Generally favorable reviews - based on 43 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 43
  2. Negative: 5 out of 43
  1. 100
    Kill Bill: Volume 1 shows Quentin Tarantino so effortlessly and brilliantly in command of his technique that he reminds me of a virtuoso violinist racing through "Flight of the Bumble Bee" -- or maybe an accordion prodigy setting a speed record for "Lady of Spain."
  2. 63
    An incomplete movie, artlessly cleft in the middle. Cinema interruptus.
  3. 88
    In Kill Bill, Tarantino brings delicious sin back to movies -- the thrill you get from something down, dirty and dangerous.
  4. 75
    An overstuffed menu from a master chef who's trying way too hard to please himself.
  5. The film may be bloody, but it's also bloody gorgeous: a grandly fetishized epic of cinematic aggression. It's a tale of vengeance that hinges on Tarantino's love of ferocity as spectacle -- his immersion in action and exploitation, his addiction to the jazzy catharsis of junk-film kicks.
  6. It boggles the mind that after six years of silence, all Tarantino has to offer is this garbage.
  7. 70
    His epic reworking of their lurid conventions proved so long that it was divided into two parts, and this one ends on a hell of a cliff-hanger.
  8. When French New Wave directors like Truffaut and Godard paid tribute to Hollywood pulp, they poeticized it and gave it an infusion of feeling. Tarantino’s tributes are, for the most part, far less complicated: He’s a fan, and Kill Bill is his mash note.
  9. One of the most violent films this year, it's no more so than many of the Asian kung fu flicks it pays homage to. Don't be surprised if it slaughters its action-film competition in this overcrowded movie season.
  10. Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill inflicts intolerable cruelty on its characters, and on its audience -- though I'd like to believe that there is no mainstream audience for what has already been described, quite correctly, as the most violent movie ever released by an American studio.
  11. 100
    The worst thing about the first Quentin Tarantino picture in five years is that after 93 minutes of some of the most luscious violence and spellbinding storytelling you're likely to see this year, Kill Bill ends.
  12. 89
    Don’t leave until the final credits finish rolling or you’ll miss what many are considering Kill Bill: Vol. 1’s best bit. Trust us on this one.
  13. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    Kill Bill is about nothing more (or less) than its director's passion for the mindless action pictures that got him through adolescence. It isn't sex without love: It's an orgy with just enough love.
  14. 75
    Self-indulgent, overwrought, shallow and ridiculous. It is also brilliant, a blast of cinematic lunacy and as much of a guilty pleasure as the schlocky movies Tarantino adores, which was probably the point. Sometimes, only a Big Mac will do.
  15. Reconfirms Tarantino's status as the master of pop cinema and puts a sense of excitement into the year. He has matched, if not eclipsed, the power and scope of 1994's "Pulp Fiction," though not its human charm.
  16. 80
    It remains to be seen whether Kill Bill is merely a skilled slice of juvenilia or a pastiche with real emotional and thematic underpinnings, but based on Tarantino's storytelling command in the first half, it's worth giving him the benefit of the doubt.
  17. The movie love can make it hard to hear the human pulse beneath the noise (it's there, if faint), much less see if there's anything new going on.
  18. 60
    As visually arresting as Kill Bill often is, there's a stultifying blankness about it. Despite Tarantino's obvious enthusiasms, he comes off jaded and cynical: He's seen plenty of movies, and this is his proof.
  19. Quentin Tarantino's lively and show-offy tribute to Asian martial-arts flicks, bloody anime, and spaghetti westerns he soaked up as a teenager is even more gory and adolescent than its models, which explains both the fun and the unpleasantness of this globe-trotting romp.
  20. The problem isn't that Tarantino's in love with death; it's that he's deadly dull. Even "Natural Born Killers" made a stab at social commentary and satire of America?s celebrity-mad media. Kill Bill merely giggles through gore and asks you to smile at its style.
  21. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    A strange, fun and densely textured work that gets better as it goes along.
  22. Simultaneously a spectacular act of movie-making and a slight movie. Or is that impossible: When the means are so gloriously abundant, can the end ever be merely trivial?
  23. 75
    What we've got is a mixed though certainly entertaining bag.
  24. Structurally and narratively amputated, Volume 1 retains head and guts but loses its heart and gams to the second installment. Maybe Tarantino figured that Thurman's legs, as long as the Mississippi, were sufficient to carry this half of a movie.
  25. It's bound to be the love-it-or-hate-it movie of 2003.
  26. Mr. Tarantino is an irrepressible showoff, recklessly flaunting his formal skills as a choreographer of high-concept violence, but he is also an unabashed cinephile, and the sincerity of his enthusiasm gives this messy, uneven spectacle an odd, feverish integrity.
  27. This long-awaited movie has been unwisely chopped into two pieces -- the second is due in February -- when it really needed to be one long, delirious ride.
  28. Is Kill Bill a homage to great Asian action movies? Yes. Is Tarantino trying to outdo his cherished masters (on a budget that dwarfs their films)? Of course. Is there any other point of any of this? Let's see "Vol. 2."
  29. 60
    Fun and smart, but undeniably thin, the first installment of Tarantino's action epic is a fanboy fever dream. The clichés are out in maximum force, tempting any critic fool enough to go one-on-one with the master. (The prize: a Ph.D. in Tarantinology.)
  30. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    By next semester, some grad student will be writing a thesis on the B-movie influences on this A+ film.
  31. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    Bill re-establishes that Tarantino ranks with "Boogie Nights'" Paul Thomas Anderson as one of the few Hollywood filmmakers of the past 25 years with the stuff to win a lifetime achievement award.
  32. 100
    Delivered with such high panache and brio, it's mesmerizing.
  33. 100
    "His eye is incredibly sharp and amazing, in regard to visceral cinema," says Uma Thurman, who has worked with Tarantino on both Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill. "He's a great storyteller. He's very seductive as a filmmaker."
  34. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    Brilliant, but shallow.
  35. 30
    Kill Bill is what’s formally known as decadence and commonly known as crap...Coming out of this dazzling, whirling movie, I felt nothing--not anger, not dismay, not amusement. Nothing. [13 October 2003, p. 113]
  36. The really relevant defect of this thriller is that it isn't scary.
  37. Though it's a blast to watch, it becomes tiresome over the long haul--25 minutes of Thurman hacking her way through the crowd to get to a woman whose fate we're informed of early on. It's the most climactic anti-climax in recent film history, a no-d'uh coda awaiting the ending it really deserves but never gets. Not this year, anyway.
  38. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    Although this installment is a beautiful stand-alone thang (check out how its chronology-juggling storyline creates a perfect circle, structure-wise).
  39. 75
    There's no question that Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill, Vol. 1 is a virtuoso piece of filmmaking. What's questionable is whether it's more than that.
  40. 70
    Without a doubt, making the most substantial impact is Thurman. While she has proven her versatility over the years, her work as The Bride shows that her talent is matched by her fearlessness.
  41. 80
    At once an astonishing piece of filmmaking and, quite possibly, an Olympian folly.
  42. Reviewed by: Colin Kennedy
    There is much to admire in Vol. 1, not least a performance from Uma Thurman as steely as the plate in her character’s head and a knowing soundtrack that effortlessly smears the boundaries between east and west.
  43. Reviewed by: Jim Agnew
    A hyper-violent, hyper-gory, kung-fu grindhouse flick. And there’s nothing at all wrong with that.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 796 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. WowW
    Nov 14, 2007
    69 critic and 6.2 user average ratings??? Are people mad? Though I liked part 2 better, part 1 is way up there, and both DVDs are excellent 69 critic and 6.2 user average ratings??? Are people mad? Though I liked part 2 better, part 1 is way up there, and both DVDs are excellent transfers. Yes, it's graphic, but the violence isn't senseless, just like all of Tarantino's other films... why is Kill Bill treated so differently? Excellent acting, intricate screenplay, character develop and cinematography make it a must-have. Full Review »
  2. Oct 7, 2011
    Kill Bill Volume 1 is a gripping tale of betrayal and vengeance whose only real fault is that it isn't as detailed or captivating as Volume 2.Kill Bill Volume 1 is a gripping tale of betrayal and vengeance whose only real fault is that it isn't as detailed or captivating as Volume 2. Kill Bill tells the story of The Bride who was betrayed and left for dead in a church in El Paso by her once lover Bill and how when she awoke from a 4 year coma all she wanted was revenge. However that is not the only thing going for it as it is also a satire and a tribute to Kung Fu films in general. Of course Tarantino brings his own directorial flare to the film as well as his signature dialogue but the first volume plays more like a tribute than a film of its own where as the 2nd shines on its own merits and story. If anything it is the concentration on lesser characters like O-Ren Ishii that brings the film down because she is the weakest of the main group of characters (although Lucy Lui's acting is fantastic as always). This concentration seems like a mistake but in a way it does help set up the 2nd by showing how hard it was to take on only 2 of the 5 targets The Bride goes after. However the Hatori Hanzo section of the film does work especially well as it embraces Kung Fu and Samurai film conventions while also allowing for certain comedic elements and also fleshing out The Bride's excellent character before getting into the more action heavy second half of the film. Overall it is one of Tarantino's best works but is just overshadowed by Volume 2 which just does everything that Volume 1 does but does it better. Full Review »
  3. Feb 23, 2012
    I like volume 2 more then volume 1 but it is my favourite film!