Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Countdown: Top 7 Best Movie Opening Scenes

Top seven? Why not a nice round number like 5 or 10? Well, here's why. I truthfully couldn't find any more than seven opening sequences that I thoroughly enjoyed and thought should garner a position on this list. That's it.

So without further adieu...

7. Gladiator: A battle of titanic proportions, a victory won, and a great life lost. The opening scenes of Gladiator, with it's depiction of a battle between the Holy Roman Empire and a horde of Germanic barbarians sets the stage for what would be one heck of an action packed ride.

6. Up: I'm not one known to cry while watching a movie, but I'm not sure if I've scene a more tragic scene in a film. Up's opening sequence, with it's tale of love found, love lived and love lost, brought me pretty darn close to tears!

5. Star Trek: The opening sequence for Star Trek's latest incarnation can be summed up as pure cinematic gold. From the breathtaking visual effects to the utilization of the classic Star Trek sound scheme from the original series, Star Trek's opening sequence sets the pace for the rest of the film. Not to mention, it pulls your heart strings!

4. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring: After seeing the introduction with it's massive battles, elves clad in gold, Sauron wielding a mace to the terror of his enemies, and a story that held true to the books, fans of the novels instantly knew that they're childhood memories were in good hands on the big screen.

3. Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark:
The first scene from the very first Indiana Jones film is pefect. It instantly sets up Indy as an extremely interesting character to follow. Indy has to avoid poison darts, spear pits, and gigantic boulders. And in the end, his efforts were in vain anyway. I don't think he'd be considered your typical archaeologist! For anyone who's seen the film, I don't believe any more needs to be said.

2. Saving Private Ryan: The opening sequence for Saving Private Ryan has already gone down in the history of cinema as one of the most realistic interpretations of modern warfare to date. From the first scene where we see Private Ryan, aged and tormented by the ghosts of his past, to the D-Day assault on Omaha Beach, Saving Private Ryan has one of the most notable opening sequences in cinema, period.

1. Star Wars: A New Hope: Every viewer, upon seeing the might of the Empire's gargantuan Star Destroyer eclipse Princess Leia's smaller Corellian Corvette, knew that they were in for something completely different than anything they'd ever seen. This in turn heralded the introduction of one of the greatest movie villains of all time, Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith.

Your thoughts? Did I leave any movies out? Did I add any that you didn't think should be on the list? Feel free to comment below.


  1. Up's opening sequence caused me to turn it off and put off watching the rest of the movie for like 3 months. Sadness. But still, very good once I finally watched it all.

    I agree with Star Trek. It was absolute genius! I was never a Trekkie before the newest installation (but I new enough pop culture to catch all the inside jokes) but really, that opening sequence sealed me as a Trekkie for life!

  2. Dude. My long comment just got lost to the gods of the internet. Sigh.

  3. OK, here goes again.

    I am going to echo Jia a bit and admit to not being a trekkie prior to the JJ Abrams movie. So, in that opening scene when Kirk Sr. dies, I freaked out, I was like "WHAT?!?! Isn't he a major character?!?! NOW what are they going to do?!?!" and my husband almost died from choking he was laughing so hard.

    But, for best opening scenes, I have to submit Empire Records. "In the immortal words of the Doors: The time to hesitate is through" all the way up through "I wonder if I'll be held responsible for this?" Classic. Totally classic.

  4. @Jia-I've been a Trekkie for as long as I can remember. I saw Star Trek go through it's highs and lows,(it sounds kinda dramatic when I put it like that :P) so when I saw JJ's Star Trek, especially that opening shot, I breathed a sigh of relief, and then my jaw dropped.

    @Gina-LOL. I can see how someone who didn't know the background of the movies would get that confused. As for Empire Records, I'd never even heard of it before. Sounds interesting.

    As for the word verification, I believe I've turned it off now. Again. If it's still there, please tell me. Sorry 'bout the trouble.

  5. I totally agree with you on 7, 6, and 4.

    As for Star Trek and Saving Private Ryan, I can't really remember the way they start.

    A New Hope starts off amazing, but I don't know if it's my favorite opening scene of the Star Wars movies.

    Also not sure about Indianna Jones, but I do like it!

  6. I am so glad you included "Up" in that list. Another one in that "genre" would be "Finding Nemo". But I thought your list was pretty inclusive and well selected.


  7. @Jen-Both Star Trek and Saving Private Ryan's opening are awesome! You should totally re-watch those, unless, in the case of Saving Private Ryan, you may find it a bit too violent.

    I almost chose Revenge of the Sith's opening in place of A New Hope's. Which would you have chosen?

    @Kim-Finding Nemo was great! I can't believe I forgot about that one. I probably would have added that to the list too...

  8. Man i missed this the other day. What about 300. that started out pretty wicked. And I liked Young Guns too.

    Damn Dude, you have too much knowledge for me bro, makes me want to put the kids to bed early and watch movies all night.

  9. @This Daddy- I almost put 300 on the list, but I thought that the middle and ending of the movie were far more exciting than the beginning and it just wouldn't do the rest of the film, with all it's uber-epic battles, justice.

  10. the first 8 minutes of Full Metal Jacket pretty much nailed it. i hear the drill sergeant got to write most of his lines, too.

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