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Posted by on Jun 25, 2014 in Arts & Entertainment, Movies | 4 comments

The top 10 movie opening scenes (Part 1)

I wanted to do this list for quite a while because I think the importance of a strong opening scene/ sequence is something that gets overlooked. The first impression a film makes is super important and some of the best films of all time are built on the strength of their opening gambit. So here are my top 10 openings which have knocked my socks off. I’ll be spreading these over the coming week or so.

Kicking things off is…

10

Up (2009)

PixarLessons_Up

I am probably in the minority who think, overall, Up is an average film. It’s dope and everything but I find every character, bar Carl, uninspiring to the point of annoying – especially Russell.

But with all that said, the opening of Up caught me cold. I remember I first watched this in the cinema with my future wife and for 15 minutes I felt like I went through every emotion possible. I remember grinning so much that it hurt my face and I remember laughing out loud especially at how forceful the young Ellie was (anyone in any meaningful relationship would understand why). And then I remember being fearful, especially when you start to recognise the patterns in the opening montage – and then came the gasp – and then tears. I balled my fucking eyes out. I can’t remember the last time I felt that embarrassed in public.

But this film lives on that truly magical opening sequence and there is nothing wrong with that. The film fails quite miserably to reach the heights of that opening. If people think Up is the best animated film of all time, I disagree, but I understand because it’s opening sequence rivals anything that I have ever seen on screen – whether animated or not.

9

Pulp Fiction (1994)

The very first time I watched Pulp Fiction, I didn’t get it. The damn film left me confused even after numerous sittings (I am pretty sure I was in my mid-teens) – but when it clicked I was blown away.

Pulp Fiction is an exhausting masterpiece – it never loosens its grip on your throat from the very first scene until the last. And the film is full of iconic moments but I think its opening gets overlooked much too often.

The guy from Lie to me (Tim Roth) and Amanda Plummer’s diner scene is an obvious nod to Tarantino’s first film – but here everything is refined. The dialogue is sharper, the rhythm is infectious, the humour is irresistible and by the time you realise something is off – BOOM! And this seemingly throw away scene is actually pretty important to the film. Honestly, it is just genius. And speaking of the G word…

I am one of those people who is convinced that Quentin is a genius, that his ego is justified and part of my reasoning stems from this film and more acutely, this scene.

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  • slamfu

    Gotta, say, it’s not a classic movie by any stretch, but the opening scene of “The Rundown” featuring The Rock, was one of the best action movie openings I’ve seen in awhile. Also, I like the intro to the first LoTR movies, Fellowship of the Ring. I think they did great job not only telling a whole lot of backstory in very little time, but also it was cinematically breathtaking.

    Oh, and almost forgot the most intense opening scene ever. Saving Private Ryan.

  • slamfu

    And to just keep rattling them off, Resevoir Dogs. I like it because it is so different than the rest of the movie. Just a bunch of guys jawing around a table, who knows what they are up to. Almost has nothing to do with the rest of the movie, and a scene few would have thought of to include in that type of movie, and fewer would have made sure it didn’t end up on the cutting room floor.

    Sorry if I’m stealing any thunder from your future posts, but I love movies!

  • slamfu

    Ok, one more. The opening to Return of the Jedi. And here’s why.

    Vader goes down to the new Death Star. Gets off his ship, and immediately begins to tell the guy in charge he needs to worker harder. Vader is as ruthless and scary as it gets in the Star Wars universe, but this guy shines him on saying he can’t work any faster. Vader drops the Emperor’s name, and the guy snaps to and says he’ll get it done. Forshadowing that there is a dude out there we haven’t met yet WHO’S SCARIER THAN VADER. I couldn’t wait to meet him 🙂

  • Great job Chocolate TeddyBear!

    Looking forward to more of your list soon.

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    I always look forward to the opening scene of a Bond Flick.

    I would put the opening scene of Casino Royale, 2006, Daniel Craig’s first Bond film is right up there for Bond movies.

    It was the highest grossing Bond film of all time until Sky Fall.

    Come to think of it, Skyfall’s opening motorbike chase scene was killer.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHRLX8jRjq8

    <><><>

    I am with you on Saving Private Ryan, slamfu. Just watched it again. Riveting.

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