Skip to main content

Home Film Film News

Quentin Tarantino says killing animals is ‘a bridge I can’t cross’ in filmmaking

Some films, including Park Chan-wook's ‘Oldboy’, depict the real, onscreen killing of animals

By Charlotte Krol

Quentin Tarantino at a black tie event
Quentin Tarantino. (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Chris Miksanek)

Quentin Tarantino has explained why he never kills animals in his films.

The director, who is known for depicting shocking violence in his films, shared his thoughts about where he draws the line while hosting a recent masterclass at the Cannes Film Festival.

“I have a big thing about killing animals in movies. That’s a bridge I can’t cross,” Tarantino told the audience [via Variety].

“Insects too. Unless I’m paying to see some bizzarro documentary, I’m not paying to see real death. Part of the way that this all works is that it’s all just make believe. That’s why I can stand the violent scenes, cause we’re all just fucking around.”

He continued: “Some animal, some dog, some llama, some fly, some rat, doesn’t give a fuck about your movie. I’d kill a million rats, but I don’t necessarily want to kill one in a movie or see one killed in a movie, because I’m not paying to see real death.”

Quentin Tarantino (Picture: YouTube)

Animal cruelty in film and TV production is illegal across much of the world, including the UK under the Cinematograph Films (Animals) Act 1937 where offences are punishable by a fine and/or up to three months’ imprisonment.

However, a number of productions in recent decades have taken risks with violence including the 2012 HBO drama Luck. The series was cancelled due to animal safety concerns after three horses died on set. According to AV Club, other 21st century productions that have shown on-screen deaths of an animal or have led to the deaths of animals include Oldboy (2003) and Flicka (2006).

In other news, last year the director received a songwriting credit on Paolo Nutini’s album Last Night in the Bittersweet.