THE BEST TITLE SEQUENCES

As a graphic designer and pop culture lover, I'm obsessed with a good title sequence! I've studied many both in school and in my media watching fervor. Here are the ones I think are the best of the best. Also, if you're into any of these and would like to check out more, ArtoftheTitle.com has a fantastic archive!
  1. Psycho (1960)
    Designed by Saul Bass, who essentially invented the modern title sequence. Before it was just static text on a page. He believed a title should be like an Overture. It sets the tone, tells the audience what to expect, and prepares them to watch attentively. Bass has designed many iconic sequences (Vertigo, N by NW) but this one for Psycho is my favorite. Simply through music, movement, and spliced text and shapes, we feel the tension and terror of the movie. artofthetitle.com/title/psycho
  2. To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)
    Stephen Frankfurt’s opening credits are gripping yet meditative. He reminds us what the stakes are in the story and puts us in the mindset of a little girl. In doing so, it allows us to keep her perspective in mind throughout the movie. These titles are truly genius. artofthetitle.com/title/to-kill-a-mockingbird/
  3. Dr. No (1962)
    The James Bond movies have given us many iconic title sequences, but this is the first and best. Designed by Maurice Binder, they are colorful, graphic, and iconic. These set the standard for an entire genre and many of your other favorite sequences would never exist without them. artofthetitle.com/title/dr-no/
  4. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
    Brazen and audacious, this simple title sequence demands your full attention. Even if you’ve never seen the movie, you can identify it by the music right away. Stanley Kubrick’s epic didn’t need anything more than this bold declaration of its importance to get you ready to begin. artofthetitle.com/title/2001-a-space-odyssey/
  5. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
    This sequence is not the most inspired in terms of the type, but those lips singing “Science Fiction Double Feature” are the perfect way to prepare you for the weird, fun, and campy ride you’re about to start. And, honestly, I think the dripping text is kind of awesome. artofthetitle.com/title/the-rocky-horror-picture-show/
  6. Back to the Future (1985)
    This marks a change in how title sequences are treated. Rather than separating them from the events of the movie, they are integrated into the first scenes of the story. I don’t appreciate this trend much today and wish more movies would go back to the old style, but this is an example of how to do it RIGHT. As you slowly move through the room, each shot brings you into the world a little more. artofthetitle.com/title/back-to-the-future/
  7. Do the Right Thing (1989)
    Not sure why all title sequences aren’t just shots of Rosie Perez dancing? This sequence captivates you and gives you a taste of the livelihood and fearlessness of Spike Lee’s filmmaking. A-plus. artofthetitle.com/title/do-the-right-thing/
  8. Se7en (1995)
    This sequence comes from Kyle Cooper, the modern master of title sequences. It marks a return to the classic style, but with a distinct modern edge. Chillingly similar to the “To Kill A Mockingbird” opening, Cooper puts us in the mind of a serial killer by using handwritten text and tactile effects. This sequence was a game changer in the world of movie titles and brought in a desire for modern takes on the classic style. artofthetitle.com/title/se7en/
  9. Boogie Nights (1997)
    Not really a title sequence, but one of the best introductions to a movie of all time, if not THE best. The Emotions’ “Best of My Love” blasts as we meet all of our key players and sink into the world of the 70's in one sweeping shot. Doesn’t get any better than this. artofthetitle.com/title/boogie-nights/
  10. Dawn of the Dead (2004)
    Another amazing sequence by Kyle Cooper, this might be my favorite of all time. Cooper made the text effects by printing them onto transparency and blowing on them with a straw. He used found video footage for the rest. And the Johnny Cash song tops it off perfectly. artofthetitle.com/title/dawn-of-the-dead/
  11. Dexter (2006)
    This sequence does exactly the job it’s supposed to do. The type could be more exciting, but it’s achieves so much through cinematography. It tells you everything you need to know– you’re about to watch a show about a seemingly average guy with the mind of a serial killer. Boom. Fantastic. artofthetitle.com/title/dexter/
  12. True Blood (2008)
    An unfortunate case of the titles outshining the show itself, I wish “True Blood” had been more like the expectations set up from this sequence. I guess that technically makes it sort of a failure, but I just love this sequence so much. Creepy and evocative of a familiar but subverted world (even if it isn’t the world of the show exactly), you can’t take your eyes away. artofthetitle.com/title/true-blood/
  13. Up in the Air (2009)
    This sequence knocked me out when I first saw it. The way the images and type move with the music is perfection. Designed by Gareth Smith and Jenny Lee, it’s simple but executed with master craftsmanship. I could watch it all day. artofthetitle.com/title/up-in-the-air/
  14. Enter the Void (2011)
    Remember how much you loved Kanye West’s music video for “All of the Lights?” It was ripped off of this killer title sequence. artofthetitle.com/title/enter-the-void/
  15. Halt and Catch Fire (2014)
    I wanted to include my favorite title sequence for a show that’s currently on the air, and that’s this one. While AMC’s titles for “Mad Men” were great, these ones really do it for me even more. By taking the digital imagery and combining it with a serif type from the days before computers, it prepares you for the cultural tipping point the show takes place in. Plus that song is fantastic, it’s quick-paced, and it brings the energy. artofthetitle.com/title/halt-and-catch-fire/
  16. There are so many more amazing titles out there, these are just my personal choices.
    I definitely encourage you to check more out and really think about them the next time you watch a movie or show. Title sequences are the best!