Related Videos

Top 10 Greatest Opening Scenes in British Film

VO: Richard Bush
Written by Richard Bush These films start as they mean to go on. Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’ll be counting down the Top 10 opening scenes in British films. For this list, we are looking at the most iconic, memorable and enthralling opening scenes in cinema. And just to be clear, for a film to be considered, it must have strong British connections with regards to its setting, writers, producers or directors. So, let’s get to it. Special thanks to our user RichardFB for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest
Share
WatchMojo

You must register to a corporate account to download this video. Please login

Transcript

Top 10 Opening Scenes in British Films


These films start as they mean to go on. Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’ll be counting down the Top 10 opening scenes in British films.

For this list, we are looking at the most iconic, memorable and enthralling opening scenes in cinema. And just to be clear, for a film to be considered, it must have strong British connections with regards to its setting, writers, producers or directors. So, let’s get to it.

#10: Balloon Panic
“Enduring Love” (2004)


A classic opening in both cinema and literature, “Enduring Love” is a thriller/romance based on the Ian McEwan book of the same name - with the entire story hinged on what happens in the first few minutes. As couple Joe and Claire settle down for a picnic, an out of control hot air balloon blows across the field and destroys the peaceful scene. As people gather and try to help, the tension is almost unbearable. [1] Talk about an emotional start.

#9: Bathroom Brawl
“Casino Royale” (2006)


We’re with Daniel Craig again, this time as James Bond. Unfolding in atmospheric black and white, this opening sees Bond on an assassination mission - and smashing a bathroom to bits in a fight. As well as giving us both an awesome scrap sequence and a nail-biting showdown, it sets the tone for Craig’s reign as the spy, and lets us know that the cheesy Bond of old is dead. Instead, we’re getting a no-nonsense, 00 agent who’s not afraid to get his hands dirty.

#8: F***
“Four Weddings and a Funeral” (1994)


Ever overslept? We all have at some point - so you'll be able to relate to the chaos in this clip. Setting the tone for the typically dry, Brit rom-com fare to follow, we see Hugh Grant and Charlotte Coleman scamper out of bed and onto the motorway in a bid to reach a wedding on time - where Grant's Charles is best man. The charm of this scene lies in its minimal dialogue, besides an almost exclusive use of one single word. Lovely.

#7: The Convict
“Great Expectations” (1946)


To another literary giant, and an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “Great Expectations”. A stellar example of jumping straight into it by establishing clear characters and key themes, this opening sets Pip up as our lonely orphan protagonist, who’s terrorised by a convict whilst visiting his parents’ graves. The slow camera pan, the whistling wind, the creaking trees - a brilliant visual spectacle. And proof that subtly can go a long way.

#6: Cafe Explosion
“Children of Men” (2006)


Effectively establishing a believable dystopian setting can be tough. But 2006’s “Children of Men” does it flawlessly. Through a superbly executed continuous shot, something the film’s renowned for, we get the lowdown on the story, take a look at a futuristic London and meet our hero Theo, played by Clive Owen. A slow, uninterrupted tracking shot that culminates in an explosion, it throws us off-guard and demands that we keep on watching.

#5: The Drowning
“Don’t Look Now” (1973)


This Nicolas Roeg-directed thriller pulls no punches, and it makes that abundantly clear with this dramatic,emotional intro. As a mother and father work away indoors, their daughter plays outside, before tragedy strikes. The desperation from Donald Sutherland’s John Baxter as he attempts to revive her is heartbreaking. Sutherland’s performance and Roeg’s expert direction make for an unforgettable moment.

#4: The Milk Bar
“A Clockwork Orange” (1971)


To one of the most controversial films of all time next. We open with a shot of infamous delinquent Alex and his droogs at a milk bar, before the camera slowly zooms out, eerie music chimes in and Alex stares through the lens. The uncomfortable, almost violating closeness of the shot helps set the scene for the psychological story to follow, while Alex’s narration introduces us to the unique lingo and ultra-violent intentions of his crew. From the get-go, we know it’s going to be weird. A masterclass from Kubrick.

#3: The Coconut Halves
“Monty Python and the Holy Grail” (1975)


A textbook example of how the Pythons dissect their own jokes to make them even funnier, the opening to this off-the-wall Arthurian legend sees Arthur gallop into frame, only that galloping sound isn't what you think it is. The Pythons use this opportunity to go off on a trademark tangent, with the help of two surprisingly well-read guards. Akin to many of their back and forth sketches, it ensures us that this movie does not plan to take itself seriously.

#2: Lust for Life
“Trainspotting” (1996)


Want to make an entrance? Take note. We’re instantly introduced to our dodgy, drug-addict ensemble, with a chase through Edinburgh, a football match and a life-lesson on junk food, DIY and dental insurance from our junkie narrator Renton, played by Ewan McGregor. All to the sound of Iggy Pop. It’s not just that it tells us all we need to know, it’s the slick way in which it does it. Director Danny Boyle clearly wanted to put his unique stamp on it - and boy did he.

#1: The Dawn of Man
“2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968)


What better place to finish than back at the start? As one of the most influential films of all time, its opening sequence gets down to the primitive, bare bones - literally - of mankind and evolution. A sequence that sees apes discover weapons, what follows is a look at mankind’s destructive tendencies. If the deep meaning doesn't impress you, then the booming Strauss will.
Comments

Sign in to access this feature

Related Blogs