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Natural Born Killers. The Original Screenplay

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Natural Born Killers is a disturbing and brilliant indictment of violence in the media and American celebrity culture. Mickey and Mallory Knox, outlaw lovers on the run, go on a killing spree of startling viciousness -- and find themselves transformed into cult celebrities by the tabloid media. The film, directed by Oliver Stone, departed significantly from Tarantino's ori Natural Born Killers is a disturbing and brilliant indictment of violence in the media and American celebrity culture. Mickey and Mallory Knox, outlaw lovers on the run, go on a killing spree of startling viciousness -- and find themselves transformed into cult celebrities by the tabloid media. The film, directed by Oliver Stone, departed significantly from Tarantino's original screenplay, so much so that Tarantino removed his name from the screenplay credits. Now available in America for the first time, the original screenplay offers fans and film buffs of all stripes the opportunity to compare Tarantino's original vision with Stone's version of the story of Mickey and Mallory.


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Natural Born Killers is a disturbing and brilliant indictment of violence in the media and American celebrity culture. Mickey and Mallory Knox, outlaw lovers on the run, go on a killing spree of startling viciousness -- and find themselves transformed into cult celebrities by the tabloid media. The film, directed by Oliver Stone, departed significantly from Tarantino's ori Natural Born Killers is a disturbing and brilliant indictment of violence in the media and American celebrity culture. Mickey and Mallory Knox, outlaw lovers on the run, go on a killing spree of startling viciousness -- and find themselves transformed into cult celebrities by the tabloid media. The film, directed by Oliver Stone, departed significantly from Tarantino's original screenplay, so much so that Tarantino removed his name from the screenplay credits. Now available in America for the first time, the original screenplay offers fans and film buffs of all stripes the opportunity to compare Tarantino's original vision with Stone's version of the story of Mickey and Mallory.

30 review for Natural Born Killers. The Original Screenplay

  1. 5 out of 5

    Neil Walker

    Natural Born Killers is the only work of Quentin Tarantino that I reference directly, by name, in Drug Gang. It is also the best Quentin Tarantino screenplay to read in order to separate Tarantino the writer from Tarantino the filmmaker. The film version of Natural Born Killers, which Oliver Stone directed, ended up being very different from the original script Quentin Tarantino wrote. Quentin Tarantino has been a big influence on me as an author, and when I site him as an influence, I am not onl Natural Born Killers is the only work of Quentin Tarantino that I reference directly, by name, in Drug Gang. It is also the best Quentin Tarantino screenplay to read in order to separate Tarantino the writer from Tarantino the filmmaker. The film version of Natural Born Killers, which Oliver Stone directed, ended up being very different from the original script Quentin Tarantino wrote. Quentin Tarantino has been a big influence on me as an author, and when I site him as an influence, I am not only talking about Tarantino the filmmaker, I am also talking about Tarantino the writer. While those who have watched his films will be aware of his great storytelling and his amazing dialogue, when you read his screenplays you are also struck by just how good his descriptive writing is. Here you can let him paint a picture for you with his words, without necessarily comparing that picture to one you have seen on a cinema or television screen. Let him use his words like weapons of cutting social commentary, biting wit and bloody violence. You will not be disappointed…

  2. 4 out of 5

    Brad

    Confession: I am of the opinion that Quentin Tarantino is overrated. He is a poor director and an overly self-indulgent screenwriter with a flare for dialogue. This doesn't mean that I hate his films or his screenplays, yet when I've offered this confession to Tarantino lovers in the past, they tend to assume that I do. I've enjoyed most of the Tarantino movies I've seen, but I don't understand the adoration of his work. In fact, I think the two best Tarantino movies are those made by other (dare Confession: I am of the opinion that Quentin Tarantino is overrated. He is a poor director and an overly self-indulgent screenwriter with a flare for dialogue. This doesn't mean that I hate his films or his screenplays, yet when I've offered this confession to Tarantino lovers in the past, they tend to assume that I do. I've enjoyed most of the Tarantino movies I've seen, but I don't understand the adoration of his work. In fact, I think the two best Tarantino movies are those made by other (dare I say "real") directors. Tony Scott's True Romance was excellent. A film that benefited greatly from Scott's slick style and Hollywood sensibility. It is Oliver Stone's version of Natural Born Killers, however, that is the very best of Tarantino's stories on film. Tarantino's tale spent way too much time "telling" us the story of Mickey and Mallory rather than showing us their story, and to do that he made Wayne Gale -- the douchebag Geraldo Rivera stand-in -- the star of the show. Moreover, Tarantino's telling falls squarely on the "nature" side of the nature vs. nurture debate, which undermines his stated determination to critique America's media culture. Stone saw the flaws and addressed them in his adaptation of the story. He made the tale about Mickey and Mallory, putting them front and center, recasting Wayne Gale as the supporting character he needed to be, and those changes allowed Stone to make the story about "nurture" (making the title appropriately ironic) which also ensured that the story could become an actual critique of America's media culture. And Stone did all this with a fractured, hyperactive style that presaged the coming of the internet. He dragged amazing performances out of unlikely actors like Juliette Lewis and Rodney Dangerfield, added some impressive scenes on the nature (or nurture) of evil, and experimented with his craft in ways that Tarantino would eventually mimic in Kill Bill. And Stone did all of this without Tarantino's blessing, pissing off the young filmmaker so much that he wanted his name removed from the film. To be fair, I've not yet seen Inglourious Basterds, so perhaps Tarantino has worked himself into being as good a writer/director as he thinks he is, and I'd love for Django Unchained to kick some serious ass, but for now I'd much rather spend my time with Tarantino movies Tarantino didn't direct.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Downward

    there's something inherently dissatisfying about reading screenplays. after all, the things are meant to be watched, not read. I was interested in this because of the purported differences between the Tarantino film and the Oliver stone movie. There are a lot of them. The Tarantino script still plays big with the media satire, but it doesn't overindulge in the psychedelics that Stone's version does, which makes the messaging more poignant and specific. There's something fascinating about screen there's something inherently dissatisfying about reading screenplays. after all, the things are meant to be watched, not read. I was interested in this because of the purported differences between the Tarantino film and the Oliver stone movie. There are a lot of them. The Tarantino script still plays big with the media satire, but it doesn't overindulge in the psychedelics that Stone's version does, which makes the messaging more poignant and specific. There's something fascinating about screen directions and visual cues on the page that translate into your brain, in ways that cause you to absorb the text in a different way: there's lots of descriptions about camera changes and movements between black and white and color film here as well as 16mm and 35mm, which - if we're reading this text outside the context of the movie that it became or the movie Tarantino meant for it to become - plays like resets for your brain, functionally redesigning the scenarios in a similar way that it does on film but in a way that you rarely get when reading a BOOK. I was in the sun a lot today. I am a dumb idiot.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jo

    super violent! even more violent than the movie, which was hard to believe.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mati

    I was not fan of screenplays, but it changed when I got load of scripts from Quentin Tarantino´s movies. They are fun to read and sometimes the ideas, which did not get in to the movie are quite interesting and it is pity that some of them did not made it in to the screen. Story of Mickey and Mallory, version of very brutal Bonnie and Clyde types, who were roaming trough USA and brought up perverted version of psychopathic celebrity cult. At the first sight it is casual brutality but on the secon I was not fan of screenplays, but it changed when I got load of scripts from Quentin Tarantino´s movies. They are fun to read and sometimes the ideas, which did not get in to the movie are quite interesting and it is pity that some of them did not made it in to the screen. Story of Mickey and Mallory, version of very brutal Bonnie and Clyde types, who were roaming trough USA and brought up perverted version of psychopathic celebrity cult. At the first sight it is casual brutality but on the second it shows the hunger for blood int he society.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Don Swinney

    Brilliant surprise reading this script, not into the Oliver stone film that much but Tarantino's script is one of his best. His original version of natural born killers is socially and politically aware, which is an element rarely present in Tarantino's films that are more concerned with the culture of films rather than the culture of the real world! Natural born killers highlights the way that media can represent and often sensationalise violent crime. The film suggests to the viewer that media Brilliant surprise reading this script, not into the Oliver stone film that much but Tarantino's script is one of his best. His original version of natural born killers is socially and politically aware, which is an element rarely present in Tarantino's films that are more concerned with the culture of films rather than the culture of the real world! Natural born killers highlights the way that media can represent and often sensationalise violent crime. The film suggests to the viewer that media distortions can ultimately result in very real consequences

  7. 4 out of 5

    Castille

    3.5-- while I think Natural Born Killers is far better than 99% of the screenplays out there, I didn't find the language to be as clever as his other works, like Jackie Brown or True Romance. While Quentin is no stranger to writing characters who should be unlikable, his trademark wit imbues them with a magnetic quality, so that we find ourselves liking them despite their often horrific behaviors (i.e. murdering tons of people, typically). But here, the characters aren't witty enough to make us 3.5-- while I think Natural Born Killers is far better than 99% of the screenplays out there, I didn't find the language to be as clever as his other works, like Jackie Brown or True Romance. While Quentin is no stranger to writing characters who should be unlikable, his trademark wit imbues them with a magnetic quality, so that we find ourselves liking them despite their often horrific behaviors (i.e. murdering tons of people, typically). But here, the characters aren't witty enough to make us forgive them for their murder spree, and the tertiary characters are also rather flat and/or dislikable. All of that being said, the plot here and the actual storytelling is phenomenal. I actually think this is one of the few screenplays of his (perhaps the only one) that is a traditional 'blueprint for a movie' as opposed to an entertaining work in and of itself.

  8. 5 out of 5

    James Stuart

    It’s certainly better than the awful Oliver Stone directed movie, but it’s also clearly an early work. Tarantino’s talent, even at this stage in his writing career is undeniable. The dialogue pops and the script flits effortlessly from grotesque violence to the farcical. However, the script lacks control and Mallory is entirely sidelined for the more charismatic Mickey. The script seems to have been written with a view to Tarantino directing on a micro budget, and as a result it feels restrained, It’s certainly better than the awful Oliver Stone directed movie, but it’s also clearly an early work. Tarantino’s talent, even at this stage in his writing career is undeniable. The dialogue pops and the script flits effortlessly from grotesque violence to the farcical. However, the script lacks control and Mallory is entirely sidelined for the more charismatic Mickey. The script seems to have been written with a view to Tarantino directing on a micro budget, and as a result it feels restrained, as the writer tries to force a penny pinching visual style on the reader.

  9. 5 out of 5

    J McAndrew

    Another fantastic screenplay from one of the greatest filmmakers ever. really enjoyed this script and wish Tarantino would have made the movie. I was delighted when the scenes of Malorie's parents from the movie weren't in the original script as I hated the scenes and thought they made the movie look stupid. Tarantino has an amazing talent for dialogue and it shows in the script, loved it. Another fantastic screenplay from one of the greatest filmmakers ever. really enjoyed this script and wish Tarantino would have made the movie. I was delighted when the scenes of Malorie's parents from the movie weren't in the original script as I hated the scenes and thought they made the movie look stupid. Tarantino has an amazing talent for dialogue and it shows in the script, loved it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Blakepatterson

    I read this for my thesis on Oliver Stone and Orson Welles. Overall, Tarantino’s script was pretty solid, but I thought that Stone developed the themes with more complexity in his draft. For example, Tarantino did not delve into Mallory’s parents as much as he should have.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Isaac Thompson

    I love Oliver Stone's film, but Tarantino's version is even better. I love Oliver Stone's film, but Tarantino's version is even better.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Roger Alderman

    A well-written screenplay that helps me when I feel I just can keep writing screenplays. I read this and find the confidence boost I need to push on.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Geert Verbanck

    You feel the fun the writer had writing this, but the story just doesn't make much sense. You feel the fun the writer had writing this, but the story just doesn't make much sense.

  14. 5 out of 5

    ميرنا المهدي

    For me, the original screenplay (how Tarantino wrote it) is 10 times better then how it was actually directed on screen by Oliver Stone.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Oliver K

    I had many mixed feelings about the story behind both the film and original screenplay of Natural Born Killers. Tarantino is in many ways a heavy influence into my personal attempt to pursue a career in the media industry. He is one of my Idols in the world if film. Now this comes to the story behind Natural Born Killers’ production and the hatred it caused between both Tarantino and Oliver Stone. The rumour was that Stone bought the screenplay and, against Tarantino’s decision, rewrote majority I had many mixed feelings about the story behind both the film and original screenplay of Natural Born Killers. Tarantino is in many ways a heavy influence into my personal attempt to pursue a career in the media industry. He is one of my Idols in the world if film. Now this comes to the story behind Natural Born Killers’ production and the hatred it caused between both Tarantino and Oliver Stone. The rumour was that Stone bought the screenplay and, against Tarantino’s decision, rewrote majority of the script giving himself the writing credit and casting Tarantino aside with a much less superior story credit. Now as a lover of Tarantino’s work I have always been angered by this, who knows how good the movie could have possibly been. This is the mindset I have had for years until I was able to get ahold of the original screenplay, and to my shock I now kind of seem to agree with Oliver Stone. To read the full review go to - https://okingin35mm.wordpress.com/201...

  16. 4 out of 5

    JK

    I decided to read this because I didn't realise Tarantino had written the screenplay, nor did I realise that the director, Oliver Stone, had altered the plot in such a way that it prompted Tarantino to eventually remove his name from the credits of the screenplay. I am certainly no movie buff, so I cannot comment on the comparison of the screenplay to the movie, but I did enjoy Tarantino's words. It's apparent that he's a bit of a rule-breaker, and loves to shock. I'm a sucker for a bit of distur I decided to read this because I didn't realise Tarantino had written the screenplay, nor did I realise that the director, Oliver Stone, had altered the plot in such a way that it prompted Tarantino to eventually remove his name from the credits of the screenplay. I am certainly no movie buff, so I cannot comment on the comparison of the screenplay to the movie, but I did enjoy Tarantino's words. It's apparent that he's a bit of a rule-breaker, and loves to shock. I'm a sucker for a bit of disturbance, so it was definitely right up my street. However, the screenplay was a mere 100 pages (or so) long, and I found myself slightly dissatisfied at the lack of substance. There wasn't much there aside from the bloody messes and declarations of love between Mickey and Mallory, so it is obvious why Oliver Stone had to pad the film out a bit. Nevertheless, a good start to the book year! I enjoyed the violence, and it was a nice easy read to ease me into 2010.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Bucky K.

    This book is SO much different than the movie AND so much better. I always thought NBK by Oliver Stone was a bit of a mess. This book is a lot more taunt and there aren't any weird Indian Reservation scenes which is a plus. Not a whole lot happens in the screenplay, which would be my only complaint. Still really well written and enjoyable. The first half of the screenplay happens in flashback after Mickey and Mallory are already in jail and then it catches up to their current incarceration. Inte This book is SO much different than the movie AND so much better. I always thought NBK by Oliver Stone was a bit of a mess. This book is a lot more taunt and there aren't any weird Indian Reservation scenes which is a plus. Not a whole lot happens in the screenplay, which would be my only complaint. Still really well written and enjoyable. The first half of the screenplay happens in flashback after Mickey and Mallory are already in jail and then it catches up to their current incarceration. Interesting characters.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lynsey

    Absolutely loved this. Disturbing, bloody and downright sick! I always find the construction of a 'play within a play' so to speak very interesting, and the tying in of the documentary made the story all the more compelling. The concept of a 'natural born killer' and the attraction of psychosis is also very interesting, with the dearth of views expressed within the screenplay making it all the more intriguing. Its just a shame that Stone felt the need to move so far away from it in the film adap Absolutely loved this. Disturbing, bloody and downright sick! I always find the construction of a 'play within a play' so to speak very interesting, and the tying in of the documentary made the story all the more compelling. The concept of a 'natural born killer' and the attraction of psychosis is also very interesting, with the dearth of views expressed within the screenplay making it all the more intriguing. Its just a shame that Stone felt the need to move so far away from it in the film adaptation!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Chloe

    This script was so fun to read. I sped through it in a few hours. I love the way Quentin sets up a scene, for instance: "Mallory starts doing a slow, seductive fandango around the coffee shop. She's really cooking and smoking." - Things like this would make me laugh, but then Mallory would be brutally murdering someone and I wasn't sure what I was suppose to feel. Great script, now I must see the movie! This script was so fun to read. I sped through it in a few hours. I love the way Quentin sets up a scene, for instance: "Mallory starts doing a slow, seductive fandango around the coffee shop. She's really cooking and smoking." - Things like this would make me laugh, but then Mallory would be brutally murdering someone and I wasn't sure what I was suppose to feel. Great script, now I must see the movie!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ben Winch

    Funny how an idea for a low-budget guerrilla film in the style of Man Bites Dog got turned into the bloated technicolor opus - complete with moralistic anti-media sub- (or should that be sur-?) text - we know and (in my case) revile. Oliver Stone's justification? 'Quentin, you make movies; I make films.' Read the screenplay and imagine what might have been if it hadn't fallen into the hands of the most pretentious, vainglorious director of his generation. Funny how an idea for a low-budget guerrilla film in the style of Man Bites Dog got turned into the bloated technicolor opus - complete with moralistic anti-media sub- (or should that be sur-?) text - we know and (in my case) revile. Oliver Stone's justification? 'Quentin, you make movies; I make films.' Read the screenplay and imagine what might have been if it hadn't fallen into the hands of the most pretentious, vainglorious director of his generation.

  21. 5 out of 5

    TrumanCoyote

    A wicked satire. Seems like there's always got to be a Mexican standoff in any Tarantino thing--it's become stock. But at least there's not anybody tied to a chair. And one awful line: Roger's "Man oh man...this is better than Vietnam!" Anyway, too bad this script couldn't have been the movie--instead of the Oliver Stone Apocalypse. A wicked satire. Seems like there's always got to be a Mexican standoff in any Tarantino thing--it's become stock. But at least there's not anybody tied to a chair. And one awful line: Roger's "Man oh man...this is better than Vietnam!" Anyway, too bad this script couldn't have been the movie--instead of the Oliver Stone Apocalypse.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Billy G

    The screenplay was wrote first my QT than Oliver Stone bought the rights and wrote a different screenplay , although staying to QTs main book but without a key courtroom scene but I would read all the screenplays QT had wrote bc if u read is True Romance screenplay if he would Hv wrote it , it would Hv been a total different movie and u can see how by it and all of his screenplays!!!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jared Busch

    WAY different than the Oliver Stone movie and yet very similar. This is so totally Tarantino whereas Stone pretty much gutted the screenplay to make room for his own shit (and i say that affectionately-- I do like the movie). It's amazing to me that they actually published this. WAY different than the Oliver Stone movie and yet very similar. This is so totally Tarantino whereas Stone pretty much gutted the screenplay to make room for his own shit (and i say that affectionately-- I do like the movie). It's amazing to me that they actually published this.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Max

    Did you feel like Oliver Stone's version was too frantic? Then perhaps you might prefer Tarantino's screenplay. But, even if you - like myself - loved Stone's version, this screenplay is still worth a read. Did you feel like Oliver Stone's version was too frantic? Then perhaps you might prefer Tarantino's screenplay. But, even if you - like myself - loved Stone's version, this screenplay is still worth a read.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Anne Lydolf

    Exactly what you would expect from Tarantino. Blood, violence, sex and profanity. Predictable story line and dialog that sounds so fake it hurts. The kind of stuff that anyone above the age of 15 could write if they wanted.

  26. 4 out of 5

    John

    I'm a huge fan of Tarantino, but I honestly Think that Stone's re-write was better. I'm a huge fan of Tarantino, but I honestly Think that Stone's re-write was better.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    Meh.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sophiaalmaria

    Morbid...no...bored curiousity led me to check on what Quentin's 'vision' had been before it was 'destroyed'. Morbid...no...bored curiousity led me to check on what Quentin's 'vision' had been before it was 'destroyed'.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Grindhouse Mattie

    Quite, quite different from Stone's filmed version, which of course, pissed Tarantino off, and it's a great screenplay...I think they're both wonderful... Quite, quite different from Stone's filmed version, which of course, pissed Tarantino off, and it's a great screenplay...I think they're both wonderful...

  30. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    Top drawer, but one of only two good pieces of work from q.t.

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