People Agree That These are the 19 Greatest Movie Openings of All Time

Some movie openings are legendary, sticking in our minds long after the screening has finished. Someone recently asked, “What movie has the greatest opening of all time?” and the internet responded. Here are the 19 most popular answers.

Contact

Contact - Warner Bros
Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

“Starting at Earth, then panning out of the solar system, then the galaxy, then out to the edge of the universe, all while listening to older and older radio transmissions. Genius.”

“Also, that super cool shot with the mirror and the hallway, though.”

Children of men

Children Of Men (2006) Universal Pictures
Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

“Children of Men’s opening scene is definitely up there.”

“Children of Men is one of my absolute favorite films of all time.”

Scream 1996

Scream (1996) Woods Entertainment
Photo Credit: Woods Entertainment.

“I was startled.”

“What really sold the opening at the time was the fact they really played up Drew Barrymore as starting in the film. So much so that she’s the main draw on the poster. The entire theater was shocked.”

Saving Private Ryan

Saving Private Ryan_ Hand To Hand Combat Scene At The End Paramount Pictures
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

“I’d say that opening changed how war movies are made and how they are watched.”

“Plenty of veterans had seen plenty of war films and thought this would just be another one. But the way Spielberg crafted that opening was revolutionary and immersive.”

The Matrix

The Matrix (1999) Warner Bros
Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

“If I’m remembering this correctly, they were given a budget for the film that they felt was too low ($10 million, I think). They spent it all on that opening scene and showed it to get the original asking budget.”

“Came to say this, it is pretty perfect. Super exciting and introduces the main characters, villains, and the world very well in only like seven minutes.”

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

“I think this is probably the definitive answer.”

“A Brilliant opening and totally entertaining film, especially as it had very little publicity prior to its launch.”

Office Space

Office Space (1999) - 20th Century Studios
Photo Credit: 20th Century Studios.

“When he looks over and notices that the old man with the walker has gone further than he has in his car.”

“I think about this every time I’m stuck in traffic.”

Snatch

Snatch (2000) Sony Pictures
Photo Credit: Sony Pictures.

“They show how all the characters are connected.”

“This is probably my overall favorite of all time.”

The Gentlemen

Photo Credit: Miramax.

“The gentleman seems to be very underrated. Hugh Grant is magnificent in it.”

“Criminally under-watched film.”

The Godfather

The Godfather (1972) Paramount Pictures
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

“That opening scene with Brando, the cat, the music. Just perfection!”

“Part of what makes this possibly the greatest for me is the cinematography.”

Dawn of the Dead

Dawn of the Dead (2004) Universal Studios
Photo Credit: Universal Studios.

“Pure horror cinema right there.”

“Regardless of how you feel about the rest of the movie, that first segment captures the chaos of a zombie apocalypse perfectly.”

Super Troopers

Super Troopers (2001) Twentieth Century Fox
Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox.

“I love this movie, but the beginning was almost too good, and the rest of the movie never quite matches the opening scene.”

“Yes! The opening was just a classic.”

The Lord of the Rings movies

Photo Credit: New Line Cinema.

“I will never forget seeing The Two Towers in the theater and being completely enthralled at the beginning of this movie. My hands were clutching my armrests the whole time.”

“Opening of The Fellowship of the Ring is a lot too. Whether referring to the prologue or concerning Hobbits, it’s very powerful.”

The Dark Night

Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight Warner Bros
Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

“My favorite of favorites!”

“Another big part of that opening sequence I love is the lack of music. Just the sounds of the action and nothing else.”

Lord of War

Lord of War (2005) Lions Gate Home Entertainment
Photo Credit: Lions Gate Home Entertainment.

“That’s the one I was looking for. Awesome opening.”

“Great answer. Not many people would remember the opening scene, but it’s incredible.”

Spaceballs

Spaceballs MGM Studios
Photo Credit: MGM Studios.

“You have to be old enough to get some of the references, though.”

“The whole cinema busted up at the exact same time, watching that spaceship inch across the screen. Just hilarious.”

The Watchmen

Watchmen Paramount Pictures
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

“It conveyed decades of alternate history, the characters and their predecessors, and how they are connected and fit into the history. Yet, somehow, it wasn’t overwhelming.”

“It’s all the worldbuilding you need to get the movie depicted perfectly and in such a short time. It really is a perfect opening.”

Top Gun

Top Gun (1986) - Paramount Pictures
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

“The opening of Top Gun was so good they used it again in Maverick.”

“It ruled the second time, too. Really hit that nostalgia bone.”

Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Photo Credit: Touchstone Pictures.

“The transition from cartoon to the real-world cartoon kitchen was so well done.”

“One of my all-time favorite films.”

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Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

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Walter in the Big Lebowski Working Title Films
Photo Credit: Working Title Films.

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Smile Paramount Pictures
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

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