Best Opening Scenes

  1. Raiders of the Lost Ark
    Perfectly sets up the character of Indy and sets the mood and tone of the film. This opening scene could be its own movie
  2. Inglourious Basterds
    Amazing dialogue. It must have been such a challenge to create the character of Hanz Landa to be such a diabolical yet charming human being. Plus the phenomenal acting in this scene helps a great deal with the tension
  3. Raging Bull
    The way De Niro's opening speech moves flawlessly into the opening fight with the line "that's entertainment" being repeated to us works like magic. Amazing writing, directing, and acting.
  4. There Will Be Blood
    I love how we get to know the character of Daniel so well in this opening 20 minutes without the use of any sort of dialogue. Perfect example of "show, don't tell."
  5. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
    This film, overall, is pretty unbearable. For me, it crosses the line of obscurity and dangerously treads in the waters of absurdity. And it sinks. But this opening scene is fantastic. It properly displays comedy that doesn't come out in your face and slaps you to get you to laugh. It's very relaxing comedy in that the jokes roll with ease and everything feels very natural. "We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold."
  6. Inherent Vice
    I love how we're dropped into the middle of this story. It's a race to catch up with what's happening and PTA doesn't bother slowing down for us.
  7. Raising Arizona
    One of my favorite montages ever. I love how hilarious this scene is. So many great, not too in your face jokes that just seem effortless. Nicolas Cage is soooo funny in this entire film from the Coen brothers. I love how the title comes up like a sunrise with the music at the end of the scene.
  8. Touch of Evil
    Incredibly directed. This 3+ minute long tracking shot is beautiful, and some of Orson Welles's most stylish work. We see a man plant a bomb in a car and follow that car to its final resting place with the people in it. As the scene goes on the car leaves the frame numerous times, yet every time it returns we recognize it immediately.
  9. Happiness
    Another opening scene that could be its own film. Surprisingly great acting from John Lovitz. This is the only movie I've ever seen that had me choked up in the first freaking scene. It's actually great how this scene sets the stage for the film because it's heart breaking and so is the rest that follows.
  10. Punch Drunk Love
    I love how this scene unfolds. PTA somehow fits jump scares into this scene and somehow it fits perfectly. They energize this already frantically energetic scene. Adam Sandler gives the performance of his career in this film. And those colors that come up with the title feel as magical as the film itself.