Epic Introductions: The Top 18 Movies With Jaw-Dropping Opening Scenes

Ever watched a movie with a lasting opening scene? Well, that’s usually a good impression that a movie is worth watching, though not always. But talking about memorable opening scenes, here are 18 of the best, according to these people!

1. Children of Men (2006)

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

One person shared, “Children of Men. Alfonso Cuarón uses seamless edits to show us Clive Owen’s character walking out of a coffee shop where people are transfixed by the news that the youngest person on Earth had just died. He seemingly walks a few yards down the street, sets his coffee down, and the entire coffee shop is blown up by a terrorist bomb just behind him.

A screaming woman stumbles out of the rubble, holding her severed arm, and the film title pops up. Just astounding.”

The second person replied, “The amount of worldbuilding accomplished by Cuaron in those opening seconds is astounding.”

Another one added, “This movie is so unbelievably good, and it saddens me how many people have never heard of it. I’ve introduced it to at least 10 people myself. And yeah, you can watch it 100 times, and that intro still hits so hard.”

2. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Photo Credit: Lucasfilm, Ltd.

Somebody commented, “Raiders of the Lost Ark. Everything you need to know about the character of Indy: his intelligence, his resourcefulness, his respect for the artifacts/tombs/cultures and disdain for those who don’t, all established through Spielberg’s immaculate style of blocking and visual storytelling and culminating with an iconic set piece in the span of only 10 minutes.”

“I remember seeing Raiders of the Lost Ark in the theater when it first came out, and that whole opening sequence was just so cool I could have left happy after that. Still one of the greatest opening 10 minutes of a movie, IMO,” replied another.

3. Sicario (2015)

Photo Credit: Richard Foreman, Jr. SMPSP

Sicario,” said one.

“I totally blanked on the opening for a moment. I thought you were referring to the border crossing scene, but then I remembered the bodies in the walls and that explosion. Yeah, that’s a really strong opening. Only thing that threw me off is how obvious it is that they’re not in Chandler, Arizona. But that’s easy to overlook given how great the movie is,” the second person replied.

“The music was unbelievable in this scene. What a great movie,” the third added.

4. X-Men 2 (2003)

X-Men: Apocalypse, Michael Fassbender
Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox.

One user commented, “X-Men 2 opening with Nightcrawler going to the White House was brilliant.”

The second person replied, “Best part of the whole movie.”

5. Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Christoph Waltz
Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

Somebody stated, “The intro scene was worth the admission price alone. It was terrifying!”

A second person replied, “Chilling. Sets up the two antagonists perfectly. An awesome origin story for the ending.”

Finally, the third added, “Could very well be the best scene in movie history.”

6. Lord of War (2005)

Photo Credit: Lions Gate Home Entertainment

Lord of War. First person view of the life of a bullet from manufacturing to a child soldier’s skull,” shared somebody.

“Add to that that, depending on how you watched it, that opening followed Amnesty International’s shopping channel spoof for how easy it was for dictators to buy guns.  ‘The AK-47. So simple, a child can use it. And they do,’” replied another with a quote from the movie.

“Not forgetting Cage’s brilliant opening monologue first: ‘There are over 500 million firearms in worldwide circulation. That’s one firearm for every twelve people on the planet. The only question is…how do we arm the other eleven?’” added another.

7. 28 Weeks Later (2007)

Photo Credit: 20th Century Studios

One user expressed, “28 Weeks Later has Robert Carlyle and family trapped in a rickety wooden shack that’s invaded by the zombie hoard. I expected him to typically play the hero figure, but instead he turns on a sixpence and saves his own skin, ditching his loved ones in the process. Took me by total surprise and was a refreshing change to the usual hero sacrifice. Pre-empting the incredible ‘Force Majeure’ solipsistic archetype.”

8. Terminator 2 (1991)

Photo Credit: Tristar Pictures.

Terminator 2 features an outstanding intro with the war against the machines followed by fantastic opening credits,” said one.

“Not to mention still the best depiction to date of John Connor despite (a) not saying anything and (b) only being onscreen for like 30 seconds,” replied another.

9. Scream (1996)

Photo Credit: Dimension Films

“No mention of Scream? Absolutely iconic death scene and killing off one of their top billed cast members in the first scene of the movie. It may seem cheesy now because so many things parody it, but that s- was incredible at the time,” shared somebody.

“[Heck] YES. I don’t care what people say now; no one could have predicted Drew Barrymore getting sliced and diced in that intro. It is iconic,” replied the second person.

10. Star Wars (1977)

Photo Credit: 20th Television.

Somebody shared, “Star Wars. The blasting of John Williams score, the opening crawl, followed by the star destroyer coming over the top of the frame. Nothing will ever beat that for an opening.”

Another one replied, “My dad told me as a kid that New Hope was his favorite just because of the opening. Said it was unreal in the theater.”

Finally, the third added, “I felt just awed, dwarfed, blown away. I mean, I was five in 77. As soon as the ships appeared, I was done. Hooked for life.”

11. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

Photo Credit: Buena Vista Pictures.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl. Sets it up like an eerie period piece, then gives one of the best character introductions of all cinema history,” one person commented.

“Yeah the world moves on from trends so quickly, from like pirates to vampires to zombies and etc. back then, so for like a decade I completely forgot about the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. But rewatching it recently was actually so enjoyable,” replied another.

12. Goodfellas (1990)

Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment

One user shared, “Goodfellas. As far back as I could remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.”

The second person replied, “I remember the first time I saw it; I had been binging Scorsese stuff, so was pretty amped for it, but not knowing a ton about it … that opening scene grabbed me and put me on high alert … was not relieved until the movie ended.”

13. Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

Somebody commented, “Saving Private Ryan: everyone who saw it at the cinema sure remembers it.”

Another one replied, “Saving Private Ryan was so intense in the theater! The sound cutting in and out as the POV goes under waves, the screaming, the guy looking for his arm, nowhere to hide and nowhere to go but into the face of death.”

Finally, the third added, “Can’t believe I had to scroll this far for someone to mention Saving Private Ryan. Such a visceral scene.”

14. Blade: Trinity (2004)

Blade Trinity (2004), Wesley Snipes, John Michael Higgins

“BLOOD RAVE!!! That techno track is the only thing I have from the Blade soundtrack in my music rotation,” shared somebody.

15. Up (2009)

Photo Credit: Disney/Pixar.

“I don’t think there’s a movie that made me feel more in such a short amount of time, and it gets me every single time,” commented one.

“Honestly, the rest of the movie’s kinda forgettable, but those first ten minutes,” replied another.

16. Watchmen (2009)

Image Credit: Warner Bros.

One person shared, “I cannot emphasize enough how much I love Watchmen‘s opening minutes. It starts with the murder of The Comedian, with an excellent juxtaposition of the brutal violence with the old fashioned sweetness of Nat King Cole crooning ‘Unforgettable’ over top of it. It then immediately transitions into the alternative history montage with the rise of the Watchmen with Bob Dylan’s ‘The Times, They Are Changin,’ to set the stage. It just never gets old for me.”

Another one added, “I came here to say the exact same thing. It draws you right into the story from the start and tells you that this isn’t your typical superhero story.”

17. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

Photo Credit: New Line Cinema.

Somebody said, “Fellowship is my favorite of the trilogy, but shoutout to the Two Towers’ opening. The shot of Gandalf falling and catching up to his sword is so unbelievably epic. And then the wide shot as he and the Balrog descend into that vast cavern, demonstrating the scale of Middle-Earth. It’s perfect. And it all goes so hard, so fast.”

The second person replied in agreement, “Fellowship is the closest to a perfect movie. It sticks to the source material very well, and the changes that are made are necessary and enhance the film. Two Towers and RotK have their issues (especially the extended scenes), but FotR pretty much nails it all the way through.”

18. Top Gun (1986)

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

One user shared, “Top Gun. You can’t deny the power of Kenny Loggins and carrier operations!”

Another one replied, “Jingoism and war fetishes aside (I know), this should be listed way higher. The song, the power of the jets, and the way they captured it on film meld together perfectly and really instill a sense of excitement that ripples through the entire movie.”

Do you agree with the movies listed above? Which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!

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