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Pulp Fiction (1994): “Royale with Cheese” | Transcript

Vincent (John Travolta) tells Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) about the little differences regarding life in Europe...
Pulp Fiction (1994): "Royale with Cheese"

CLASSIC SCENE

Vincent (John Travolta) tells Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) about the little differences regarding life in Europe…

This scene from Pulp Fiction (1994) is a classic example of Quentin Tarantino’s unique style, blending casual conversation with deeper thematic elements.

Setting: The scene takes place inside a car, early in the morning. Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield, dressed in suits, are driving through the streets of Los Angeles. The atmosphere in the car is relaxed and casual, despite the fact that they are on their way to carry out a hit.

Characters:

Vincent Vega, played by John Travolta, is a hitman who has recently returned from a stint in Amsterdam. He’s laid-back, curious about the world, and keen on sharing his experiences in Europe.
Jules Winnfield, portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson, is Vincent’s partner, another hitman. He’s more intense and philosophical than Vincent, but he’s equally engaged in the conversation.

Dialogue and Action:

• The conversation begins with Vincent sharing his experiences in Europe, particularly focusing on the legal status of hash and the culture around it in Amsterdam.
• Jules, intrigued, asks questions, leading Vincent to explain the peculiarities of European laws and customs, such as the legality of hash bars.
• The dialogue then shifts to the small, quirky differences Vincent noticed in Europe, like being able to buy beer in a movie theater in Amsterdam and the naming of fast-food items in France.
• This exchange includes the famous lines about the “Royale with Cheese” and “Le Big Mac”, highlighting the novelty of the metric system’s impact on fast food in France.
• The scene is marked by its relaxed, almost mundane tone, which stands in stark contrast to the violent nature of their profession.

Cinematic Techniques:

• Tarantino uses tight shots inside the car, focusing on the expressions and reactions of the characters as they speak.
• The camera work is simple yet effective, capturing the casual nature of the conversation.
• The dialogue-driven scene is a hallmark of Tarantino’s style, where the focus is more on what is being said than on any action.

Overall, this scene is memorable for its ability to turn a simple conversation into something engaging and revealing about the characters. It sets the tone for the rest of the film, which balances dark humor, sharp dialogue, and intense action. This approach not only serves to develop the characters of Vincent and Jules but also cleverly juxtaposes the ordinary with the extraordinary, a technique that Tarantino has become known for.

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VINCENT: “Well.”

JULES: “Okay now, tell me about the hash bars?”

VINCENT: “What so you want to know?”

JULES: “Well, hash is legal there, right?”

VINCENT: “Yeah, it’s legal, but is ain’t a hundred percent legal. I mean you can’t walk into a restaurant, roll a joint, and start puffin’ away. You’re only supposed to smoke in your home or certain designated places.”

JULES: “Those are hash bars?”

VINCENT: “Yeah, it breaks down like this: it’s legal to buy it, it’s legal to own it and, if you’re the proprietor of a hash bar, it’s legal to sell it. It’s legal to carry it, which doesn’t really matter ’cause, get a load of this, if the cops stop you, it’s illegal for this to search you. Searching you is a right that the cops in Amsterdam don’t have.”

JULES: “That did it, man. I’m fuckin’ goin’, that’s all there is to it.”

VINCENT: “You’ll dig it the most. But you know what the funniest thing about Europe is.”

JULES: “What?”

VINCENT: “It’s the little differences. A lotta the same shit we got here, they got there, but there they’re a little different.”

JULES: “Examples?”

VINCENT: “Well, in Amsterdam, you can buy beer in a movie theatre. And I don’t mean in a paper cup either. They give you a glass of beer, like in a bar. In Paris, you can buy beer at MacDonald’s. Also, you know what they call a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in Paris?”

JULES: “They don’t call it a Quarter Pounder with Cheese?”

VINCENT: “No, they got the metric system there, they wouldn’t know what the fuck a Quarter Pounder is.”

JULES: “What’d they call it?”

VINCENT: “Royale with Cheese.”

JULES: “Royale with Cheese. What’d they call a Big Mac?”

VINCENT: “Big Mac’s a Big Mac, but they call it Le Big Mac.”

JULES: “Le Big Mac. What do they call a Whopper?”

VINCENT: “I dunno, I didn’t go into a Burger King. But you know what they put on french fries in Holland instead of ketchup?”

JULES: “What?”

VINCENT: “Mayonnaise.”

JULES: “Goddamn!”

VINCENT: “I seen ’em do it. And I don’t mean a little bit on the side of the plate, they fuckin’ drown ’em in it!”

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