Reservoir Dogs, Then and Now
Reservoir Dogs marked the debut feature-length directorial effort from the legendary Quentin Tarantino. In the 25 years since its 1992 release, the film has stood the test of time, with the crime thriller still drawing in new fans every day. The film didn’t go down as Tarantino’s most successful effort as far as awards go, but it certainly showed the film industry Tarantino’s immense talent. Many of the actors that appeared in this film also worked in later efforts with the director, with several appearing in Pulp Fiction and The Hateful Eight, among others. Take a look at what the cast has been up to since the release of the notable Oscar snub.
Harvey Keitel (Mr. White / Larry Dimmick)
Often praised as the nicest member in the crew of criminals, the then-53-year-old Harvey Keitel picked up likely the most notable role of his career to that point as Mr. White. The antihero of sorts serves as the lead in this Tarantino classic. In the immediate years following Reservoir Dogs, Keitel picked up noteworthy roles as The Wolf in Pulp Fiction and as Baines in The Piano. He more recently played a bald, tattooed inmate named Ludwig in The Grand Budapest Hotel. Keitel is currently in the midst of filming The Irishman, playing Angelo Bruno in an all-star cast that includes Robert de Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci.
Steve Buscemi (Mr. Pink)
The young Steve Buscemi donned one his famous high-strung characters as Mr. Pink in Reservoir Dogs. Besides making a cameo in a later Tarantino film (Pulp Fiction), Buscemi has had an overwhelming amount of successes since Reservoir Dogs. Let’s just highlight a few, for the sake of time: He portrayed a henchman of unfortunate fate in Fargo, immortalized the role of Donny in The Big Lebowski, starred as corrupt political force “Nucky” Thompson in Boardwalk Empire, and even did some memorable voiceover work as villain Randall in the Monsters, Inc. series. Buscemi recently starred alongside Louis C.K. as Pete in Horace and Pete, the TV series following two owners of an Irish bar.
Tim Roth (Mr. Orange / Freddy Newandyke)
Taking the role as Mr. White’s protege, Tim Roth’s portrayal of the “inexperienced robber” Mr. Orange led to a great relationship with Tarantino. The famed director and English actor have collaborated multiple times since the 1992 release. Roth’s audition for Reservoir Dogs was a bit unconventional, but clearly it got the job done. Tarantino called upon Roth in both Pulp Fiction and The Hateful Eight. Roth has also nabbed several other notable roles over the year, including playing Emil Blonsky in The Incredible Hulk and Thade in Planet of the Apes as well as leading the Fox series Lie to Me for three seasons. He most recently starred as Jim Worth in the Amazon Prime series, Tin Star.
Michael Madsen (Mr. Blonde / Vic Vega)
Michael Madsen pulls off the truly dark Vic Vega in Reservoir Dogs. The cheery demeanor (i.e., dancing to “Stuck in the Middle With You”) shouldn’t fool anyone of his extremely violent behavior (i.e., torturing a cop during the same song). He has since continued to collaborate with Tarantino in several more efforts following Reservoir Dogs. Sensing a theme here? Madsen appeared in Tarantino’s Kill Bill: Vol. 1 and Kill Bill: Vol. 2 as Budd, and played quiet cowboy Joe Gage in The Hateful Eight. Starring in dozens of prestige films over the years, there are too many to name, but here’s one memorable one: Bruno, opposite Al Pacino and Johnny Depp.
Edward Bunker (Mr. Blue)
The tagline for the film sometimes cites only “five total strangers,” but the seemingly-forgotten criminal Mr. Blue is the easy sixth. The eldest member of the gang doesn’t play a major role in the film, but is certainly a part of it regardless. Bunker died in 2005 in his home state of California at the age of 71. Before his death, the actor memorably portrayed the warden-punching Skitchy Rivers in The Longest Yard and picked up a role as Buzzard in Animal Factory at the turn of the century, directed by Steve Buscemi.
Chris Penn (Eddie Cabot)
Despite the “nice guy Eddie Cabot” moniker, the son of Joe Cabot (Lawrence Tierney) doesn’t actually radiate that much kindness. He’s good buddies with Mr. Blonde, if that clears anything up. Penn deviates from the prior actors on the list in the sense that he didn’t appear in any more Tarantino films following Reservoir Dogs. He picked up a few minor roles, including portraying bombmaker Clive Cobb in the first Rush Hour and Officer Manetti in the Starsky & Hutch remake. He died in 2006.
Quentin Tarantino (Mr. Brown)
Director Quentin Tarantino likely appears as the most recognizable name on this list. Tarantino continues to write himself minor roles in his films a la Alfred Hitchcock. Taking a role as Mr. Brown, Tarantino merely serves as the getaway driver and we never learn his actual name. Though unlikely to win an Oscar for an acting performance, he is highly touted as one of the best directors of all-time. He has worked on smash-hits The Hateful Eight, Django Unchained, and Inglorious Basterds over the past decade.
Lawrence Tierney (Joe Cabot)
Lawrence Tierney plays mob boss Joe Cabot. Though he doesn’t hold a huge role, he assigns all of the fun aliases to his recruits. Tierney died about a decade after the release of the film at the age of 82. Tierney’s more notable roles come before Reservoir Dogs, though he did appear in episodes of ER and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in 1996 and 1997, respectively.
Kirk Baltz (Marvin Nash)
Kirk Baltz may still shudder when he hears “Stuck in the Middle With You” thanks to his portrayal as the police officer in the film. Baltz’s most notable accolades since Reservoir Dogs likely come from the productions that he has appeared in rather than the roles themselves. He guested in a 2002 episode of Will & Grace, made two appearances as Teddy Hanlin in the TV series 24, and played a very minor role as Aldo in Face/Off.