One of the most iconic and memorable scenes Quentin Tarantino draws for us in Pulp Fiction is the “Royale with Cheese” scene. Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson) are two lovable hitmen who work for a crime boss named Marsellus. As they go about their hitmen duties, they chat nonchalantly about inconsequential topics, much as two office workers would around the water cooler, and that’s how Vince comes to explain a few key differences between Europe and America to Jules:
VINCENT: You know what the funniest thing about Europe is?
VINCENT: It’s the little differences. And you know what they call a, a Quarter Pounder with cheese in Paris?
JULES: They don’t call it a Quarter Pounder with cheese?
VINCENT: No, man. They got the metric system. They wouldn’t know what the #*$! a Quarter Pounder is.
JULES: Then what do they call it?
VINCENT: They call it the Royale with cheese.
JULES: Royale with cheese.
VINCENT: That’s right.
JULES: What do they call a Big Mac?
VINCENT: A Big Mac’s a Big Mac, but they call it Le Big Mac.
JULES: Le Big Mac. What do they call a Whopper?
VINCENT: I don’t know. I didn’t go into Burger King.
Vince and Jules continue chatting like two carpoolers on their way to work. They casually enter an apartment building, still prattling until finally Jules says, “C’mon, let’s get into character.” As they enter their target’s apartment, Jules and Vincent’s dark sides are exposed as they transform into ruthless, unflinching hitmen. This scene is vintage Tarantino — unforgettable dialogue that contrasts the humanity and brutality in each of his characters.