They always tell you not to judge based on first impressions, but we disagree -- sometimes it's necessary. A good movie should be able to tell you exactly what it is with the very first line of dialogue. The opening scene of any movie is an opportunity to lure audiences in, to make a statement, and to define itself. After all, film isn't what it used to be, when people had to actually go to theaters or watch something once it was out on video; for better or worse, it has evolved into an incredibly disposable commodity. Viewers give a movie ten minutes, maximum, to engage them and if not, switching to another film on Netflix is only too easily done. That first impression is worth more than ever in a world with limitless entertainment options. If your audience isn't hooked right away, you've already lost the battle. There's no incentive for the typical moviegoer to sit through a movie that doesn't engross them immediately. The movies on this list, on the other hand, have elevated the opening line into an art form. Some are clever, poignant, witty, or heartbreaking, but they all draw audiences in and give us a clue of exactly what we're in for.
Audrey Fox is an ex-film student, which means that she prefers to spend her days in the dark, watching movies and pondering the director's use of diegetic sound. She currently works as an entertainment writer, joyfully rambling about all things film and television related. Add her on Twitter at @audonamission and check out her film blog at 1001moviesandbeyond.com.