True Romance

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True Romance is a 1993 movie written by Quentin Tarantino (based on a script by Roger Avary) and directed by Tony Scott (Top Gun). It tells the story of outlaw lovers Clarence Worley (Christian Slater) and Alabama Whitman (Patricia Arquette) who accidentally steal a suitcase full of cocaine and then go on the run from the mob.

The couple make their way to Hollywood to sell the drugs -- but it's there that the mob catches up with them.

The movie is notable, beyond its star-launching casting, for being the film that put Tarantino's writing on the Hollywood map. Additionally, it is fairly well-known (and well-liked) within the movie industry, given all the stars in it; but it isn't widely known, except among Tarantino fans.


Tropes used in True Romance include:
  • Aerosol Flamethrower: Alabama uses one on Virgil.
  • Ax Crazy: Drexl.
  • Babies Ever After: Aww, Elvis.
  • Badass: Definitely Alabama for turning the tables during her No-Holds-Barred Beatdown from Virgil.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Brutally averted in the fight between Alabama and Virgil.
  • Black and Grey Morality
  • Blast Out -- In gloriously chaotic style.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Mostly averted. Clarence fires his revolver five times in one scene and police can be seen reloading their guns during the shootout. The Gangsters can also be seen taking a massive amount of magazines and shotgun shells with them in a briefcase. However, Clarence does manage to kill Drexl and his bodyguard by firing seven shots out of a six shot revolver, although this is less overkill than most films.
  • Disney Death: Clarence, after getting shot in the eye. The film certainly isn't a Disney film, though. Originally, Clarence was supposed to die, and Alabama gives a grief-stricken monologue cursing him before riding off with the money.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Lee is shot to death after he throws coffee on Elliot.
  • Elvis Presley: Clarence is obsessed with Elvis, among other things. His Spirit Advisor is implied to be Elvis, but never named.
  • Eye Scream: An offscreen one by Clarence to Drexl, who already has a blind eye. Later Clarence also loses an eye in the shootout.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: More like the-very-next-day marriage.
  • The Ghost: Blue Lou Boyle is the mafia kingpin who owns the dope. He's referred to a number of times, but the closest we get to him is his consigliere, Vincenzo Coccotti, who is terrifying enough on his own. A scene was written for Blue Lou, but it was never filmed.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Drexl has a very evil scar.
  • Groin Attack: Drexl gets shot in the groin.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: During the face-off between Walken's consigliare and Hopper's ex-cop, Hopper knows full well if he gives up his son they'll both be killed. So he taunts Walken with the infamous Sicilian monologue, provoking Walken into shooting him dead without any further torture. The Mooks still find clues that lead them to Clarence and Alabama.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Alabama.
  • If It's You It's Okay: Clarence has a monologue explaining why he would have sex with Elvis.
  • Karmic Death: Drexil for getting shot in the groin and Virgil for being killed by a woman.
  • Living Lie Detector: Vincenzo Coccotti claims that he is a master liar and therefore a master at spotting lies.
  • The Mafia: Frightening and dangerous and led by Christopher Walken.
  • Making Love in All the Wrong Places: The phone booth? HOT.
  • Meet Cute: Subverted. Clarence thinks he's having one of these, but Alabama has been paid to be there. Of course, then she does fall in love with him.
  • Mexican Standoff: Tarantino's trademark.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Virgil to Alabama. But then...
  • No Kill Like Overkill: The way Alabama kills Virgil. She uses A cork screw, a toilet lid, a bust of Elvis, an Aerosol Flamethrower and a shotgun. BAD. ASS.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Most of the supporting cast is only around for a scene or two, and almost all are memorable, particularly Christopher Walken in the famous Sicilian Scene. Samuel L Jackson manages to have about two lines of dialogue before Gary Oldman kills him.
  • One Last Smoke: Although he quit smoking, Clarence's father indulges in one last smoke when he decides to commit suicide by gangster.
  • Orchestra Hit Techno Battle: The fight scene between Clarence and Drexl has 'I Want Your Body' from Nymphomania playing in the background.
  • Outlaw Couple: Although they don't actually commit very much crime.
  • Politically-Incorrect Villain: The Mafia. Clarence's father knows this, and uses it to provoke them into killing him immediately, before they can torture him to death.
  • Pretty Fly for a White Guy: Drexl thinks he's black, but he's mostly white, with maybe some Native American.
  • Psycho for Hire: Virgil, the hitman who seems to delight in torturing his victims first.
  • Rasputinian Death: Virgil, and deservedly so.
  • Shout-Out: The use of "Gassenhauser" in the score could be seen as a reference to Badlands. That or Hans Zimmer ripping off Carl Orff.
  • Silent Offer: The protagonist makes an offer in an envelope for his "peace of mind." The envelope is empty.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The upbeat techno music during the scene with Drexl, the calm soothing piece during the Virgil scene and the Sicilian scene.
  • Spirit Advisor: Clarence occasionally gets advice from an apparition that behaves like Elvis Presley.
  • The Stoner: Brad Pitt.
  • Stylistic Suck: Lee Donowitz's film within a film, Comin' Home in a Body Bag, appears to be an archetypal brain-dead 80s action movie, though Clarence talks about it like it's Apocalypse Now.
  • Suicide by Cop: Clarence's father intentionally enrages the mafia gangsters so that they'll kill him outright before they can torture his son's location out of him.
  • Too Kinky to Torture/I Shall Taunt You: Alabama goes out of her way to mock Virgil after using a Bust of Elvis on him.