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The Best Opening Movie Scenes of All Time

Updated September 9, 2020 57.5k votes 7.0k voters 475.4k views101 items

The best opening movie scenes of all time are those first sequences of iconic films that set the tone for the magnificence that follows (or, in some cases, the inevitable letdown). Just like the famous novels with catchy first lines, all of these films have incredibly memorable opening scenes for one reason or another. What's your favorite opening scene in a movie? Vote for your picks, add them, or re-rank this list of the best all-time opening movie scenes right here!

There's a reason why some of the directors listed with these great films are repeated. Certain directors have quite the eye for insanely good opening movie scenes. Steven Spielberg and Quentin Tarantino fall squarely into the category, directing favorites such as Jaws and Inglourious Basterds, respectively. Orson Welles, Stanley Kubrick, and various members of the Coppola family are just as good with several of their films also making the cut.

But what makes a great opening scene? That's often a matter of opinion. Some might opt for the first scene of Trainspotting, while others will respect what is shown first in films such as Scream, Once Upon a Time in the West, or The Dark Knight.

What all of these do is make us want to watch the rest of the movie that much more. Unlike films with openings that fail to make an impression, these beginnings draw us in, hook us, and make us yearn for the next sequence. Considering that's kind of their job, in these cases of best opening movie scenes of all time, we have to say, bravo!

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  • Forrest Gump
    Video: YouTube
    • Actors: Tom Hanks, Sally Field, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Brendan Shanahan
    • Released: 1994
    • Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
    1,757
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  • Saving Private Ryan
    Video: YouTube
    • Actors: Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Vin Diesel, Paul Giamatti, Bryan Cranston
    • Released: 1998
    • Directed by: Steven Spielberg
    2,005
    744
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  • Goodfellas
    Video: YouTube
    • Actors: Robert De Niro, Samuel L. Jackson, Joe Pesci, Ray Liotta, Paul Sorvino
    • Released: 1990
    • Directed by: Martin Scorsese
    840
    308
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  • Toy Story
    Video: YouTube
    • Actors: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles, Penn Jillette, Annie Potts
    • Released: 1995
    • Directed by: John Lasseter
    548
    181
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