If there is one thing that all movie lovers can agree on when it comes to what we love about the movies, I think it would be that magical moment in a theatre when the lights go dark after the opening trailers and the moment of anticipation is finally over… the film you have waited months to see begins as you wide-eyed silently slurp your cherry coke and gobble your buttered popcorn. There is nothing like it. I feel that the opening scene to any film is the most vital. It is what “grabs you” as you embark on this two-hour adventure in the comfort of your movie seat. Join me as we take a look at my Top 11 Favorite Movie Opening Scenes and feel free to disagree, add to the discussion of what your Top 10/11 are, or simply enjoy the stroll down memory lane of your favorite moments at the movies.
Note* Top 11 is in no specific order
#1 Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring
I admit, I was late to the Lord of the Rings party. I remember back in 1999, I was at a Walmart and saw a VHS copy of this film and thought to myself… “sure why not, I hear it is like Star Wars meets Braveheart”… as I threw it in my cart. Later that night, after popping this movie in my VCR, and watching the opening scene, I immediately knew I loved this movie after only watching just the first few minutes.
#2 Pulp Fiction
I don’t know how old you were in 1994, but I was a fresh 17-years-old. I was tall enough to no longer need an “adult” to see R-rated films. I skipped school one day and took the bus with some friends and went to see this film at the discount mall dollar movie theater. I was blown away by this new to the scene director named Quentin Taratino as I watched this smartly written and entertaining as well as surprising opening intro. When I watched a couple rob a pancake house and that classic Taratino music kicked in, I knew I was watching something special.
#3 Transformers (2007)
I am not going to get into a anti-Bay discussion here. Many who know me will tell you that I love the guy.I think in 2006 there was a lot of skepticism for a “live action” Transformers film. I was there on opening day as I got goosebumps hearing a voice I had not heard since I was a child… Optimus Prime! I was sold from the very first 3 minutes of his intro speech that I absolutely loved this movie. I would watch it one hundred more times on bootleg before its DVD release, and again and again on Blu-ray. Awesome opening scene.
#4 The Dark Knight
In 2008, this was THE movie on my most anticipated films to see that year. Batman is my all time favorite super hero and as much as I loved Jack Nicholson’s portrayal of the Joker in the 1989 Batman, I always wished we would see a darker Joker… director Christopher Nolan gave us just that. When I witnessed Heath Ledgers (R.I.P) opening bank robbery scene after the classic Nolan Batman soundtrack opening credits, I knew I was watching what would become my favorite super hero film of all time. Movie intro’s don’t get better than this.
Religion can be a touchy subject for people. I think that is what made Kevin Smith’s opening to Dogma so great for me. The dialogue of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck was hilarious as they rip a nun’s belief to shreds on the way to a bloody massacre judgement scene at a major corporation sky scraper meeting.
#6 The Matrix
I love when a movie truly shows the world something new and different. Sure, slow-motion effects are a “norm” in today’s movie studio bag of tricks, but back in 1999 this was ground-breaking. The entire opening scene had mystery.Who were these people talking in a phone call? Who was Morpheus? Then we were treated to an awesome action intro with Trinity who appeared to have some type of super natural fighting capabilities as she took out an entire squad of a S.W.A.T team… little did we know at the time that they were all in “the matrix“.
#7 Star Wars: Revenge Of The Sith
For the record, I love all 6 Star Wars films. I know how ground-breaking the intro to the 1977 original was to the world back then, and yes I know how epic the Hoth battle was in The Empire Strikes Back, but the Hoth battle was not really the opening scene to that film and as much as I love the original, I don’t think it measures up to the epic opening scene of Revenge Of The Sith. Love or hate Lucas’s prequels, I think there is no denying that feeling of sitting in the theatre at the midnight premier to watch (as far as we knew at the time) the last Star Wars film to grace the silver screen. From finally being able see the epic conclusion to this trilogy and witness the rise of Darth Vader was amazing. This intro captured I think what many love about Star Wars. Sci-Fi imagination and action.
#8 Kill Bill: Volume One
“Do you find me sadistic? You know, I’ll bet I could fry an egg on your head right now, if I wanted to. No, Kiddo, I’d like to believe you’re aware enough that, even now, to know there’s nothing sadistic in my actions… Maybe towards those other jokers, but not you. No, Kiddo, this moment, this is me at my most… masochistic…” …enough said. I can still hear the opening “bang-bang” intro song in my head after this scene.Score another one for Tarantino.
#9 Saving Private Ryan
As a child, my late grandfather would sit me on his lap and I would beg him to tell me some stories from his WW2 days. He would just smile and simply reply “maybe one day when you are old enough.” Sadly he passed and we never got to have that conversation. It wasn’t until 1998 when I saw at the movies the beginning scene of Saving Private Ryan at Omaha Beach intro that I finally understood why my grandpa never talked about the war. One of the most captivating and powerful opening scenes to a film in movie history.
“I’m looking for a man named… BUCHO.” This is one of my all time cult-classic favorite intros to a film. From the Los Lobos music playing in the background to Steve Buscemi putting out his cigarette on the floor and everyone in the bar just stares at him. Hilarious!
My original list consisted of a “Top 10″, but after some consideration, I had to add one more. I couldn’t take away from my list which I already felt was a solid one, but I had to add this last one.
#11 2009 Star Trek
Can’t forget about this one. This is easily in my opinion the best beginning we have ever seen to any Star Trek film this side of The Wrath Of Kahn. Cinema at it’s finest!
So what do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? What are some of yours that I left off?