Sunday, June 9, 2013

Sunday Best: Top Ten Opening Credit Sequences

This was a suggestion from Rick O. He wanted my thoughts as to which movies had the best opening credit sequences. This is not to be confused with an opening scene. The credits sequence tends to be some kind of montage that is interested in getting across the emotional truth of the movie. I've always maintained that the end depends upon the beginning. Usually you know whether or not you like a movie within the first 10 minutes. The opening credit sequence is usually less interested in moving the story forward as it is giving you a sense of the kind of movie you are watching.

There are a lot of great opening sequences. Rick O. was efusive in his praise for the opening credit sequence to Die Another Day. I racked my brain as best I could, so I'm sure there are some that I am missing. Also, there are some, like Star Wars, that have great openings, but that are not opening credit sequences, that have been left off.

Dead Again

-This sequence consists only of credits and newspaper headlines. But director Kenneth Brannagh does 2 things: with his choice of music he creates a palpable air of fear and tension. And the headlines are sufficiently ominous that you can't help but feel the malice in convicted murderer Roman Strauss.


-A lifetime of friendship is something difficult to capture on screen. But Ted did this beautifully with a collection of movies and still photos of a life that does not feel too far removed from our own, full of fun and nostalgia. By the time the sequence is over, you feel the life-long bond between the two main characters.

Much Ado About Nothing
-There is something epically romantic about the way Brannah shot the opening credits to this Shakespeare adaptation. His use of slow motion, sweeping camera movements, and musical flourishes fill the film with pure pagentry


-This black and white sequence not only creates an air around our martyred title character, but it sets the tone of parnoia and fear necessary in this epic consipiracy theory


-Again, opening credit sequences are about tone. And Jason Reitman hit it perfectly with its rotoscoped hyper-stylized reality and quircky soundtrack underneath

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

-This deserves its place just for being so odd and at the same time being so strangely funny.

The Wedding Singer

-Director Franc Coraci capture the feel, music, and color of the 1980's in a way that made it appealing to remember. The musical sequence was toe-tapping fun

-The opening reverse sequence is so strange, yet so important. It fills you with questions that demand to be answered, taking you backwards from a developed polaroid of a murdered man.

Resevoir Dogs

-The first time I saw this movie, I didn't like (I have since come to love it). But even then I was struck by the title sequence. It had this innate sense of cool that seemed unrehearsed and genuine. It also works in a way that transitions you to the shocking violence of the film.


-Pure fun that introduces all of the main characters and sets the tone for fun and adventure.


Young Guns
Arthur 2
Back to the Future
Can't Hardly Wait
Spider-Man 2
Flash Gordon
Forrest Gump
The 40-Year-Old Virgin
Get Smart
Gross Pointe Blank
Life is Beautiful
Never Ending Story
Office Space
Swing Kids
Catch Me If You Can

(My wife suggested I also put up Lost in Translation, but I think that was a trap.)

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