A lot of my favorite opening movie lines are the ones that usually evoke a sense of the entire movie in the first lines. If I see the movie again, all I have to do is hear the first words in order to be instantly transported back to my first experience of the film.
Just a few of favorites, and the scenarios that brought them about, are to follow:
*When Harry Met Sally
This romantic comedy starts ingeniously with an interview format of other couples telling their stories of how their relationship came to be. The first is of an older man relating his story:
"I was sitting with my friend Arthur Cornrom in a restaurant. It was an cafeteria and this beautiful girl walked in and I turned to Arthur and I said, "Arthur, you see that girl? I'm going to marry her, and two weeks later we were married and it's over fifty years later and we are still married."
*Bringing Out the Dead
This next one is of a much darker vein than When Harry Met Sally. This movie stars Nicolas Cage as a jaded and much overworked ambulance emergency technician, who is in dire need of a vacation:
"Thursday started out with a bang: a gunshot to the chest on a drug deal gone bad. Heat, humidity, moonlight-all the elements in place for a long weekend. I was good at my job: there were periods when my hands moved with a speed and skill beyond me and my mind worked with a cool authority I had never known. But in the last year I had started to lose that control. Things had turned bad. I hadn't saved anyone for months. I just needed a few slow nights, a week without tragedy followed by a couple of days off."
*The Moulin Rouge
This effervescent Baz Luhrmann musical also starts out with a little melancholy, but even here manages to bring in some of the glamour of the famous Moulin Rouge night club in Paris:
"The Moulin Rougea nightclub, a dance hall and a bordello. Ruled over by Harold Zidler. A kingdom of nighttime pleasures. Where the rich and powerful come to play with the young and beautiful creatures of the underworld. And the most beautiful of all these was the woman I loved, Satine, a courtesan. She sold her love to men. They called her the "Sparkling Diamond", and she was the star . . . of the Moulin Rouge."
*Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas
This line is also probably one of my most favorite opening lines of a book as well. Hunter S. Thompson's twisted tale of gonzo journalism during the Las Vegas derby begins quite typically:
"We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold."
*O Brother Where Art Thou
This one is my favorite. George Clooney plays Ulysses, whose two fellow rogue jailbirds escape with their chains still locked around their ankles. They manage to run past the prison guards through an open field and attempt to board a moving train. When he encounters some men on the train car, he asks them the following:
"Say, uh, any a you boys smithies?"