Generally favorable reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
Watch On
  1. 100
    You may not like the terms Tarantino sets, but you have to admit he succeeds on them.
  2. A brutal movie, brutal in all the right ways -- brutally stark, brutally funny, brutally brutal. [30 Oct 1992]
  3. Reservoir Dogs sizzles - it's dynamite on a short fuse, and you watch it with mesmerized fascination, simultaneously attracted and repelled by the explosion you know will come.
  4. Reviewed by: Hal Hinson
    If Quentin Tarantino's gritty, bone-chilling, powerfully violent new film, Reservoir Dogs, doesn't pin your ears back, nothing ever will...[It's] as caustic as battery acid. It's brutal, it's funny and you won't forget it. Guaranteed.
  5. 100
    Grabs you by the throat and digs its claws in deep. From the moment that the unwitting viewer tumbles into the realm of Lawrence Tierney's gang of eight, they are hopelessly trapped there until the final credits roll.
  6. 100
    With the exception of the opening scene -- whose purpose is chiefly comic -- the movie is one, extended climax. Even with flashbacks and other time jumps, it never lets up. You have to go back to Henri-Georges Clouzot's 1952 "The Wages of Fear" to recall suspense this relentless.
  7. Reviewed by: Jeff Dawson
    The hippest crime flick this side of "Goodfellas," Reservoir Dogs has all the hallmarks of a modern classic.
  8. 90
    The truth is that for all the controversy there really isn’t that much violence in Reservoir Dogs. The reason people were so affected was because the film shows you the true impact of its violence.
  9. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Most of the movie is Actors Acting: gifted guys (Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Steve Buscemi, Chris Penn) running nattering riffs on familiar lout themes. [16 Nov 1992]
  10. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    An intense, bloody, in-your-face crime drama about a botched robbery and its aftermath, colorfully written in vulgar gangster vernacular and well played by a terrific cast.
  11. Though small in physical scope, Reservoir Dogs is immensely complicated in its structure, which for the most part works with breathtaking effect. [23 Oct 1992]
  12. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    Too lingeringly creepy to ignore. [23 Oct 1992]
  13. It's unclear whether this macho thriller does anything to improve the state of the world or our understanding of it, but it certainly sets off enough rockets to hold us and shake us for every one of its 99 minutes.
  14. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    The film's look and themes also recall those of Howard Hawks. Avoiding artful, fussy compositions, Tarantino constructs much of Reservoir Dogs from simple medium-shot long takes.
  15. It's not the most violent picture ever; what film could aspire to that title? But it's so well made, the violence is so gratuitous, and the general reception has been so delighted, that attention must be paid. [23 Nov 1992]
  16. Reviewed by: John Hartl
    All of it is vital and involving, and some of it is hilarious...I've rarely seen a group of people in a darkened theater react as viscerally as they do to Reservoir Dogs.
  17. 78
    Though its reach sometimes exceeds its grasp, Tarantino has created a movie with all the gritty punch of a .44 in the belly.
  18. Tarantino's palpable enthusiasm, his unapologietic passion for what he's created, reinvigorates this venerable plot and, mayhem aside, makes it involving for longer than you might suspect. [27 Oct 1992]
  19. 63
    Tarantino's debut directing job acknowledges the sloppiness and silences that are typically squeezed out of most crime films, but we get the point early on and the remainder is macho posturing. [23 Oct 1992]
  20. 63
    The part that needs work didn't cost money. It's the screenplay. Having created the characters and fashioned the outline, Tarantino doesn't do much with his characters except to let them talk too much, especially when they should be unconscious from shock and loss of blood.
  21. I must report that Reservoir Dogs has little of intelligence to say - except for a few implicit comments on the nature of loyalty and betrayal - and that it's violent to the ponit of sadism. [5 Oct 1992]
  22. Reviewed by: Terrence Rafferty
    Less than the sum of its outrageous gags and inventive bits of business. The story is impressively bloody, but the blood is thin, and it keeps leaking out; Tarantino has all he can do to maintain the movie's pulse. Mostly, he tries to get by on film-school cleverness – a homemade pharmaceutical cocktail of allusions, pop music, and visual jolts. [19 Oct 1992]
  23. The only thing Mr. Tarantino spells out is the violence. I have seen much more blood spilled, yet I felt sickened by the coldness of this picture's visual cruelty. [29 Oct 1992, p.A11(E)]
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 425 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 79 out of 84
  2. Negative: 3 out of 84
  1. Sep 27, 2011
    Man, I really liked Quentin Tarantino before he became a retard, directing movies like "Kill Bill". His Sundance movie "Reservoir Dogs" was aMan, I really liked Quentin Tarantino before he became a retard, directing movies like "Kill Bill". His Sundance movie "Reservoir Dogs" was a great example why; it had everything a crime thriller doesn't need, from great, unexpected directions to a solid cast (mainly Harvey Keitel doing the job). It was a controversial blast that had powerful, appealing force, and that's why I admired it. Full Review »
  2. Aug 22, 2010
    Tarantino's debut is still arguably his most powerful. "Reservoir Dogs" shows a rathe timid Tarantino in the beginning of his career, but thatTarantino's debut is still arguably his most powerful. "Reservoir Dogs" shows a rathe timid Tarantino in the beginning of his career, but that doesn't mean it's lesser than his later films. "Reservoir Dogs" packs a mean punch full of violence, obscenities, and hilarity all into very fast crime thriller that is sure to get your adrenaline pumping. "Reservoir Dogs" does lack what makes Tarantino's later films somewhat better; a brilliant screenplay. I would love to see Tarantino redo "Reservoir Dogs" now that his confidence in directing and writing has grown considerably. However, this is a fantastic cult film that should be watched by every lover of the cinema. Full Review »
  3. SamS.
    Nov 29, 2009
    How does Joe's son die? No one shoots him.