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Top Ten Tuesday: Greatest Opening Movie Scenes Of All-Time

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday goes over the top opening movie scenes of all-time. Many movies had great opening scenes that could’ve made the top ten (like Citizen Kane), but these are the best of the best.


10. Jaws (1975)

Jaws did a good job of setting the stage with its opening scene, as the death of a young woman brought the community together to rally and go after this shark. The summer blockbuster jumped right in with the terror in a powerful way.



9. Inglourious Basterds (2009)

The entire first scene/chapter of Inglourious Basterds is around 20 minutes, as we are introduced to one of the greatest movie villains of all-time, Hans Landa. The German colonel has a charming and crafty side to him, but the end of the scene shows that he’s ruthless. Quinten Tarantino is one of the best at long, conversation-based scenes, and a few of his films could’ve made the list.



8. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

No big budget and special effects were needed for the opening scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark, just gold old-fashioned suspense and adventure. The thrilling opening sequence (below is just part of it) clearly belongs in the top ten.



7. Goodfellas (1990)

“As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.”



6. Star Wars (1977)

The first episode released of Star Wars (fourth chronologically in the Skywalker saga) jumps right into the action, but it starts with the trademark “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. . . .” first. Four of the most critical characters—Darth Vader, Princess Leia, R2D2, and CP3—are in the opening scene of the multi-billion-dollar franchise.



5. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

After a brief statement from Commissioner Gordon picking up from the end of The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises starts with CIA operatives taking three hostages aboard a plane, but it quickly turns into a plane hijacking led by Bane. The supervillain delivered a few memorable lines before executing his mission in an intense open.



4. The Lion King (1994)

An animated movie makes the list, as the opening of The Lion King might be the most memorable opening scene of all-time.



3. Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

No matter how you feel about the polarizing Batman v. Superman, there’s no doubting the opening scene—both the title scene and the post-opening-credits scene, but the focus is on the post-opening-credits—is extremely powerful. Batman/Bruce Wayne literally runs into the destruction in the emotional sequence. The video below doesn’t capture the entire scene.



2. The Godfather (1972)

Marlon Brando (as Vito Corleone) holding an impromptu kitten that happened to be on the set while calmly displaying his power as “The Godfather” is simply outstanding. The all-time classic couldn’t have started off any better. The Godfather Part II, which starts with a young Vito Corleone making his way to America, also could’ve make the cut.



1. The Dark Knight (2008)

It seems off for this to be the case, but three Batman movies make the top five—and they all deserve it, especially The Dark Knight. Keep in mind, The Dark Knight had deafening hype leading up to its summer 2008 release, so expectations were huge, and it all started with the opening scene. Christopher Nolan’s crime drama set around Batman and Gotham City started off with a Heat-like robbery heist with twists and turns before Heath Ledger’s Joker is revealed. It’s mysterious, violent, thrilling, chilling, and just masterful all around.



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