Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Grab 'em by the throat and never let 'em go.-Billy Wilder

What makes a great opening sequence is a personal thing, of course, but when a movie grabs your attention from the opening frame, knocks you out of your seat or even grinds you into it, you tend to remember it very fondly.

There are the obvious choices: 2001: A Space Odyssey, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Apocalypse Now. And the ones where the movie did not live up to the opening, like Saving Private Ryan.

And then there are those announce that the movie you're about to see is going to be something really special. 

The list below is not meant to be definitive or exhaustive, just an example of a few of my favorites. 

8 1/2

Blue Velvet

The perfect cinema metaphor, the king of allegorical opening sequences. 


The Wild Bunch


Once Upon a Time in the West

The Battle of Algiers

In a scant 2:30 minutes, Pontecorvo sets up the story. Without showing any violence, we know what the prisoner has gone through.

Touch of Evil
Unquestionably one of the most marvelous, intoxicating openings in cinema history.


Dr. Strangelove

Full Metal Jacket

Tokyo Drifter

Raising Arizona

Turn to the right!

Pulp Fiction



The Hurt Locker


Who needs reasons when you've got heroin?

There Will Be Blood

PT Anderson knows how to open a film.
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