Why is Quentin Tarantino retiring?

The Pulp Fiction director has long maintained he will only make 10 films

In this photo taken Friday, May 22, 2009, American director Quentin Tarantino poses for photographs at a hotel, during the 62nd International film festival in Cannes, southern France. Billed at the outset as a smackdown between big-name auteurs such as Quentin Tarantino, Ang Lee and Lars von Trier, the Cannes Film Festival neared its end with lesser-known filmmakers among the favorites to win the Palme d'Or, the event's top prize. Cannes prizes will be announced Sunday, May 23, 2009. (AP Photo/Joel Ryan)
American director Quentin Tarantino in 2009. (AP Photo/Joel Ryan)

Quentin Tarantino has long insisted that he would retire from filmmaking after his tenth film or when he turned 60.

With the Pulp Fiction director reportedly having written a script entitled The Movie Critic that he intends to shoot later this year, there is once again speculation that it will be the last we see of Tarantino.

Read more: Tarantino shares his favourite movie of the last decade

The Movie Critic would represent Tarantino's 10th film and he also turns 60 later this year.

What has Quentin Tarantino said about retiring?

THE FILM CREW FROM 'PULP FICTION' IN CANNES (Photo by Eric Robert/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images)
Quentin Tarantino and the cast of Pulp Fiction. (Getty Images)

Tarantino first hinted at seeing the end during a 2012 interview with Playboy where he said: “I want to stop at a certain point.

"Directors don’t get better as they get older. Usually the worst films in their filmography are those last four at the end. I am all about my filmography, and one bad film f**** up three good ones.

"I don’t want that bad, out-of-touch comedy in my filmography, the movie that makes people think, ‘Oh man, he still thinks it’s 20 years ago.’

"When directors get out-of-date, it’s not pretty.”

(Credit: Sony)
Quentin Tarantino on the set of Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood. (Sony)

However in 2015, talking to Yahoo, he said his plan was not yet fixed in stone.

“Yeah, that’s the idea [to retire after 10 movies], I could always change it,” he said while promoting The Hateful Eight.

“But I like the idea frankly, to tell you the truth. I mean, look, ten movies for me is at the soonest six years and the latest eight years. And by the way, if film goes the way of the dodo bird, I might not even make ten.”

In recent years, Tarantino has expanded into other areas including writing a novelisation of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, his first book of film criticism Cinema Speculation, and last year he started a podcast with fellow director Roger Avary where they discuss cult films.

Quentin Tarantino's official filmography so far

  1. Reservoir Dogs (1992)

  2. Pulp Fiction (1994)

  3. Jackie Brown (1997)

  4. Kill Bill Vol 1&2 (2003/2004)

  5. Death Proof (2007)

  6. Inglourious Basterds (2009)

  7. Django Unchained (2012)

  8. The Hateful Eight (2015)

  9. Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (2019)

The director has also expressed interest in writing further books and creating a TV spin-off of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

During an interview with CNN in 2021, Tarantino reiterated that he didn't want to become out of touch: “I’ve been doing it for a long time.

Quentin Tarantino is looking for a new studio - Credit: Miramax
Quentin Tarantino in Reservoir Dogs. (Miramax)

"I’ve been doing it for 30 years, and it’s, it’s time to wrap up the show. Like I said I’m an entertainer. I want to leave you wanting more you know, and not just work and I don’t want to work to diminishing returns.

"I don’t want to become this old man who’s out of touch, when already I’m feeling a bit like an old man out of touch when it comes to the current movies that are out right now. And that’s what happens.”

Tarantino also extensively discussed his future during an appearance on the Pure Cinema Podcast.

Uma Thurman and Quentin Tarantino on the set of Kill Bill Vol. 1.
Uma Thurman and Quentin Tarantino on the set of Kill Bill Vol. 1. (Miramax)

He said: “Usually their worst movies are their last movies. That’s the case for most of the Golden Age directors that ended up making their last movies in the late ’60s and the ’70s, then that ended up being the case for most of the New Hollywood directors who made their last movies in the late ’80s and the ’90s.”

Read more: Tarantino got Pierce Brosnan drunk and pitched a Bond movie to him

Tarantino also teased that he wouldn't make any more movies after Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was such a success: “Maybe I should not make another movie because I could be really happy with dropping the mic.

"That’s the frustrating part… a lot of the really terrific directors, it’s like their third-to-the-last movie would have been an amazing, amazing one to end on, which goes back to what I was saying about myself.

"Or you know, if Don Siegel had stopped with Escape from Alcatraz, oh my f****** god. What a career…he really said it all. The other two were just jobs.”

Whilst at Cannes Film Festival 2023, Tarantino seemingly doubled down on his determination to quit making movies after his tenth film.

"I am ending he filmography" he told the outlet. That said, he did offer a bit of wiggle-room.

"I could do a TV show. I didn’t say I’m going to go into the night darkly, all right? I could do a TV show. I could do a short film. I could do a play. All kinds of things I could do, but I’ll probably just be more of a writer."

What will Quentin Tarantino's final movie be?

CANADA - AUGUST 09: Pauline Kael (Photo by Erin Combs/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Pauline Kael (Erin Combs/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Tarantino's tenth movie is called The Movie Critic, and was originally reported to be "set in late 1970s Los Angeles with a female lead at its centre."

Speculation quickly suggested that the film might be about legendary New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael, covering the writer's brief tenure working as a consultant for Paramount in the 1970s.

Read more: The best Tarantino movie in-jokes

However, despite the rumour mill, Tarantino recently squashed any suggestion that his tenth movie would focus on this iconic film writer.

Speaking at Q&A event hosted at the Grand Rex Theater in Paris, a Twitter user reported the director spilling some key details about his tenth and final movie — most notably that the story won’t involve Kael.

Tarantino also revealed that the movie will take place in 1977, a year which would have landed comfortably within Kael’s time serving as a writer for The New Yorker which lasted from 1968 until 1991.

The filmmaker contributed to a 2015 documentary about Kael called What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael, and said: "Most directors, especially of the older generation, didn't really care that much for critics."

"We grew up with her as our kind of film Kerouac, if you will."

Shortly after, Tarantino shed some more light on the lead of The Movie Critic, revealing that 'she' will in fact be a 'he' and a no-holds-barred writer for a low-brow porno magazine.

Speaking to Deadline, the director confirmed the character will be "based on a guy who really lived, but was never really famous, and he used to write movie reviews for a porno rag."

He'll also be in his mid-30's, American and somebody he's never worked with before. "The truth of the matter is, yes, obviously, a Brit could pull it off, but I don’t want to cast a Brit."

He added: "It’ll definitely be a new leading man for me. I do have an idea of somebody I can imagine doing it really well."

Watch below: Quentin Tarantino's final film will be titled The Movie Critic