27 votes

What is your favorite opening scene in a movie?

Or favorite opening scenes, you can post more than one if you want.

47 comments

  1. [7]
    Douglas
    Link
    The Matrix has gotta be up there. I remember having seen nothing like it when it came out. Directed just like a comic book, and such intrigue “no lieutenant, your men are already dead.” That movie...

    The Matrix has gotta be up there. I remember having seen nothing like it when it came out. Directed just like a comic book, and such intrigue “no lieutenant, your men are already dead.” That movie just takes off and doesn’t let up for some time.

    14 votes
    1. [5]
      JamesTeaKirk
      Link Parent
      I'm quite upset about the legacy of the Matrix today (as much as one can be upset about the perception of a movie lol). People seem to have either not seen it, or don't like it because of it's...

      I'm quite upset about the legacy of the Matrix today (as much as one can be upset about the perception of a movie lol). People seem to have either not seen it, or don't like it because of it's popularity and obsessive fan-base which existed when it came out. I think the third movie put a nail in the coffin of the trilogy as it was widely considered the worst of the movies, and coincided with a time in which many people were tired of hearing about the Matrix.

      3 votes
      1. Akir
        Link Parent
        As perhaps one of the biggest Wachowski fans on the planet, I've got to say that the Matrix sequels are easily their most disappointing projects. I think part of the appeal of the original is how...

        As perhaps one of the biggest Wachowski fans on the planet, I've got to say that the Matrix sequels are easily their most disappointing projects. I think part of the appeal of the original is how much you don't know. The sequels explain things and that makes it less magic. in any case, I feel that The Animatrix is a much better "sequel". While the direct sequels do have some very cool things in them but they just don't quite make up for how much of a killjoy the experience is.

        5 votes
      2. [2]
        balooga
        Link Parent
        In the first couple years after the first movie's release, we also had to put up with a ton of second-rate "bullet time" copycats, ads, and parodies, some better than others. I think this...

        In the first couple years after the first movie's release, we also had to put up with a ton of second-rate "bullet time" copycats, ads, and parodies, some better than others. I think this contributed to a certain degree of cultural Matrix fatigue, too.

        3 votes
        1. pseudolobster
          Link Parent
          Relevant TVTropes: https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SeinfeldIsUnfunny Basically all cultural milestones are driven into the ground by imitation. Once all of the unique parts of the...

          Relevant TVTropes:

          https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SeinfeldIsUnfunny

          Basically all cultural milestones are driven into the ground by imitation. Once all of the unique parts of the movie were absorbed into others through cultural osmosis, nothing new unique about it is ever novel again.

          Ironically in this case, The Matrix itself was a mashup pastiche of Dark City, Ghost in the Shell, etc.

          2 votes
  2. Staross
    Link
    Ghost in the Shell opening must be up there, I specially like the last part in which she wakes up : https://youtu.be/nOV_mpwkU8Y?t=435

    Ghost in the Shell opening must be up there, I specially like the last part in which she wakes up :

    https://youtu.be/nOV_mpwkU8Y?t=435

    12 votes
  3. [4]
    Eric_the_Cerise
    Link
    One of my favorites ... The Dark Knight ... the day The Joker became interesting (at least, in film). PS: I can't find the full opening scene, but this captures the meat of it.

    One of my favorites ...

    The Dark Knight

    ... the day The Joker became interesting (at least, in film).

    PS: I can't find the full opening scene, but this captures the meat of it.

    12 votes
    1. Douglas
      Link Parent
      This is my second favorite opening scene; that soundtrack, the direction, the gritty feel, I love it. ...I do hate that you can see the camera at the end of the opening shot in the reflection of...

      This is my second favorite opening scene; that soundtrack, the direction, the gritty feel, I love it.

      ...I do hate that you can see the camera at the end of the opening shot in the reflection of the building, and the ridiculousness of the robbery bus inconspicuously entering the line of buses, and the Joker tricking the henchman to get him in position for said bus... but who cares, it was fun, thrilling, and really set the tone for the movie. It's one of those movies that if you stop and think too much about what's going on, the sillier it is, but it's all in the execution of it that lets most of it slide.

      4 votes
  4. [2]
    Comment deleted by author
    Link
    1. Sand
      Link Parent
      The opening scene might be the best part of that movie, it reminds me of Pixar's short films.

      The opening scene might be the best part of that movie, it reminds me of Pixar's short films.

      5 votes
  5. [2]
    DataWraith
    (edited )
    Link
    I love the opening scene of Contact. Technically this could be construed as spoiler A view of the earth. Silence, then rock music. A slow zoom out from earth through the entire solar system, as...

    I love the opening scene of Contact.

    Technically this could be construed as spoiler A view of the earth. Silence, then rock music. A slow zoom out from earth through the entire solar system, as the radio transmissions get farther and farther back in history. Then the camera is so far away from earth that any sign of humanity is absent. More silence. The entire milky way comes into view. Then you see that it is just a single galaxy among its peers, and not necessarily the grandest one. And then even that fades into obscurity as we move away from it. Millions of galaxies fill the screen. And then we end up transitioning back to earth through a reflection in the eye of young Ellie Arroway, at the very start of her story...
    8 votes
    1. arp242
      Link Parent
      I miss science fiction like Contact. These days everything is all super-robots fighting aliens with swords, or whatever. The closest that I know is The Expanse, and while I enjoy it I wish it...

      I miss science fiction like Contact. These days everything is all super-robots fighting aliens with swords, or whatever. The closest that I know is The Expanse, and while I enjoy it I wish it would focus more on the politics and characters, and less on all the action.

      3 votes
  6. Loire
    Link
    It's not as flashy as some others, but one of my personal favourites is the first six or so minutes from There Will Be Blood. With not a line of dialogue we learn everything about Daniel Plainview...

    It's not as flashy as some others, but one of my personal favourites is the first six or so minutes from There Will Be Blood. With not a line of dialogue we learn everything about Daniel Plainview in those six minutes: his quiet determination, his obssesion, the rage. It also serves as a stunning contrast to the Daniel Plainview we witness at the end of the film.

    And those string man, those strings. Really set the tone for the entire film.

    7 votes
  7. Akir
    Link
    It's an odd thing to judge a movie by, but I would have to say the film with the best opening scene is undoubtably The Lion King. It was so good that Disney didn't have to do anything else to...

    It's an odd thing to judge a movie by, but I would have to say the film with the best opening scene is undoubtably The Lion King. It was so good that Disney didn't have to do anything else to advertise the film; They simply turned that opening into the trailer.

    It's also the best arguement as to why you should see movies in a theater. The visuals are not well served by small screens and your average TV speakers reproduction is an insult to the sound design. On the other hand, watching this in the theater is the perfect demonstration of how animation is magic - it's more than reality. Watching the animals parade on the large screen erases the frame and immerses you in the action put in front of you.

    Beyond that, everything is enhanced by M. Lebo's fantastic "Circle of Life", combining a symphony and a choir mixed especially to surround you. Everything about it demands an emotional response from the listener, from the picture painted so smoothly by the lead singer to the cries of the choir. The melody is composed alongside this rhythm that sweeps in and out; combined with a rising chord progression, it ends up sweeping you away.

    Then with a loud drum beat, everything ends with the title card. The entire audience is excited to see if the rest of the movie can somehow match what they just went though. And of course, the best part is that it does.

    7 votes
  8. Eric_the_Cerise
    Link
    In the original Star Wars ... the opening reveal of that massive Star Destroyer. People today don't "get" how impactful that was at the time. Prior to that moment, the biggest spaceship we'd ever...

    In the original Star Wars ... the opening reveal of that massive Star Destroyer. People today don't "get" how impactful that was at the time. Prior to that moment, the biggest spaceship we'd ever seen on-screen was the Starship Enterprise ... and they could have parked the Enterprise in one of that thing's storage bays.

    Also, of course, the first ever reveal of Darth Vader.

    7 votes
  9. [2]
    Sith
    Link
    Fellowship of The Ring wins hands down. The opening battle at Mordor is stunning and it is then followed by the stark contrast of the quiet Shire.

    Fellowship of The Ring wins hands down. The opening battle at Mordor is stunning and it is then followed by the stark contrast of the quiet Shire.

    6 votes
    1. gpl
      Link Parent
      Keeping in mind how there weren't really a lot of fantasy movies or epic battles like that in cinemas before, and its even more impressive. LOTR more or less created the "epic final fantasy...

      Keeping in mind how there weren't really a lot of fantasy movies or epic battles like that in cinemas before, and its even more impressive. LOTR more or less created the "epic final fantasy battle" that has become standard in the genre.

      3 votes
  10. [4]
    Ellimist
    Link
    I know Star Wars isn’t exactly held up as a gold standard of film making in terms of cinematic quality but....... The opening scene to Revenge of the Sith is up there for me. It really only lasts...

    I know Star Wars isn’t exactly held up as a gold standard of film making in terms of cinematic quality but.......

    The opening scene to Revenge of the Sith is up there for me. It really only lasts a minute or so but it’s one of the best scenes in all of the Star Wars films. The music(For all the faults of the films, John Williams nails each film and Star Wars wouldn’t be what it was without him), the CGI, the viewing perspective

    Another great opening scene is more geek fan service but the opening to Bumblebee.

    After the travesty of the Bayformers films, the opening to Bumblebee is just pure fun, a legitimate live action version of the original Transformers cartoon. I’d love an entire film, just of that.

    Also, obligatory nod to Saving Private Ryan. That D-Day scene is easily one of the most intense in all of cinema and my 5th grade teacher suffered the wrath of multiple parents for showing it to us when we covered World War 2.

    Oh hell, and Jaws. The opening scene to Jaws just sets the tone for the whole film. It’s scary without revealing anything about what’s under the water.

    5 votes
    1. [3]
      tomf
      Link Parent
      Have you had a chance to see Hal9000's prequel fanedits? A lot of the issues with the prequels (unnecessary slapstick Jar Jar, etc) are either completely omitted or edited down so they fit with...

      Have you had a chance to see Hal9000's prequel fanedits? A lot of the issues with the prequels (unnecessary slapstick Jar Jar, etc) are either completely omitted or edited down so they fit with the overall narrative.

      Of all of the fanedits, this trilogy is the only one that truly feels like a complete trilogy.

      If you go to download them, you may have to make a copy to your own Drive then download it.

      1 vote
      1. [2]
        Ellimist
        Link Parent
        I haven't. I actually didn't know they existed. I'll be checking them out though. I enjoy the Prequel trilogy but I'm definitely curious to see how these edited versions hold up

        I haven't. I actually didn't know they existed. I'll be checking them out though. I enjoy the Prequel trilogy but I'm definitely curious to see how these edited versions hold up

        2 votes
        1. tomf
          Link Parent
          Between those and Despecialized — I’m just so satisfied by the first six.

          Between those and Despecialized — I’m just so satisfied by the first six.

          1 vote
  11. [4]
    tlalexander
    Link
    I appreciate the prescience of the intro to AI: Artificial Intelligence https://youtu.be/BROvLBcFfWQ

    I appreciate the prescience of the intro to AI: Artificial Intelligence

    https://youtu.be/BROvLBcFfWQ

    4 votes
    1. [3]
      Algernon_Asimov
      Link Parent
      It's not that prescient. People have been talking about global warming and rising sea-levels since at least the 1980s - but we called it "the greenhouse effect" back then. Here are a couple of...

      It's not that prescient. People have been talking about global warming and rising sea-levels since at least the 1980s - but we called it "the greenhouse effect" back then. Here are a couple of random articles I dug up via an internet search: New York Times, 1988; Los Angeles Times, 1989.

      Admittedly, this didn't become a mainstream issue until later, but it was being discussed 30-40 years ago. It had started to infiltrate science fiction as an idea worth writing about from the late 1990s - about the time 'A.I.' was written.

      2 votes
      1. tlalexander
        Link Parent
        Agreed. I almost mentioned as much in my comment. Carl Sagan devoted a whole episode of COSMOS in 1980 to global warming. Actually AI came out around the same time as “an inconvenient truth”. So...

        Agreed. I almost mentioned as much in my comment. Carl Sagan devoted a whole episode of COSMOS in 1980 to global warming. Actually AI came out around the same time as “an inconvenient truth”. So maybe prescient is the wrong word.

        3 votes
      2. KapteinB
        Link Parent
        The Kyoto Protocol was a pretty big deal in 1997, I think that's when the greenhouse effect really entered the public consciousness here in Norway. That's also when we started our fine tradition...

        The Kyoto Protocol was a pretty big deal in 1997, I think that's when the greenhouse effect really entered the public consciousness here in Norway.

        That's also when we started our fine tradition of setting ambitious targets and not follow through on them.

        2 votes
  12. [2]
    ainar-g
    Link
    Watchmen, without a doubt. I haven't read the original comic book, so maybe I'm missing something, but I really don't understand massive waves of criticism that this film gets. I loved it from...

    Watchmen, without a doubt.

    I haven't read the original comic book, so maybe I'm missing something, but I really don't understand massive waves of criticism that this film gets. I loved it from start to finish, and it's still in my Top 3 superhero films.

    4 votes
    1. tomf
      Link Parent
      You should totally read the comic. The motion comic is pretty good, too. The narrator is the same guy who performed the No Country for Old Men audiobook... if you're into audiobooks. If you...

      You should totally read the comic. The motion comic is pretty good, too. The narrator is the same guy who performed the No Country for Old Men audiobook... if you're into audiobooks.

      If you haven't already, I'd definitely suggest going through Snyder's director commentary track for the ultimate cut. It's a shame he's had a bunch of stinkers since -- he really sounds like a true comic fan.

      Here's the opening scene before the titles.

      4 votes
  13. [2]
    Algernon_Asimov
    Link
    The opening of Hello Dolly. It starts as a still black-and-white photo, and then gradually comes to life in full colour. People start walking and skipping and jumping - all perfectly in time to a...

    The opening of Hello Dolly. It starts as a still black-and-white photo, and then gradually comes to life in full colour. People start walking and skipping and jumping - all perfectly in time to a beat. The whole thing is perfectly choreographed. I love it. It is one of my favourite openings to a movie. (It's certainly the first one that came to mind when I saw this thread.)

    4 votes
  14. [2]
    NaraVara
    Link
    I actually really love the opening of "Inglorious Basterds." It doesn't do anything flashy really, but it just does such a great job of setting up the character of the main antagonist as well as...

    I actually really love the opening of "Inglorious Basterds." It doesn't do anything flashy really, but it just does such a great job of setting up the character of the main antagonist as well as creating the tone of the movie. I remember being kind of grumpy when I first went to see it in the theater and not really being in a state of mind to pay close attention, but the way the tension in that scene is set up drew me in instantly.

    4 votes
    1. Eylrid
      Link Parent
      Lessons from the Screenplay has a great breakdown of that scene and how it builds tension and suspense: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvtOY0YrF-g

      Lessons from the Screenplay has a great breakdown of that scene and how it builds tension and suspense: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvtOY0YrF-g

      2 votes
  15. [3]
    balooga
    Link
    Stranger Than Fiction has one of my favorite opening scenes of all time. The whole movie is shamefully underrated, actually. I'm also partial to the opening scene The Truman Show. It deftly and...

    Stranger Than Fiction has one of my favorite opening scenes of all time. The whole movie is shamefully underrated, actually.

    I'm also partial to the opening scene The Truman Show. It deftly and economically sets up the whole tone and setting of the movie to come.

    Come to think of it, maybe I just have a thing for wacky comedians' dramatic side projects.

    3 votes
    1. [2]
      Algernon_Asimov
      Link Parent
      That's a very captivating opening sequence. I like it. Unfortunately, I've learned that movies starring Will Ferrell are never movies I enjoy. Oh well.

      Stranger Than Fiction has one of my favorite opening scenes of all time.

      That's a very captivating opening sequence. I like it. Unfortunately, I've learned that movies starring Will Ferrell are never movies I enjoy. Oh well.

      1. balooga
        Link Parent
        I feel the same way but I’d encourage you to try this one. It’s nothing like his other movies. It’s smartly written and clever, Will Ferrell is delightfully restrained, and he’s well supported by...

        I feel the same way but I’d encourage you to try this one. It’s nothing like his other movies. It’s smartly written and clever, Will Ferrell is delightfully restrained, and he’s well supported by a great ensemble cast. I think if you avoid this one because of Anchorman, Talladega Nights, Zoolander, et al., you’re missing out on a real treat.

        2 votes
  16. [2]
    Micycle_the_Bichael
    Link
    Children of Men introduction perfectly sets the pace for the rest of the movie. One of my favorites of all time but definitely a rough watch.

    Children of Men introduction perfectly sets the pace for the rest of the movie. One of my favorites of all time but definitely a rough watch.

    3 votes
    1. balooga
      Link Parent
      Oh, great choice. That whole movie is gripping.

      Oh, great choice. That whole movie is gripping.

      2 votes
  17. culturedleftfoot
    Link
    I can't remember if it was the absolute very opening scene but Inception is what came to mind. There was so much going on and yet so well layered, it absolutely pulled me in and made me want to...

    I can't remember if it was the absolute very opening scene but Inception is what came to mind. There was so much going on and yet so well layered, it absolutely pulled me in and made me want to know what the hell was happening.

    3 votes
  18. Staross
    Link
    The opening of Sunless is awesome too, specially with how little it uses : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGDu7YOlVuE

    The opening of Sunless is awesome too, specially with how little it uses :

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGDu7YOlVuE

    2 votes
  19. KapteinB
    Link
    John Dies at the End The Ship of Theseus is of course an ancient thought experiment, but I love the deadpan delivery and the cold open to this absurd world.

    John Dies at the End

    The Ship of Theseus is of course an ancient thought experiment, but I love the deadpan delivery and the cold open to this absurd world.

    2 votes
  20. patience_limited
    (edited )
    Link
    I have several favorites, many already mentioned above, but the one which grabbed me most recently was the opening scene from Valerian and the City of A Thousand Planets. The movie is otherwise a...

    I have several favorites, many already mentioned above, but the one which grabbed me most recently was the opening scene from Valerian and the City of A Thousand Planets. The movie is otherwise a jumbled mess with irritatingly bad actors, script, and plot, but the opening has all the feels.

    There's another otherwise less-than-terrific movie, Lord of War, whose opening sequence [Literal trigger warning, violence!] is one of the most effective political messages I've ever seen in cinema.

    2 votes
  21. PetitPrince
    Link
    The Artist: We're shown the protagonist of a silent film nearly dying because he will not talk, even under duress, only to be saved by his dog. After some physical feats, he gets the girl and all...

    The Artist: We're shown the protagonist of a silent film nearly dying because he will not talk, even under duress, only to be saved by his dog. After some physical feats, he gets the girl and all ends well.

    Guess what's the film about ?

    1 vote
  22. AugustusFerdinand
    Link
    Lord of War, even if the manufacturing skips a couple of steps, the message they're sending is clear and innovative.

    Lord of War, even if the manufacturing skips a couple of steps, the message they're sending is clear and innovative.

    1 vote
  23. mrbig
    Link
    Not sure if I have favorites anymore, but here are some great opening scenes: Godfather Goodfellas City of God Psycho Scream

    Not sure if I have favorites anymore, but here are some great opening scenes:

    1. Godfather
    2. Goodfellas
    3. City of God
    4. Psycho
    5. Scream
    1 vote