Noteworthy movie openings and closings

Just a bit of setup for this idea: I have heard that a musically savvy disc jockey should be able to select pieces of music in such a way that the ending of one piece dovetails with the beginning of the next one. That got me wondering if the astute moviegoer might have the skill to match the closing of one movie with the beginning of another. If you count as “opening” that first image that’s not part of the studio logo, and as “closing” the last image before they start rolling the credits, (unless, of course, they continue with decent images as the credits roll), can you think of closings that would dovetail neatly with openings?

As an alternative to that entire concept, since I haven’t been able to provide an example of my own, can you describe those openings or closings that have impressed you the most.

As an opening, I think the way Contact starts is neat. The idea seems to be that as a fast-moving space vehicle travels away from Earth, the audio that has left here headed out into the ether could be recaptured with some fidelity all the way back to whenever broadcasting began.

I can’t place the movie that ends with the camera (?) pulling back from the final scene all the way out to the edge of the galaxy and beyond.

One of my favorite openings is in Sharky’s Machine where the view changes from a skyline view of Atlanta near sunrise (by way of a helicopter) down to the railroad tracks where Burt Reynolds is walking with a briefcase. There may be an edit somewhere, but it’s a very smooth transition anyway. A lot like some of Hitchcock’s and Welles’s tracking shots. The Player had a nice one, too.

Anyway, the idea(s) I’ve tried to describe might make for some fun head-scratching, if you’re game.

Have at.

I always enjoyed the Coen brothers’ work that way.

In Fargo, the film starts with just snow. Grey sky. Then a pair of headlights become visible as Jerry drives towards the camera. It ends pretty much the same way. Someone in a car, driving.

The Big Lebowski starts with a rolling tumbleweed.

Another Coen brothers film with a great opening is Raising Arizona. The long opening voice over by Nicholas Cage rates as one of the funniest bits of cinema in any movie anywhere and any time.

Could it be Men in Black?

I’ll try to think of a good combination. In the meantime, one my favorite closing scenes is in The Third Man.

The best example of a segue between films was in a double-feature I saw back in college:
the end of Casablanca, followed by the first scene on Play It Again, Sam. It is the exact same scene, and works beautifully.

I think, just maybe, you are thinking of the short film The Powers of Ten.

As for me, 12 Monkeys and most of Terry Gilliam’s “bookmarks” in general are brillant. Brazil is a notable example, where the same scene means something completely different at the end.

I loved the ending scene of The Third Man. But I thought overall it was a great movie.

I also really liked the ending scene of American Beauty and I think it turned a so-so film into a winner.

Time Bandits.

I have the book, which is an amazing presentation of how we fit into the “scheme of things” by being roughly halfway between the exceedingly smal and the exceedingly large. What’s amazing is how the very end in each direction looks like the other end – in a weird way.

If I’ve seen the film, I don’t recall it, but I would say this definitely captures the spirit of the OP quest.

It quite possibly might. I have seen that recently, but am having a bit of trouble picturing it. I’ll be sure to look for it again next time it’s up on cable.

Maybe so, but I don’t remember seeing this one. Thanks all the same.

It has always been a suspicion of mine that ILM re-used the Contact material for Men In Black (after all, it is a rather expensive shot). They produced the movies around the same time. It’s possible.

I think.

Reservoir Dogs had a great opening. As a matter of fact that’s the best part of the whole movie.

First thing that came to mind (since I just watched it) is the end of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Also the beginning of Memento.