Best Movie Openings or Title Sequences

What, in your opinion, is the best movie opening or title sequence? For me, it’s Beetlejuice. I love the title music by Danny Elfman, and the way the camera pans over the small town. Then the real town cuts to the model town. But it’s mostly the music I love.

Though I can’t stand the movie nowadays, the opening scenes of Star Wars really rocked my world when I was a kid. :eek:

Contact. The way the universe coalesces into a reflection in the young Ellie’s eye still gives me goosebumps . . .

Raising Arizona.

Easily twelve minutes of reflection by Hi (Nicholas Cage) before opening credits roll.

Hang 'em High.

Starts with Clint Eastwood making breakfast at his little camp in the wilderness. A posse rides over the hill, comes into camp, and strings him up. They start rolling the credits as they pan up his body…

Blank presents… (feet)
a Blank production… (hips)
Hang 'em High… (chest)
starring Clint Eastwood (face, looking pretty pissed…)

The cartoon credits of “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.”

The speech in front of the flag from “Patton.”

Arlington Road had a brilliant opening sequence.

Pulp Fiction. The diner scene. "DON’T ANY OF YOU FUCKERS MOVE OF I’LL EXECUTE EVERY MOTHERFUCKING LAST ONE OF YOU… Music. :eek: :eek: :smiley:

It has to be Miller’s Crossing by Joel & Ethan Coen. The opening conversation between Jon Polito and Albert Finney is pure poetry. “It’s matter of character, It’s a matter of friendship, hell I ain’t afraid to say it; It’s a matter of ethics. As in he ain’t got none.”

Another vote for Raising Arizona. A full 14 minutes before William Preston Robertson’s yodelling over the credits.

“…and the answer…to all our prayers.”

Anything by Saul Bass, but especially Psycho. His terrific visual sense combined with Herrmann’s frenetic string music captures the feel of the movie perfectly.

There are so many to choose from but here are three off the top of my head.

Rasing AZ again I know but so much information is crammed into that opening it is amazing.

City Slickers had this great cartoon over the opening credits that really warmed up the audience.

West Side Story The way the city is slowly revealed and then the entire floating over the city looking straight down.

One more vote for Raising Arizona.

How about “Monty Python’s Quest for the Holy Grail”? The credits are hilarious!

I also liked the opening to “Forrest Gump” with the floating feather ending up on Tom Hanks’ shoe.

Raising AZ is good.

Also, Se7en gets my vote for the most disturbing opening credits. That was creepier than a lot on whole movies!

“Men In Black” - Following the bug through the night, accompanied by Danny Elfman’s music, until a splat right into the windshield.

“Pink Panther Strikes Again” - The cartoon Inspector Clouseau pursuing the Pink Panther combined with takeoffs on various movies…

…which reminds me of “The Sound of Music.” I know it’s pretty hokey to a lot of people – Julie Andrews twirling around on a hilltop – but I really love seeing the Austrian scenery, and then that final zoom into the actress… well done.

The beginning of “The Player” was pretty great–continuous shot panning through the studio lot.

The opening of “Cliffhanger” scared me s–tless and really had a bad effect on me for quite a while.

It’s funny that you bring up The Player. The whole opening sequence is an homage to the opening tracking sequence in Welles’ “Touch of Evil”. In fact, Fred Ward talks about how his father worked on that film. So, indirectly, you bring up one of the best known and most revered openings in American film history!

I agree on Contact. I love how all the radio and TV signals from the past 50-80 or so years goes back until Edison (I think…I haven’t seen that movie in a long time).

Another one I like is A Clockwork Orange. It’s rather simple, but effective. I think it’s creepy, the way Alex and his Droogs are just sitting there, stoned from the Moloko Plus, yet Alex has a look of cunning coldness on his face. He knows what he’s doing.

The Overture at the start of 2001: A Space Odyssey is quite brilliant. Since the film is almost devoid of dialogue, the overture primes the viewer to accept the music. With the lack of speaking, the music helps to set the emotional pace of the movie. Without the blank screen and the music, the effect would not have been as strong.

Ooh, I also love the opening sequence of the Shining–the helicopter shot swooping up into the Rockies and following Jack Torrance’s little VW bug through that HUGE landscape, while that synth version of the Dies Irae looms over it. Awesome.

A second vote for Pulp Fiction. Also, Reservoir Dogs had a great opening (“Let me tell you what Like a Virgin is about…”).

I’ve always liked the opening sequence to Dr. Strangelove. The classical music over the shots of a refueling B-52 is wonderful. I think the combination of ballet-like beauty and megadeaths speaks volumes about human nature.