Movie Legends Revealed | Are All of the Clocks in ‘Pulp Fiction’ Set to 4:20?

pulpfictionMOVIE URBAN LEGEND: All of the timepieces in Pulp Fiction are set to 4:20.

A very popular “true movie fact” is that all of the clocks in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction are set to 4:20, a popular reference among marijuana enthusiasts. (The term has evolved from a meeting time for a group of teens in California in pursuit of weed to a code term used to refer to marijuana in general — a term popularized by the magazine High Times — to the point that April 20 has practically become a holiday for pot smokers).

Is that true? Are all of the clocks in Pulp Fiction set to 4:20?

No, it is not true.

It reminds me of a Comic Book Legends Revealed from a few years involving the belief that there’s a Superman reference in every episode of Seinfeld (either through a mention or by an appearance by the Superman magnet on Jerry’s refrigerator). As I pointed out then, that’s an exaggeration based on a fact. Superman was referenced a lot on Seinfeld, but obviously someone along the line felt it wasn’t enough merely for Superman to be referenced a lot; he had to be referenced in every episode.

Similarly, a number of clocks were set to 4:20 in Pulp Fiction. There are a couple in the pawn shop where Butch Coolidge is going to rescue Marcellus Wallace, for instance. However, even in those very scenes, there’s also a clock that’s not set to 4:20.

In addition, the most famous timepiece in the entire movie, Butch’s watch, isn’t set to 4:20 when we see it given to him as a child. There are others as well.

pulpfictionclock1

Obviously, at some point the telephone game went into effect, and instead of people simply noting the interesting bit of trivia that a number of clocks were set to 4:20 (which presumably is a marijuana reference), it soon became the more interesting (but also false) trivia that all of the clocks in Pulp Fiction were set to 4:20. It eventually became accepted as fact.

The legend is …

STATUS: False

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is bcronin@legendsrevealed.com.

Be sure to check out my Entertainment Urban Legends Revealed for more urban legends about the worlds of TV, Movies and Music!

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Comments

  • Sentry616

    “April 20 has practically become a holiday for pot smokers.”
    So 20/04/2014 is a weed holiday?
    Silly Americans with their backwards dates and cars that get 40 rods to the hogshead.

  • MychaelDarklighter

    Actually, large to small as the mathematically correct way to render any number.

    Anyway, when I first saw the title, Butch’s watch was the first thing that came to mind. How could this legend gain so much traction when the one clock that is actually essential to the plot is set to the wrong time? It would have been the first place I’d have looked to confirm, and thus it’s debunked seconds after setting out.

  • Sentry616

    Large to small is wrong too but at least it makes some kind of sense. Americans go medium, small then large. 04/20/2014. That shit is as stupid as their arbitrary boiling point of water.