I’m going to share with you some of my favourite opening scenes of movies. I’m not including title sequences, just the first scene or sequence. I’m sure there are some that I’ve forgotten but these are the ones that mostly sprang immediately to mind.
#1 – Casino
Scorsese is my favourite director and this opening really shocked me. First – De Niro walks out of the restaurant, then he gets in his car, then [SPOILER ALERT!]…BOOM. The obvious dummy switch just adds a bit of camp charm.
#2 – Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
First we have the iconic crawl and the epic Williams score, but it’s the bit after that which I really like. The music calms but then suddenly a ship comes into shot, and we realise we’re in the middle of a space battle. The seemingly endless Star Destroyer dominates the screen and it keeps coming and coming and coming. Instantly we’re hooked into a galaxy far, far away.
#3 – Saving Private Ryan
This is epic. First we’re cramped in the little transport, watching these men and boys vomit, pray, and listen to commanding orders as they bob along. Then suddenly they’re exposed to the chaos and as the bullets pour in the blood pours out. We’re disoriented as we’re taken underwater and then returned to the maelstrom. And as the red water flows over Tom Hanks we see both determination and fear in his eyes.
#4 – Goldeneye
The Bond series has got a lot of good opening sequences, but this is my favourite. The whole pre-credits sequence is a decent mini-film in its own right but I’m mostly focusing on the dam rather than the Facility. I stare in awe at the jump every time I watch it, it’s simply breathtaking.
However it does help that it inspired one of the most enjoyable first levels in gaming history.
#5 – True Romance
“If I had to fuck a guy…I’d fuck Elvis”. Everything said about Elvis in this scene is true.
#6 – The Lion King
The Lion King is probably my second favourite movie of all time, and it gets off to a stunning start. Amazing visuals complemented by a good song, and Simba is so cute. I am surprised he doesn’t squirm more when Rafiki picks him up, my cat hates it when I hold her like that.
#7 – X-Men 2
I loved the first X-Men movie, and the second one stepped everything up. This fight scene with Nightcrawler was very well choreographed and it just fills me with geekish glee to see him bamf in live action.
#8 – Man on the Moon
This is very funny, but I love it because of Jim Carrey’s uncanny impression of Andy Kaufman. He gave an amazing performance in this film and I think it’s a shame that it’s overlooked when discussing Jim Carrey’s films.