The Best Opening Scenes in Cinema

It’s been four years since Christopher Nolan’s haunting, spectacular entry in the Batman franchise, The Dark Knight. This weekend, the director will complete his trilogy featuring the Caped Crusader defending Gotham’s finest yet again. After a memorable opening scene in the second film, audiences have high hopes for their first look at The Dark Knight Rises — and we wanted to prep ourselves for an amazing introduction by looking back at other movies that kicked off their stories in wonderful ways. We’ve already proved that unforgettable opening lines can really set the tone for a film, and the opening scenes in cinema are equally, if not more, important. We’ve listed 12 of the best movie openers after the jump. Leave us your favorites in the comments below.

The Dark Knight

Fans waited three long years to see the Caped Crusader again, and as soon as they feasted on the opening to 2008’s The Dark Knight, they knew it was worth the wait. Christopher Nolan wasted no time immersing us once more in Gotham City’s gritty universe. Heath Ledger’s The Joker orchestrates an impressive bank robbery in the film’s opening scene that introduced us to one of the best villains in superhero movie history. It was a welcome change after Jack Nicholson’s goofier, slapstick take on the character in Tim Burton’s version of Batman. Ledger’s “psychopathic, mass murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy” was a worthy adversary for Gotham’s great hero, making The Dark Knight a haunting and epic showdown. (Part one is above, part two is below.)