Top 5 Movie Introductions


So I went to the movies and saw Get Smart tonight with my friend Anna and I have to say that it was pretty darn good. I laughed through most of the movie and really enjoyed it. One of the best parts of the movie though was its introduction. They paid a little tribute to the TV series on which it was based, but it was obvious from that point on that the movie was not going to try and be the TV series. Rather it was forging its own path. And you know what? That was cool.

It got me thinking though, what makes for a good movie introduction? These days the credits are either are completely bypassed, or they are shown during the opening portion of the movie. You seldom see the Superman type opening credits where the names of people are listed and put to music. The norm is either what you see in Prince Caspian where the protagonist is riding away from people trying to kill him while all the names of the flashing up on the screen, or what you see in Star Trek: Nemesis where the Producer, Director and name of the film are shown and then the movie starts straight away with no actors or contributors even mentioned.

So, in answer to the question of what makes a good movie introduction, I have to say that the introduction needs to make you excited for the film ahead. In fact, it’s more than being simply excited; you need to be pumped up beyond belief. By the time the movie’s opening is finished, the anticipation should have reached boiling point and you know that there is nothing, repeat NOTHING that will get in the way of you watching the rest of the movie. It needs to be more than just a shorter version of the closing credits. It needs to be more than just an opening to the film. It should be an event. So, without further delay, here are my choices for the best 5 movie introductions.

5: Star Wars – Episode 4: A New Hope

What an unbelievable introduction this film has. I haven’t met a single person that doesn’t get fired up by the opening to the first Star Wars film. I went and saw it at the movies when it was re-released in the late 1990s and from the first moment that the words “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…” appear on the screen, you could feel everyone in the cinema collectively hold their breath. Then out of nothing, a massive jarring note of a 120 piece orchestra smashes the silence with the words ‘Star Wars’ in 727654 sized font flying through the screen.

Then, you top that off with the Corvette being chased by the largest ship in the history of cinema (we’re ignoring Spaceball 1 from Spaceballs here folks) followed by an intergalactic battle and the first appearance of Darth Vader (One of the greatest movie villains of all time with James Earl Jones’ gravity defying voice); movie openings were altered forever by that introduction. It was ground breaking, it was exciting, and it’s stood the test of time. Put it this way, it’s the antithesis of the opening to Crossroads. When you turn on Crossroads and you see the words “Britney Spears starring in…” you not only lose the will to watch the movie, you basically lose the will to live. Star Wars is the total opposite. Once that opening note strikes, you’re glued to your chair.

Rating 11/10


4: Superman 2 – The Richard Donner Cut

Now, I should warn you that there are two versions of Superman 2 in existence. This is the version that was only recently released by Warner Brothers. I’ll spare you the politics behind why they released it but here’s what makes it awesome. I had been waiting to see this movie for about 15 years. I’d heard only rumours about what it would be like, and the rumours got me pretty darn excited. By the time it was announced that the movie was going to be released on DVD, I pre-ordered it 6 months in advance. Ok, maybe that says more about how sad I am rather than how good the movie is, but let’s just move on.

The movie starts with a recap of the first Superman film inter-cut with the journey of the three super-villains to Earth. The music is cranking, the action is fast, Superman is in top form, and there is not a single sight of a cellophane S on Superman’s chest. The last shot of the introduction is General Zod flying toward Earth yelling ‘FREE!” Quite frankly, my television spontaneously spitting $100 notes at me would have been less exciting than that.

Maybe it’s just because I’m one of the biggest Superman fans on the planet, but this introduction is spectacular. As soon as Terence Stamp (thankfully not in drag) yells that word, any hopes you had for doing a load of washing or ironing are completely derailed. Trust me, it’s happened before.

Rating: 14/10


3: Top Gun

Put it this way, as soon as you hear the first few synthesizer notes of DangerZone by Kenny Loggins, your heart rate increases and you instinctively look to the skies ready for an F-14 Tomcat to fly past you at Mach 3. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Top Gun! I never get tired of this introduction. I think on the basis of this film alone, I could be convinced to join the Navy as a Naval Aviator… apart from the whole colour blindness thing though… that could be a bit messy… yes…

The introduction to this film is fast and furious. The music is blaring louder than a Rage Against the Machine concert and the sight of numerous jets landing and taking off from an aircraft carrier totally gives you the chills. I’m not a Navy man, in fact I have very little time for the Navy (sorry Jimbo, Loz and Dan) but for the duration of this intro, I become the Navy’s biggest fan. Not only that, but I become massively fired up.

There’s a reason that JB HiFi uses this film 9 times out of 10 to demonstrate the capability of their super screen TVs and surround sound systems. As soon as you hear those notes and the roar of the plane’s engines, everyone in the store is stuck watching the rest of the intro to Top Gun. They just can’t help it. Good times.

Rating 16/10


2: Transformers: (The 2007 film)

Why are you not surprised? Frankly, the start to this movie is awesome. I saw it last year on opening night with a bunch of mates in Brisbane. We decided since this was going to be without a doubt one of the top 10 greatest moments of our lives, we should do it in style. So we went Gold Class which was a magnificent decision. Huge chairs, having beer, dinner and coffee brought out – however it was the movie’s beginning that made it a monumental event.

The screen was pitch black and then all you hear is Optimus Prime’s voice saying the words “Before time, there was… the cube”. Now, aside from the scientific improbabilities of that sentence, and the fact his tenses are completely messed up, it has to be one of the best opening movie lines of all time.

As a child who grew up with the Transformers cartoon series, I can still recognise Optimus’ voice anywhere. In the middle of a crowded party, if someone was to play an Optimus Prime sound byte, my ears would pick up and within 3 seconds I would’ve nudged someone near me and said “Did you just hear Optimus’ voice???”

This was the perfect beginning. Add that to the grandiose music that built with a massive horn section while watching this huge cube float through space before hurtling towards Earth – it was gold. However, if this wasn’t enough, the introduction also included a helicopter Decepticon transforming and taking out a massive US Army base. Not just taking it out – but totally ripping it to shreds. Booyah!

Rating 22/10


1: Rocky III

I almost don’t have words to describe the introduction to this movie… but I’ll do my best to paint the picture for you. Rocky Balboa has just won the biggest fight of his life in amazingly dramatic fashion. As soon as the last few seconds of the fight from the previous film are shown, the opening bars of Eye of the Tiger kick into gear. I believe I can say without fear of contradiction that there is no other song in the world that guarantees to get you as pumped up as Eye of the Tiger.

For the next 2 and a half minutes, you see Rocky beating challenger after challenger, winning endorsements, appearing on ads – he seems invincible. All the while a slightly disgruntled and mohwaked man is watching him in blazing fury, finally storming out of one of Rocky’s fights. The scene then changes to show that a new contender has emerged. None other than Mr T himself. Watching Mr T in full Mohawk, bling and boxing gear not only smashes the unintentional comedy scale, but it gets you even more fired up. He looks mean. He looks scary. He looks as though he’s never even seen a Snickers bar. The song finishes with Mr T (which by the way, is his legal name) standing over another defeated opponent in the boxing ring yelling “I want Balboa!” while Rocky’s coach looks on in sheer terror. You know it!

There isn’t a better movie introduction out there. I defy Hollywood to ever come up with a better one than Rocky 3. No matter what you’re doing at the time, if you see the intro to Rocky III, you’re sitting and watching the rest of the movie – no questions asked. For example, take a girl from the local primary school who has spent all morning playing with her Barbie dolls, sit her down on your couch, fix her a tall glass of chocolate milk, and make her watch the opening to Rocky 3. By the end of the introduction, I’d be willing to bet that she’d have some boxing gloves out, she’d release some sort of primal animal scream (similar to Stallone’s entire dialogue in the film) and be ready to beat the crap out of you.

It is without a doubt the best movie introduction of all time.

Rating 35/10

And if you don’t agree with me, let me watch the intro to Rocky III… then we can talk.

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Agent 99
Anne Hathaway looked seriously
good in the new Get Smart film.

Crossroads is officially one of the
worst movies of all time.

Terence Stamp
Thankfully Terence Stamp didn't
dress up in drag in Superman 2

Top Gun
Top Gun always makes me want
to be a naval aviator

Megan Fox was just one reason why Transformers was such an awesome movie
Rocky 3
Rocky 3 has the best
introduction of all time