Updated: Nov 12, 2019
Our favourite opening scenes of all time don’t try and show you everything in those first few minutes. In fact they sometimes (Jaws (1975), Event Horizon (1997)) don’t show you nearly enough. But they definitely leave you gasping (The Dark Knight (2008), Speed (1994)) hungering for more.
They swing from being a sledgehammer to our nether regions on the one hand (Skyfall (2012), Mad Max Fury Road (2015)) to teasing out the wonder-struck child in us on the other (The Lion King (1994), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)).
They stun - through breathtaking visuals or unforgettable images (Saving Private Ryan (1998)). Or sweeping music or eerily real sound. Sometimes through sheer drama (Mission Impossible III (2006)).
The best of them have you wanting to watch the entire movie, without the rudeness of an intermission.
The greatest have you wanting to watch the same opening scene, over and over again - savouring those images, sounds, lines.
You’re flicking through each frame as you would the opening pages of a beloved comic-book. You know exactly what’s next. That’s precisely what drives you to turn the page.
The greatest opening scenes are mini-movies in themselves: a chapter if not an entire story, wrapped into 3 (or 13) minutes and you don’t even notice.
We agonised over our pick, as you will over yours, dipping our hands into Sci - fi horror, Animation, Westerns, Action Thrillers, Creature Movies, Classics, Superhero/Fantasy, War.
We’ve tried to steer clear of recency or classics/vintage or superstar bias. But biased it is - that’s why it’s ‘’our’’ top ten. We hope you enjoyed our journey, sifting through some 20 opening scenes until we arrived at our ten. We certainly did. Thankfully for us, this isn’t the end. In many ways, it’s just the beginning.