Lawrence Bender isn’t exactly a household name, but many moviegoers would certainly recognize a lot of the titles in his filmography. Bender, born in 1957 in the Bronx borough of New York City, has been the producing force behind nearly all of Quentin Tarantino’s worldwide smash hits, including Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, and Inglourious basterds Volumes 1 and 2. He was raised in New Jersey after being born in New York, and throughout his long and illustrious career has been nominated three times for the Best Picture Academy Award. Not bad for a producer who originally set out to be a dancer!
Many movie enthusiasts will have their own favorites out of his oeuvre of cinematic works of art, but in the opinion of this writer, none of the movies he’s made since Reservoir Dogs has had the style and urgency of that incredible piece of moviemaking. Reservoir Dogs is Tarantino at his absolute best: the jazz-like pitter patter of the movie’s script, the tension that seeps into every nook and cranny of the “hideout” warehouse, and the relationships that form and fray between the characters. Utilizing his star-studded cast at the height of each of their powers, Tarantino weaves a thoroughly unpredictable and taut thriller that nonetheless brings belly laughs from unexpected scenes.
The genius of the movie comes largely from its spare nature. There are few big budget explosions or chase scenes (in fact, the movie only cost just over $1 million to make) but Tarantino still wrings out every bit of pathos and excitement out of his limited means. Bender’s vision in aligning himself with a master artist like Tarantino was a stroke of genius for the noted producer, and it set him on a path to worldwide renown, success and wealth. Now into his 60s, Lawrence Bender shows no signs of slowing his pace — not that he needs to keep working! But in the opinion of many, the third movie (and first Tarantino work) he ever produced will always stand as his greatest achievement in the world of film. Surely he wouldn’t be too upset by that!
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