What was in the Briefcase?

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Can anyone tell me what was in the briefcase in Pulp Fiction? And what is the Band-Aid on the back of Marsellus's neck about? Is there a connection? You never see or hear anyone say what's in the case. Thanks!

- Hedy

This is a very commonly asked question. Who in the community can give the best answer?

If you don't remember the briefcase, check out the Hamburger scene video.

Posted by: Pulp Sloth Date:



I always thought it was a highly valued religious artifact of some type.

I know Tarantino said it was a plot device or McGuffin, but out of curiosity I watched the entire film again.

This time paying close attention to 'glow' effects.

In one scene while the briefcase is nearby, but closed, there are two glows.

This made me wonder what parts of the finished film ended-up edited out?

Taking a cue from 'Q' so-to-speak, I'll leave the point at which these other glows occur A MYSTERY.

Great thread. Every theory thought provoking.



I just thought I would clarify, that a McGuffin... Is a PLOT device. It's function is to motivate the plot, and carry it along but at the end, becomes PURPOSELESS. So, it has NO FUNCTION at all, other than to carry along the plot. (as one examples, of this are the 40 thousand dollars stolen in hitchcock's "psycho." (even after the movie's narrative splits the money is discussed.. But NEVER becomes relevant and is later forgotten. The fact that Tarantino, makes clear that the suitcase is meant to be a MCGuffin.. I think it's clear, or at least probable that the suitcase's relevance to the film was just that. To motivate the plot, WITHOUT having a real or significant meaning in the end. Tarantino is genius enough to cleverly use a McGuffin, that which is SUPPOSED to be insignificant in the end, and utilize the device to become something that will keep people talking for years to come. This is just an example of fantastic movie writing, direction, use of cinematographic excellence all around! I LOVE that Tarantino has everyone discussing the contents of a suitcase, which in this film.. Was never meant to have any real significance! (except when QT and his AD were discussing the contents of the case being the diamonds from reservoir dogs, which didn't happen here.) In that case, the suitcase WOULD HAVE had real relevance and not been classified as a McGuffin by Tarantino, and WOULD in fact Drastically ALTER ones perception of the film! (as stated in an earlier post!) well. Those are my thoughts on the matter... And I love YOU hunny bunny:-)


I just wanted to post a comment that states people need to learn how to fucking spell. And who gives a fuck what's in the briefcase? I think it makes it more fun to not know and leave it up to your imagination, as Quentin states.


The simplest explanation is logic my deer Pulp, at the end of Reservoir Dogs, Pink makes off with the diamonds, but is caught. The easiest explanation is somebody stole the briefcase, containing the diamonds, and soon ended up in the Pulp Fiction realm.

And the band-aid was to cover a scar on Ving Rhame's neck, but, Tarantino is known his mysterious key elements! But, even to this day, he honestly doesn't even know himself!


We have to take into account one thing everybody seems to miss.
Even Quentin might not know what is in there, but that doesnt mean its nothing.
Inspiration - and everybody whos ever truly been inspired can testify that - works through you.If your skill and ability happen to attract it, it wll find you and express itself through you.
And you dont have to understand it necessary to make something happen.
Sometimes it takes years to realise a layer of your own work, or you never realise it.

That being said, here my 5 cents.

Clue 1: Every character seems to "recognise" what is in the case. Everybody can identify its nature at once.

Clue 2: It is obviously something of not purely monetary worth, everybody seems to be touched by its beauty. Nobody's face reflects greed upon seeing it. If anything, it shows almost a form of respect. Or awe.

Clue 3:it gives off light

Taking these two clues into account, it cannot be money or gold or any other materialistic thing, also not a piece of art. Art can be valuable and beautiful, but certainly there is no piece of art , that every gangster can identify at once.
Also for a bunch of gangsters to be in awe of a piece of art,even have them catching their breath...now that is really a stretch.

all that clearly indicates something tangible with some kind of esoteric(religious,spiritual) aspect to it.

It cant be a soul, cause why would everyone recognise someones soul?

So bottom line I think it must be something like the Holy Grail, or the Golden Fleece.

With the 666 on the case, i am gravitating towards holy grail.


It is NOT Marcellus Wallace's soul in the briefcase and I will give 2 simple pieces of evidence that should convince a thinking mind this to be so.

Exhibit A: When people open up the briefcase through out the movie, they seem to be taken back by what their eyes are set upon. This leads me to believe that the person looking inside the briefcase is fully aware of what exactly it is they're looking at. I have never seen a soul, I've never meet anyone who has seen a soul nor have I ever heard of anybody seeing a soul. Now if nobody has ever seen a soul, how can anybody know what one looks like if they happened to come across one?

Exhibit B: We have all heard about souls one time or another in some way, form or fashion. That doesn't mean they exist. I will wager any amount of money, hell I'll even bet my OWN soul, nobody on this thread can prove souls exist. Given this information, I find it quite impossible for Marcellus Wallace's soul to be ANYWHERE let alone a briefcase.


I'm sorry but everyone on here is very, very stupid. Or at the very least thinks themselves as some deep movie thinkers. There was heroine in the briefcase, that's it. It glows gold for VV because he's addicted to heroine. Ving Rhames has a scar on the back of his neck as mentioned by many in this post. I am honestly embarrassed by this 'soul' garbage I had to read through. Occam's razor dumbasses. I'm not even trolling, I a, truly shocked by some of the complete buffoonery and attempts at deeper meaning being spouted here. Bravo folks, I guess most Tarantino fans are complete idiots.


Its not gold. If briefcase was full of gold bars it would weigh over 200 lbs.


it was not his soul when ringo looked at it when jules opened it for him.ringo asked IS THAT WHAT I THINK IT IS?now who the fuck knows what a soul looks like?thats the stupidest thing ive heard about whats in the case..


Lol dis shit is too funny.. Comments from 2007. I'm a young'n n I love dis movie but I ain't know everybody loved it lol I dnt kno what the hell is in the briefcase and I'm convinced nobody does lol I don't think it is suppost to be said what is in the briefcase. Like a few people said it just adds to the greatness of the movie. Leave u guessing. Even tho it irritates me because I have to know what was in that briefcase. I can care less about the back of Vin rhames neck... Eeww hopefully da money off dis movie afforded him some special cream.. And to the dummy at the top u had me read all dat shit like h really know what u talkin bout lol STFU


Ok back in 2000 or so QT came to Dayton Ohio to show his support of 16MM & 8MM movies at this place called the Neon Movies in Downtown Dayton. A lady that I worked with that hung up down there got to meet him at a friends house. She specifically asked him what was in the briefcase and per QT he said that it was ever that you wanted it to be. And that it was not the focal point of the movie. So personally I like to think that it was his soul and that Brett and the boys was trying to ransom it to Mr. Wallace and when he said f-that he sent Vincent and Jules to retrieve his property. Since he paid them well they didnt too muc care about the details and when Vincent opened the case he was just verifying what was inside...his soul which has a beautiful golden aura!


The briefcase contained Gold Bars. The Band-Aid on the back of Marcelus' head, was the result of a conversation that he had with his 'Boss' about the status of the briefcase. It'll probably be revealed in the Prequel.


I think the briefcase was a macguffin. Do you have a logical explanation of why the narrative was delivered out of chronlogical order? I think this movie is a masterpiece. To oversimplify it doesn't do it justice. Vincent Vega is the antihero of the movie.


Genius 66 got it right (see post 16 April 2009) - that's why the English character played by Tim Roth is so stunned when it is shown to him.

One link that Genius 66 didn't spot - whereas the winner's trophy is now simply called the 'World Cup', in 1966 the golden prize won by the winners of the FIFA World Cup was called the 'JULES Rimet Trophy'!


based on the evidence presented, I can clearly see that the lost Jules Rimet may, in fact, be in that briefcase. That would of course mean that Marcellus and Brett must have been in some strange business arrangement involving the trophy (I believe Jules called Marcellus Brett's business partner). Since Vince knew the combination of the briefcase, I must presume Marcellus had the trophy before Brett and Brett didn't get it back to Marcellus in time and that is why two hitmen showed up at Brett's apartment.


After pondering this for a few days,the idea that a soul was in the briefcase implies this movie is about salvation, which really isn't far from the truth. I still think it is a macguffin and we are meant to ignore the contents of the briefcase. The tricky part is when QT says it is up to our imagination, it is difficult to ignore because he brought it back into the movie at the end. Whatever it was, Vince and Ringo seemed to half way recognize it, meaning it wasn't a soul or it was some perhaps innocuous item with the words "Soul" or "I'm a soul" glowing on it.


I like to believe that the briefcase was Money provided to the teenage kids to purchase drugs with and sell to their clients. However; upon not hearing anything back from them for some time Marcellus sends Vincent and Jules to get the message across. (Why the immediate use of terminal force to gain undivided attention and set the tone for full cooperation) Upon discovering that the money in the briefcase was either gone or significantly reduced from the original amount without increase of funds from the expected sales and also noting that all the kids in the apartment seemed baked and hungover from a long night of partying with Marcellus's money, it becomes apparent why Vega sarcasticly replies "Oh yea, we happy..." to Jules's question. As for the band-aid, I believe the covering up a scar story as well as even though make-up would have covered up the scar just as well the series of over the shoulder shots and the band-aid make the Marcellus character more interesting and unique as well as mysterious, which I believe is what he was shooting for in the development of the character. Thanks for reading my take on the matter.


Marsella was a bad MF; i.e. drug dealer, fix boxing matches, set up wife, hit men to kill any one who fuck him over, etc. Kundalini, seat of the soul rest at base of skull, and two righteous turned self-righteous, trying to retrieve suitcase where soul had gone for the "Bad Mother Fucker" Marcella.
Bruce Willis receive redemption by his actions at PAWN Broker's Shop, where symbolically you get fucked in the ass. Was Macellas turn to reap!


Been a while since saw the movie, but I always felt that it was the Holy Grail. Mostly due to the religious overtones of the movie and the golden glow.


Hi gang stars! How bout when Ringo says is it what I think it is? ....it's beautiful . If it was gold that does not fukin glow by the way! Gold is not an it. A soul? Why not...whatever never mind...lol