Quentin Tarantino is an auteur filmmaker that’s made a career out of doing both what he wanted to and what no one expected of him. In the early 2000s he released Kill Bill, his homage to both the revenge flicks and the Kung fu movies of the 1970s that he grew up on.
However, the final product was broken into two films, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, respectively, during the editing process. Ever since, cinephiles and Tarantino fanboys the world over have been locked into a debate as to whether this was the original intent or not.
Finally, the acclaimed director himself has now weighed in on the topic when asked about it during a recent interview with CinemaBlend. He acknowledged that “technically we released it as two movies, and there is a closing and an opening credits [on each movie].” And while this does lend some credence to the two-movie Truthers out there, Tarantino quickly clarified his stance, saying:
I made it as one movie and I wrote it as one movie, [so it’s one movie]. Frankly, the truth of the matter is, I don’t think it would’ve been as popular as a four hour movie. I literally had a guy say that to me. It was one of those weird diamond bullet moments where you can’t unhear it. He said, ‘Quentin, here’s the thing. My uncle would love this movie, but he wouldn’t love it at four hours.’
It seems that the choice to break up Kill Bill into two distinct entries was one of pragmatism, designed to better appeal to modern audiences. Rarely if ever do films break the 3-hour mark, and a studio would be hard-pressed to get moviegoers into theaters for such an extended period. Releases like Avengers: Endgame, which had a runtime of just over 3 hours, represent a cultural event that’s the exception to the rule.
In any case, fans will likely still argue about the validity of this assertion, much like they continue to do about Die Hard and whether or not it’s a Christmas movie. Either way, though, Tarantino firmly stands on the One-Film side of the debate, and if anyone gets to have the final say about what Kill Bill is, it’d be him.