Saturday, May 01, 2010

The best first scene in a movie


TREME got me thinking about this.

What was the best first scene you remember in a movie?

I'm going with JAWS. It scared me to death.

P.S. I need titles and places for Monday. I'm missing a lot.

32 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

oh man, that is hard. probably the opening scene of Once Upon a Time in the West. Just totally weird and compelling.

George said...

I always like the opening scene of STAR WARS. It immediately hooked me.

Anonymous said...

How about Orson Welles' opening sequence in TOUCH OF EVIL?

le0pard13 said...

Michael Mann's THIEF.

Scott Parker said...

Raiders of the Lost Ark - Everything you need to know about Indiana Jones is given in the first set of scenes.

MP said...

The opening scene of "Jaws" is pretty hard to beat. I won't say it's better but I've always liked the opening of "Blue Velvet".

James Reasoner said...

I'd have to go with ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST, too, but I like all the other choices as well. And the opening sequence of GUNGA DIN is awfully good, to add another.

David Cranmer said...

A PLACE IN THE SUN with Montgomery Clift.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Can't remember the first scene in PLACE IN THE SUN. Damn, I wonder if it's on You Tube.

pattinase (abbott) said...

TOUCH OF EVIL is that long tracking shot as they cross the border?
The rest I remember well.

David Barber said...

The Wanderers - "They look like a bunch of pricks with ears....or is it ears without pricks..." Great! First watched it in about 1982 (I was 13 at the time) It brings back some great memories for me. Agree about Jaws though.

My story for your contest is called THE STRANGER (as yet un written) and it will apear on my blog. Have a great weekend.

pattinase (abbott) said...

You, too, David. And I well remember that movie. Henry Winkler was in it.

Steve Oerkfitz said...

I would also go with Once Upon a Time in the West.
Patti-Henry Winkler wasn't in The Wanderers. I think you might be confusing it with The Lords of Flatbush. The Wanderers is based on a Richard Price book.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

Saving Private Ryan

pattinase (abbott) said...

You're right, Steve.
Oh, SAVING PRIVATE RYAN's a good one.

David Barber said...

Patti - I meant to say about Henry Winkler. I've written two stories because the first one was about 1800 words so the second one is a lot shorter but (I hope) hits the spot. I will post it later and let you know the title as I haven't come up with one yet.

the walking man said...

The Godfather...The funeral director asking for a favor, then softly but brutally getting chewed on by Don Corleone. That one hooked me right in.

Margot Kinberg said...

Hmmm..... I think my favorite first scene in a movie is the opening scene in The Big Chill. Such a classic (to me, anyway)...

pattinase (abbott) said...

BC-That was a great first scene. It told you so much in just a few minutes and to such great music.
Godfather-another example of quickly setting a mood.

Richard R. said...

The opener to Lawrence of Arabia, with the motorcycle ride.

Also agree with both Jaws and Raiders of the Lost Arc. Since I consider the opening scene of the Star Wars films to be the text scroll, I can't pick them. If it's the NEXT scene then yes, that one too. One last: The opener to Treasure Island, if I recall properly, with old Blind Pew tapping his way to the Admiral Benbow Inn. However, that may not be the first scene, only one I recall now...

pattinase (abbott) said...

Sad to admit I have never seen Lawrence of Arabia. I always put if off until I could see it on a big screen and that never happened.

David Terrenoire said...

Touch of Evil, no doubt.

But, since that's been mentioned, I nominate The Player's opening, which is a long tracking shot while characters talk about the opening to Touch of Evil.

A film geek's joy.

David Barber said...

Patti - Mines up, on my blog. Its called IN AN INSTANT.

pattinase (abbott) said...

David T. Oh, I remember that shot in THE PLAYER well. Although I don't remember a lot of what came later. I wonder if too good an opening scene can dwarf the rest.
David B. Thanks, David!

Kassandra said...

THEM. It is such a beautiful movie, or at least the first half of it. The little girl's plaid bathrobe is so crisp.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I don't know that I ever saw THEM-the one about mutant ants. I'll have to look for it.

David Barber said...

Patti - Apologies. My glaring error in that I used the wrong song! I have corrected it, as it still seems to work. :-) Sunday evening and two young kids running about plays havoc with the brain.

Kieran Shea said...

Goodfellahs. Opening scene. Leaps right into EVERYTHING.

Perplexio said...

I have to agree with Goodfellas, but I'd argue that most of Scorcese's films do a great job of setting the tone in the opening scene.

I also enjoy the opening to Back to the Future with the slow pan over all of the clocks and Doc Brown's Rube Goldberg-esque device for feeding his dog, Einstein.

Someone mentioned Once Upon a Time in the West but I prefer the opening scene in Sergio Leone's mafia pic, Once Upon a Time in America. And speaking of Italians, Giuesppe Tornatore's openings to Cinema Paradiso, Malena, and The StarMaker are all quite enjoyable.

Tom K Mason said...

I like the opening sequence in Raiders, too. It doesn't just tell you everything about Indiana Jones, I think it also tells you everything about the movie: it's going to be a series of breath-taking cliffhangers that won't stop until the credits roll.

I also like the opening sequence in Goldfinger when Bond takes off his underwater gear and reveals the dinner jacket.

For pure craftsmanship, I love the restored tracking shot in Touch of Evil.

Anonymous said...

JAWS definitely is a good one.

One that hasn't been mentioned: AMERICAN HOT WAX.

Allan Freed (the late Tim McIntire, son of John McIntire and Jeannette Nolan, but I digress) walks into the studio, picks up a pile of 45s clearly labelled "DON'T PLAY THESE!" by his boss, shuffles through them, then takes the top record off the pile, puts it on the turntable, says "I'm Allan Freed and this is rock & roll" as Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti" blasts out of the soundtrack.

At that moment I knew I was going to love the movie (despite its flaws). In fact, we sat through it twice in a row.

Another great beginning: Tony's walk down the street in SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER to "Stayin' Alive."

Jeff M.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I remember seeing that first scene of SNF in trailers and thinking this is going to be ridiculous. Except it wasn't once you stopped thinking of him as a Kotterite. Loved it. I think kids today would see it differently though.