Dialogue is a crucial part of a film script. It is one of the main tools with which the film can advance the story, develop themes or present the emotions of the characters.
Likewise, one of the most important parts of the dialogue is the opening line of the film. If done right, it can be an unforgettable hook that immediately captivates audiences and keeps the story fresh in their minds even long after it’s over. Many films throughout history, such as GoodFellasand missing girlhad opening lines so fantastic that they are still being talked about years after their release.
‘High Fidelity’ (2000): “Which came first, the music or the misery?”
Featuring John Cusack (who also participated in the writing of the screenplay, so we owe him in part this beautiful opening sentence), High fidelity is a comedy-drama about a record store owner who tells the story of his five most significant breakups.
The protagonist’s fourth wall opening monologue is thought-provoking and gives a good indication of what’s to come throughout the film. The dialogue makes us think about the underestimated emotional impact of music and its relationship to the sadness of those who listen to it.
“Gone Girl” (2014): “When I think of my wife, I always think of her head. I imagine cracking her beautiful skull, unraveling her brain, trying to get answers.”
David Fincherit’s a terrifying thriller missing girl is the story of a man who becomes a suspect in the murder of his wife, getting caught up in a media circus as the plot takes unexpected twists around him.
The dialogue throughout the film is fantastic, especially in the masterfully crafted opening scene. Ben Affleck delivers its opening narration with tranquility but an urgent sense of mystery, setting the film’s eerie tone alongside Rosamund pikewhich earned him an Oscar nomination.
‘The Basketball Diaries’ (1995): “When I was young, around eight years old, I tried to befriend God by inviting him to my house to watch the World Series. He never show.”
Featuring one of Leonardo DiCapriothe best performances of his youth, basketball diaries follows the real figure Jim Carroll as he and some of his friends descend into the underworld of drugs and crime.
Right from the start (the first line, to be precise), the film sets a tone of melodramatic, hopeless desperation. It’s especially relevant given that Carroll has spent much of his life studying at Catholic high schools.
‘Patton’ (1970): “Now I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won by making the other poor bastard die for his country.”
Winner of 7 Oscars, including Best Picture, Patton is the story of the man who was known as “America’s Fightengest General”, a detailed portrait not only of his military exploits, but also of the most interesting aspects of his hot-tempered personality.
The film’s opening line immediately establishes its protagonist as a rational, cold, no-nonsense guy. Francis Ford Coppola was the one who wrote the keynote. Thinking this was a stupid way to start the film, the superiors fired Coppola. However, the story proved them wrong as it became one of the most iconic opening scenes in movie history.
“The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” (2001): “The world has changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the land. I feel it in the air.”
For good reason, many people praise Peter Jackson The Lord of the Rings trilogy as one of the greatest movie trilogies ever made, for good reason. The Fellowship of the Ringthe first installment of the series, chronicles the beginning of the journey of Frodo and his friends to destroy the One Ring and defeat the evil Sauron.
The entire prologue of the movie is one of the best opening sequences of any movie, and the opening line lives up to that. In accordance with the descriptive and poetic character of JRR Tolkienit’s a beautiful homage to the source material that perfectly establishes the epic journey ahead.
‘Lord of War’ (2005): “There are over 550 million guns in circulation in the world. That’s one gun for every twelve people on the planet. The only question is: How do we arm- us the other 11?”
lord of war is a crime drama about a Russian arms dealer played by Nicholas Cagewho struggles to do business while avoiding an Interpol agent and countless business rivals.
lord of war isn’t a perfect film, but its opening line and ensuing title sequence are certainly excellent. Clever, witty, and memorable, those first words spoken at the start of the film alone tell a story and play out the narrative’s themes and the protagonist’s lack of morals beautifully.
‘Stand By Me’ (1986): “I was 12 and 13 the first time I saw a dead human being.”
Based on a Stephen King novel, Rob Reinerit is support me is a coming-of-age drama about four Oregon boys who go on a journey to view the recently killed body of a stranger.
From its first line of dialogue, the film establishes the dark sense of wonder that will come from the main character’s adventure. It touches on the themes of the story of childhood innocence and reinforces the humanistic tone of the image.
‘GoodFellas’ (1990): “As far back as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be a gangster.”
Martin Scorseseit is GoodFellastelling the true story of Henry Hill and his rollercoaster life in the Mafia, is perhaps the filmmaker’s most popular crime film, delivering the most famous performance of late Ray Liotta.
Although it’s technically not the first thing said in GoodFellas, this is what starts the story; no list of the best opening lines in movie history is complete without it. It’s a hell of a hook, and the prologue scene that follows only cements the opening of this film as one of the most fun and effective of all time.
“The Godfather” (1972): “I believe in America. America made my fortune.”
Francis Ford Coppola’s 1972 masterpiece is a film that needs no introduction. The epic of an aging patriarch who hands over the leadership of a crime family to his youngest son is familiar to almost anyone who has ever heard of the movies.
The dimly lit and masterfully acted opening scene of The Godfather is not only one of the best opening scenes of all time, but one of the best scenes overall. The fact that it opens with a morally corrupt man talking about the beauty of the American dream perfectly sets the tone of the film and its critique of contemporary American society.
‘Citizen Kane’ (1941): “Rosebud…”
Less is more. The first line of Citizen Kane, Orson Welles‘ magnum opus about a journalist investigating the meaning of the last words of an infamous publishing industry tycoon, is so mysterious that it is precisely what the entire plot of the film revolves around.
As the plot unfolds, this word will remain in the minds of the public as a journalist (Joseph Cotten) struggles to discover its meaning, as each spectator wonders what it could mean. And by the end of the film, the line and the moment it is spoken will be imbued with such rich and deep meaning that it will be hard for anyone not to consider it the best opening dialogue of any movie never made.
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