Almanac Cinema: My 25 Favourite Movie Opening Sequences (25-20)

 

 

Often the very start of a movie will determine whether you sit glued to the screen or you leave the cinema cursing the $20 you just handed over to witness it.

 

This was a stupid challenge to pick a favourite 25, given there are thousands of great films out there but I can only go off what I remember, which is deteriorating by the day!

 

Anyway I had to bite the bullet, and it’s no surprise that many of these films are some of my all time favourites. Here goes:

 

25 – This is Spinal Tap (1982). This is the first and still greatest ‘mockumentary’ ever made. It spawned films like Kenny, Borat, Bob Roberts and What we do in the Shadows as well as brilliant TV like The Office and The Thick of It. I have known people who don’t understand the irony of Spinal Tap and think it’s a real documentary which is a mark of its true brilliance. This intro by the Director Rob Reiner playing the documentary maker Marti Debergi, gives you some clues as to what is to come. Look for the attempted folding of the arms. (As it’s uploaded from a VHS, fast forward to the 52 second mark)

 

 

 

24 – Seven (1995). Not one of my favourite films but the opening sequence leaves you in no doubt that this is a film about a serial killer.

 

 

 

23 – Cool Hand Luke (1967) – Paul Newman is outstanding in this movie and should have won the Oscar for best actor, although George Kennedy did win Best Supporting Actor. The film is set at a prison in the Mississippi Delta and it’s hot all the time. Luke is a loner, troubled and fearless with little regard for authority. There are so many memorable scenes and quotes from this film and the footage of the prisoners on the chain gang is superb. This opener to the film sees Luke drunk as ten men, trying to provide a community service by removing parking meters and subsequently gets arrested for the umpteenth time. The discernible, cheeky smile from the man whose face adorned many a girl’s bedroom wall says it all. ‘What we have here is a failure to communicate.’

 

 

 

22 – The Boys (1998) – This Australian classic is set in Sydney’s west and mostly within a run down commission home. It follows three brothers after one of them, played by David Wenham has just been released from gaol after serving time on assault charges. The story is loosely based on the shocking murder of Anita Cobby and the 24 hours leading up to it. The entire soundtrack is performed by the brilliant three-piece jazz improv band, The Necks who are still playing playing today after 30+ years. The synergy between the music and the chilling build up in this film just makes you feel very uncomfortable. Unfortunately there is no video for the opening which is a shame as it’s The Necks music combined with shots of inanimate objects in the family home and it’s very ethereal and authentically Australian. This is a short trailer with the music included. One of the best Australian films ever made.

 

 

 

21 – Dazed and Confused (1993) – This cult film from director Richard Linklater is set in a US high school in 1976 which happened to be my first year in secondary school. The opening track by Aerosmith is my favourite of theirs and immediately took me back to those horrible awkward days accompanied by appalling fashion choices. This sequence immediately puts you right in the frame and the film launched the career of Matthew McConaughey.

 

 

 

20 – Bull Durham (1988) – Whenever we have travelled to the US we’ve always been to the baseball. It’s a strange paradox between tobacco chewing blokes ‘built like brick dunnies’, watched by stands full of ‘apple pie’ American families. There’s something truly wholesome about the experience and we’ve enjoyed every game we’ve seen. Of course, like cricket players, not everyone gets to go to ‘The Show’ and has to battle it out in the minor leagues. The Durham Bulls are a real team in North Carolina in the minors and this terrific film takes you inside a world of misfits. Kevin Costner plays a veteran catcher brought to the club to mind the knuckle head pitcher played hilariously by Tim Robbins. Susan Sarandon plays the sexy teacher and baseball academic who takes one player per season for a ritual education in literature and ‘holistic’ training. A beautifully written homage to baseball and at times genuinely ‘laugh out loud’ funny.

 

 

 

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About Ian Wilson

Former army aircraft mechanic, sales manager, VFA footballer and coach. Now mental health worker and blogger. Lifelong St Kilda FC tragic and father to 2 x girls.

Comments

  1. Tony Taylor says

    1. Once Upon a Time in the West.
    2. Touch of Evil.

  2. thanks Tony will check out cheers

  3. Cool Hand Luke – yes. Magnificent.

  4. Sunday too far away

  5. Will be watching this list with interest, Ian.

  6. Great idea Ian and what a kick-off!

    The Boys is unrelenting from the get go.

    Dazed and Confused is a spot on snapshot of high school with a ripper of a soundtrack. Good call.

    Looking forward to the next installment.

  7. predictable but Saving Private Ryan was extraordinary.

  8. and Jaws!!

    Guess you had to be there!

  9. Thanks for the feedback gents. you’re right Dips re STFA. Its one of my all time favourite films but at the time of putting the list together there wasn’t a video but there appears to be one now. The opening to Saving Private Ryan was so realistic but I felt the film overall was disappointing. Jaws I can’t watch again! Tony those 2 x film openings are excellent thanks. Rick I’m glad you feel the same way with The Boys. Snowtown and Nitram are similar but there’s nothing like the tension of The Boys.

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