Retro-Cast: Casting of Pulp Fiction in the 1970s

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At Quentin Tarantino’s pulp Fiction arrived as a cultural monument in 1994 and is still a timeless gem today. One of the most notable things about the film is its ensemble cast, filled with stars like Bruce Willis, then strangers like Uma Thurman, and forgotten stars in need of a comeback like John Travolta.

RELATED: 10 Actors Considered For Roles In Pulp Fiction

But if the film had been shot in the 1970s – the era of American cinema that most influenced Tarantino’s directing style – it could have featured these iconic actors instead.


ten Burt Reynolds as Vincent Vega

Split Image of Burt Reynolds in Smokey and the Bandit and John Travolta in Pulp Fiction

Vincent Vega’s role ended up giving John Travolta a well-deserved career comeback. Years later Fat, Switch off, and Saturday night fever, Travolta’s star was fading. Then Tarantino introduced him as a heroin addicted hitman and he’s been working steadily ever since.

Equally charismatic Burt Reynolds might have been a great choice in the ’70s. He’s proven he can handle comedic deliveries like, “Oh, man, I shot Marvin in the face,” with his turn in Smokey and the bandit, but also proved he could handle the dramatic pathos in pulp Fiction scenes like Mia overdose with her ride Issuance.

9 Diane Keaton as Mia Wallace

Split image of Diane Keaton in Annie Hall and Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction

Uma Thurman was a relatively unknown actor before playing Mia Wallace in pulp Fiction. After the film’s release, of course, she became a big star overnight and remains a recognizable icon to this day.

Mia is a delightfully unusual character – she’s wordy, she says what she thinks, and she’s filled with surprisingly empowering thoughts about uncomfortable silences and the futility of promising not to be offended by something. In the 70s, Diane Keaton could have succeeded in this role by combining the nuance of Kay Corleone with the eccentricity of Annie Hall.

8 Clint Eastwood as a pumpkin

Shared image of Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry and Tim Roth in Pulp Fiction

Pumpkin is one of two armed robbers who appear in pulp Fiction‘s frame the narrative. In the 1994 original, the role was played by Tim Roth, who had previously played Mr. Orange for Tarantino in his first feature film. Tank dogs.

In the 70s, Clint Eastwood could have played this role brilliantly. He was one of the most iconic outlaws of the decade. Even when he played a cop, like “Dirty” Harry Callahan, Eastwood was an outlaw.

7 Charles Bronson as Butch Coolidge

Split image of Charles Bronson in Death Wish and Bruce Willis in Pulp Fiction

Butch Coolidge is the tough boxer who was paid by Marsellus Wallace to fight and ends up betting on himself, betraying Marsellus and going on the run with the winnings. In the 1994 original, the role was played by famous action hero Bruce Willis.

RELATED: 9 Ways Pulp Fiction Still Holds Up Today

In the 1970s, the role could have been filled by one of Hollywood’s most prominent tough guys: Charles Bronson. Bronson played a brutal bare-handed boxer in Walter Hill’s Hard times.

6 Anna Karina as Fabienne

Split image of Anna Karina in A woman is a woman and Fabienne in Pulp Fiction

Originally played by Maria de Medeiros, Butch’s French girlfriend Fabienne is one of the most polarizing characters in pulp Fiction. Some fans find her endearing, while others find her annoying. An era of the 70s pulp Fiction could have presented Anna Karina in the role of Fabienne.

Karina was one of the biggest stars of the French New Wave, appearing in classics such as Keeping to himself and A woman is a woman. She embodied the dynamic, youthful spirit of the movement and would have been perfect for Butch’s young and naive girlfriend.

5 Sidney Poitier as Marsellus Wallace

Shared image of Sidney Poitier in They Call Me Mr Tibbs and Ving Rhames in Pulp Fiction

The role of crime boss Marsellus Wallace needs an actor who commands the screen, like Ving Rhames in the 1994 original. Sidney Poitier, one of the film legends of Hollywood’s golden age , is the epitome of a dominant player.

In the late 1960s and around the 1970s, Poitier became an icon of detective cinema with his role as Virgil Tibbs in In the heat of the Night and They call me Mr. Tibbs!. He could have switched to the other side of the law for pulp Fiction.

4 Marlon Brando as Captain Koons

Split image of Marlon Brando in The Godfather and Christopher Walken in Pulp Fiction

Captain Koons only appears in one scene, but that’s crucial in setting the stakes for the story of “The Gold Watch”. In good hands – like those of Christopher Walken – this monologue is an unforgettable cameo.

Walken was a seasoned actor who captivated audiences the second he appeared onscreen in 1994. Two decades earlier, The Godfather‘s Marlon Brando would have had the same effect.

3 Pam Grier as Honey Bunny

Shared image of Pam Grier in Foxy Brown and Amanda Plummer in Pulp Fiction

Honey Bunny is Pumpkin’s girlfriend who helps run the restaurant in the opening and closing scenes of pulp Fiction. It was originally played by Amanda Plummer opposite Tim Roth.

RELATED: 10 Best Pulp Fiction Scenes Fans Still Thinking About Today

Pam Grier could have done a great job with this role. In the 1970s, she broke new ground for female action heroes with fierce tricks as righteous vigilantes in blaxploitation classics like Coffy and Foxy Brown.

2 Jack Nicholson as the wolf

Shared image of Jack Nicholson in Chinatown and Harvey Keitel in Pulp Fiction

Harvey Keitel made an instant icon of crime scene cleaner Winston “the Wolf” Wolf in the last segment of pulp Fiction, “Bonnie’s Situation.” He is hilariously short with Jules, Vincent and Jimmie as he trains them in the disposal of corpses.

In the 1970s, this role could have been played by Jack Nicholson, one of the biggest movie stars of the time. Nicholson always nails biting sarcasm, like the sardonic tirades of Jack Torrance in The brilliant or the constant mockery of Frank Costello in The dead.

1 Richard Roundtree as Jules Winnfield

Split image of Richard Roundtree in Shaft and Samuel L Jackson in Pulp Fiction

With his penchant for other people’s burgers and his monologue “The Way of the Righteous…”, Samuel L. Jackson made the role of Jules Winnfield (and vice versa) an icon.

In the 1970s, the role could have been rather filled by Richard Roundtree. Roundtree had become a highly regarded badass with the role of private investigator John Shaft – a role Jackson himself would later fill in a 2000 Tree to restart.

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