Her first collaboration with Tarantino sees Thurman playing a mysterious and engrossing character named Mia Wallace. She’s one of the most dynamic in the film and of the 1990s as a whole, with Wallace remaining a go-to Halloween costume for film students across the country well into the 2010s. Tarantino owes a lot to Thurman, and that relationship between the two started here.
Released as two films but originally intended as one, Kill Bill, Vol. I and II follows Thurman as a woman known only as the Bride. Her character has awoken from a four-year coma and is dead-set on seeking revenge on the people who put her there in the first place. She’s an assassin up against countless other assassins, cutting them down one by one in search of the ultimate evil in her life: a man named Bill.
It’s hard to imagine a movie fronted by Uma Thurman, Ethan Hawke, and Jude Law not making it onto this list. Gattaca is a 1997 film written and directed by Andrew Niccol that takes lace in a future where babies are genetically engineered for perfection. When one of the last remaining naturally-born men assumes the identity of a superior one in order to travel to space, chaos (naturally) ensues. Thurman plays Hawke’s wife, successfully continuing her hot streak well into the late 90s.
One of two great Uma Thurman movies from 1988, Dangerous Liaisons is based on a play by Christopher Hampton and features an all-star cast comprised of Glenn Close, John Malkovich, Michelle Pfeiffer, Keanu Reeves, and Uma Thurman. Thurman plays Cécile de Volanges, a woman who finds herself caught up in a widow’s scheme to profit off of the corruption of her life. It’s one of the wildest period pieces ever.
Speaking of wild period pieces from 1988, Thurman also gets to have some fun in Terry Gilliam’s The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. Taking place in the 1700s, the film follows a mythical aristocrat and his henchmen in their various romps across the world. Thurman plays both Venus and Rose, the former being the wife of Oliver Reed’s character Vulcan. It’s an imaginative and witty tall tale, and Thurman certainly helps elevate things a bit.