Quentin Tarantino Explains The Lack Of Sex In His Movies

Quentin Tarantino typically does not include sex scenes in his movies because he doesn't like shooting them.

By Phillip Moyer | Updated

quentin tarantino

Quentin Tarantino is, by all accounts, an auteur director — he makes the movies that he wants to make, how he wants to make them, and nobody can tell him to do otherwise. So it’s clear that it’s his own decisions that, out of his ten movies from Reservoir Dogs to Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, there’s only been two sex scenes: the pawn shop gay rape scene in Pulp Fiction and the painfully unromantic scene in his underappreciated 1997 crime film Jackie Brown. As Variety reports, there are two simple reasons for this: sex scenes are not part of his vision for his movies, and they’re an absolute pain to film.

Quentin Tarantino can hardly be considered a prude, seeing that his films tend to earn their R ratings in every other respect, be it violence, profanity, and even sexual references. So, when he says that his movies just don’t need sex scenes, he probably is being honest. But it’s hard not to think that the second reason — that it’s a pain — plays at least as big of a role as the first.

The article, which summarizes an interview with the Spanish-language Ara magazine, reveals the problems Quentin Tarantino has with filming a sex scene: everybody is always on edge during filming, and the process was already a bit problematic back in the 1990s, long before the #MeToo movement shined a spotlight on the way the film industry mistreats its actresses. 

Quentin Tarantino

However, Quentin Tarantino did say that he would include sex scenes if he ever felt they were necessary for the plot. But so far, he never has felt that they have been.

Quentin Tarantino also spoke about the only film of his that was a complete flop: Death Proof, the second half of the Grindhouse double feature he made alongside director Robert Rodriguez. He blamed its failure on the fact that both he and Rodriguez assumed audiences had the same fond memories of B-movie double features as the two filmmakers did. It turns out that was not the case, and the movie only made $25 million on a $67 million budget.

Death Proof is, for that matter, the worst-reviewed film out of all the ones Quentin Tarantino has directed. It still has a 66% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but his second-worst reviewed film, the slow-paced western mystery The Hateful Eight, stands 8% higher at 74%. Those two are the only films of his that have a sub-80% rating, with Kill Bill Vol. 2 and Kill Bill Vol. 1 being his third and fourth worst-reviewed films, respectively, with 84% and 85% ratings.

Quentin Tarantino bounced back quickly from his failure with Death Proof, releasing the highly-praised, non-historical WWII film Inglourious Basterds two years later. He has continued to create well-received (and sex-free) movies ever since. 

Quentin Tarantino has one more film up his sleeve: The Movie Critic. He considers it his tenth film (in his mind, both Kill Bill films make for one movie) — and he’s long held that he’d retire after making his tenth film. However, although he might not ever return to cinemas, Tarantino has expressed interest in doing a mini-series or even a play, so we may see more of the auteur director yet.