10 movies that couldn’t top their opening scene

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Any great movie needs a compelling opening scene that immediately grabs the audience and entices them to join in on the ride. From Stanley Kubrick filling in the origin story of mankind at the beginning of 2001: A Space Odyssey to Chrissie Watkins devoured by a shark in the middle of the night at the start of Jaws, a memorable opening scene can go a long way in making a movie a classic.

RELATED: The 10 Best Opening Action Sequences In The James Bond Movies, Ranked

But sometimes filmmakers can unintentionally shoot themselves in the foot with an opening scene that looks too good. In some cases, the opening scene is better than anything the rest of the movie has to offer.


ten Inglorious Basterds (2009)

Opening scene of Inglorious Basterds

There are many great moments in Quentin Tarantino’s WWII epic Inglorious Basterds, from the chilling introduction of “The Bear Jew” to the historically inaccurate death of Adolf Hitler. But the movie’s biggest scene is the opening sequence in which SS Colonel Hans Landa interviews a dairy farmer who secretly shelters Jewish refugees under his floor.

In an interview on Q&A with Jeff Goldsmith, Tarantino said he had always considered True romanceiconic Sicilian scene to be the benchmark of his writing career, and that he finally surpassed that benchmark with the opening scene of Inglorious Basterds. The under-the-floor tray uses the Hitchcockian under-the-table bomb technique to create unbearable tension. Christoph Waltz could have won his Oscar thanks to this single scene. He nails the unsettling instantaneous passage from Landa’s friendly facade to the sadistic “Jewish hunter” that he truly is.

9 Scream (1996)

The Conscious Satire of Wes Craven’s Subversive Slasher Scream is established in the opening scene. An unsuspecting teenager, home alone at night, receives a call from a masked killer who asks him, “Do you like horror movies? The cast of Drew Barrymore, one of the biggest movie stars in the world at the time, recalls star Janet Leigh being slaughtered in the shower in the middle of Alfred Hitchcock’s film. psychopath.

Scream was a breath of fresh air for its upsetting of the familiar tropes of horror movies and its characters’ awareness of the genre of horror movie they find themselves in. The villain forcing one of his victims to answer questions about horror movies to stay alive, Scream says everything he has to say about his own genre in the opening scene. The rest of the movie just offers more of the same meta advantage.

8 The Dark Knight (2008)

The Joker in the foreground of The Dark Knight

that of Christophe Nolan The black Knight is the quintessential Batman movie. It contains a ton of unforgettable moments, like the hospital explosion, the pencil murder, the truck rollover, and the brutal interrogation scene. But the opening heist sets a high benchmark that none of these other sequences can surpass.

RELATED: 5 Ways Dark Knight’s Opening Scene Is Perfect (& 5 The Ending Is)

Nolan wastes no time with the exhibit and instead dives into the action, letting audiences catch up as the heist continues. The IMAX visuals, rising tension, and haunting introduction to the Joker make this a perfect opening scene.

7 The Lion King (1994)

Lion King opening scene

The opening sequence of the Disney animated musical The Lion King sees animals come out from everywhere to witness the birth of Simba, the heir to their kingdom, on Elton John and Tim Rice’s glorious Oscar-nominated gem “Circle of Life”.

The sumptuous colors and stunning scenery make this sequence a flawless work of art in itself. The rest of the film is a free adaptation of Shakespeare Hamlet set in the animal kingdom, but nothing about this plot is as breathtaking or awe-inspiring as the opening scene.

6 Lord of War (2005)

The foreground of Lord of War

Andrew Niccol’s Lord of war is in a way a reinvention of Goodfellas located in the arms trade. But what’s more remarkable than its superficial imitation of Scorsese’s style is its heart-wrenching opening montage, which follows the journey of a bullet from the factory to a war zone and into a child’s head. soldier.

Lord of war received Amnesty International’s endorsement for highlighting the issues of international arms trafficking, but the film’s critique of the arms industry never gets more powerful or poignant than in its opening sequence .

5 28 weeks later (2007)

Robert Carlyle in 28 weeks later

Following 28 days later, 28 weeks later, is surprisingly boring for a zombie movie. It takes place so much longer after the zombie virus outbreak than its predecessor that most characters are already living comfortably in a post-apocalyptic world.

But the opening prologue could be an intense and terrifying horror short on its own. It portrays the tragic backstory of Robert Carlyle’s character, as the living dead burst into his cabin hideout and he leaves his wife to die so he can narrowly escape the horde on a boat. The movie will never be so scary again.

4 Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)

The opening scene of Once Upon a Time in the West

that of Sergio Léone Once upon a Time in the West is a masterpiece in its entirety. The entire three-hour epic is a love letter to westerns, delivering a bittersweet swan song that’s perfect for the genre, but its opening scene is so impeccably crafted that it’s impossible for a later streak of be up to it. The set-up could not be simpler – three gunmen await the arrival of a train – and the scene lasts a good seven minutes. Leone’s unprecedented visual storytelling establishes that the three gunmen at the station are up to something horrible.

Small details in Tonino Delli Colli’s cinematography, like the men casually playing with their guns, create a sense of dread as to what will happen when the train arrives. Nino Baragli’s meticulous editing gradually increases the suspense with tighter close-ups and faster cuts. The climax of the footage is spectacular, as Charles Bronson gets off the train and watches his three would-be assassins. Then he strangely plays the harmonica before knocking them all down. The movie has a ton of great moments, but nothing else that doesn’t reach these mesmerizing heights.

3 Hancock (2008)

Will Smith as Hancock

There is an excellent premise behind Peter Berg Hancock and the main character played by Will Smith, but the script wastes it completely. The opening scene establishes John Hancock as an immensely powerful superhuman who drinks a lot and spoils a lot of his crime-fighting. Instead of being acclaimed by the audience, he is ridiculed and insulted for his drunken antics.

This opening scene sets up a subversive dark comedy about a bitter alcoholic Superman. However, when he teams up with a PR agent to improve his public image and the PR officer’s wife also turns out to have superpowers, he totally loses the intrigue. After this unnecessary twist, the rest of the movie turns into a generic superhero story.

2 Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

The opening scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark

that of Steven Spielberg The Raiders of the Lost Ark is filled with exciting action sequences, but the opening set is by far the funniest part of the whole movie. After perfectly presenting Indy to audiences, the Temple Escape exemplifies Spielberg’s old-fashioned pulpy action cinema style.

RELATED: The 8 Coolest Things Indiana Jones Did In Raiders Of The Lost Ark

There are traps everywhere and a rolling rock that chases Indy out of the cave. Spielberg creates a tense suspense when Indy is nearly trapped in the collapsing temple, trying to get out of a bottomless pit before the door closes it. The scene ends with Indy fleeing a spear-wielding tribe to Jock’s seaplane. Nothing in the rest of the film – not even the face-melting finale – comes close to the thrill of the opening sequence.

1 High (2009)

Ellie and Carl in Pixar's Up

by Pixar Up, telling the story of a widower realizing his wife’s dream of stealing from their home in Paradise Falls, is a beautiful depiction of grief. But the journey to Paradise Falls takes an odd turn that loses sight of those themes when the story turns into a big, extravagant adventure film with talking dogs and a gun-wielding airship.

The opening edit chronicling the blissful life of Carl and Ellie, followed by the tragedy of Ellie’s death, is by far the biggest streak in the film and could be considered a heartbreaking short on its own.

NEXT: 5 Reasons Ratatouille Is Pixar’s Best Movie (& 5 Here We Go)

A shared image of Peeta and Katniss together in the cave and of Annie and Finnick's wedding in The Hunger Games


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