The LFA team are not just hard-working, passionate, and dedicated educators, filmmakers and coordinators, but also genuine film lovers; some might even say movie buffs. Our water cooler conversations are often based around the latest film and TV releases, our favourite classics, or awards show snubs.
To give you an insight into our working life at LFA, and our taste in films, we decided to ask our staff, ‘What’s your favourite opening scene or sequence from a movie throughout history?’ and vote on the overall best choice. Scroll down to read, and watch, our staff’s responses, which are as varied, eclectic, and brilliant as the people who make up the LFA team.
12. ‘Pearl Harbour’, 2001 (Tamilla, Admissions Coordinator)
I love it how the opening shot is the camera following the bomb that the Japanese army is about to drop on an American Navy ship, I just think it's beautifully shot and gets me interested in the film from the first minute.
11. ‘Blue Velvet’, 1986 (Alastair, Senior Production Coordinator)
In my opinion the opening to Blue Velvet is one of the best film openings of all time. It gives us an insight into the world of David Lynch, his obsession with the picturesque facade of the ideal American neighbourhood and the darkness that lies beneath it, a key element of many of his works.
The song 'Blue Velvet' by Bobby Vinton plays, A fireman waves as he drives by, a group of school children are helped across the road, a normal slice of American nuclear family life, but soon we're confronted with the horrific sight of our protagonist's father falling to the floor and suffering a stroke as he water's his garden.
The music becomes distorted and slowed down, a dog barks viciously as the camera moves past the dying man on the floor, past his perfectly pruned garden into the darker realm below, where bugs and other horrific creature crawl all over each other trying to survive.
This is the world that David Lynch wants to show us and it sets up for one of the most brilliant but disturbing films of all time.
10. Baby Driver, 2017 (Luca, Senior Technical Coordinator)
I love the elaborate and intricate choreography of the opening sequence of Baby Driver. Every element feels so meticulously planned and executed beautifully. The way the action ties in with the music so well is hugely impressive and sets the tone for the film so well.
9. Apocalypse Now, 1979 (Lincoln, Filmmaking Certificate Course Leader)
The opening sequence establishes with in a few moments the horror of war. With the bombing of a Vietnam village. We know where, when, who and why, seeing Martin Sheen lying drunk on a bed, introducing us to the American military might. The sequence overlaps the whirring over head ceiling fan blades of this hotel room with the whirring helicopter blades bombing the Vietnamese, all to the sounds track of the Doors 'This is the End'. Thus as Josh would say this is the only opening scene that opens at the end.
8. Goodfellas, 1990 (Eldora, Senior BA Course Coordinator)
One of the first films I watched that made a lasting impression on me as a kid. Started my love of Scorsese and gangster films. And to this day me and my brother still randomly recite the lines to each other for no reason!
7. The Shining, 1980 (Charlotte, Senior Marketing Coordinator)
No opening sequence to a movie unsettles and captivates me quite like 'The Shining'. Kubrick's ethereal camera soars across the Rocky Mountains, following Jack Torrance as he drives up to the remote Overlook Hotel for the first time, helping us to visualise just how cut-off Jack and his family will be from the rest of society. The expansive, mobile shots exude space and a natural emptiness, but coupled with the funeral march-esque soundtrack, they create an uneasy atmosphere of foreboding doom, and just a hint of disorienting motion sickness. This expansiveness stands in stark contrast with the closed-in, claustrophobic rooms, corridors, and mazes that dominate the rest of ‘The Shining’'s cinematography, allowing this opening sequence to act as the film's first and last glimpse of open space, and freedom; the disquieting calm before the storm.
6. Contact, 1997 (Sarah, Senior Admissions Coordinator)
It's not just about technical prowess, but also what it adds to storytelling. The director and DOP thought: how can we show she will not get to the medication on time so save her father? And then did this.. I mean. Oof.
5. Boogie Nights, 1997 (Aaron, Marketing Manager)
It's a 4 minute steadicam shot (all one shot), which encapsulates everything about the film; the title in neon lights, the era, the environment, the tone, with an introduction to each character, ending on the main protagonist before cutting to the next shot.
And fair play to the camera operator who clearly had to stand on a crane, be lowered down, moving around on the street and then entering a busy nightclub with extras everywhere in low light.
4. The Dark Knight, 2008 (Lottie, Senior Postgraduate Courses Coordinator)
It pulls you right into the action and no matter how many times I watch it I'm always hooked.
3. American Psycho, 2000 (Ben, Senior Short Courses Coordinator)
It gives you a great insight into the mind and routine of Patrick Bateman. He’s such a complex and interesting character, Christian Bale killed that role.
2. Blade Runner, 1982 (Josh, Postgraduate Courses Leader)
An incredible spectacle, bringing us into the future (in 1982) with a prophetic vision of an overpopulated and polluted L.A. The special effects were created by Doug Trumbull, who was also responsible the memorable sequences in 2001: A Space Odyssey and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Put this together with a spine tingling score from Oscar winner, Vangelis, and you have an evocative opening that sets the scene for the rich themes explored in the film.
1. The Lion King, 1994 (Hanna, HR Officer)
This 90s classic needs no introduction. The Lion King takes me back to my carefree childhood. This is when I fell in love with musicals and cats and love like that lives forever. Hakuna matata :)
Do you agree with our selections and rankings? Let us know your favourite opening scenes on social media.
If you have a vision for your own unique opening sequence to a film? Join us on our BA (Hons) Filmmaking course to turn your imagination into reality.