30 Unforgettable Movie Opening Sequences


We all know that first impressions are important, right? Well, the same goes for film. The opening title sequence of a film is that film’s opportunity to make a good first impression on you, the viewer. A well-crafted title sequence introduces the audience to the tone and theme of the film as well as the cast and crew.

Mind you, not all films have the luxury of a great title sequence. Some have budgetary constraints, limiting them to a simple, yet classic, white text on black background. Hey, it’s a style that has served Woody Allen very well for many years. Others prefer to take the minimalist road and omit the titles altogether, taking us straight to the action.

In tribute to all of the wonderful title sequences in film, Smashing Magazine has collected 30 Unforgettable Title Sequences for your enjoyment and inspiration. We have chosen some of our favorite selections from all eras and genres. Of course, there are too many brilliant examples to list them all here. What are your favorites? What is missing in the list? Let us know in the comments!

You may want to take a look at the following related articles:

30 Unforgettable Title Sequences

Lord of War5
The visually pleasing “life of a bullet” sequence is a perfect opening for a film about an arms dealer. 720p HD version6.

Catch Me If You Can7
The retro animated intro to Catch Me If You Can perfectly sets the scene and time period.

A wonderfully creepy title sequence that perfectly sets the mood for the film you’re about to watch.

It’s amazing how much personality can be expressed in a simple silhouette.

There were a lot of animated opening title sequences in the 60’s – this one is my personal favorite.

Casino Royale (2006)11
In an effort to re-invent the franchise the infamous James Bond title sequence was overhauled. The result was a visually pleasing intro that still pays its respects to the original.

Sweeney Todd12
A lot of Tim Burton’s films sport fantastic title sequences but Sweeney Todd’s is especially great. The creepy atmosphere and music combined with the dark imagery sets the tone very nicely. 720p HD version13,

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly14
Vibrant colors, great animation and an amazing score. This title sequence has it all.

Fight Club15
One amazing sequence starts at a microscopic level and continues to expand outward until we are looking down the barrel of a gun. Unfortunately, the embedding of the opening sequence in this post was disabled by request. You need to watch the video on YouTube16.

The Pink Panther (1963)17
We would be remiss not to include the original Pink Panther in this list. Definitely a favorite.

Thank You For Smoking18
A very clever title sequence with the credits written on vintage cigarette packaging.

Fahrenheit 45119
In a world where the simple act of reading has been outlawed it only makes sense to have the titles read to you.

Just beautiful in all respects. A wonderful use of practical effects – they don’t make ’em like this anymore.

A very slow paced, minimalist title sequence. The result is nothing but haunting.

Bunny Lake Is Missing22
The concept is fairly simple but it’s so well done and the final result works beautifully.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang23
Another great example of a contemporary film featuring an old school animated introduction.

Vertigo features a masterfully crafted and almost hypnotic title sequence. A perfect opening to the film.

Panic Room25
This is the third David Fincher movie to make this list, it seems the man can appreciate a great title sequence. This is a very basic concept yet it’s brilliantly executed.

Dr. Strangelove26
Wonderful imagery combined with the hand written text makes for a very unique and memorably title sequence.

Say what you will about the movie, this is one creative and well-executed title sequence.

This is a great example of an amazing and original title sequence done on a shoe string budget.

North By Northwest29
A series of intersecting lines form into a skyscraper. Very cool effect, especially for the time.

American Splendor30
It only makes sense for a film about a comic book creator to have the credits in a comic book fashion.

Reservoir Dogs31
To this day every time I walk down the street in a suit and sunglasses “little green bag” inevitably pops into my head.

It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World32
A very funny animated sequence to kick off this comedy classic.

A very simple yet ominous title sequence.

Live and Let Die34
The James Bond franchise really understood the beauty of a great title sequence. Though we only included one classic in this list, the rest are here in spirit.

American Psycho35
The credits for American Psycho play as many mind games on you as the film itself. Great attention to typography.Warning: Course Language!

Psycho (1960)36
This brilliantly crafted title sequence has a lot of fun with typography and presentation.

Spiderman 237
An amazing title sequence that pays its respects to the original source; the comic book.

Honorable Mentions

There were so many titles we wanted to include in this list but didn’t quite make the cut for one reason or another — in most cases because we just couldn’t find a video sequence in the Web or because the quality of the video was not good enough.

Readers’ Suggestions

2001: A Space Odyssey49
A very simple, yet powerful opening that perfectly sets the atmosphere for the film.

Stranger than Fiction50

To Kill A Mocking Bird51 (1962)

Opening titles in HD53.

Further Reading

You may want to take a look at the following related articles:


  1. 1 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/11/16/60-beautiful-music-videos/
  2. 2 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/01/21/monday-inspiration-brilliant-music-videos/
  3. 3 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2007/11/19/monday-inspiration-typography-in-motion/
  4. 4 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2007/12/29/funny-and-creative-animated-videos/
  5. 5 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0399295/
  6. 6 http://www.artofthetitle.com/media/film/2005/lord_of_war_720p.html?keepThis=true&TB_iframe=true&height=574&width=1290
  7. 7 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0264464/
  8. 8 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0114369/
  9. 9 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0829482/
  10. 10 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056923/
  11. 11 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0381061/
  12. 12 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0408236/
  13. 13 http://www.artofthetitle.com/media/film/2007/sweeney_todd_720p.html?keepThis=true&TB_iframe=true&height=766&width=1290
  14. 14 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0060196/
  15. 15 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0137523/
  16. 16 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3Gorin3ch8&eurl=http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/12/19/30-unforgettable-movie-title-sequences/
  17. 17 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0057413/
  18. 18 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0427944/
  19. 19 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0060390/
  20. 20 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0101700/
  21. 21 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0078748/
  22. 22 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0058997/
  23. 23 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0373469/
  24. 24 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0052357/
  25. 25 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0258000/
  26. 26 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0057012/
  27. 27 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0356150/
  28. 28 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0138704/
  29. 29 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0053125/
  30. 30 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0305206/
  31. 31 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0105236/
  32. 32 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0057193/
  33. 33 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077651/
  34. 34 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070328/
  35. 35 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0144084/
  36. 36 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0054215/
  37. 37 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0316654/
  38. 38 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0211915/
  39. 39 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0041959/
  40. 40 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0052561/
  41. 41 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0467406/
  42. 42 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0374900/
  43. 43 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112641/
  44. 44 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097216/
  45. 45 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0078346/
  46. 46 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119167/
  47. 47 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076759/
  48. 48 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0420223/
  49. 49 http://www.imdb.com/media/rm1070111232/tt0062622
  50. 50 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0420223/
  51. 51 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056592/
  52. 52 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0431197/
  53. 53 http://www.artofthetitle.com/media/film/2007/kingdom.mov
  54. 54 http://www.artofthetitle.com/
  55. 55 http://mmbase.submarinechannel.com/titlesequences/
  56. 56 http://abduzeedo.com/7-beautiful-title-credit-sequence-designs/
  57. 57 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Title_sequence
  58. 58 http://veerle.duoh.com/blog/comments/inspiration_series_movie_credits/
  59. 59 http://www.nerve.com/CS/blogs/screengrab/archive/2008/03/06/the-twelve-greatest-opening-credits-in-movie-history-part-1.aspx
  60. 60 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/11/16/60-beautiful-music-videos/
  61. 61 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/01/21/monday-inspiration-brilliant-music-videos/
  62. 62 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2007/11/19/monday-inspiration-typography-in-motion/
  63. 63 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2007/12/29/funny-and-creative-animated-videos/

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Andrew Lindstrom is a freelance web designer, blogger and inspiration junkie. Say hi to him on Twitter or read his ramblings on his design inspiration blog at WellMedicated.com.

  1. 1

    Links not working!!!

  2. 202

    I am truly surprised that ”The Lord of the Rings” was not in this list.

  3. 403

    What about Watchmen – greatest open sequence ever!!

  4. 604

    Cannonball Run – nuff said!

  5. 805

    Almost all of these videos are unavailable.

  6. 1006

    What about Barbwire ? ;)

  7. 1207

    One of my favorite end credits sequence : Sherlock Holmes (the 1st)

  8. 1408

    It’s not a film however the opening credit’s to the TV series Dexter is pretty amazing! Also Game of Thrones won an award for theirs :)

  9. 1609

    For me Upside Down is the best! The music, the sinematography, efects, the explanation, etc.

  10. 1810

    It’s too sad that TOP GUN was not included,the best intro ever.


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