Opening lines could say a lot about the film. A single line that speaks volumes of the sheer depth of the film’s central themes is my idea of a great opening line. Something that pulls us right into the film’s world or the bizarre psyche of the character. While it would be tough to gauge the impact the opening line has on you while watching the film for the first time, in hindsight it just blows my mind apart when I think of how it manages to encapsulate the whole meaning behind the film. And this is where my curiosity would never let me get away with anything and makes me want to explore more and more about every aspect of this beautiful form of art. So, let me take you to a list of the top opening lines in movies ever.
1. “Saigon..Sh*t…I’m Still Only in Saigon”, ‘Apocalypse Now’
Shots of napalm explosion in the jungles and Captain Willard sleeping in his room with a cigarette in his hand. We see a gun and a ceiling fan in his hotel room. Willard wakes up, looks out of the window only to realize that he’s “still only in Saigon.” What an amazing marriage of a great opening scene and an even greater opening line. Oh, Coppola you beauty! Captain Willard’s first words are words of disorientation, paranoia and madness that so brilliantly manages to capture the effects and the turbulent repercussions of war on a human mind. Willard doesn’t really feel his true existence in a world that has become a mockery of civilization and is desperate to go on a mission because deep down inside he knows how war has changed him and he could never be the same person he was, again. What a line! What a truly amazing line to kick-start a war epic!
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2. “I believe in America…”, ‘The Godfather’
The first words from arguably the greatest American film ever made. The opening shot of ‘The Godfather’ has a man, whose daughter has been brutally raped, requesting Don Corleone for justice. The pain, the agony and sorrow in those words make us sympathize with the character while Coppola simultaneously manages to paint the image of an enigmatic hero in Brando’s Vito Corleone as the camera focuses on the man, sliding back swiftly as his story unravels leading us to the man we’d not yet seen but have already begun to root for. Undoubtedly, one of the greatest moments in cinema history.