Acclaimed filmmakers like pushing themselves to make every bit of their movie interesting. They like weaving in subtle references (almost like a wink to themselves) and what better than the opening credits sequence. Alfred Hitchcock set the benchmark with his cerebral opening credits for Psycho and Vertigo.
Ever since, many directors in Bollywood and Hollywood have found a way to integrate story into the opening credits rather than have the boring text cards playing one after the other. Like Scorsese called Vertigo's opening credits a mini-film by itself. We list 18 other movies which blew our mind by intricately designed opening credits:
1. Skyfall (2012)
After reinventing the Bond franchise with the brilliant Casino Royale and a ho-hum Quantum of Solace, the opening credits for Skyfall really came together. With director Sam Mendes at the helm and a tense set piece in Tehran market and atop a moving train, the opening credits starts after Bond falls into a river. The sequence brings newness and still manages to pay homage to the original sequence. Watch the opening sequence here.
2. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)
David Fincher made the first part of the Millenium trilogy with all his noir expertise, as he got his favourite composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross to cover Led Zepplin's Immigrant Song with an animation which looks intriguing, trippy and so pleasing for the eyes at the same time. Almost like Fincher was on Bond-mode. Watch the opening sequence here.
3. Juno (2007)
Jason Reitman's sophomore effort is credited with tackling a problem like teenage pregnancy without ever taking it seriously. Therefore, in the opening credits of this movie, we see the protagonist walking to a convenience store with Barry Louis Polisar's All I Want Is You playing in the background and the visuals cut between a comic book illustration and live-action. Watch the opening sequence here.
4. Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year (2008)
Shimit Amin's tale about a happy-go-lucky sardar kid from a lower middle class family and his journey towards becoming a somebody by acting upon his goodness and spreading it too. An idealistic hard worker, the director used the opening sequence to capture various parts of a middle class house, establishing the starting point for his story. Watch the the full movie here.
5. Enter The Void (2009)
Gaspar Noe's cult classic has an opening credit which was a font fanatic's wet dream as he uses a ton of fonts, languages to list down all those involved in the production of this eccentric movie. He even goes as far to use Japanese fonts for the names of some of his crew members. As if the movie wasn't trippy enough, the opening credits really set the mood. Watch the opening sequence here.
6. Fargo (1996)
Having the iconic 'This is based on a true story' inserts ahead of the the opening credits - so much that the TV series uses it ahead of each and every episode, the sequence has snow-white background. A hint for its setting in Minnesota, the Coen brothers show a car in distance with its lights on while the names appear in a beautiful spaced out font. Watch the opening sequence here.
7. Luck By Chance (2009)
Zoya Akhtar's debut feature managed to encapsulate her love for the business of filmmaking and Bollywood, as she managed to capture the entire behind-the-scenes of working in Bollywood and made it look so good. The sequence made quite a few cinema lovers overwhelmed about the sheer cultural impact Bollywood has had on the daily Indian life. Watch the opening sequence here.
8. Jesse and Celeste Forever (2012)
Andy Samberg and Rashida Jones star in this romantic comedy, which begins with Lily Allen's Littlest Things playing in the background as we're shown the entire courtship, marriage and then the fallout of the film's lead pair in the opening credits itself. The film then starts in the aftermath of the divorce of these supposed soulmates. Watch the opening sequence here.
9. Lord of War (2005)
Andrew Niccol's film starring Nicholas Cage, Jared Leto and Ethan Hawke might not have been the greatest films of all time, but it sure does have a boss opening sequence. The camera follows the manufacturing of a bullet right from the factory, till it finds its way in the hands of rebel extremists. The first shot itself is so unforgettable. Watch the opening sequence here.
10. Raging Bull (1980)
Arguably one of Martin Scorsese's best film, the opening credits features the protagonist Robert De Niro's Jake La Motta as he's warming up in the ring with his hood on. The sequence is beautifully framed as it shows the boxer in black and white moving around the ring and the names of the cast and crew appear with Western Classical music playing in the background. Watch the opening sequence here.
11. Reservoir Dogs (1991)
Tarantino's debut feature had the iconic six men in black suits and black sunglasses walking out of a diner to George Baker's Little Green Bag playing in the background. It only helped that gang had amazing looking men like Harvey Kietel, Tim Roth, Michael Madden who nailed the coolness of the black suits which has since become iconic. Watch the opening sequence here.
12. Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! (2015)
Dibakar Banerjee's spy thriller put on an expansive set of early 40s Kolkata with a not-so-subtle homage to Satyajit Ray through a newspaper headline making a reference to a famous Feluda story. The opening sequence has Suryakant Sawhney's brilliant Jaanam playing in the background, and needs to applauded because of its sheer ambition. Watch the opening sequence here.
13. Watchmen (2009)
One of the better works in Snyder's oscillating form, Watchmen had probably his best opening credits sequence as it follows the 50s America going around recreating the iconic images, as we're told about the rise and the fall of the superheroes in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War. And all of this unfolds to Bob Dylan's The Times They Are A-Changing, beautifully done unlike the rest of the movie. Watch the opening sequence here.
14. Se7en (1995)
David Fincher's breakout film, shows him craft this brilliant opening credits sequence just right ahead of the procedural. The sequence looks like a replica of a slasher music video which Fincher had directed in plenty for bands like Nine Inch Nails. Watch the opening sequence here.
15. Scott Pilgrim vs the World (2010)
Edgar Wright. Need anything else be said to sum up the eccentric genius of the opening credits which is heavy on comic book influence? Bloody effective. Watch the opening sequence here.
16. Shatranj ke Khiladi (1977)
Satyajit Ray, one of India's greatest directors, made this film on the Awadh annexation based on Premchand's novel. The brilliance was in how he brought the whole metaphor down to a chess board, and shows our two lead actors Sanjeev Kumar and Saeed Jaffery war it out minus the blood, gore. It's a beautifully shot sequence. Watch the full movie here.
17. Eat Drink Man Woman (1994)
One of Ang Lee's most famous earlier movies consists of probably the most drool-worthy opening credit sequence. A veteran chef prepares a wholesome seven-course meal for his three daughters who are due for the weekly dinner. So we see him cook a variety of stuff, cook a wide variety of proteins, fry, stir and do plate the food up with the perfection of a highly-trained professional. Watch the opening sequence here.
18. Catch Me If You Can (2002)
How can any good movie list be complete without Steven Spielberg? The auteur has many interesting opening credits, but the most visually pleasing one of off the top of my head is the Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks-starrer Catch Me If You Can about an expert forger. The opening credits are without doubt aesthetically the most beautiful in any Spielberg movie. Okay, maybe Tintin comes a close second. Watch the opening sequence here.
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