Twenty Years Later, Samuel L. Jackson Recites His ‘Pulp Fiction’ Speech From Memory
It was 20 years ago that ‘Pulp Fiction’ hit theaters and changed the landscape of modern cinema. It also launched the career of Samuel L. Jackson, who has gone on to become one of the highest-grossing actors of all-time. Despite his successes and the many roles he’s had since then, Jackson can still recite the famous “Ezekiel 25:17″ speech from ‘Pulp Fiction’ from memory.
The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee.
Recited first to Brett inside his apartment earlier in the film, it’s a passage from the Bible that Jules Winfield (Jackson) would later describe as “some cold-blooded s— to say to a motherf—er before I popped a cap in his ass.” (He also would hypothesize over whether there was some deeper meaning, as he tried to convince himself that he’s the shepherd.) Jackson’s delivery of that speech helped earn him a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his role in the film, though eventually losing to Martin Landau in ‘Ed Wood’.
20 years later, it’s arguably the role with which Jackson is most closely associated; so much so, that he can still recite the classic monologue from memory. Jackson was recently on the BBC’s ‘Graham Norton Show’ and was asked to spontaneously recreate the scene on stage (while sitting next to Keira Knightley, no less) and the actor not only remembered it, but performed it.
Interestingly enough, the speech Jackson delivers in the film, as written by Tarantino, isn’t really a passage from the Bible. The actual verse reads:
I will carry out great vengeance on them and punish them in my wrath. Then they will know that I am the Lord, when I take vengeance on them.
Cool, but not exactly legendary. Quentin Tarantino added his take, based partly on the opening crawl from Sonny Chiba’s 1973 martial arts film ‘The Bodyguard’ and turned it into one of the memorable monologues in movie history. After you watch the 2014 version above, you can watch the original version from ‘Pulp Fiction’ below.