Opening Credits

By
Josh Winning

Every time a new Bond film blows into town, you’re pretty much guaranteed one thing. Yes, a sexy new Bond girl, but beyond that, a slick, metaphor-laden opening credits sequence.

Of course, Bond wasn’t the first to champion movie credits – the likes of Alfred Hitchcock, David Fincher and Spike Lee have all gifted us some fantastic examples. Check out our favourites below, and let us know yours.

1. Enter The Void (Gaspar Noe, 2009)

If one of the jobs of a film’s opening credits is to set the mood for what’s to come, these migraine-inducingly awesome ones fit the bill perfectly for Gaspar Noé’s trippy mind-melt of a movie. Psychedelic, insane, glorious.

2. Shaft (Gordon Parks, 1971)

Effortlessly cool. All you need is Shaft himself (Richard Roundtree) perusing his neighbourhood with Isaac Hayes’ 'Theme from Shaft' pulsing over the soundtrack.

3. Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)

Saul Bass made an indelible mark on the movies over a 40-year career. The opening titles for Vertigo are his shining glory – ominous, disarmingly simplistic but chipping at the bigger themes inherent in Hitchcock’s classic. Just beautiful.

4. Alien (Ridley Scott, 1979)

Unsettling quiet. Consisting of basically one continuously-panning shot, while strange monolithic symbols gradually spell out the film’s ominous title.

5. Kiss Me Deadly (Robert Aldrich, 1955)

How’s this for innovation? In a film that boggles the mind, the backward-scrolling credits are a marvel, sucking you right into Robert Aldrich’s stylish film noir – not least because of the unnerving, psycho-sexual heavy breathing that fills the audio track.

6. The Player (Robert Altman, 1992)

It took Altman 15 takes to perfect the opening shot of his Hollywood pastiche. The roaming camera takes us through a bustling movie studio for a single 7-minute 47-second edit. Equally impressively, all the dialogue was improvised.

7. Do the Right Thing (Spike Lee, 1989)

Like a colourful candy wrapper, these opening titles are a feast for the eyes as actress Rosie Perez busts out some jammin’ moves to Public Enemy’s ‘Fight The Power’. Go on, get up and dance – you know you want to.

8. The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

Every bit as ominous as the rest of Stanley Kubrick’s Stephen King adaptation, these meandering credits swoop and soar, letting the booming soundtrack do most of the work. A haunting helicopter shot - can you spot its shadow?

9. Se7en (David Fincher, 1995)

Craggy, dirty, gloomy, David Fincher lets you know you’re in for something deliriously dark with these openings credits, which show our as-yet-unseen serial killer going about his filthy business. Gets right under your skin, doesn't it?

10. Bunny Lake Is Missing (Otto Preminger, 1965)

Saul Bass again, this time going ultra lo-fi as ripped black paper reveals the credits on bright white beneath. This beguilingly simple-looking DIY approach ends in a singularly chilling image – that of a little girl in the torn paper. Unforgettable.

Follow Josh on Twitter: @JoshWinning

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