The 6 Greatest Opening Scenes in Movie History

An opening scene to a movie is such an important piece in cinema as it lets the audience know if they are in good hands or not. While some films in the past might have missed the mark with their start, many films have created the perfect opening scenes to their stories. The iconic film “Bring It On” is a perfect example of this as its introduction intrigued many viewers with its satirical portrayal of cheerleading. As a result, “Bring It On’s” opening scene has become one of the most memorable moments in film history. With the movie turning 23 this year, here is a list of six other great opening scenes: 

1. “Scream”

Courtesy of Miramax.

When it comes to opening scenes, the “Scream” franchise immediately takes the crown. Every single movie introduction of theirs leaves viewers excited for what’s to come. However, the first opening scene in “Scream” is truly the most iconic. The movie begins with high school student Casey Becker (Drew Barrymore) receiving a mysterious call from an ominous voice asking her: “What’s your favorite scary movie?” This seemingly innocent conversation eventually takes a turn as the anonymous killer breaks into her house, where Casey cannot escape, and leaves her dead body to be discovered by her parents. Aside from the astounding performance from Drew Barrymore, the spine-chilling introduction left viewers surprised that Barrymore’s character was the first to go, as she was heavily featured in the film’s advertising. However, moviegoers commended Wes Craven’s daring approach, and it is now recognized as one of the greatest opening scenes of all time. 

“Scream” is available to stream on Paramount+ 

2. “Selena”

Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Selena Quintanilla-Pérez is one of the most prominent figures in the music industry. So, once her biopic came out, viewers were truly moved by the telling of the beloved singer. The film begins with Selena (Jennifer Lopez) frantically getting ready for her last performance at the Houston Astrodome. When she finally puts together her signature outfit, the purple jumpsuit, she walks towards the curtain where she waits for the curtains to draw. Watching this sequence, you immediately have goosebumps once you hear the crowd cheering for Jennifer Lopez’s character as she begins to sing “Disco Medley.” This introduction was such a perfect opening scene as it beautifully captured both Selena at the height of her career and how truly loved the singer was. 

“Selena” is available to watch on Tubi. 

3. “Up”

Courtesy of Pixar Animation.

The opening scene in “Up” is by far the most awe-inspiring on this list as it tells a complete story of a couple’s relationship in just under 10 minutes. From the start, the movie takes us through the life of Carl (Ed Asner) and his childhood sweetheart Ellie, where they are seen getting married, fixing up the house where they first met and working together as a zookeeper and balloon salesman. But like most relationships in life, Carl and Ellie face some challenges along the way, such as the couple not being able to have a child and one significant other becoming ill. This beautiful story was told with little to no dialogue, yet the animations and music perfectly captured the feeling and emotion of the couple’s life, instantly making the audience fall in love with the film.

“Up” is available to watch on Disney+. 

4. “Barbie”

Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Although “Barbie” was released in theaters just a few months ago, the opening scene of this movie has already made such a significant impact in film history as it perfectly introduced the purpose of the Barbie doll in a clever way. The film opens with little girls playing with identical, joyless dolls in a prehistoric setting. But then a large mysterious figure appears and it is none other than the beloved Barbie (Margot Robbie) herself. This results in the girls smashing and throwing away their lifeless dolls. Watching this scene for the very first time, you can’t help but smile with glee as the opening sequence showcases how elated the young girls were to finally see a toy that had personality and endless career possibilities. This depiction perfectly replicated the joy and feeling of all the kids who played with a Barbie doll growing up. 

“Barbie” is currently available to watch in theaters. 

5. “The Dark Knight”

Courtesy of Warner Bros.

There have been 13 Batman films in the franchise, and “The Dark Knight” by far has the best opening scene. This is mainly because of the late Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker. The movie starts with a group of men in clown masks who were assigned to rob a mob bank from the notorious Joker (Heath Ledger). When the group gets ahold of the money, they begin to kill one another off as their boss directs them to. However, it is revealed that the last man standing was none other than the Joker himself, resulting in him receiving all the money. When this thrilling scene ended, the audience just knew they were in for a ride as they got a glimpse of Ledger’s remarkable portrayal of the Joker in the opening scene.

“The Dark Knight” is available to watch on Max. 

6. “Pulp Fiction”

Courtesy of Miramax.

“Pulp Fiction’s” opening sequence takes a different approach from the other movies on this list as the film begins with dialogue straight away. The film starts with a couple trying to think of their next heist while eating at a diner. One mentions robbing banks and liquor stores, while the other mentions the idea of robbing the current restaurant they are eating at. The two agree to rob the diner and quickly jump up to threaten all of the customers at gunpoint. This thrilling scene intrigued viewers as the audience began questioning who these characters were and what role they played in the plotline. But these questions don’t get answered until the end of the movie, which makes this introduction so much more captivating. As a result, this sequence has become one of the most memorable moments in cinema as viewers are eager to watch the uncovering of the couple’s role in the movie. 

“Pulp Fiction” is available to stream on Max and Hulu. 

By Destiny Esparza

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