Reservoir Dogs is the 1992 debut feature film of director Quentin Tarantino. It incorporates many of the themes and aesthetics that have become Tarantino’s hallmarks – violent crime, pop culture references, memorable dialogue and nonlinear stories. It features Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Chris Penn, Steve Buscemi and Lawrence Tierney. Tarantino has a minor role, as does criminal-turned-author Eddie Bunker.
Tarantino (who had been working as a video store clerk in Los Angeles) was originally going to shoot it with his friends on a budget of $30,000 on 16 mm with producer Lawrence Bender playing Nice Guy Eddie. However, actor Harvey Keitel became involved via the wife of Bender’s acting class teacher, who had managed to get a copy of the script to him. He agreed not only to act in the film, but to co-produce. With Keitel’s assistance, the filmmakers were able to raise $1.2 million to make the film, fairly large for an independently-financed film, but a small fraction of the typical Hollywood production.