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The Hidden Meaning of the ‘Like a Virgin’ Speech in ‘Reservoir Dogs’

It’s one of the most famous introductions in the history of movies: The men of Reservoir Dogs (who don’t ever call themselves that) walking in slo-mo through a Los Angeles parking lot, on the way to the jewel heist that will change all of their lives forever. But that introduction is not how Reservoir Dogs technically begins. In fact, the movie starts with its writer and director, Quentin Tarantino, giving a long speech about the meaning of Madonna’s pop classic “Like a Virgin.” Tarantino’s Mr. Brown could have talked about any song. He could have explained the significance of “Little Green Bag” (the song the Dogs walk in slo-mo to) or “Weird Al” Yankovic’s “Like a Surgeon.” So why “Like a Virgin”?

Tarantino deliberately gave himself this Madonna speech (in the original script, it was delivered by Steve Buscemi’s Mr. Pink), so it must have been of serious personal significance. In the video above, ScreenCrush editor and critic Matt Singer explores this idea, and shows how the selection of “Like a Virgin” reveals a hidden theme of Reservoir Dogs. Thanks to this one scene, the story of a jewel heist gone wrong becomes one giant metaphor for the dangers of making a film as a first-time director.

We’ve got lots more videos and video essays coming in the future. In the meantime, don’t forget to subscribe to the ScreenCrush YouTube channel to catch all our future episodes. And you can watch more of ScreenCrush’s videos below!

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