle's brawl with Beatrix were inspired by Jackass: The Movie, which Tarantino watched during the filming of Kill Bill.

One influential exploitation film that Tarantino has mentioned in interviews is the Swedish Thriller - en grym film, released in the U.S. as They Call Her One Eye. Tarantino, who has called Thriller "the roughest revenge movie ever made, recommended that actress Daryl Hannah watch the film to prepare for her role as the one-eyed killer Elle Driver.

The Japanese Lone Wolf and Cub series of manga and films are echoed in the characters of The Bride and her daughter. The Americanized compilation version of this series, Shogun Assassin, is actually viewed by the two characters.

The films also contains a number of references to specific American and European films, such as "Pussy Wagon" (taken from lyrics in the film Grease).

The closing credits to both films included a short list of deceased directors, writers and actors, under the title "R.I.P.": Charles Bronson, Chang Cheh, Kinji Fukasaku, Lo Lieh, Shintaro Katsu, William Witney, Sergio Corbucci, Lucio Fulci, Sergio Leone, and Lee Van Cleef.

Critical reception

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Church in the Mojave Desert near Lancaster, California, used as a filming location

After a six-year hiatus of Tarantino films, Kill Bill was much anticipated by fans and critics and generated a tremendous amount of discussion. Reaction by film critics was very positive, each volume receiving a score of 85% on Rotten Tomatoes. Both volumes were successful at the box office.Kill Bill Vol. 1 grossed $180,949,045 worldwide, followed by Kill Bill Vol. 2 with $152,159,461 worldwide, for a combined gross of $333,108,506.

A film in two volumes

Though released as two parts, the film differs from multi-part "franchise" series like Star Wars. The short duration between the releases of the two volumes, the film's internal structure, and the history of its development all strongly imply that Kill Bill be regarded as one movie (for example, the cast of Vol. 1 are credited at the end of Vol. 2). The dual-release strategy, ostensibly due to the film's length, has been criticized as an attempt by Miramax to sell two tickets to one movie.

The "Whole Bloody Affair" version of the film that ran for a week at the New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles at the end of March 2011 was verified to be the original print that premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2003 , before the decision was made to split the film into two parts due to the roughly four-hour length. The print shown at the New Beverly even retained the French subtitles necessary for screening an English-language film at the Cannes festival. Differences in this version in comparison to the separate Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 versions include the "old Klingon proverb" shown at the beginning of Vol. 1 is not present, although a dedication to filmmaker Kinji Fukasaku is in its place; the anime sequence is slightly longer with more gore; The House of Blue Leaves battle is in color (it had been toned down to black and white for the USA release of Vol. 1 only); Sofie Fatale loses both of her arms; the reveal that The Bride's daughter is alive at the end of Vol. 1 is not present, nor is the short black and white scene at the beginning of Vol. 2 where The Bride is driving and sums up the action to that point; in its place is a small musical intermission that leads straight into Chapter 6.

The two-volume format also amplified what some saw as a structural problem with the film: most of the action occurs in the first half, while most of the dialogue and plot are conveyed in the second. Thus, the two volumes are noticeably different in style and tone, leaving some viewers enamored of one volume but disappointed by the other. Of Volume 2, Sean O’Connell of writes, "The drop-off in energy, style, and coherence from Volume 1 to its bloated, disinteresting counterpart is so drastic and extreme that you can hardly believe they come from the same director, let alone conclude the same storyline." Jeffery M. Anderson of Combustible Celluloid, like some other critics, preferred Volume 2, writing "…Characters actually talk to one another here rather than the stilted samurai movie-speak of the first volume."

Roger Ebert celebrated the films, saying "Put the two parts together, and Tarantino has made a masterful saga that celebrates the martial arts genre while kidding it, loving it, and transcending it.... This is all one film, and now that we see it whole, it's greater than its two parts." In 2009, he placed the film on his twenty best films of the decade list.

Much criticism concerned the amount and presentation of bloodshed and general mayhem, especially in the first volume. One critic referred to Volume 1 as a "cocktail party in an abattoir".

Conversely, cultural historian Maud Lavin argues that Beatrix Kiddo's embodiment of murderous revenge taps into viewers' personal fantasies of committing violence. For audiences, particularly women viewers, this overly aggressive female character provides a complex site for identification with one's own aggression.

Style and substance
Much of the controversy over the film reflects the differing expectations of those who look primarily at a movie for its style and craftsmanship against those who look at story and substance. "You never forget that Kill Bill is an exercise in genre-sampling," writes the Chicago Tribune’s Mark Caro. However, other critics found it well-constructed, with tightly edited action scenes, strong performances, often-clever dialogue, and an effectively exciting soundtrack. On the whole, both volumes of the film received positive reviews.

Each part was nominated at the Golden Globe Awards. Uma Thurman received a Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama nomination in 2004 and 2005 for her work in Volume 1 and Volume 2. David Carradine received a Best Supporting Actor nomination in 2005 for his work as the mentor-like titular character in Kill Bill: Volume 2. Uma Thurman was also nominated in 2004 for a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her work in 'Kill Bill: Volume 1.' The film was nominated for 5 BAFTAs at the 2004 BAFTA awards ceremony.

The film was very popular at the MTV Movie Awards. At the 2004 MTV Movie Awards, Thurman won Best Female performance for Volume 1, Liu won Best Villain in Volume 1, and the fight between The Bride and Gogo Yubari won Best Fight. Thurman also thanked Chiaki Kuriyama during her acceptance speech. At the 2005 MTV Movie Awards, Kill Bill Volume 2 was nominated for Best Movie, Thurman was nominated for best female performance, and the fight between The Bride and Elle Driver in Kill Bill Volume 2 also won Best Fight. Thurman also received the Saturn Award for Best Actress in 2003 for her work in Volume 1. The Bride was also ranked number 66 in Empire magazine's "100 Greatest Movie Characters".


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As with Tarantino's previous films, Kill Bill features an eclectic soundtrack comprising many musical genres. On the two soundtracks, music ranges from country music to selections from the Spaghetti Western film scores of Ennio Morricone. Bernard Herrmann's theme from the film Twisted Nerve is whistled by the menacing Elle Driver in the hospital scene. A brief, 15-second excerpt from the opening of the Ironside theme music by Quincy Jones is used as the Bride's revenge motif, which flares up with a red-tinged flashback whenever she's in the company of her next target. Instrumental tracks from Japanese guitarist Tomoyasu Hotei figure prominently, and after the success of Kill Bill they were frequently used in American TV commercials and at sporting events. As the Bride enters "The House of Blue Leaves", go-go group The 5,6,7,8's perform "I Walk Like Jayne Mansfield", "I'm Blue" and "Woo Hoo." The connection to Lady Snowblood is further established by the use of "The Flower of Carnage" the closing theme from that film. The end credits are driven by the rock and roll version of "Malagueña Salerosa", a typical Mexican song performed by "Chingon", Robert Rodriguez's band.


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Kill Bill: Volume 2 was screened out of competition at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival.

Home release
In the United States, Volume 1 was released on DVD on April 13, 2004 and Volume 2 on August 10, 2004.

In a December 2005 interview, Tarantino addressed the lack of a special edition DVD for Kill Bill by stating "I've been holding off because I've been working on it for so long that I just wanted a year off from Kill Bill and then I'll do the big supplementary DVD package."

The United States does not have a DVD boxed set of Kill Bill, though box sets of the two separate volumes are available in other countries, such as France, Japan and the United Kingdom. Upon the DVD release of Volume 2 in the US, however, Best Buy did offer an exclusive box set slipcase to house the two individual releases together.

Both films were released in High Definition on Blu-ray on September 9, 2008 in the United States.

Tarantino announced at the 2008 Provincetown International Film Festival that a single film version of part 1 and 2 called Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair with an extended animation sequence was to be released in May 2009. Screenings of the complete film began on March 27, 2011 at the New Beverly Cinema.

Tarantino told Entertainment Weekly in April 2004, that he is planning a sequel:

According to, details have emerged about Kill Bill Volumes 3 and 4. According to the article, "Bennett Walsh said at the Shanghai International Film Festival, the third film involves the revenge of two killers whose arms and eyes were hacked by Uma Thurman in the first stories". The article adds that the "fourth installment of the popular kung fu action films concerns a cycle of reprisals and daughters who avenge their mother's deaths".

Quentin Tarantino said at the 2006 Comic Con that, after the completion of Grindhouse, he wants to make two anime Kill Bill films. One will be an origin story about Bill and his mentors, and the other will be an origin starring The Bride. The latter is most likely to be a prequel, but could also follow the rumored (sequel) plot reported in Entertainment Weekly in April 2004.

At the Morelia International Film Festival on October 1, 2009, while being interviewed on an Italian TV show after being asked about the success of the two Kill Bill films, Tarantino addressed the hostess by claiming "You haven't asked me about the third one" then asking the woman to ask the question would he be making a third Kill Bill film, which he replied "Yes", and claiming "The Bride will fight again!" On October 3, 2009, he further predicted that Kill Bill 3 would be his ninth film, and would be released in 2014. He said he intends to make another unrelated film before that date as his eighth film. He confirmed that he wanted ten years to pass between the Bride's last conflict, to give her and her daughter a period of peace.

See also

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  • List of women warriors in folklore
  • Double Dare
  • Lady Snowblood

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