We have all learnt not to judge a book by its cover or a movie by its first look – but you cannot deny that there is something about great opening lines that get us hooked to the rest of the movie. In a way, they encapsulate the entire spirit of the movie in a few words and stay on in our minds long after the credits roll. Here are 20 of the most kickass opening lines in the history of Hollywood.
1. If it’s a Martin Scorsese movie, and the opening line talks about gangster ambitions, you know the movie is going to be epic.
2. It seems like such an innocuous line – introducing a character we haven’t met yet. Only after you’re done watching the movie do you realize the powerful subtext it carries.
3. A classic movie that we grew up watching as kids, the opening lines of ‘Stand By Me’ gets you hooked because it expresses childhood’s first brush with the harsh reality.
4. For a movie that basically narrates the drug-fuelled escapades of two men in Las Vegas, you couldn’t possibly ask for a better opening line.
5. For a movie that became a cult favorite for men everywhere, the legendary introduction to the title character in the opening line is well justified.
6. If you can make a movie opening line your Facebook status or a motivational poster, you know that the writer got it bang on.
7. When the opening line throws interesting statistics at you, you know the movie is going to be an intelligent watch.
8. The opening line to ‘Kill Bill’ paints a gory picture – thus introducing us to a movie steeped further in violence and gore. The fact that David Carradine’s titular character Bill delivers these lines in his deep-throated voice only makes it cooler.
9. A movie that is in large parts an interior monologue certainly deserves an opening line in similar vein.
10. American General during WWII, George Patton did have a controversial career – but if these opening lines to his biopic do not get your patriotic spirit fired up, nothing will.
11. If you have not read the book by Anthony Burgess, the opening line to this movie will make you replay it – because ‘droogs’ and ‘rassoodocks’ are not familiar words to us. If there ever was an English movie for which you needed subtitles, this violently dystopic one is certainly it.
12. The beauty of this line is that it not only applies to card games, but to everything else in life.
13. One of the most successful movies of the 1940s, ‘Citizen Kane’ lived up to its genre of mystery drama from the beginning till the very end. The simple utterance that was the opening line becomes the object of scrutiny throughout the movie – a brilliant move, to say the least.
14. Although not the exact opening line, this is part of the opening passage narrated by the protagonist. This Oscar-winning movie by the Coen Brothers is in large parts narrated by the town sheriff Ed Tom Bell.
15. Another epic gangster movie by Martin Scorsese, the opening line lets you know that ahead lies a very brutal and violent story.
16. Probably one of the most intriguing war dramas ever made in Hollywood, Martin Sheen’s character’s first lines in the movie makes us wary already about the jungle.
17. All single people will understand the pathos behind this opening line of one of the most brilliant rom-coms there ever was.
18. Wealth, ambition, temper – everything the movie is about is encapsulated in these opening lines of one of the best movies from 2014.
19. Alternate history will always be stifled by the powers that be – but this story of Scotland’s own hero William Wallace who fought against the British tyranny was a hit among the audience. Thanks to the opening lines, the stage was set for a great narrative.
20. One of the finest sport biopics ever made, the opening lines of ‘Raging Bull’ are as haunting as the descent of the protagonist into personal hell.