The 50 Greatest Opening Title Sequences of All Time

Let’s begin at the beginning.

Opening titles do more than simply tell you who edited a film or designed its production. At their best, opening title sequences operate on the level of pure cinema, translating a movie’s ideas into pure poetic imagery. A movie about the search for a missing girl opens with a title sequence about exposing secrets obstructed from view. A story about a troubled war veteran turned taxi driver begins with titles that mirror its protagonists warped perception through the use of warped visuals of New York City. We learn about the harsh realities of international arms dealing by following the path of a single bullet from factory to innocent victim’s brain.

What makes an opening title sequence particularly outstanding? Bold graphic design and impressive cinematography are important, but how the design and cinematography is used is more important. These fifty films have style and substance. While they dazzle our eyes they’re also busy engaging our brains and our hearts, establishing mood, presenting characters, and introducing themes…

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