Top of the World : 15+1 Opening Scenes

For this week’s top list, I reveal to you what are my 16 personal favourite movie openings (it was suppose to be 15, but due to a little mistake it’s now 16).

The magic of these scenes is that they make you want to watch the rest of the film. So, if there are some films here you haven’t seen, these few clips will be a good introduction to you. 🙂

Here I don’t include the opening titles, but just what comes after (except if there’s a lot of action going  during those opening credits).

Of course, these are my personal choices, so don’t be too disappointed if yours are not on the list. Of course, I invite you to share them with me so we can compare. It’s always interesting!

Ok, here we go!

16. Modern Times (Charlie Chaplin, 1936)

This scene, comparing sheeps and humans: pretty brilliant and relevant. And Chaplin score. Oh my! I think it’s my favourite one from all his films. In the following video, what you can consider the opening scene are about the first 30 seconds.

15. The Sound of Music (Robert Wise, 1965)

Ah, this scene is just beautiful. Julie Andrew’s melodious voice and the stunning Austrian landscapes. It’s so beautiful, it makes me cry.

14. West Side Story (Robert Wise, 1961)

This music, this choreography, these colours. Jerome Robbins was a genius.

13. A Clockwork Orange (Stanley Kubrick, 1973)

A fascinating, but also rather disturbing movie opening. The way Alex Delarge (Malcom McDowell) looks at us is something we can’t forget.

12. Strangers on a Train (Alfred Hitchcock, 1951)

Also one of the best “meeting” scenes ever. I also love the shots that show us the railway.

11. Hair (Milos Forman, 1979)

Aquarius! What a great song! A great psychedelic way to start the film.

 

10. Singin’ in the Rain (Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly, 1952)

What I especially love in this scene is the public’s reaction when each stars arrives. “Zelda! Oh! Zelda!”

 

9. Shadow of a Doubt (Alfred Hitchcock, 1943)

This is really a mysterious opening. We don’t know yet what uncle charlie have done, but we know he’s up to no good. The music and the presence of the two detectives add even more suspense. I couldn’t find a clip including only the scene in question, but only the full movie. Look at the first 5 minutes for the opening scene. Forgive me for the sound and image quality which are rather odd.

8. The Rainmaker (Joseph Anthony, 1956)

Because Burt Lancaster is so dynamic. The film is worthy especially for this scene. This clip doesn’t include the scene from A to Z, but it will give you a good preview.

7. Touch of Evil (Orson Welles, 1958)

This is the BEST long shot ever. Nothing more to say.

6. Little Miss Sunshine (Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris, 2006)

How can we forget this characters presentation? No doubt on why this film won the Best Screenplay Oscar.

5. The Philadelphia Story (George Cukor, 1940)

Probably one of the most hilarious movie scenes ever. It’s short, but it’s effective. Showing us just 30 seconds on screen without any dialogues can sometimes be a perfect to situate a story.

 

4. Rebecca (Alfred Hitchcock, 1940)

This opening scene is so bewitching and Joan Fontaine’s narration voice is perfect, it almost sounds like if she was reciting a poem. “Last nigh I dreamt I went to Manderley again” is a line we’ll never forget. Look for the 3:20 first minutes for the opening.

3. Guys and Dolls (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1955)

Ok, musicals often have great opening we all agree on that. This one would be my favourite one. It’s colourful, the choreography is so entertaining and, most of all, it’s SO RETRO. I love retro stuff. The only video I could find is this one. It’s not the original music and it doesn’t show the entire scene, but it’s better than nothing!

2. Sunset Boulevard (Billy Wilder, 1950)

First, the music, second, Joe Gillis (William Holden)’s narration. What happened? That’s what we want to know when we see this scene for the first time. Of course, that’s what we’ll discover in the rest of the film.

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Suspense…

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More suspense…

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1. To Be or Not to Be (Ernst Lubitsch, 1942)

This scene perfectly reveals us the atmosphere of the film. Plus, it’s hilarious. “How dare you call me a ham!”

 

Well, that’s it! Hope you enjoyed the clips! See you next week with a new top! 🙂

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3 thoughts on “Top of the World : 15+1 Opening Scenes

  1. Fun list. I don’t think I could even do one of these. I will say I adored the opening of Hair, too. Watched it over and over and sang along. My big no vote is to the opening of The Philadelphia Story; I find it sexist and troubling for its implications. I’m persuaded by this perspective: http://screenprism.com/insights/article/what-is-the-significance-of-the-opening-scene-in-the-philadelphia-story. But to each our own, and I enjoyed your list and the post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 7, 5, 4 and 2 are my favourites of these! I love To be or not to be as well! Haven’t seen it in such a long time!
    I personally would have included John Ford’s The Searchers. Absolutely stunning.

    Liked by 1 person

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