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15 Best Movie Trailers of All Time

July 21, 2018
7 min read

Movie trailers are easily the most effective medium that studios use to promote their films. They are short, and get the message to the audiences quickly. A really well put together trailer can actually do wonders in terms of giving the film a really smashing opening. Having said that, trailers can often be also very misleading. After all, the intention behind the trailers is to piqué the curiosity and interest level of audiences. And more often than not, the actual film never lives up to the heightened expectations that trailers create. On the other hand, there are also times when trailers disappoint, but the film doesn’t. But that’s very rare.

Today’s list is not about whether trailers represent the film in the best way possible; it’s about the trailers that on its own — irrespective of how the film turned out to be — are hugely entertaining and gets your anderaline pumping. I remember how excited I was after watching each of these trailers. Not every trailer on this list turned out to be a great film. But then, who cares. For today, just relive those exciting moments when you first saw these trailers.  One important point of note here is that most of the trailers on this list are from the 21st century. For obvious reasons. With advancement of technology and marketing techniques, distributors have gotten clever with how best to sell the product they have at hand. They know what buttons of audiences to push. With that said, here is the list of top movie trailers ever made. You can watch all of these best movie trailers on YouTube.

15. Paranormal Activity (2007)

Without question, this trailer is a stunt. But a gloriously effective stunt. One that leaves you not just intrigued but completely sold. I am sure, the trailer had a big part to play in this $15000 movie making $193 million.

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14. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

It starts off with a boy singing the American national anthem, and then things slowly building up to a crescendo and some great quickly edited shots. It lays the ground well for a dark narrative and an intriguing plot. Unfortunately, the film failed to live up to the high expectations that the trailer ends up creating.

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13. Spider-Man (2002)

One of those trailers that immediately hooks you in with the premise. But the genius of the trailer lies in that it packs in a lot without actually revealing anything. Not surprisingly, studios still to this day use this trailer as a template for most of the superhero films.

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12. Jurrasic Park (1993)

Steven Spielberg knows how to weave magic. And out of all different kind of magic he has weaved, none has been as spectacular as dinosaurs in Jurassic Park (1993). This trailer when it was first released back in 1993 created a sense of awe and anticipation leading up to the film. As a result, the film had one of the biggest box office openings of all time.

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11. Cloverfield (2008)

“What’s going on?” That’s the first thing you think about when you watch this trailer. With plenty of hndheld and POV shots to boot, the trailer manages to create this sense of dread and anticipation that you can’t help but get excited to watch the film.

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10. Little Children (2006)

Solid editing. Solid soundtrack. Doesn’t reveal plot details but does tease you with its theme: extra-marital affair and unhappiness. And the cheery on the top: a solid ending. I’m sold.

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9. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

With a background score like that, half the battle is already won. What’s also noteworthy is the editing of the trailer. It seems more like some punk rock video than a film. And that’s great!

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8. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

“What a lovely day?” Let’s just leave it that and enjoy this masterpiece of a trailer and a film again.

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7. American Sniper (2015)

Talk about leaving things hanging in midair. I remember watching this trailer with the screening of another film in a theater. The audiences didn’t move or even make any sound when this started playing. They were just stunned to silence. Again, a film that hugely benefited from what I believe is as perfect as a trailer can be.

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6. Alien (1979)

Few trailers manage to scare the shit out of of you as this one. Back in 1979, directors were either busy making gangster dramas or pure horror classics. Ridley Scott came along and made a space film that’s more scary than most of the horror films ever made. And this first trailer of the film reflects exactly that.

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5. Pulp Fiction (1994)

In 1994, Quentin Tarantino was on top of the world after the success of his first film Reservoir Dogs. He was a gifted storyteller, that everyone knew. But what nobody knew at the time was he was soon going to change the face of cinema and become one of the defining filmmakers of his generation. That changed, when Pulp Fiction arrived. Everybody remotely interested in cinema, knew the name. But before the actual film arrived, this trailer gave glimpses of Tarantino’s brilliance.

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4. La La Land (2016)

Funny. Musical. Gorgeous. Overall, an extremely feel good trailer that just leaves you feeling giddy to go and watch the film. The way it slowly builds towards this crescendo while simultaneously revealing that it is a film about two dreamers who fall in love makes it hugely likeable. Fortunately, the film turned out to be as good as, if not better than, the trailer.

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3. The Tree of Life (2010)

I suppose, making the trailer for arguably the most extraordinarily beautiful movie ever made can’t be tough. What immediately strikes you about the trailer is just the visuals so much so that you forget to pay attention on the dialogue. Then, you watch it the second time to realize that not just the visuals but the message behind the film is beautiful too.

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2. Inception (2010)

When you have such amazing visuals to fill your trailers with, there’s no way it was going to get wrong. Combine that with strikingly effective Hans Zimmer score and an extremely intriguing idea of entering someone’s dream to steal, what you get is the second best trailer of the 21st century. So, what’s first?

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1. Interstellar (2014)

Only another Nolan film could have toppled a Nolan film. Goosebumps. That’s what I get every time I watch the trailer. Having the countdown in the background is a masterstroke. Zimmer’s score is again the big USP of the trailer. There’s also a gamut of emotions on display: ambition, love, heartbreak. And did I say mind-blowing visuals?

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