The first moments of a movie can set the tone, grab your attention, and let you know a movie is worthwhile. Here are our Top 10 Opening Shots in History! Subscribe:
What did you think of the list? Do you disagree with any of our picks? Feel like we left out or mis-represented any of the films? What do you think are the best movie openings? Has the opening of a movie ever made you stop watching?
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Symmetry – The Searchers (1956)
Pushing through the doorway into the wild, capturing the frontier man as he approaches from afar.
Beautiful – Raging Bull (1980)
The operatic shadowboxing of a hooded pugilist, bouncing in slow motion, glowing in the occasional snap of a flashbulb, completely at home in the ring.
Beautiful – Apocalypse Now (1979)
A different kind of operatic violence in its serene ballet of smoke, fire, and helicopters.
In Media Res – Star Wars: A New Hope (1977)
Panning down from those iconic scrolling titles into an empty starscape, a rebel ship screams into frame throwing us into the middle of a chase we know nothing about.
Space – Contact (1997)
A tour of our universe turns into a simultaneous retrospective of modern human history via the reach of our radio waves
Movie Microcosm – Fight Club (1999)
A longshot tour through innerspace – in this case the brain of our hero.
Movie Microcosm – Day for Night (1973)
Creating and subverting our expectations; defining the world we’re going to inhabit in a way we don’t understand until the next shot turns it on its head
Long Scene – Flowers of Shanghai (1998)
An absolutely beautiful oil-lamp-lit 9 minute long shot that pans patiently back and forth across a table in a Chinese brothel following the complicated dynamic of an entire party.
Long Take – The Player (1992)
A meticulously choreographed crane shot that comments on itself and its industry while simultaneously setting up the entirety of the plot.
Long Take – Touch of Evil (1958)
Criss-crossing a moving bomb with our heroes time and time again, the audience has no choice but to wait anxiously for it to explode.
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