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10 Best Opening Scenes Of All Time

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10. Indiana Jones: Raiders Of The Lost Ark

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Steven Spielberg is quite literally one of the greatest directors of all time, so it’s no wonder that he was able to create one of, not only the best movies, but one of the best opening scenes of all time. When you kickstart a new franchise with an already legendary actor you need to start with a bang, or in this case, a rolling ball. In one of the most iconic scenes in film history, Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones wagers his life with a bag of sand all so he can get his hands on a pricey artifact. This 10-minute pumping thrill ride solidified audiences hunger for more Indy and his adventures, so much so that they brought back the franchise after nearly a two-decade long hiatus. No longer did we see Ford as just Han Solo.

9. There Will Be Blood

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There Will Be Blood not only featured, arguably, the best performance by Daniel Day Lewis, but the best opening as well. In There Will Be Blood, the opening scene is what builds Daniel Plainview’s character as a hard-working, sacrificial man. It sheds light on the true nature of oil-drilling in the late 19th century. To understand why Plainview acts the way he does in the rest of the film, one must watch the opening scene. Nearly 5 minutes of pure hard work, slaving away through the rocky terrain only to fall to what will be a lifelong injury.

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  • merwanor

    Say what you will about the Star Wars prequels, Episode 3 has one of the best opening scenes ever.

    • Jason

      Agreed. But I wouldn’t include it in the top 10–maybe top 20.

      • VoudeauxChild

        It was head and shoulders better than Star Trek, which was included.

        • VoudeauxChiId

          Anyone see Howard the Duck? I dressed up like him for Comic-con.

          • VoudeauxChild

            The Howard comment was obviously not a comment by me. I guess Jason can’t take criticism. Poor wittle baby.

          • Jason

            Are you saying I somehow hacked into your account to post an idiotic comment like that?

    • Korabljenik

      It looks good, but it’s just a CGI footage, which belongs to some video game’s intro, not the feature film.

  • VoudeauxChild

    You lost me with Star Trek.

    • Jason

      Where’s the imagination?

      • VoudeauxChild

        I just know garbage when I see it, and Star Trek was garbage.

        • Robert W.

          Clearly you don’t know garbage when you see it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/andrew.arnold.3382 Andrew Arnold

    Sorry, the fact that ‘The Matrix’ and Pulp Fiction’ weren’t included invalidates the whole list. Better luck next time Nerdacy.

    • buggyglint

      ‘Reservoir Dogs’ has a great intro as well.

    • Son of Prometheus

      Amen brother :) (Except for the Pulp Fiction bit — awesome movie though)

  • Guest

    No Saving Private Ryan? Not only should it be on the list it should be #1.

    • Jason

      I assume you’re talking about the landing at Normandy scene? If that was the opening scene I would totally agree with you, but the scene where Ryan is walking through Arlington with his family is in fact the opening scene. D-Day is the second scene. Very emotional and great, nevertheless.

    • Son of Prometheus

      Yeah Saving Private Ryan was awesome, realistic and heart-breaking.

  • Son of Prometheus

    I don’t know if there’s a “need” to label this list ’10 Best Opening Scenes of All Time’ But I definetly think the Opening Action Scene of Wesley Snipes in Blade should be up here. Talk about, “Allow me to introduce myself.” I remember reading a martial arts magazine interview with Mr. Snipes prior to the release of Blade and he talked about them filming this scene where Blade takes on like a hundred vampires in a Blood Bath. I thought, “How is that even possible? When I saw the film (and that part) back in 1998 I was in AWE. And it still holds up today. And I love the scene at the end when he walks out into the street in his trench coat. That whole movie felt more like a real life documentry of a vampire hunter. Than an action movie. it is brilliant. Blade made vampires seem like they could really exist.
    And what about Trinty kicking ass in The Matrix?! Or Charlie’s Angel’s Opening Scene on the airplane?

    • Heidi

      LOVE the vampire rave…when it rained blood, that was FABULOUS.

      • Son of Prometheus

        @disqus_iAn7yS4WS5:disqus Hell yeah… That scene still holds up today. And it without a doubt inspired Wrestling Superstars, like Gangrel and The Brood.

    • VotersRights

      That was a great scene in Blade, but it was also not an opening scene. That movie started with a flashback hospital scene.

      • Son of Prometheus

        @VotersRights:disqus Oh come on. you guys are being kind of anal about what’s classified as an “Opening Scene” ;) I consider an OS to be the introduction of the protagonist of the story. And Blade as an adult badass vampire hunter in the nightclub is that scene.Not him being born as a baby. Hell the same could be said of Jesus Christ. When he began his public ministry is when the ball got rollin. Not the little bits of information we get about his childhood :p
        In my opinion the OS is the introduction to the character or plot of the story.

  • chickenlittle

    what about Scream?? that had an amazing opening scene.

  • TT

    I have always considered The Godfather’s opening scene to be one of the best….and the Inglorious Basterds opening is almost orgasmic :D

    • Manuel Lopez

      The Godfather. I agree.

  • Robert W.

    Not exactly one of Disney’s BEST films, but I always loved the opening of the animated adaptation of Tarzan. Disturbed the hell out of me as a kid though, hehe.
    Still a great list though :)

  • Woody

    I would have to include the opening scene from “Wild at Heart” with Nicholas Cage. Nothing like seeing someone get the crap kicked out of them in the first few minutes. . . .

  • bil

    Desperado, Once apon A Time In Mexico both should be in top 5

  • bil

    jango unchained

  • bil

    tarantino always has a great opening scene

  • bil

    reservoir dogs, pulp fiction

  • juan

    wtf saving private ryan should be #1 because that opening normandy scene is unforgettable and kicks ass

    • Jason

      Juan, I previously answered this in another comment. If the landing at Normandy scene was in fact the opening I would have definitely placed it at #1; but the fact is that it was the second scene. The opening scene is actually Private Ryan walking through Arlington with his family to the grave of Capt. Miller.

  • GeorgeGloobie

    The best opening scenes of all time? Though some of these are great, you fail to include the first 60+ years of cinema! This is obviously uninformed.

  • Rob

    “Scream” is not on here…..

  • mimedogg .

    Motorcycle scene from Tron: Legacy was epic! Not sure if that was an opening scene tho…

  • JS Bragg

    X2. The Nightcrawler scene. One of the best in movie history.

  • gothamm

    Got to agree with you on Star Trek – the editing was fantastic, going from noise and confusion to the silence of space and back again

  • Tommy Brown

    Lion King?!?!?! Are you kidding me? How bout Saving Private Ryan, Pulp Fiction, or Desperado? Who did this list? Somebody need to watch a lot more movies.

    • Lizzy

      He addresses Saving Private Ryan at the end of his post.

  • Daniel Rounds

    The opening 5 minutes of the Korean film “Mother”. The titular character blissfully wades through a field of wheat.By the end of the film we understand what inner secret she has that compels her to act in this graceful, yet macabre, manner.

    The first two minutes of “The Premature Burial” ( starring Ray Milland) . Gravediggers exhume a corpse only to find that it had been buried alive.

    The first 5 minutes of Ingmar Bergman’s “Cries and Whispers”. Wordlessly Cinematographer Svet Nykvist speaks volumes in gorgeous prolonged images that seem timeless yet are punctuated with close ups of the hands of clocks measuring time by the minute and hour.. The scene ends with a close up of written words in a diary belonging to Agnes (Harriet Andersson), a woman who we later learn is dying of cancer. Pen in inkwell, then on paper, she begins writing in Swedish with determined effort a passage that ends with the words: ” … I am in pain.”.

    The opening scene in Ingmar Bergman’s film “Persona” in which Liv Ullman’s character has a nervous breakdown so traumatic that it renders her mute. The scene ends with the actual film stock melting and disintegrating, much like the mental state of the film’s protagonist.

  • Nuntium-i

    The opening scene from Transformers the Animated Movie, the original, one of my favorites. The opening scene from The Living Daylights, I never looked at opening scenes the same again. The opening scene from Golden Eye was pretty good too. The Dark Knight Rises had a awesome opening scene also. The list goes on.

  • Bob Lepore

    cliffhanger dah

  • nick

    I woulda thought Pulp fiction would be on the list

  • Uwe Hentschel

    Austin Powers in Goldmember. Easily.

  • Manuel Lopez

    Man of Steel should be a new one to make this list. The inclusion of Inglorious Bastards? Nah, that was the only lame vote.

  • Chillz Mckillz

    YOU HAVE A LOT OF NERVE NOT INCLUDING THE AMAZING INTRO TO SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. I HATE YOU.

  • Sef

    The Godfather, Dark Knight Rises, Man of Steel should be here too

  • Liberty

    Beverly Hills Cop. How could you leave out that still awesome scene of the 18-wheeler pursuit? It was epic.

  • Dang-a-lang

    Ya, Lion King over Saving Private Ryan’s opening scene?! Pretty pathetic.

    • ding-a-long

      Agreed. And also that scene is at Normandy, not Arlington.

  • BulldogCG

    “Belly” is in the top ten for me. I understand this is a “Hood” flick and misses most critics, but I love the opening scene of that movie, it is probably better than the film itself, but damn, what an intro, music, setting, tone, everything is perfect.

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