Best song in a movie opening

I’m defining this not as the best song in a movie, but best use of a song at the beginning of a film to set the tone. It could be a song used as a cold opening, or one used at the end of the first scene which runs over the opening credits. Some examples:

Miserlou in Pulp Fiction.

In Kill Bill the Nancy Sinatra song “Bang Bang” was a great choice. Tarantino has always been excellent at choosing music in his films.

Full Metal Jacket used a country tune playing over the Marine recruits having their heads shaved. Always struck me as vaguely creepy, and effective.

In Woody Allen’s Radio Days there is a very fast version of “Flight of the Bumblebee” playing over the opening credits. Set the mood nicely for a movie about the golden age of radio.

Star Wars probably goes without saying.


When the Man Comes Around in Dawn of the Dead (the 2004 film). That intro is one of the best I’ve seen.

If the purpose of the beginning music is to bring you into the story no one could’ve picked a better artist than Trent Reznor to do the opening of Se7en.

Science Fiction Double Feature” in The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

“Sixteen Tons” at the beginning of “Joe vs. The Volcano”.

For the win. For the uninitiated.

“Be My Baby” by the Ronettes at the beginning of Mean Streets.

My favorites:
The Limey with The Who’s “They Call Me The Seeker”
O Brother Where Art Thou with “Po Lazarus”
Sexy Beast with “Peaches” by The Stranglers
Jackie Brown - “110th Street” by Bobby Womack

George Clinton’s theme for Austin Powers.

Wising and Hoping from the opening of My Best Friend’s Wedding is fun but Joe V Volcano is the best.

Hmmm. I generally don’t remember the opening songs of the movies I’ve watched including those movies that I thoroughly enjoyed watching. I do remember the opening songs of movies like Star Trek and Terminator but that’s because I know/recognize their signature songs and they were played during the opening of the movie.

The ONLY movie whose opening song I can remember (other than the movies that played signature/theme songs that I know by heart, that is) is Lion King. I loved the movie when I saw it as a kid but now it’s not a movie that I would add to my DVD collection. But I still love the opening song (the one sung in the movie and not the one sung by that guy) so I guess that song would be the best song in a movie opening for me.

The Third Man Theme is almost like a character in the movie.

The opening of Apocalypse Now, with the Doors’ The End as the music.

“16 tons” definitely.

But for a more recent movie, I liked the use of “This Land is Your Land” at the beginning of “Up in the Air.”

“The Streets of Philadelphia” from Philadelphia
“When You Wish Upon a Star” from Pinocchio

I want to nominate two that come to mind quickly: Woody Allen with “Let’s Misbehave” at the beginning of “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sex*”

and another Tarantino opener : “Little Green Bag” at the beginning of “Reservoir Dogs”

Both of them really do think about the music throughout their movies though.

“On Days Like These”, The Italian Job. Gives it a cool, sixties lounge lizard vibe.

I don’t remember Star Wars starting with a song. Maybe that was a special edition.

First that comes to mind is Talking Heads “Sax and Violins” in “Until the End of the World”. Then, Neil Young’s soundtrack in “Dead Man”. And, “Killing Moon” in “Donnie Darko”.

//** BTW… these movies are in my Top 10 List so…

The Times They Are A-Changin’” from Watchmen. It helps that it was probably the best scene in the movie.

Wow a lot of good ones already (Watchmen!).

I came in to say Pulp Fiction and Reservoir dogs, I also was really impressed by the opening of the Lion King (as a kid).