12 Movies That Have the Greatest Openings of All Time

Some films capture our imagination from the very first moment, hooking us with unforgettable sequences that promise an epic adventure, a heartfelt story, or a thrilling mystery. These openings do more than just start a film; they transport us, prepare us, and often, leave us breathless with anticipation.

In the world of cinema, where first impressions matter more than ever, certain movies stand out for their iconic beginnings.

1. “The Godfather” (1972)

The Godfather.
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

 

“The Godfather” (1972) starts with a monologue that is as chilling as it is captivating. In a dimly lit room, a man recounts a story of personal injustice to Don Vito Corleone, played by Marlon Brando, during his daughter’s wedding. This scene masterfully sets up the power and influence of the Corleone family.

The close-up shots of the distressed man juxtaposed with the calm and composed Don Corleone immediately draw viewers into the world of the mafia, making it clear that they are about to witness a story of power, loyalty, and betrayal.

2. “Saving Private Ryan” (1998)

Saving Private Ryan.
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

 

“Saving Private Ryan” (1998) thrusts its audience into the horrors of war with an opening sequence that is both harrowing and technically astounding. The depiction of the D-Day invasion on Omaha Beach is relentless in its realism, bringing the chaos, heroism, and tragedy of war into sharp focus.

Director Steven Spielberg uses this sequence to not only pay tribute to the bravery of soldiers but also to establish the film’s immersive narrative style. The visceral impact of this opening has set a benchmark for war films, leaving an indelible mark on the viewer’s psyche.

3. “Up” (2009)

Jeremy Leary and Elie Docter in Up (2009).
Image Credit: Disney/Pixar.

 

“Up” (2009) takes a different approach by weaving a heartwarming and tear-jerking montage of Carl and Ellie’s life together. Within minutes, it traverses through joy, love, dreams, and loss, encapsulating a lifetime of emotions.

This animated film demonstrates that storytelling does not require dialogues to evoke deep emotional connections. The opening sequence of “Up” is a testament to the power of visual storytelling, leaving audiences both uplifted and heartbroken.

4. “Pulp Fiction” (1994)

Pulp Fiction.
Image Credit: Miramax.

“Pulp Fiction” (1994) opens with a bang, quite literally. A couple’s casual conversation in a diner swiftly escalates into a robbery, setting the tone for a film that is anything but ordinary. Quentin Tarantino’s non-linear narrative is hinted at from the very beginning, making it clear that viewers are in for a unique cinematic experience.

This opening scene is a perfect introduction to the film’s eclectic mix of humor, tension, and unexpected twists.

5. The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight (2008)
Image Credit: Warner Bros Entertainment.

 

“The Dark Knight” (2008) begins with a masterfully executed bank heist led by the Joker, introducing the audience to the chaos and anarchy he embodies. The sequence is notable for its tension, pacing, and the reveal of the Joker’s character.

Director Christopher Nolan uses this opening to set up the central conflict of the film, showcasing the Joker not just as a villain, but as a force of nature. This opening is a thrilling start to a film that explores the complex dynamics between heroism and villainy.

6. “Jaws” (1975)

Jaws.
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

 

“Jaws” (1975) grips the audience’s attention from its very first moments. The opening sequence, featuring a young woman’s nighttime swim turning into a horrifying encounter with an unseen predator, is a masterclass in suspense.

Steven Spielberg’s use of John Williams’ iconic score, paired with the subjective camera that mimics the shark’s viewpoint, creates an intense atmosphere of impending doom. This scene sets the tone for the entire film, blending fear, suspense, and the unseen horror lurking beneath the surface.

7. “Gravity” (2013)

Gravity.
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

 

“Gravity” (2013) begins with a serene yet breathtaking long take of Earth from space, slowly building tension as disaster strikes two astronauts on a routine spacewalk. Alfonso Cuarón’s use of visual effects and sound design immerses the audience in the vast, silent terror of space, setting up a survival story that is both visually stunning and emotionally gripping.

This opening sequence is a powerful reminder of our own vulnerability and the relentless unpredictability of space, making it one of the most memorable starts to a film in recent history.

8. “The Lion King” (1994)

The Lion King.
Image Credit: Walt Disney Pictures.

 

“The Lion King” (1994) opens with the majestic “Circle of Life” sequence, presenting the animal kingdom gathering to witness the presentation of Simba, the future king. The vibrant animation, stirring music, and breathtaking landscapes capture the essence of life’s beauty and the cycles that drive it.

This sequence is not just an opening; it’s an emotional and visual spectacle that sets the stage for a story of growth, responsibility, and redemption. It’s a powerful reminder of the film’s themes and the natural order it seeks to portray.

9. “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981)

Raiders of the Lost Ark
Image Credit: LucasFilm Ltd.

 

“Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981) introduces Indiana Jones in an action-packed sequence that has become iconic. Set in a perilous jungle temple, the scene features traps, treachery, and a thrilling escape, culminating in the iconic boulder chase.

This opening perfectly encapsulates the adventure, danger, and excitement that define the character and the series. Steven Spielberg and George Lucas craft a compelling introduction to their hero, establishing him as the quintessential adventurer.

10. “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968)

2001: A Space Odyssey.
Image Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM).

 

“2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968) begins with the “Dawn of Man” sequence, a profound exploration of human evolution. Stanley Kubrick’s vision of early humans encountering a mysterious monolith that prompts a leap in intelligence is both visually striking and thematically rich.

This sequence, culminating in the famous match cut from a bone to a spacecraft, highlights the themes of evolution, technology, and the unknown. It sets the stage for a film that is as much a philosophical inquiry as it is a visual spectacle.

11. “Psycho” (1960)

Psycho.
Image Credit: Shamley Productions.

 

“Psycho” (1960) starts with an intimate glimpse into Marion Crane’s life, setting up a tense atmosphere from the get-go. Alfred Hitchcock masterfully creates a sense of unease with the seemingly mundane act of Marion stealing money, leading to her fateful encounter at the Bates Motel.

The opening sequence’s genius lies in its ability to shift from the ordinary to the extraordinary, introducing themes of secrecy, guilt, and dread. This masterful beginning paves the way for the shocking twists and turns that “Psycho” is famed for.

12. “La La Land” (2016)

La La Land.
Image Credit: Summit Entertainment.

 

“La La Land” (2016) sweeps its audience off their feet with a vibrant and elaborate musical number set in a traffic jam on a Los Angeles highway. The sequence is a colorful, energetic celebration of dreams and the dreamers who chase them, setting the stage for the film’s exploration of love and ambition in the City of Stars.

It’s a bold and dazzling start that perfectly encapsulates the film’s spirit, combining whimsical fantasy with the reality of artistic struggle. This opening is a testament to the enduring appeal of the musical genre, reimagined for the modern age.

12 Movies That Are Just Plain Awful, But We Love Them Anyway

Van Helsing (2004).
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

 

It’s OK to like bad movies. You don’t need to defend your choices or agree with what the critics say. Movies are subjective, after all! To make you feel better about your questionable favorites we gathered up some movies that are just plain awful, but we love anyway.

12 Movies That Are Just Plain Awful, But We Love Them Anyway

12 TV Shows That Are Often Called “The Best TV Show Ever”

Mad Men _ Season 7B, Episode 14.
Image Credit: Justina Mintz/AMC.

 

This is such a subjective topic. While I’d love to share my thoughts on the best TV show ever, I thought it would be better to scour the internet to find out what, in your opinion, is the best show ever from a variety of fans.

These are the top 12 that came up most often or have the most upvotes. I’ve gotta say, I don’t find this list incredibly shocking – these are some really great TV shows!

12 TV Shows That Are Often Called “The Best TV Show Ever”

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