An action scene from early in the 2003 movie Kill Bill: Vol. 1, written and directed by Quentin Tarantino.
IMDb plot summary: The Bride wakens from a four-year coma. The child she carried in her womb is gone. Now she must wreak vengeance on the team of assassins who betrayed her – a team she was once part of.
The scene from the script:
EXT. RESIDENTIAL PASADENA STREET - DAY The front door opens and an attractive black HOUSEWIFE the same age as The Bride stands in the doorway. The Housewife's face shows immediate recognition of the blonde on her doorstep. The BRIDE on the porch; we do a quick Shaw-Brothers-style Zoom into her eyes. FLASHBACK - SPAGHETTI WESTERN STYLE (That means our Heroine is remembering something, and we see it with an orange filter.) We're back inside the wedding chapel. The Bride is taking the beating of her life by four people in black suits. A black woman PUNCHES HER in the face... WE see it's the black housewife, five years earlier. The BRIDE ON THE PORCH We Zoom quick out of her eyes to CU, a VENGEANCE THEME PLAYS LOUD ON THE SOUNDTRACK. (Whenever we hear this theme throughout the picture, we'll quickly learn what accompanies it is The Bride goin Krakatoa all over whoever's ass happens to be in front of her at that moment.) As the Vengeance Theme plays, a Vein in The Bride's forehead begins to pulsate. When the Vengeance Theme stops, The Bride ATTACKS The Housewife. INT. HOUSEWIFE'S NICE HOME - DAY The white woman and the black woman FLY into the center of the living room, CRASHING onto her coffe table in front of the sofa. These two wildcats go at each other savagely, TUMBLING OVER the couch, clawing and scratching all the way, landing together on the plush carpet. The HOUSEWIFE KICKS The Bride, sending her CRASHING backwards into the small table where the phone, a note pad (for messages), and the mail is kept. The Housewife scrambles up on her feet, but is caught by a FLYING TACKLE from behind by The Bride that sends them both into........ An ornamental iron and tempered-glass bookcase that has framed family photos, display toys, some African art, and a collection of painted commemorative plates depicting the negro experience in the American military. Starting with a plate featuring Cripis Atkins in the revolutionary war, negro troops in union blue during the civil war, Buffalo soldiers fighting Indians, the Jim Crow troops of the first world war, the colored troops of world war two, Korea, Vietnam, and finally Colin Powell....The Bride and The Housewife CRASH THROUGH all this reducing everything to rubble. They land hard on the floor covered in broken glass, locked in grapple, each trying to get the best of the other one,... When The Housewife HEADBUTTS The Bride in the nose. The HOUSEWIFE hops off The Bride, runs into the kitchen, opens a drawer and comes out with a HUGE MOTHERFUCKIN BUTCHER KNIFE. The BRIDE rises from the floor, and WHIPS OUT a KNIFE in a sheath hanging from her belt known as a SOG. (A SOG is a long, double-edged knife that's as sharp as a razor, and is what Navy Seals use to kill humans with.) The Bride backs up into the mess of the now totally demolished living room. The two woman stalk each other, each holding her blade, each looking like they know how to use it, each waiting for the other to make a mistake so they can plunge their blade deep into the other one. Blood and sweat dript off of the faces of the two women locked in life and death combat...... ....When The back kitchen door opens, and a FOUR-YEAR-OLD LITTLE GIRL, carrying a lunch box steps inside. FOUR-YEAR-OLD GIRL Mommy, I'm home! The two warrior women whose eyes reflect only combat concentration, suddenly switch upon hearing the four-year old's voice. The Housewife's eyes flash a look of pleading to the eyes of The Bride. The Bride seems to answer back; "Okay." The Black woman and the white woman hide their edged weapons behind their backs, as the Four-Year-Old Little Girl walks into the newly destroyed living room. The Housewife switches to her mommy voice. THE HOUSEWIFE Hey baby, how was school?
Here is the scene from the movie:
What did you notice in the translation from script to screen? Differences? Interesting use of language to convey eventual visuals?
One of the best things you can do to learn the craft of screenwriting is to read the script while watching the movie. After all a screenplay is a blueprint to make a movie and it’s that magic of what happens between printed page and final print that can inform how you approach writing scenes. That is the purpose of Script to Screen, a weekly series on GITS where we analyze a memorable movie scene and the script pages that inspired it.