Jackie Brown (film)

Jackie Brown (film)

Infobox Film
name = Jackie Brown

caption =
imdb_id = 0119396
writer = Novel:
Elmore Leonard
Quentin Tarantino
producer = Lawrence Bender
starring = Pam Grier
Samuel L. Jackson
Robert Forster
Robert De Niro
Michael Keaton
Bridget Fonda
Michael Bowen
Chris Tucker
director = Quentin Tarantino
movie_music =
editing = Sally Menke
distributor = Miramax Films
released = December 25, 1997
runtime = 154 min.
country = USA
language = English
music =
awards =
budget = $12,000,000
followed_by = "Out of Sight" (cameos)
imdb_id = 0119396
amg_id = 1:158843

"Jackie Brown" is a 1997 crime film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. The film stars Pam Grier, Robert Forster, Robert De Niro, Samuel L. Jackson, Bridget Fonda and Michael Keaton. This movie follows Tarantino's success directing "Reservoir Dogs" (1992) and "Pulp Fiction" (1994) which also stars Jackson in a lead role.

The screenplay is based on the novel "Rum Punch" by American novelist Elmore Leonard, although Tarantino made significant changes to the story and characters it still takes a good part of its body from the novel. Pam Grier plays Jackie Brown, a middle-aged airline flight attendant who gets coerced by ATF agent Ray Nicolette (Keaton) to help them bring down arms smuggler Ordell Robbie (Jackson) and his accomplices: ex-con bank robber Louis Gara and unemployed good-time girl Melanie Ralston (De Niro and Fonda).

In true Tarantino form, this film has a substantial amount of violence and profanity, though much of the violence occurs offscreen. Noteworthy was the casting of Grier and Forster. Both were veteran actors, but neither had performed a leading role in many years. "Jackie Brown" revitalized both actors' careers, Grier's to a greater degree. De Niro and Keaton were major stars, but were cast in supporting roles. The film is in some respects a homage to earlier blaxploitation films, many of which also featured Grier, and the movie's soundtrack is reminiscent of those earlier films as well. It received critical recognition, with Forster earning an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor, and Jackson and Grier being nominated for Golden Globe Awards.

"Jackie Brown" was released on a two-disc Collector's Edition DVD, with the first disc being the movie, and the second titled "The Perks," with many special features for the movie.

As with other Tarantino movies, music features prominently pre-existing popular and cult songs. Many of the songs in the film were released on its soundtrack.


Set in Los Angeles in 1995, Jackie Brown (Pam Grier) is a flight attendant for a small Mexican airline, the latest step down for her career in the airline industry. Despite the low pay, the job enables her to smuggle money from Mexico into the United States for Ordell Robbie (Samuel L. Jackson), a gun runner under the close watch of the ATF.

Ordell learns that another of his workers, Beaumont Livingston (Chris Tucker), has been arrested and, fearing that he will talk to authorities in order to avoid jail time, Ordell arranges for Beaumont's bail and shoots him. Acting on information Beaumont had indeed shared, ATF agent Ray Nicolette (Michael Keaton) and LAPD Det Mark Dargus (Michael Bowen) catch Jackie as she arrives in the US with Ordell's cash and some cocaine that Brown was unaware was stashed along with the cash. She initially refuses to deal with Nicolette and Dargus, and is sent to jail on possession of drugs with intent to sell.

Ordell, sensing Jackie may be just as likely to inform as Beaumont had been, arranges to bail her out. He returns to Max Cherry (Robert Forster), the same bail bondsman he used to arrange Beaumont's release, to bail out Brown. Cherry arranges for Jackie's bail and, only partly masking his physical attraction, offers to help her determine her legal options. Later that night, Ordell shows up at Jackie's house, presumably to eliminate her, but using a gun she stole from Cherry, she cuts a deal whereby she will pretend to help the authorities while still managing to smuggle $500,000 of Ordell's money, enough to allow him to retire.

To carry out this plan, Ordell employs several others, a woman he lives with, Melanie Ralston (Bridget Fonda), Louis Gara (Robert De Niro), his former cellmate, and a naïve Southern girl, Sheronda (Lisa Gay Hamilton). With Jackie's help Nicolette arranges a sting to catch Ordell, though Jackie and Ordell plan to double cross him by diverting the actual money before Ray makes an arrest.

Unbeknownst to Ray or Ordell, Jackie plans to deceive them both with the help of Max in order to keep the $500,000 for herself. After a dry run, during which Ray could observe the operation, the stage is set for the actual event. Set in an LA mall, Jackie stops in a dressing room before the official exchange to swap bags with Melanie and Louis, supposedly passing off the $500,000 under Nicolette's nose, but in fact only giving Melanie $50,000 and leaving the rest behind in the dressing room for Max to later pick up. Jackie then feigns despair as she calls Ray out from hiding and claims Melanie took all the money and ran.

Though angered, Ray leaves assuming Ordell has escaped with the money through little fault of Jackie's. Melanie grows on Louis' nerves, leading him to shoot her while making his escape. When Ordell later discovers that Louis has only delivered $50,000, he shoots him and determines that Jackie took his money. Max and Jackie ultimately lure Ordell back to Max's office to claim his money. Jackie exclaims that Ordell has a gun, and Ordell is shot by Nicolette who was hidden in the office. (Whether or not Jackie really saw Ordell's gun in the darkened room is left ambiguous.) The movie ends with Max declining Jackie's invitation to join her as she leaves the country with Ordell's money.


*Pam Grier as Jackie Brown
*Samuel L. Jackson as Ordell Robbie
*Robert Forster as Max Cherry
*Robert De Niro as Louis Gara
*Michael Keaton as Ray Nicolette
*Bridget Fonda as Melanie Ralston
* Michael Bowen as Mark Dargus
*Chris Tucker as Beaumont Livingston
*Lisa Gay Hamilton as Sheronda
*Tommy "Tiny" Lister Jr. as Winston

Quentin Tarantino has a cameo as the electronic voice on Jackie's answering machine.


The soundtrack album for "Jackie Brown", entitled "", was released on December 9, 1997.

There was no film score music composed for "Jackie Brown" as Quentin Tarantino used a variety of different pieces of music with different genres in the film. These include soundtracks from Slash's Snakepit heard throughout the film. The original soundtrack features separate tracks with dialogue from the film. Also, some music from Pam Grier's earlier film, Coffy, can be heard throughout the film in the background.


The Special Edition DVD, released by Buena Vista in 2002 Special features include an introduction from Tarantino an hour-long retrospective interview, a subtitle trivia track and soundtrack chapter selection, a half-hour making-of documentary ("How It Went Down"), the entire "Chicks With Guns" video as seen in the movie, many deleted and alternate scenes, including an alternate opening title sequence, Siskel and Ebert's review of the movie, Jackie Brown appearances on MTV, TV spots and theatrical trailers, written reviews and articles and filmographies, and over an hour of trailers for Pam Grier and Robert Forster movies dating from the 1960s onwards. The box also includes a mini-poster of the film, similar to the one above, and on the back of that, two other mini-posters, one of Grier, the other of Forster, both similar to the album cover.

Although the back cover of the Special Edition DVD states that the film is presented in a 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio, it was actually shot with a 1.85:1 ratio, the only Tarantino-directed film to date shot in such a format.

Quentin Tarantino

First time Quentin Tarantino directed a movie not based on a screenplay of his own creation.

References to other films

* The title character's name, and thus the movie's title as well, is an homage to a gun runner in the 1973 film "The Friends of Eddie Coyle", based on a novel of the same name by George V. Higgins.
* The poster above is a direct reference to the posters of Grier's films "Coffy" and "Foxy Brown"; it even includes quotes from both of them. The typeset used on much of the film's opening titles is also identical to what was used on the opening titles of "Foxy Brown". Some of the background music in Jackie Brown was also lifted from these films.
* The suit that Jackie buys is the same one that Mia Wallace wears in "Pulp Fiction" and Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah) in "Kill Bill".
* Jackie's older white Honda Civic is the exact same car driven by Bruce Willis in "Pulp Fiction".
* Pam Grier is mentioned in Tarantino's directorial debut, "Reservoir Dogs".
* The intro titles to "Jackie Brown" are a careful homage to the intro titles to "The Graduate". Where Dustin Hoffman passes wearily through LAX past white tiles to a sombre folk soundtrack, Pam Grier walks past the same spot years later to a soaring soul soundtrack ("Across 110th Street" by Bobby Womack) — even the tiles are multi-colored. This neatly illustrates the nature of the cultural change in Los Angeles in the intervening years. There are other similarities to "The Graduate", such as the theme of age, and the final scenes of both films.
* In a homage to a Burt Reynolds film, the song "Street Life" by Randy Crawford is used in a scene where Jackie is en route to the climactic set up in Del Amo Mall. This song also opened the Burt Reynolds film "Sharky's Machine" (1981).
* In yet another homage to a film with actor/director Burt Reynolds, the scene where Ordell and Louis contemplate who took the money in the VW van, is linked to a comparative shot in the 1985 film "Stick" which is also based on an Elmore Leonard novel.
* The two main women in the movie, Grier's and Fonda's characters at some point walk barefoot in the movie, a trademark of Tarantino. Jackson's character describes Sheronda as "barefoot, country as a chicken coop" as well.
*Michael Keaton would go on to reprise his role as Ray Nicolette in the film "Out of Sight", which is also based on an Elmore Leonard novel. On the DVD commentary for that film, director Steven Soderbergh comments that this is the first time, to his recollection, that an actor has played the same role in two unrelated movies.
* When Jackie first meets Sharonda at the mall, the cup on Sharonda's tray reads "Acuna Boys". This is the name of the gang that Estaban Vihaio runs in "Kill Bill". The Acuna Boys are also referenced in the "Death Proof" portion of "Grindhouse".
* The kangaroo over which Butch's watch was placed in "Pulp Fiction" can be seen in Simone's house, near the telephone.

External links


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