Quentin Tarantino and Uma Thurman will go down in film history as one of the great pairings of an actor and a director. Their collaborations are limited to Pulp Fiction and both volumes of Kill Bill, but that was enough to solidify their lasting legacy. Uma Thurman has played a ton of different characters since her star-making turn in Pulp Fiction, but Mia Wallace is still one of her most memorable roles. The character’s verbose dialogue was perfectly suited to Thurman’s articulate delivery style, while she had more than enough genuine coolness to make Mia’s attitude more than just an act. She remains a beloved icon of the silver screen.
Pulp Fiction is one of Tarantino’s most quotable movies, and it’s packed with memorable characters, but Mia Wallace remains the true standout of the movie. Though she appears mat various points throughout the film, she’s really only in one segment of the film, but she leaves a distinct impression. Thurman imbued the character with such a high degree of enigmatic charm that it’s impossible for fans of 90s movies to not know at least a couple of the best Mia Wallace quotes.
14 “In Conversation, Do You Listen Or Wait To Talk?”
This line is actually from a deleted scene, but it’s a shame it got cut because it’s one of the most thoughtful Mia Wallace quotes. When people engage in conversation, they either take in what the other person is saying and use it as a springboard to provoke a deeper discussion, or they simply wait for that person to stop talking so that they can say what’s on their mind. Mia asks Vincent Vega (John Travolta), “In conversation, do you listen or wait to talk?” to which Vincent replies, “I have to admit that I wait to talk, but I’m trying harder to listen.”
13 “When You Little Scamps Get Together, You’re Worse Than A Sewing Circle.”
When Vincent tells Mia about a rumor he heard about her, she tells him that he and his “little scamp” friends – in other words, the contract killers that work for her mob boss husband – are “worse than a sewing circle.” It’s an endearingly comical take on Vincent’s profession, but it also serves as a stark reminder that people in his line of work are day-to-day encounters to the wife of Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames).
12 “I Want That Trophy, So Dance Good.”
When Mia and Vincent are eating at Jack Rabbit Slim’s and the emcee announces the restaurant’s world-famous dance contest, Mia decides she wants to take part in the contest – and she wants to win. Winning a dance contest boils down to dancing good to win a trophy. Mia sums it up perfectly: “I do believe Marsellus Wallace, my husband, your boss, told you to take me out and do whatever I wanted. Now, I wanna dance, I wanna win. I want that trophy, so dance good.” It leads into one of the most iconic dance scenes of the 90s, and they do indeed “dance good.”
11 “Through No Fault Of My Own, I Would Have Broken My Promise.”
When Vincent has something to tell Mia, he tells her to promise that she won’t get offended. However, she explains that she can’t make such a promise. She says, “You can’t promise something like that. I have no idea what you’re going to ask me. So, you can go ahead and ask me what you’re going to ask me, and my natural response could be to get offended. Then, through no fault of my own, I would have broken my promise.” Mia and Vincent’s dinner conversation is generally fascinating but this Mia Wallace quote is one of the most thought-provoking parts of the whole evening.
10 “That’s When You Know You’ve Found Somebody Really Special: You Can Just Shut The F*** Up For A Minute And Comfortably Share Silence.”
There’s a lot of tension between Vincent Vega and Mia Wallace in Pulp Fiction. In a lesser movie, they would fall in love over the course of the night and kiss when Vincent dropped Mia off back at home at the end of their pseudo-date. Instead of getting together, however, their connection is left unspoken, but this Mia Wallace quote is still romantically charged and highly memorable to boot. They know they have something pretty special, but they also know they’ll never be able to act on it.
9 “Don’t Be A… *Draws Square*”
Some fans have pointed out that Mia Wallace actually draws a rectangle in the air and not a square, despite the fact that she’s telling Vincent not to be a square, but that just adds to the quirkiness of the moment. It’s odd for a Tarantino movie to add something over the frame like an animated square appearing at Uma Thurman’s fingertips, but it fits, leading to one of the better–if shorter–Mia Wallace quotes. Pulp Fiction is an exercise in postmodernism, and so when something pops up to remind the audience that this is just a movie, it works.
8 “Three Tomatoes Are Walking Down The Street…”
Thanks to Pulp Fiction, a lot of moviegoers are familiar with the TV production process. Mia Wallace explains that she once appeared in a TV pilot called Fox Force Five (a pilot being the first episode of a show that is used to determine if it’s worth making into a series). Her character was supposed to tell a corny joke in every episode, but they only did one episode, so she only ever got to tell one joke, leading to an excellent Mia Wallace quote: “Three tomatoes are walking down the street: a papa tomato, a momma tomato, and a little baby tomato. Baby tomato starts lagging behind. Papa tomato gets angry, goes over to the baby tomato, and smushes him…and says, ‘Catch up.’”
7 “Trying To Forget Anything As Intriguing As This Would Be An Exercise In Futility.”
When Vincent tells Mia Wallace that he has something to tell her, she wants to know what it is, but then he changes his mind about telling her and just tells her to forget it. However, as she tells him, once he’s introduced the notion that he has something tantalizing to tell her, it’s impossible for her to just forget about it. She won’t be able to let it go until she’s told what that is. It’s easy to relate to this Mia Wallace quote, and the way that Tarantino makes these larger-than-life characters feel normal is a big part of the movie’s everlasting charm.
6 “I Have To Go Powder My Nose.”
Pulp Fiction was controversial for a lot of things, like its violence and its language, but one of the most controversial elements was drug use. Drug use is never glamorized by the movie, however, and is shown to be very dangerous, as seen in Mia’s overdose scene. There’s a sinister undercurrent running throughout everything in Pulp Fiction‘s depiction of Los Angeles and just like the novelty waiters dressed as tragically dead stars that are serving Vincent and Mia their food at dinner, there’s a darkness to the Hollywood glamor that goes largely unspoken. Mia’s euphemism for doing cocaine in the bathroom is fittingly old-fashioned and on-the-nose as a result.
5 “Don’t You Just Love It When You Come Back From The Bathroom And Find Your Food Waiting For You?”
This is another really relatable Mia Wallace quote. The magic of returning to a restaurant table to a freshly delivered plate of food is one of those everyday occurrences that are universally identifiable, yet is so mundane that it rarely gets a mention in movies and TV shows. Tarantino’s movies have always been famous for their dialogue, but lines like this in Pulp Fiction are so perfect in such a simple way that they almost sound poetic without appearing to try.
One of the most thrilling and breathtaking sequences in Pulp Fiction is the one where Mia Wallace snorts some of Vincent’s heroin, mistaking it for cocaine, and starts to overdose. Vincent panics because it’s his boss’ wife, and if she dies, he dies. So, he gets her into his car and rushes her over to his drug dealer Lance’s (Eric Stoltz) house to get her an adrenaline shot. When she awakens from the adrenaline shot, Lance says, “If you’re all right, then say something,” and Mia jokingly says, “Something.” There are longer and more eloquent Mia Wallace quotes, but none quite as funny.
3 “Uncomfortable Silences. Why Do We Feel It’s Necessary To Yak About Bulls*** In Order To Be Comfortable?”
As this Mia Wallace quote points out, it often feels like all silences are uncomfortable when in the company of a vaguely familiar acquaintance, but they don’t have to be. As long as that acquaintance is someone like Mia Wallace, the silences don’t have to be uncomfortable, because they’ll point this out. Mia isn’t just a great character to see in a movie, she seems like a real person that anyone could strike up an interesting conversation with.
2 “The Only Thing Antoine Ever Touched Of Mine Was My Hand, When He Shook It, At My Wedding.”
The running storyline about why Marsellus threw Tony Rocky Horror from a fourth-floor window is an interesting one, and it doesn’t get fully explained. Even Mia Wallace doesn’t have the full story. She just confirms that what Vincent heard about the foot rub, the rumor that made him terrified to take her out for dinner, is just a rumor. She even points out that he should’ve been able to tell that from how unreasonable it sounds. The fact it’s never resolved, with Mia saying it’s between Marsellus and Tony Rocky Horror and them alone, adds to the mystique of the movie and creates a very memorable Mia Wallace quote.
1 “This Doesn’t Sound Like The Usual Mindless, Boring, Getting-To-Know-You Chit-Chat. This Sounds Like You Have Something To Say.”
Mia Wallace’s defining characteristic is that she refuses to fall for all of society’s traps. Banal chit-chat is just a symptom of social convention and Mia realizes that and rejects it. This is a common theme in Tarantino’s movies, starting with the very first scene of his very first film in which the Reservoir Dogs gangsters are eating breakfast in a diner and Steve Buscemi’s Mr. Pink starts protesting automated tipping like he’s Larry David. When Mia realizes that something actually needs to be said, she’s excited, because it gives her a break from the mundanity of the social norms, and offers up another of the best Mia Wallace quotes.