For years Quentin Tarantino has said that he only plans to direct 10 feature films. Since he counts Kill Bill's two parts as a single film (they were, at the very least, directed as one) then he's already made nine movies including his most recent, Once Upon a Time...In Hollywood. That would mean he's only going to make one more movie. Considering that Tarantino is only 58-years-old, he's certainly going to be capable of directing for years to come, so one might expect that he could be reconsidering this self-enforced retirement, but it seems not. Tarantino is taking the idea of retiring very seriously because he doesn't want to make bad movies.
Appearing on the Pure Cinema podcast, Quentin Tarantino explains that, from his perspective, most of the great movie directors through history have made most of their worst films at the end of their career. He sees that as a trend that has befallen many of the greats, and he simply wants to avoid falling victim to the same fate. Tarantino explains...
Most directors have horrible last movies. Usually their worst movies are their last movies. That’s the case for most of the Golden Age directors that ended up making their last movies in the late ’60s and the ’70s, then that ended up being the case for most of the New Hollywood directors who made their last movies in the late ’80s and the ’90s.
It has to be said that for a guy who has made nine movies in about 30 years, his track record is incredibly solid. Critics love Tarantino's movies. Only Death Proof, his contribution to the Grindhouse double feature, doesn't have a Rotten Tomatoes score in the 80s or 90s, and it's still at a perfectly respectable 65%. Fan response is about on par. Being that consistent is not easy and clearly the director is proud of what he's been able to do in the industry. Even he knows that if he keeps going that he won't be able to keep up the quality, so he's willing to walk away.
Tarantino even hints during the interview that he could just walk away now and not even make one more movie. He seems to be quite happy with the idea of retiring. Many creative people, actors, writers, and directors, have planned to retire and then found themselves pulled back in by the desire to just do it again, but to hear Tarantino tell it, he will have no issues calling it a day, whenever that day happens to come.
We'll just have to wait and see what Quentin Tarantino decides to do. It seems likely he isn't quite done directing yet, though he's announced nothing specific he plans to make, beyond possibly Kill Bill Vol. 3. He could make one more movie, he could even end up making more than one, but it seems likely that at some point, much sooner than later, Quentin Tarantino will truly retire from directing. And he might just leave behind the most consistently good filmography ever.