Study Guide

Reservoir Dogs Summary

Reservoir Dogs Summary

Reservoir Dogs starts off in a diner, with a bunch of guys joking around with each other. Most of them are dressed in suits and ties, so it seems like there might be some special occasion. They talk about songs and women, tipping, and Madonna lyrics. They curse a lot.

Suddenly, we're in a car with a clean white interior. Clean except for an inordinate amount of blood courtesy of Mr. Orange, who's lying in the back seat, shot in the gut. Mr. White is holding his bloody hand, trying to comfort him. They make it to a safe house, which seems to be an abandoned funeral home. Orange is dying and pleading and White's doing his best to take care of him.

Mr. Pink shows up acting all agitated, insisting that they were set up (apparently they were stealing some diamonds) and that they need to book it. White begs him to get some medical attention for Orange, who's bleeding to death on the floor. We get a flashback of Pink shooting his way out of the heist, a briefcase of diamonds in tow. He drags a woman out of her car and drives off. White and Pink would like to kill Mr. Blonde, who went crazy during the heist and started shooting everyone, attracting the attention of a large contingent of cops.

We get a quick backstory on White, who seems to be an old friend of Joe, the man who's running this operation. Back in the funeral home, Pink's furious at White for telling the dying Orange his name, and the two men start fighting. White still wants a doctor for Orange. Enter Mr. Blonde, the guy who started shooting the place up during the robbery. White starts in on Blonde, which doesn't seem to bother Blonde one bit. He says he has a surprise for them in the trunk.

The surprise is a cop. They take him inside; this can't be good for the cop. They want information on the rat that set them up.

We get a flashback on Blonde as he visits with Joe and Nice Guy Eddie, Joe's son. Blonde is like a brother to Eddie and like a son to Joe. He just got out after doing some years in the can. Now Eddie and Joe are talking about setting him up with a "job."

When we come back to the present, Pink and White are beating on the kidnapped cop when Eddie walks in. Eddie is none too happy. He insists that Blonde isn't crazy, and that there was no setup. When White, Pink, and Eddie leave to hide their cars, Blonde gets some alone time with the cop and the bleeding and unconscious Orange.

Blonde cuts off the cop's ear and then pours gasoline all over him. Just as he's about to light him up, Orange wakes up and pops multiple caps in him. Blonde dies and Orange tells the kidnapped cop that he's actually a cop, too. The other cop knows that. 

We've found our rat.

Now it's Orange's turn for a flashback. We see him meeting in a diner with a superior of his, telling him that it looks like he's on the inside for Joe's next job. Seems like Joe is some big fish criminal they've been looking to fry for some time. Orange's buddy gives him a story to memorize, one with details that'll make him seem like the bad dude he's pretending to be. We see Orange practice the story over and over and as he's telling it to Joe and Eddie and White in a bar, we see it in action as if it really happened.

The story: He's selling marijuana for a friend and walks into a bathroom with a bag of weed. There are four sheriffs and a German shepherd in the bathroom; the dog's barking at him. Orange composes himself, takes a pee, washes and dries his hands, and heads out. 

Joe must've liked the story, because he lands the job.

Then we see Orange practicing his story. Pink, White, and Eddie pick him up and they meet with Joe. Joe gives them each color names; it's game time. Flashback to White and Orange getting to know each other better as White tells him about how the heist will go down. We see Orange get the call but we don't see the robbery.

Instead, we see the aftermath. Mr. Brown crashes the getaway car and dies from a bullet wound to the head. White and Orange try to hijack a young woman's car but she shoots Orange in the gut before Orange shoots her back. Then we're in the car again where we started, with Orange crying and bleeding and White driving.

Back in the present, Eddie and White and Pink return to find Blonde dead. Orange tells the truth about Blonde torching the cop, but Eddie just shoots the cop. Orange says that Blonde was going to shoot the others when they came back to the funeral home and escape with the stash. 

Nice try, Orange.

Eddie doesn't believe for a sec that a man willing to do four years rather than rat on his father would betray them. Joe finally shows up and says that Orange is the rat; he just knows it. White doesn't believe him and threatens to kill Joe if he kills Orange. They all get into a standoff over Orange, guns drawn and pointed at each other. They all open fire at the same time; Joe and Eddie are shot dead and White's mortally wounded. Orange is still dying. Pink books it out of there with the diamonds. Orange tells White he's actually a cop. White shoots Orange and then is shot by the police.  Yeah, everyone but Pink is dead.

We've gone from an opening scene of these guys joking and debating at the diner to a standoff in the funeral home, where the ones who haven't already been killed are all pointing guns at each other. It's a brilliant structure. How we got to this point is what this movie's about.

  • Scene 1

    Scene 1

    • There's a big group of guys, mostly middle aged, some a little older. They're sitting around a table in a diner talking about different songs: what they like and what they're about.
    • One of the older dudes pays for the meal. The rest of them leave a tip.
    • Mr. Pink (kind of a weird name but we're not one to judge) doesn't like the idea of tipping.
    • We get an extended discussion about tipping and why you should do it. Waitressing is a really hard job, you know.
    • Pink's not convinced.
    • Joe comes back to the table and asks who didn't tip.
    • Orange fingers Pink.
    • Pink eventually throws in a tip.
  • Scene 2

    Scene 2

    • Mr. Orange and Larry (Mr. White), two of the guys in the breakfast club, are driving in a car. It's got a bright white interior with blood everywhere.
    • The blood is coming from Orange. He was shot in the stomach.
    • Larry's telling Orange that's he's not going to die.
  • Scene 3

    Scene 3

    • Orange and Larry make it to an abandoned funeral home that seems to be some sort of rendezvous safe house place for whatever was going down.
    • Larry comforts Orange while Orange pleads for Larry to take him to a hospital. He says he won't tell them anything.
    • White gives him the worst reassurance line ever: It takes days to bleed to death from a gut wound, so time is on Orange's side. Oh, all right, then.
    • Whatever they were up to doesn't sound very legal.
    • Then Mr. Pink shows up, yelling about some kind of set up.
    • He says the cops appeared suddenly, out of nowhere (okay, definitely illegal).
    • We also learn that Mr. Brown, whoever he is, is dead.
  • Scene 4

    Scene 4

    • Mr. Pink and Mr. White (who's Larry) talk in an odd tiled room (like a kitchen meets hospital room) in the abandoned funeral home, trying to cool off.
    • They start replaying what happened and Pink says that Mr. Blonde went nuts and started shooting everybody before the cops showed up.
    • White is sick of the code name stuff and wants to tell Pink his name.
    • Pink stops him. He tells him he shot his way out of the crime scene.
    • Then the film goes into a flashback.
  • Scene 5

    Scene 5

    • Mr. Pink is running down the street with a bag of something, knocking down pedestrians in his way.
    • He shoots some cops, pulls a lady out of her car, and gets away.
  • Scene 6

    Scene 6

    • Back in the tiled room, Pink and White talk about what to do and who the rat could be.
    • Pink asks White if he shot anybody. Just cops, White says. No "real people."
    • Pink thinks he's jinxed; one of his other jobs had an undercover cop and they had to walk away from it.
    • We learn that there were diamonds in Pink's bag; this seemed to be the main objective of the job. Pink stashed them somewhere.
  • Scene 7

    Scene 7

    • We get another flashback, this time to Mr. White. It has his name on the screen, so we're assuming that the movie's going to give us a chapter on each of the characters, White being the first.
    • He's talking to Joe (the guy who paid for breakfast) and Joe tells him about the job.
    • They discuss a female partner White had years ago. A tough cookie.
    • White worries that they won't be able to sell the diamonds; it's hard to move ice.
    • Joe assures him he's got a buyer waiting.
    • Joe tells White that the job will be done in daylight during business hours with a crowd of people, but he assures him the security is lax, and they'll be in and out in two minutes.
    • The cut is very, very juicy.
  • Scene 8

    Scene 8

    • Back in the garage part of the funeral home with the dying and now-unconscious Orange, White and Pink begin to argue.
    • White wants to take Orange to a hospital, while Pink's upset that White told Orange his name and where he's from.
    • White says, what else could he do? The man was dying in his arms.
    • Pink knows Joe's going to be very unhappy with the botched heist—dead cops, dead civilians, and dead robbers.
    • Then, out of nowhere, Mr. Blonde shows up drinking a soda and acting all cool.
    • White reams him out for shooting up the place during the heist.
    • He acts like he never went crazy like White and Pink remember.
    • Blonde says that the dead civilians deserved what they got because they set off the alarm.
    • There are some insults and almost a fight but Pink breaks it up.
    • Blonde tells the others that Eddie wants them to stay put in the funeral home.
    • Blonde says he has something they might like out in his car. They hesitantly go to check it out.
  • Scene 9

    Scene 9

    • Blonde says he talked to Nice Guy Eddie, who said to stay put. That makes them feel better.
    • Blonde has a policeman in the trunk. He took him hostage from the heist.
    • They're hoping they can get some info out of him.
  • Scene 10

    Scene 10

    • Blonde's flashback is a little longer. Apparently he's pretty buddy-buddy with Joe and his son Eddie, who was the dude in the purple '80s jacket in the diner.
    • Blonde just finished a 4-year stint in the slammer. He's got a tough parole officer who won't let him out of the halfway house unless he gets a real job.
    • The others commiserate. They know this P.O.
    • Eddie and Blonde tussle like brothers and Joe talks to Blonde (whose name is actually Vic Vega) like a son.
    • Eddie promises to get Blonde a real fake job; he'll get a paycheck and won't even have to show up.
    • If the P.O. shows up to check, they'll say he was sent out of town on business. It's a sweet arrangement.
    • Blonde says he'd like to go back to doing jobs with Joe, but Joe's reluctant to use him.
    • Eddie convinces his father to use Blonde on the heist—he's been good luck in the past.
    • Joe agrees and Blonde's in.
  • Scene 11

    Scene 11

    • Eddie's on the phone telling someone that the job was a disaster; it turned into a "bullet festival." He knows about the hostage cop and he's heading to the funeral home to find out what happened.
    • The action cuts back and forth between Eddie on the phone and the guys in the funeral home.
    • The cop's tied to a chair and denying he knows anything.
    • White and Pink are punching the cop when Eddie walks in and starts chewing them out.
    • He says that Joe is mad and that there was definitely no set-up (which Pink and White aren't buying).
    • He tells them Joe's coming down and he's furious that they turned the jewelry store into a "Wild West show." That's why the cops showed up. No set up.
    • White begs Eddie to get a doctor for Orange. Eddie says he'll do it after they clean up the situation.
    • The guys tell him that Brown took a bullet to the head. No one knows what happened to Blue.
    • Eddie doesn't see the point of beating up on the cop. If you beat anyone enough they'll admit to anything just to get you to stop.
    • Eddie asks what happened to the diamonds and Pink says he has them. At least something went right.
    • White and Blonde start arguing again about the bloodbath at the jewelry store. Blonde blames the civilians for setting off the alarm. He doesn't like alarms.
    • After lots of yelling, Eddie takes White and Pink to move cars, leaving Blonde with the cop.
    • Blond tells the cop he's going to torture him despite the fact that he probably doesn't know anything. Then he cuts off his ear to the sounds of that '70s station we've been hearing off and on.
    • If you had any doubts about whether Blonde was actually crazy or not, now you know.
    • Oh, wait a minute, Blonde needs to get something from his car.
    • Turns out it's a can of gasoline… which he dumps all over the cop while doing a little jig to the music.
    • He flicks his lighter.
    • Just as he's about to light him on fire, Orange wakes up and puts a whole clip in him.
    • Blonde is dead.
    • Orange is actually a cop named Freddy. The now one-eared cop knew this; they were apparently introduced before.
    • Orange tells him that there are a bunch of cops stationed just a block away. They know about the safe house but are waiting for Joe to show up before they make a move.
    • Orange insists they stay put until Joe gets there. The whole point of the undercover operation was to nab Joe.
    • So they have to stay there bleeding until that happens. Harsh.
  • Scene 12

    Scene 12

    • Now it's Mr. Orange's time to shine.
    • He meets Detective Holdaway, probably his chief officer, in a diner and tells him that he's in Joe's next job.
    • He was picked up by Eddie and taken to a bar with Joe and White.
    • He tells him what he knows so far and where they're going to meet.
    • He tells the officer that he and White talked about the Brewers; he's probably from Wisconsin, and Orange needs to go through the mug shots of everyone in Wisconsin with a history of armed robbery.
    • Long Beach Mike, a drug dealer-turned-informer, vouched for Orange with Joe.
    • His boss is impressed and tells him he needs to use the commode story.
    • Cut to another meeting with Holdaway on a rooftop somewhere.
    • Holdaway gives him the script for the commode story—all four pages of it.
    • He tells Orange he's going to have to be Marlon Brando to pull this off. He's gotta feel it, and know all the details.
  • Scene 13

    Scene 13

    • We get a little montage of Orange practicing this bathroom speech. It's about this one time that he was selling marijuana for a girl and went to meet some dude and had to pee. He walks into a bathroom, only to find it filled with sheriffs and a German Shepherd. He keeps it together, pees, and walks out.
    • It's a great story, and totally made up. He practices it enough to make it seem authentic.
    • He says it on some random rooftop, in his home, in some very graffiti-ed place, and finally at the bar with Joe and the gang.
    • Story within the story: While he's peeing, the sheriffs are telling their own story about a guy who almost got himself killed going for his car registration. He should have known to keep his hands on the dash when they asked him.
    • Orange is pretty convincing; he admits he panicked when he saw the sheriffs and the dog, who probably smelled the weed on him.
    • Joe says he handled the situation well. He's in... but maybe he shouldn't be so excited. Poor Orange.
  • Scene 14

    Scene 14

    • Cut back to Orange in the diner, talking to his boss cop dude, who asks him what he knows about Joe.
    • Then he's at his house, he gets a call and heads out, but not before looking in the mirror and reassuring himself how cool he is. He puts on a wedding ring.
    • He gets in the car with White and Pink and Eddie and they take off, tailed by some cops enjoying a bear claw. The cops can't believe Orange agreed to do this job.
    • In the car, Orange and the guys mess around, make jokes, try and remember what actress played some character.
    • There's a lot of talk about black women, how they won't let their men push them around like white women do.
    • There's a story about one woman who used some super-glue to, um, incapacitate the man who was threatening her.
    • Orange seems to be fitting right in.
  • Scene 15

    Scene 15

    • They show up to a room where everyone's having a meeting led by Joe.
    • Joe tells the guys to quit joking and settle down, or they'll all wind up in San Quentin because they weren't listening to Joe's instructions for the job.
    • Joe gives them all their color-name pseudonyms. He warns them not to refer to themselves or each other by their real names.
    • Mr. Pink doesn't like his name.
    • Joe doesn't care. He's tired of all the whining and bickering.
  • Scene 16

    Scene 16

    • White and Orange are talking strategy in a car looking at the place they're going to rob.
    • White gives Orange some advice about dealing with unruly customers or employees. It mostly involves nose-smashing.
    • White explains that stores like this are insured for their merchandise, so usually there's no resistance from the managers.
    • If there is, though, cut off a pinkie finger and say that the thumb's next. That pretty much ensures cooperation.
  • Scene 17

    Scene 17

    • We see Brown driving Orange and White in a car, police sirens wailing in the background. It looks like they've just escaped the crime scene.
    • Brown has blood in his eyes. He thinks he's blind. He crashes the car.
    • A police car comes around the corner and White gets out of the car and kills the two cops.
    • When they get back to the car, Brown's dead.
    • White and Orange walk away and stop a woman driving a car. When they try to carjack her at gunpoint, she shoots Orange in the stomach. Orange shoots her back.
    • Then we're back to where we started, with Orange bleeding all over the backseat of a nice car.
    • Orange is sure he's been killed, but White reassures him he'll be okay.
  • Scene 18

    Scene 18

    • We're back in the present with Orange dying on the floor and the mutilated cop still tied to the chair.
    • Eddie and Pink and White come back in from moving the cars and Eddie sees Blonde shot dead on the floor.
    • Orange tells the truth about what Blonde was going to do to the cop. Eddie says, "this cop?" and shoots the cop. Multiple times. The cop dies.
    • Then Orange starts making things up. He says that Blonde was going to wait until the three of them got back, kill them, and take the diamonds.
    • Eddie isn't buying it. He says that Blonde's totally loyal to his father; he'd just finished doing four years for him. No way he'd betray him.
    • Suddenly Joe walks in. He says he knows who the rat is; it's Orange. Orange was the only one he wasn't 100% sure about. He may not have proof but he says you don't need proof when you have instinct.
    • White won't believe it. He says that Orange is a good kid and can't be the rat.
    • Joe doesn't care. He knows. When he pulls out his gun to shoot Orange, White pulls a gun on him, which makes Eddie pull a gun on White.
    • Pink thinks they all need to calm down and be professional. No one listens to him.
    • After a lot of shouting, Joe shoots Orange, White shoots Joe, Eddie shoots White, and White shoots Eddie.
    • Pink was hiding. He comes out of hiding, grabs the diamonds, and jets.
    • White's dying a slow death and crawls over to Orange, cradling his head, covered in blood. Orange holds him and moans that he's sorry; he tells White that he's a cop.
    • We get a close up of Orange and White. White is devastated. He points a gun at Orange's face and we hear the police burst into the room.
    • They order him to put the gun down. He doesn't.
    • We hear one shot followed by a series of other shots.
    • The credits roll.