5 of the Most Thrilling Opening Sequences Ever!

Opening scene

There can be little doubt that the opening sequence to any movie is possibly one of the most crucial moments in a picture. It often sets the tone for what is to come, and rarely fools the audience into thinking that they are watching a feature in particular that then suddenly changes course. There are exceptions, such as in Alfred Hitchcock‘s ‘Psycho‘ (1960) where, judging by it’s opening, you would be forgiven for thinking that you were about to watch a film about a love-struck secretary turned thief who goes on the run to be with her boyfriend, only then to run into a sharp knife while taking a shower that completely alters the course of what one is experiencing.

But the likes of the above are one in a thousand. Excitement and appeal are huge factors, and it is important to reassure us that what we paid to see will give us value for our money although that will also depend on what the next couple of hours will deliver. Below, you will read five carefully selected movie beginnings that have the power to disturb, shock and excite. These opening sequences went to assist their respective films and went on to become cinematic classics in each of their genres.

Don’t forget to tell us your favorite movie beginnings in the comments section below!

opening scene

Jaws‘ (1975)

It would not be surprising if many people would vote the opening shark attack scene in the 1975 oceanic beast film, Jaws as the greatest of all time. The beginning credits with the famous ‘Jaws‘ theme playing over while the camera imitates the shark’s point of view is enough to get the heart pumping rapidly enough! But the blood curdling assault on swimmer Chrissie takes things to the next level. And you don’t even see the colossal sized monster underneath the ocean’s surface while it chomps on the unfortunate innocent woman who just wanted to go for a midnight swim. Thank God that “Bruce”, the mechanical shark, kept giving the film crew problems otherwise we would have gotten a much different opening sequence than what was finally filmed, as director Steven Spielberg has admitted.

opening scene

‘Halloween’ (1978)

The slasher movie to start all slashers, the late 1970’s horror film ‘Halloween‘ disturbs by not only revealing that an angelic looking six year old boy murders in cold blood on one Halloween night, but that his sister was also the victim! Interestingly, the villain of the film is never referred to by his name except in this opening sequence by, who is presumed to be, his father after he comes home to see his son standing outside their house with a bloody looking butcher knife. Needless to say, it’s a very effective opening sequence, mostly due the the fact that whole sequence was shot as one take through first person point of view. Hopefully the new sequel can live up to the standard set up by this opening scene!

opening scene

‘Scream’ (1996)

Perhaps kind of emulating Hitchcock’s technique from ‘Psycho‘ in fooling the audience into thinking that Janet Leigh would be the main star of that movie, ‘Scream‘ uses Drew Barrymore‘s past success and fame to make people think that she would survive to the very end. Well, that was not to be when our Ghostface mask wearing killer(s) brutally butchers Barrymore’s Casey Becker in the first ten minutes. This not only set the tone extremely well, but it also made everybody realize that she would have nothing but a cameo role in the end. The film is full of surprises and ‘Scream‘ would go on to be imitated time and time again during the rest of the 1990’s and in the early 2000’s. Ultimately, this opening sequence would solidify it’s position as probably director Wes Craven‘s finest piece of work.

Opening Scene

From Russia With Love (1963)

The James Bond movies have many great opening sequences that have become traditional teasers in every entry since ‘From Russia With Love‘ was made. But while most of the other ones feature mainly action to pull viewers in, the opening sequence in ‘From Russia With Love‘s makes people watch with their full attention. The film deceived fans by thinking that Sean Connery’s James Bond had been strangled and murdered by henchman, Red Grant. Eventually, we could breathe a sigh of relief after it was shown that Bond was not anywhere near the happenings at all! It turns out that the victim was wearing a mask made to resemble 007 during what was presumably a training session to get S.P.E.C.T.R.E. ready to hunt Britain’s most famous fictional secret agent in the ensuing story. It’s great opening deceptions like this one that really make the ensuing movies so memorable.

opening scene

The Dark Knight (2008)

The Dark Knight‘ may have initiated a little bit of over-the-top worship of British director Christopher Nolan, but there can be little dispute that the opening bank robbery sequence that ended with the reveal of the film’s main bad guy, The Joker, was masterfully composed. All three of the Batman movies directed by Nolan had a filmic style that was similar to the likes of classic gangster films such as ‘Heat‘, which works wonders for ‘The Dark Knight‘s opening. Although scenes later in the picture would define Heath Ledger‘s portrayal of The Joker much more emphatically, there are few moments further on down the road that are as great as ‘The Dark Knight‘s outset.


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