Quentin Tarantino is possibly the most prolific writer/director working in film today. His first feature-length film, Reservoir Dogs, came out back in 1993, and yet the man still manages to surprise us with his hard-hitting dialogue, unconventional humor, and radical social and political commentary. This is a man who serves as a prime example of succeeding as a result of respecting one's elders, as he learns from those great filmmakers who came before him, while still managing to thread his own style through his intricately woven, homage-heavy film résumé.

While the rest of the world toned down its violence and opted for bigger box office, PG-13 sure-things, Tarantino stuck to his guns, consistently making movies for adults and constantly pushing the envelope as to what is allowed onscreen and how to go about displaying such graphic material. Tarantino doesn't give a damn what you think, and that's the reason why he's survived as long as he has in this industry that's always trying to put him in his place and dictate what his art should look like. Tarantino doesn't just provide gorgeous, elevated, breathtaking movies, he's a revolutionary, carrying the banner for the generation that follows in his footsteps, and even inspiring those who are in the same age group as he. In other words, Tarantino doesn't need cinema. Cinema needs Tarantino, and lucky for us, there's plenty of nearly perfect films to choose from.

Ranking Tarantino's films is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do, so I want to make a few things clear before I begin.

First of all, I will count Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 as one big movie, because that was what Tarantino originally intended, and since he counts The Hateful Eight as his eighth film, it's clear he still groups them together.

Second, I am only including Quentin Tarantino's feature-length films that are directed by Tarantino himself. Therefore, as fond as I am of them, there will be no True Romance, Natural Born Killers, or From Dusk Till Dawn on this list. There won't be a spot for Four Rooms or Sin City, either.

Third, I want to make it clear that I judge Tarantino films differently than most movies that I see. Tarantino is one of the greatest filmmakers working today (and possibly ever), so I judge him more harshly because I expect more. By the same token, even if a film comes in last on this list—and inevitably, one has to come last—please realize that I still consider it to probably be better than the majority of films playing in theaters right now. Tarantino deserves his own level of judgment.

Lastly, and possibly most importantly, I want it to be clear that I love Quentin Tarantino. To me, this article is more of a celebration of his work, because it gives me the chance to discuss all of his projects, which is basically what I'd be doing on a random Sunday night anyway, even if the conversation were never published.

With all of this in mind, and without further ado, here are all of Quentin Tarantino's films, ranked in order, from least spectacular to most spectacular.

8. Death Proof

There's a maniac terrorizing the streets in the guise of a cinematic hero, and his name is Stuntman Mike. Played by the legendary Kurt Russell, Stuntman Mike has many girlfriends, and his way of showing his affection is crashing his death proof 1970 Chevy Nova into whatever the ladies who have caught his eye are currently driving. This deadly game of cat and mouse has left little in the way of survivors over the years, but Mike has met his match when he begins stalking his latest group of young women down in the outskirts of a small Texas town. What starts out as a formulaic scare-and-destroy mission turns into Mike's own fight for survival, when the women he's chosen to take on turn the tables and begin hunting the hunter.

As the second film in the grand feature known as Grindhouse, the first being the Robert Rodriguez-directed Planet Terror, Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof has been underrated for years, with fans shrugging off the film as nothing more than the much slower follow-up to Rodriguez's fast-paced and sleazy exploitative grindhouse parody. Whereas Rodriguez made a movie spoofing grindhouse films, Tarantino actually made a real grindhouse film that just happens to be set in 2007 as opposed to sometime in the 1970s. With a soundtrack full of '70s rock jams, a scruffy and scratched-up print, ridiculously fast zooms, and choppy editing, Death Proof would be believable as an authentic product of Russ Meyer if it weren't for the occasional cell phone shot and pop culture reference.

Aside from its striking legitimacy, this is a film that should be on every cinephile's radar for the car chase sequences alone, which feature some of the most wild and thrilling high-speed chases possibly ever caught on film, all while staying true to the practical approach of older movies. When you see Zoë Bell dangling on the hood of a Vanishing Point-esque white Dodge Challenger, that's really her dangling there, which not only provides some extremely intense moments, but shows the benefit of casting a real stuntwoman as the lead in your grindhouse film.

7. Inglourious Basterds

In the midst of World War II, in the middle of Nazi-occupied France, a young Jewish girl named Shosanna meticulously plots her long-awaited vengeance. Shosanna has spent every day for the past several years dreaming of revenge, ever since her family was brutally murdered by an S.S. officer before her very eyes while hiding like rats in the basement of a sympathetic friend's home; forced into the shadows by the blinding glare of Hitler's swastika.

It's been a long time coming, but finally, an opportunity has presented itself. Frederick Zoller, an entitled young Nazi war hero, has been making googly eyes at Shosanna since the first night he saw her standing on that ladder in front of her self-owned theater, changing the marquee. Frederick wants to host a screening of the new movie he stars in, Nation's Pride, at Shosanna's little theater, and given that he garners much authority amongst the Nazi party, he can pretty much do whatever he wants. In attendance will be several high members of the Third Reich, including Joseph Goebbels and even the Führer himself, Adolf Hitler. In other words, what better time to knock off as many Nazis as possible in one small, confined setting? But she's not the only one behind enemy lines. A group of U.S. Jewish soldiers led by Lt. Aldo Raine have dropped into enemy territory to do one thing and one thing only: collect Nazi scalps. Calling themselves "the bastards", this deadly crew spreads fear into the hearts of Nazis by wreaking havoc on as many soldiers as they can find, killing and scalping their victims and mutilating those they choose to keep alive.

World War II was always a psychological war, but it was Hitler who held all of the power, throwing millions of Jews into concentration camps over the period of a few short years, hoping not necessarily to wipe out every trace of Judaism, but, more to the point, to mentally defeat anyone who would dare challenge him and his conquering nature. Taking history into his own hands, Tarantino uses the bastards to play out their own brand of psychological warfare through horrifying and merciless torture tactics meant to mess with the minds of the Nazi soldiers. The bastards didn't just want to kill as many Germans as possible, they wanted to inflict the same pain upon these soldiers that they and their families had felt, mentally as much as physically. Once the Germans feel a stinging sense of defeat, it becomes that much easier to prod the wound and bring the walls of the defiant Nazi system tumbling to the ground.

As a revenge fantasy drama, Inglourious Basterds succeeds on nearly all fronts. The dialogue is rich and powerful (especially when delivered by the devilishly charming Christoph Waltz), the costumes are historically accurate and magnificent, and the humor is surprisingly effective for a film based on such a dark period in time. However, although the film is technically impressive and beautiful on a grand scale, and a confident example of the true legendary filmmaker that Tarantino is, it lacks the intimacy of his other projects. The film is extremely satisfying as a reimagining of the horrid events of WWII, but the characters themselves aren't quite as relatable on a personal level as those in his past entries.

6. The Hateful Eight

It's a cold wintry day as "Hangman" John Ruth slows his horse-drawn covered wagon to a halt in front of the planted feet of Major Marquis Warren, who stands waiting in the powdery white with a pile of dead men at his side. As a fellow bounty hunter caught in the oncoming blizzard, Ruth lends a suspicious but sympathetic ear to Major Warren's pleas for a ride to the town of Red Rock, and agrees to spare a seat in the wagon next to himself and his prisoner, Daisy Domergue. Along the way, they pick up Chris Mannix, an ex-Confederate scoundrel who claims to be the new sheriff of Red Rock, and make their way to the nearest sanctuary, which just happens to be Minnie's Haberdashery, a friendly inn that the inhabitants of this stagecoach know very well. Upon entering, they immediately notice that the scene looks sketchy, with Minnie nowhere in sight, and a precarious group of men taking shelter in the weathered cabin. As the night unfolds and secrets are revealed, it soon becomes clear that not only is no one safe from harm, but no one in this place really deserves to make it out alive, either.

Visually stunning, The Hateful Eight marks yet another colossal moment of Tarantino's ever-impressive growth as a filmmaker, dubbing him as truly one of the greats if his previous installments hadn't already proved this notion. Shot entirely in 70mm, this film sparked an epic moment, not only in Tarantino's career, but also in the film community as a whole, as QT announced a limited roadshow screening, with theaters across the country showing his latest in the same glorious format the movie was shot on. Thanks to his popularity and the gargantuan appeal of not just going to the movies to see a film, but going to the theater to see a real show, program, overture, intermission and all, Tarantino has revitalized a nearly dead mode of filmmaking and encouraged thousands of people to participate in his callback to this ancient vision.

The fact that people in 2015 can go see a movie in 70mm is such a special treat that it alone dignifies the trip to the theater, but the awe-inspiring aesthetics that Tarantino delivers really do demand a viewing on the big screen. Personally, I was hoping for a more traditional Western with a Tarantino twist, but that's not what this movie is. This is a film about a bunch of unlikable characters holed up inside of a Tarantino film that just happens to be a Western. Either way, it's a tremendous accomplishment, but it's disappointedly not very far from the Tarantino material that we've already seen, time and time again.

5. Django Unchained

Django drags his chained feet across the rough terrain; one leg, then the other, moving in time with the motion of the other slaves he's fastened to. After being dragged across dozens upon dozens of miles, at times it seems like this landscape is all Django has ever really known, and the memories of his sweet wife Broomhilda fade away like they're nothing more than a dream Django concocted in his most desperate hours. Hope just feels too far away to fathom these days. That is, until a strange German dentist named Dr. King Schultz wheels up in his wagon, shoots the slaveholders, and sets Django free.

Dr. Schultz reveals that he's actually a bounty hunter, and he needs Django's help in identifying three criminals who keep escaping lawful punishment by switching towns and changing their names. In exchange for his aid, Schultz agrees to help Django find and rescue his wife, and even offers to pay Django for his assistance as a collector of valuable corpses. Django quickly agrees, and the two set out on an action-packed adventure, which starts with the discovery of Django's innate skills as a sharp shooter, and ends with an explosive finale inside the confines of the wicked plantation known as Candyland.

In possibly Quentin Tarantino's best period piece film to date, the massive scale of slavery and all of its horrors are honed down to a much more digestible and personal level, while the audience follows the single plight of Django, as he is freed from the oppression of slavery, only to be confined to sinister treatment as a result of his skin color. The violence is beautiful, excessive, and highly stylized, but aside from its aesthetic glory, each bullet symbolically rips the mask off of every evil man, revealing their true colors, as the thick crimson stains their pure white clothing and shows them for the cowards that they really are.

Like many of QT's entries, this is also a very funny film, although the humor is used more as a tool, like the violence, to put these racist slave holders on full display, showing just how dumb they truly are and proving that just because someone is temporarily in charge, it doesn't mean that they're necessarily intelligent. More than anything, this is a political commentary that succeeds because it shows its victims sympathy, not pity, a choice that makes all the difference in the reception and overall message of the material.

4. Jackie Brown

Living in a city as expensive as Los Angeles, Jackie Brown barely makes enough money to just get by with her job as an airline stewardess. Looking for a little green on the side, Jackie agrees to help an arms dealer by the name of Ordell Robbie smuggle money from Mexico to California. Believing that her highly illegal plans are running smoothly, Jackie arrives back in town, bag in tow, just to be greeted by two FBI agents in the parking lot of the airport. Out on bail and desperate to avoid jail time, Jackie accepts the agents' offer: her freedom in exchange for the arrest of Ordell.

At the same time, Jackie makes a deal with Ordell to bring in more money than they ever have before. Playing both sides, Jackie finds herself caught in the crosshairs wherever she turns. Her only refuge lies in an aging bail bondsman named Max Cherry, as the two form an unlikely, subtle romantic relationship that teasingly teeters on the brink between a friendship/business partnership and something more. As these two lonely people slowly come together, they find comfort in the small happy moments they are granted, but will either participant ever be able to escape their old lives long enough to accept the other's affections?

Easily Tarantino's most subdued feature, especially as a follow-up to his explosive 1993 entry Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown signifies a moment of growth in Tarantino as a filmmaker. Highly underrated, Tarantino's third film swaps out flash for elegance, making it more grounded in reality than any of his other movies. With powerful performances from everyone involved, including Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Keaton, Robert De Niro, Robert Forster and Bridget Fonda, this is a gangster flick made for grown-ups who are too old and too tired to put up with the runaround: i.e. massive explosions, wild sexually deviant behavior, and overly excessive bloodshed.

Aside from it being Quentin's most mature film to date, Jackie Brown is also the most romantic, as it brings together two lovers through the unifying power of music. Max has kept himself at a distance for years, burying himself in his work and dodging the lonesome face staring back at him in the mirror, never branching out or trying to connect with another human being past the point of picking he or she up from jail. But that all changes when Jackie walks through those prison gates, and the melody "Natural High" by Bloodstone drifts into the scene so perfectly, like it was carried in on a cool evening breeze. Seeing life through Max's eyes, we get his first glimpse of a possible life in Jackie's world; a beautiful landscape with luscious sounds that are just as alluring as they are unfamiliar.

3. Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2

A bloody bride lies beaten on the ground, staring up at the sadistic man who did this to her. His name is Bill, and up until recently, he was the bride's employer and lover. See, the bride, a.k.a. Beatrix, or "Kiddo" to Bill, is (or was) an extremely gifted and dedicated assassin who bailed on her last job and ran away to Texas immediately after seeing a little plus sign appear on her pregnancy test.

Believing her to be killed, Bill sets out on a search to locate his beloved Kiddo, only to find her in the arms of another man; a white wedding dress covering her pregnant belly as she rehearses for her wedding in a little chapel down in the lone star state. Feeling betrayed and no stranger to murder, Bill, along with his Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, gun down every single person present in that quaint little church, including Beatrix herself. After spending four years wasting away in a hospital bed, Beatrix awakens, absent one child, and ready to dish out some cold hard vengeance.

Originally intended as one complete film (now known as Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair), Tarantino's Kill Bill was split into two factions when the screenplay exceeded 220 pages. Like a love letter to Asian cinema, this entry on Tarantino's resume pays homage to some classic revenge flicks, such as Lady Snowblood, while also nodding to The Bride Wore Black and Thriller: A Cruel Picture, a.k.a. They Call Her One Eye. Despite its heavy influences from the aforementioned films, this is a story that Tarantino has made all his own, by pulling elements from his favorite Asian films, and displaying them through a western-style viewpoint. Filled to the brim with Mexican standoffs, sword fights, and icy threats, this film is a bloody, viciously inspiring display of the perseverance of the human will, and the triumph that comes not just with survival against all odds, but in the striking down of those that would seek to rid you of your freedom to live.

2. Pulp Fiction

On a random day in the Los Angeles area, four different storylines will crash together when a series of unlikely events conjoins the lives of every stranger involved. Two hit men named Jules Winnifield and Vincent Vega set out to retrieve a MacGuffin briefcase that belongs to their boss, Marsellus Wallace, when they accidentally shoot one of their own in the backseat of a moving automobile. Desperate to get off the road, the two ravel to a friend's house nearby, where they await judgment from headquarters, and a visit from The Wolf. In another story, a man and a woman introduced by their pet names for one another, Honey Bunny and Pumpkin, sit and drink coffee in a local diner as they plan to pull a robbery on all of the people currently in the restaurant.

In another part of town, a boxer named Butch discusses throwing a fight with his benefactor, head mob boss Marsellus Wallace, reluctantly agreeing that his ass will go down in the fifth. And in yet another tale, Mrs. Mia Wallace is treated to dinner by Vincent Vega while Mr. Wallace is busy with business, and the two embark on a wild night that begins with a dance competition at Jack Rabbit Slim's and ends with an accidental overdose that may cost the lives of all parties involved. Tarantino manages to execute every story with confident ease, weaving and stitching together each narrative so that the four separate anecdotes all turn into one large timeline, told out of order, but all cohesively and beautifully coming together in the end.

When people talk about '90s gangster flicks, Pulp Fiction is usually the first title to come up in discussion. Despite the fact that the story is ultimately, about nothing (hence the title), this master class in filmmaking serves as one of the most influential and inspirational pieces of cinema to ever be crafted, which is made all the more impressive by the fact that it's only the second movie that Quentin Tarantino ever made. With a cast packed full of extremely talented actors, including Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, Uma Thurman, Tim Roth, Harvey Keitel, Ving Rhames, Christopher Walken, and John Travolta (in his big comeback), much of the joy of this film is simply found in watching the actors toss Tarantino's slick and sexy dialogue back and forth, in what is easily QT's most quotable film to date.

1. Reservoir Dogs

On a technical level, Pulp Fiction is undoubtedly Tarantino's masterpiece. With a larger budget, bigger set pieces, and a more intricately woven storyline, Pulp Fiction represents a magic moment in Tarantino's career, when the young lad who was already on the radar proved himself to be a true fascinating writer and a visionary director. However, Reservoir Dogs is still and will always be Tarantino's passion project, and for that reason alone, it is the greatest film he's ever made. Its beauty lies in its simplicity. Yes, this is a gangster flick about a deal gone sour, as the survivors try to sniff out the rat, but at its core, it's just about a bunch of tough guys backed into a corner, trying to play it cool and hide the fact that they're all scared out of their minds. There's not a single character that doesn't feel worthwhile and likable, even the one who betrays them all and causes buckets of bloodshed in the process.

Every moment is ripe with tension and purpose, and every word of dialogue hangs heavy on the plot and shifts the suspicion around from character to character, keeping the viewer guessing who's to blame until the very end. It may have been his first film, and people may point to Pulp Fiction and call it more accomplished, but there's something subtle and endlessly intriguing about a few trigger-happy men confined to a room, and unsure of his neighbor's intentions, that will always lift this entry just a little higher than the ones that followed. Low budget or not, seeing these grinning gentlemen casually strut down the street in their dark sunglasses, suits, and ties, is a moment that strikes a chord in a film fan's heart that few other movies, by any filmmaker, have yet to really achieve, especially in such an effortlessly cool fashion.