Pulp Fiction

Special Collector's Edition

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Details At A Glance

Category Drama Theatrical Trailer(s) Yes, 1
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1994 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 154 minutes Other Extras Unseen Footage (20 mins)
Featurette (5 mins)
Cast Biographies
RSDL/Flipper RSDL (104:44)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Movie
Region 4 Director Quentin Tarantino 

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring John Travolta
Samuel L. Jackson
Uma Thurman
Harvey Keitel
Tim Roth
Amanda Plummer
Maria de Medeiros
Ving Rhames
Eric Stoltz
Rozanna Arquette
Christopher Walken
Bruce Willis
RRP $34.95 Music Karyn Rachtman

Pan & Scan/Full Frame No MPEG 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement Yes Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
English (MPEG 5.1)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 2.35:1    
Macrovision Yes    
Subtitles None    

Plot Synopsis

    Pulp Fiction has become a modern classic of the cinema. Darkly humorous, complex, violent, and very in-your-face, this is a movie that you will not forget in a long time. It interweaves several seemingly unrelated stories which all come together by the end of the movie.

    The movie opens in a diner with Pumpkin (Tim Roth) and Honey Bunny (Amanda Plummer) deciding to rob the place. We come back to this later.

    We then cut to Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson), a pair of two bit hoods who are required to kill some small-time drug dealers who have been cheating on their boss, Marsellus Wallace. They reclaim a briefcase which contains something very special. We learn that Vincent is required to escort Marsellus' wife whilst Marsellus is out of town.

    We then cut to Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis), a boxer, and Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames). Butch is being paid off to lose his next fight.

    Vincent buys some heroin from Lance (Eric Stoltz) in preparation for his date with Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman). They go to Jackrabbit Slim's, which is a very retro cafe. On their return, Mia accidentally snorts some of Vincent's heroin and stops breathing which leads to an outrageous scene back at Lance's where she is revived.

    Next, we return to Butch, but as a child, where we learn about a very precious wristwatch that Captain Koons (Christopher Walken) delivers to him after keeping it in 'safe storage' for two years. Back in the present, Butch cannot bring himself to lose the fight, and hence falls out of favour with Marsellus. Through a series of errors, Butch ends up killing Vincent, and running into Marsellus. Two good ol' boys prevent the two of them killing each other, but as you will find out, perhaps they would have been better off dead. Nonetheless, all debts are paid and Butch is free to go.

    We then jump back to the briefcase scene where amazingly, neither Vincent nor Jules are killed. This leads to a very messy car ride, but Winston Wolf (Harvey Keitel) steps in and saves the day.

    Finally, it is time to return to the diner, where all outstanding loose ends are tied up.

Transfer Quality


    The video transfer of this movie is pretty ordinary, with a number of significant problems. The only positive thing that I can say is that the Region 1 version is apparently no better. It seems as if all versions of this film have been created from the same problematic telecine transfer, since the THX NTSC Laserdisc version that I have has all of the same problems as the DVD does. Oddly enough, I don't remember ever feeling that the Laserdisc transfer was lacking in any way, but when I took another look at the laserdisc, it was a pretty awful transfer compared with what I am now used to seeing on DVD. We have been spoilt by superlative transfers, and when one comes along that isn't that good, it really stands out.

    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced. I have a feeling that this is actually not a true 16x9 enhanced transfer, since the look of the transfer is identical to the Laserdisc, and it is considerably more blurry than I am used to seeing for an anamorphic transfer. It is possible that interpolation has been used to create a 16x9 enhanced transfer that is not truly enhanced.

    The transfer was quite blurry compared to other recent transfers that I have seen. The grey-scale of the transfer was also a problem. Whites were often over-bright which lead to a significant amount of blooming with consequent loss of picture detail, and blacks were just plain black with very little shadow detail discernible. The Laserdisc exhibited the same poor video qualities. Compared with the Laserdisc, however, much less low level noise was present on the DVD, giving the DVD an overall much cleaner picture. When comparing the two transfers side-by-side, it is very interesting to note that DVD is far less forgiving of a bad telecine transfer than Laserdisc is, because of DVD's much greater resolution. The Laserdisc softens the image somewhat, whereas the DVD comes across as very bright, very stark and very harsh. It is actually harder on the eyes to watch the DVD than it is to watch the Laserdisc because of this.

    The colours were quite muted throughout, to the extent of being undersaturated. Once again, the Laserdisc exhibits the same problem.

    No MPEG artefacts were seen.

    Far too much aliasing was seen in the transfer than should have been the case for a 16x9 enhanced transfer. There are a number of specific offenders, but the worst are the venetian blinds in the diner at the start and the end of the movie which shimmer dreadfully. Yet again, I need to mention that the Laserdisc exhibits the same problems in the same areas of the movie, though not quite as badly as the DVD. This is undoubtedly due to the higher resolution of the DVD.

    There were too many film artefacts for this film's age. They appeared mainly as a result of camera negative dirt (white flecks), and became distracting at times because of their frequency and the tendency for them to be in the middle of the frame.

    The disc is an RSDL disc, with the layer change occurring at 104.44, between Chapters 18 and 19. The layer change is very well placed in the middle of a fade-to-black transition, and causes a barely noticeable pause in the audio with virtually no disruption to the flow of the movie.


    There are two audio tracks on this DVD. The default is English Dolby Digital 5.1. This is the track that I listened to. The other track present is an English MPEG 5.1 encoded soundtrack. It is good to see that Roadshow Home Entertainment are once again defaulting to Dolby Digital 5.1. The movie was originally released in a surround-encoded mix, and this has been transferred to this disc without being remixed.

    Dialogue was up-front-and-centre, and often very difficult to understand.

    The music adds enormously to the experience of the movie, and is mainly presented in stereo, with some mix into the rear at times.

     The surround channels were rarely used except occasionally for ambience and for some music. It sounded like the same signal was being fed to both rear channels whenever there was anything in the rear. This soundtrack is very much up-front-and-centre with very little additional help from the rear channels.

    The .1 channel was hardly used at all.


    The menu on the disc has some minimal animation in the background of the scene selection areas, and is fairly easy to navigate. However, there is a lengthy delay between pressing Enter and something happening, often as long as 10 seconds. The menu has audio underneath it, but this is in MPEG only.

    The major extra of this disc is the Unseen Footage, which is a 20 minute feature hosted by Quentin Tarantino presenting several deleted scenes from the movie. This is superbly presented with Quentin putting the scenes into context and explaining why they weren't used. This material is the same as used on the Criterion Laserdisc version of this title. This material is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced with MPEG 2.0 audio, which sounds mono. The only problem with this material was that once my player reached the end of this material, it crashed, and would only respond to the Stop button rather than returning to the Main Menu.

    A 5 minute featurette, consisting of shots from the trailer interspersed with production shots and cast and crew interviews is the next extra. This is presented in an aspect ratio of 4:3, 16x9 enhanced (windowboxed) with MPEG 2.0 sound (mono).

    The theatrical trailer is present on this disc, presented with an aspect ratio of 4:3, 16x9 enhanced  (windowboxed) and with an MPEG 2.0 soundtrack which sounded mono.

    Finally, limited Cast biographies are present.


    Pulp Fiction is a movie you will either love or hate. I hated this movie the first time I saw it, but I like it more and more every time I see it, and now consider it a classic of early 1990s filmmaking. It is a pity that the transfer couldn't have been redone for this release, however, at least you can be assured that the Region 4 transfer is no worse than either of the Region 1 transfers, and is certainly better than the Laserdisc.

    The video quality is sub-par compared with other releases of its vintage. It has significant brightness, saturation and artefacting problems.

    The audio quality is as good as it ever was, which isn't particularly good.

    The extras are quite good, particularly the deleted scenes.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Michael Demtschyna
26th December 1998

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-505, using S-Video output
Display Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Amplification 2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
Speakers Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer