The opening shot of the film can last in your mind longer than the film itself. When I think of my personal favorites, Jonathan Glazer’s “Birth” comes to mind, with the sprawling, overhead shots of Central Park, while Paul Thomas Anderson’s entire catalog boasts lovely and unforgettable beginnings, from Adam Sandler’s eccentric Barry Egan at the back corner of the perfect mise en scene in “Punch Drunk Love,” to the series of unfortunate events in “Magnolia” clarifying the significance of chance in the film.
In this new video essay from Cinefix, they’ve broken down the top 10 opening scenes (in their humble opinion) with a few guest appearances from films that came close to making the cut. The bottom half of the list is a no-brainer, featuring the taut, inverted shots focused on the cowboy in a quandary in “The Searchers,” the introduction of boxer Jake LaMotta in “Raging Bull,” and the psychotropic, explosive slow-motion intro to “Apocalypse Now.”
These are just three of the ten films on the list, with honorable mentions along the way for the futuristic acid trip of “Blade Runner,” the delightful meandering of “A Hard Day’s Night,” and the unrelenting image of scantily clad Michael Fassbender in Steve McQueen’s “Shame.”
Take a look at the video below for the final films, and let us know what didn’t make the cut in the comments below.