The Definitive Top 5: Opening Title Sequences


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Everyone has their own personal opinions when it comes to any kind of list or ranking for movies, but those opinions are wrong. Here is the correct answer.

This Week: The top five opening title sequences. Which was a terrible idea because it turns out there’s like 800 really good opening title sequences. I should have looked into that before committing. I assumed there would be like six. At worst, seven. That was not even close, so there’s a bunch more after the top five that are sort of an “honorable mention”. They’re just randomly lined up behind the winners but that doesn’t mean they’re not good in some way too.*

*a sentiment first conveyed to me by my camp counselor at the end of every summer before handing me a blank ribbon


5. GODZILLA (2014)

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Director Gareth Edwards really does cram a lot into these credits, and all of it is cool as hell; the fossils, the mythology, the redacted files, the old educational films, the vintage feel of the testing footage and the brief clips of Godzilla, it’s all terrific, including the score by Alexandre Desplat.

Some people didn’t like this movie, which baffles me, the shot below makes it better than anything Michael Bay has ever done all by itself, but I guess they didn’t like the ending (SPOILER: Godzilla gets hit by a car and dies).

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Using nothing but a roof mounted camera gives this scene a gritty look at life on the street for a cop, and would inspire a later generation of game-makers to copy the POV-feel for games like Hitman and Grand Theft Auto.

Upon it’s release, conservative groups decried the scene, claiming some teens would spend up to 85 minutes at a time watching this one movie, and that the style left kids desensitized and made it seem “cool” to drive into the ladies locker room while making siren noises.



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If this was being written by one of those people who call movies “films”, they’d probably say something about how director Gaspar Noé, thanks to this and ‘Irréversible’, is arguably even more innovative with his title credits than David Fincher. Because those people love saying sh*t like that.

Which doesn’t mean they’re wrong. The challenge here for Noé was to convey the feel of a movie about the Tokyo club scene and drugs and an out of body experience while slowly dying, and holy sh*t he somehow managed to do it. Mostly by combining the two things club kids and the Japanese both really really love, namely blinding color and anxiety.


2. Moonrise Kingdom

(best copy i found couldn’t be embedded; go here)

This really is Wes Anderson at his Wes Andersoniest, which in my opinion is about the nicest thing anyone could ever say about a movie.

Perfectly symmetrical compositions, a camera panning from floor to floor and room to room, neatly organized shelves, gingham, girls who refuse to smile, binoculars, berets, and Bill Murray, it’s all here, and, as always, all set to music you think you’ve heard before but can’t identify.

But where’s Bob Balaban in a scarf and knit hat, you ask? Oh he’s out by the old lighthouse, literally 20 seconds later, because they had to end the clip at some point.



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Very obviously Fight Club was gonna be number one, so I hope the banner didn’t ruin the surprise. Everything about it, starting with the very concept, to the font to the music by the Dust Brothers to the end reveal and that opening line, is just awesome. Last summer I even petitioned the Vatican to have it sanctioned as a miracle.


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I forgot to look for a clip but I feel like I should mention ‘Star Wars’ in some way, because those credits are pretty famous, even though George Lucas took the idea from Flash Gordon.


Ok, so, that’s done; moving right along.



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I’m not gonna lie to you, this should not be on the list, even though it’s one of the greatest movies ever made (fun fact: Parker and Longabaugh are the real names of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid).

I just like that, in the dvd commentary for ‘Fight Club’, David Fincher says he had to present the budget for the titles as a completely separate budget from the movie. Once it was done, if the studio still thought the movie had potential, they’d pay for cool titles. If the studio watched it and then sat there baffled because they didn’t get it, it would be, as Fincher says, “white titles against black.”

‘The Way of the Gun’ has white titles against black.

So in hindsight I guess this movie sucks, I apologize. If those people at the big studios didn’t know what they were doing they wouldn’t even have those jobs, you know, I think we can all agree on that.



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This movie has mostly been forgotten about simply because it’s awful in almost every way. Except for the opening titles, which for some inexplicable reason are awesome. It honestly makes no sense whatsoever.



This movie is notcalled ‘Se7en’, by the way, oh my god, stop doing that, it’s annoying. There’s a scene where a guy is forced to f*ck a prostitute to death with a knife, it’s a serial killer movie, not a little girl’s signature in a yearbook.



Tarsem uses Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92, II. Allegretto, here, just as he does in the trailer, for a movie that is a borderline masterpiece yet still mostly unknown. Even though relatively few people have actually seen it, the ones who have all say it’s amazing and love it. So in that sense it’s a lot like my penis. And if you’re a hot girl who would like to learn more about my penis, by all means email me.



I just really like the music to this, and, at the 0:38 mark, how the camera pans from the traffic light down to the road then back up again where it stays on the trunk of the car. Then everything abruptly ends when Paul Walker crashes his car, and by that I am referring to the opening titles and nothing else.

(note: there’s some nsfw language here, and this clip has the opening credits, up until about the 1:10 mark, and then the closing credits)



I still think this is really clever, but, before you watch it, please keep in mind that it comes from a time when someone saying “oh behave, baby” was still considered funny, as opposed to now, when it’s considered a plausible defense in a murder trial.



If zombies really are deathly pale and shuffle around like they’re drunk to go eat something disgusting, I’m not a hundred percent positive that I could tell zombie English guys from regular English guys.



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I’m only including ‘Watchmen’ and ‘Lord of War’ because lots of other people seemed to like them. Personally I don’t think they’re that great. And since I’m so cool and popular, this will probably be the start of another one of those internet bullying suicides.





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