‘Kill Bill Vol. 1 and 2’ (2003 – 2004)
Originally conceived as one film, “Kill Bill” was eventually split by director Quentin Tarantino into two gloriously violent and bloody halves of a whole with Uma Thurman at the action-packed centre in a now-iconic yellow tracksuit. While “Kill Bill Vol. 2” isn’t quite as good as the first film, splitting the story in two gave Thurman the chance to truly inhabit the role without sacrificing any of her story.
An ominous ethical tale about a future where children are born with only the best genes pre-selected by their parents, the thought-provoking sci-fi by Andrew Niccol contrasts Ethan Hawke’s Vincent, a man with genetic defects willing to fight for what he wants in society against Thurman’s Irene, who passively accepts her genetic fate. The chemistry factor is high between the two leads who married after filming wrapped.
‘Beautiful Girls’ (1996)
Written by the screenwriter of “Con Air” (no, really), the film is a romantic drama about a group of friends facing down 30. The intertwining lives of the ensemble characters are explored through the differences between what men say and what they feel still feels fresh nearly 25 years later.
‘Pulp Fiction’ (1994)
We have Tarantino to thank for Thurman’s two most recognizable characters. “Pulp Fiction” was a fresh take on a crime story that blew audiences and critics away, with Thurman the focus of two of cinema’s most iconic scenes – Mia’s dance-off opposite John Travolta’s Vincent Vega and the adrenalin-shot-to-the-heart scene. The part earned the actress her first and only Oscar nomination.
‘Dangerous Liaisons’ (1988)
The Oscar-winning period drama about the cruel wager between a woman (Glenn Close) and her misogynistic former lover (John Malkovich) to seduce the virginal Cecile (Uma Thurman) before her wedding is vicious, erotic, witty and far more wicked fun than a wig-and-powder drama about manipulation has any right to be, thanks to the cast.
‘Les Miserables’ (1998)
This non-musical film is a direct adaptation of Victor Hugo’s novel, with Liam Neeson as Jean Valjean, Geoffrey Rush as Javert, and Thurman as single mother Fantine. Critics praised the film for capturing the novel’s most emotional moments, especially the connection between Neeson and Thurman.
‘The Truth About Cats & Dogs’ (1996)
20th Century Fox
The 1996 rom-com is a gender-reversed take on the Cyrano de Bergerac story about a woman with low self-esteem (Janeane Garofalo) who asks her model BFF (Thurman) to pretend to be her when she finds an attractive man. While the movie’s themes are a bit clichéd, it’s nevertheless charming and filled with witty dialogue, especially between the two female leads.
Over the years Thurman has appeared in several TV shows, but none more memorable than her five-episode arc on the short-lived musical drama “Smash”, which follows the behind-the-stage drama of a Broadway acting company attempting to put on a musical about Marilyn Monroe. Enter Thurman as a Hollywood star with Broadway dreams despite an utter lack of theatrical talent. Exhibiting full-on diva behaviour, Thurman’s antics are over the top as the self-absorbed Rebecca, complete with some off-key warbling. The role earned her an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series.
‘The Producers’ (2005)
Thurman gets silly in the musical inspired by Mel Brooks’ “The Producers” as Ulla, the heavily accented secretary of Broadway producers Bialystock & Bloom and is just dying for a part in their next musical, 'Springtime For Hitler'. Is it a good movie? Not really. But Thurman’s singing and dancing in the campy musical is still a lot of fun.
‘The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen’ (1988)
A totally zany and bizarre account of the deranged Baron Munchausen’s fantastical experiences is something that only Monty Python’s Terry Gilliam could dream up. In only her fourth acting gig, Thurman plays the goddess Venus among an ensemble that includes a young Sarah Polley, Eric Idle, Jonathan Pryce, Oliver Reed, and Robin Williams in a film that needs to be seen to be believed. Despite being a noted box official failure, which cost the studio $38 million in losses, the movie is well reviewed by critics and earned four Oscar nominations.