The Incredible Stories Behind 10 Great Movie Opening Sequences

Apocalypse Now

A short while ago, we published an article on great closing sequences from the movies, the argument there being that as important as the beginning of a movie is, it is often only at the end that you find out whether it truly was worth the hour and a half plus of your life.

But no one will ever dispute that a movie’s beginning really is essential. You might be lucky enough to somehow score a second date after a disastrous first one, and it may well eventually lead to a life-long loving relationship. But if you tripped and face-planted into the salsa at the restaurant on that first date– well, fifty years later during the speeches at your golden wedding anniversary, you will probably still be the person who tripped and face-planted into the salsa.

Exactly the same thing applies to movies. A movie may improve from a poor start, but it is generally better form for it not to fall among the condiments within the first ten minutes.


Fortunately, the cinematic world ensures that most directors receive this memo (a few are apparently rather cruelly overlooked, but that’s a topic for another time), This means that there is a plethora of movies with spectacular beginnings. However, it also means that since the dawn of time (by which we mean 1889, when the first moving picture was created) audiences, critics, movie makers, movie lovers, movie haters, people who claim to know nothing about movies and then proceed to have a very strong opinion that is very different to yours on any movie you could possible think of, have been discussing movie openings.

For this reason, a slightly different angle has been taken here. Rather than simply listing movies with great beginnings (which most people could rattle off in less time than it apparently takes to decide to make an Expendables movie), the aim has been to examine the making of some of these eternally iconic sequences.

The accounts range from actor anecdotes, to explorations of the skills and technology used (if you’ve been waiting all your life for someone to examine the use of state of the art technology in The Sound of Music then your wait is over my friend) and cover a wide range of tales and explanations in between.

A few of the tales are simply astonishing – at least two of them are deeply shocking. And whereas some of the entries on the list will be very familiar within this theme, some of them will hopefully be less predictable. What they all do share in common is their ability to create an incredible first impression – and that in doing so, they all created their own incredible stories.

Cue all movie studio intro music.