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The greatest opening lines in movies - 50 amazing movie quotes

Films that began with with a bang

The greatest opening lines in movies - 50 amazing movie quotes
Marc Chacksfield
11 February 2022

The best opening lines set the scene for the movie that follows. Whether it's a quote from a book or a sly quip that encapsulates the entire plot of the film, finding the right way to open a movie is essential.

The best opening lines in movies aren't the same as the best openings for a movie. The endless star ship crawl, Indiana Jones' battle with a rolling ball, a night swimmer that acts as dinner for a great white are all memorable scenes (perhaps the most memorable) but for these opening scenes it's not about what's said but what's happening.

Here we look at the movies where the first things muttered are sublime - lines of dialogue that will be forever remembered.

Here is our pick of the 50 best opening lines in movies of all time. If we've missed your pick, then let us know below!

Greatest opening movie lines

Greatest opening movie lines

1. Goodfellas

“As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.”

Henry Hill (Ray Liotta)

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39
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Greatest opening movie lines

2. Patton

"Now I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country."

Patton (George C. Scott)

148
34
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Greatest opening movie lines

3. Full Metal Jacket

"I am Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, your senior drill instructor. From now on you will speak only when spoken to, and the first and last words out of your filthy sewers will be sir."

Gunnery Sergeant Hartman (R. Lee Ermey)

103
31
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Greatest opening movie lines

4. Stand by Me

"I was 12 going on 13 the first time I saw a dead human being."

The Writer (Richard Dreyfuss)

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24
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Greatest opening movie lines

5. Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas

"We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold."

Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp)

92
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Greatest opening movie lines

6. The Godfather

"I believe in America. America has made my fortune."

Bonasera (Salvatore Corsitto)

85
25
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Greatest opening movie lines

7. Citizen Kane

"Rosebud."

Charles Foster Kane (Orson Welles)

78
30
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Greatest opening movie lines

8. Trainspotting

"Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a f***ing big television."

Renton (Ewan McGregor)

72
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Greatest opening movie lines

9. Terminator 2: Judgment Day

"3 billion human lives ended on August 29th, 1997. The survivors of the nuclear fire called the war Judgment Day."

Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton)

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Greatest opening movie lines

10. The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring

"The world is changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air."

Galadriel (Cate Blanchett)

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Greatest opening movie lines

11. Fight Club

“People are always asking me if I know Tyler Durden…”

The Narrator (Edward Norton)

73
31
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Greatest opening movie lines

12. Sin City

"She shivers in the wind like the last leaf on a dying tree."

The Salesman (Josh Hartnett)

65
24
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Greatest opening movie lines

13. Apocalypse Now

"Saigon. S**t! I'm still only in Saigon. Every time I think I'm gonna wake up back in the jungle..."

Willard (Martin Sheen)

69
32
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Greatest opening movie lines

14. Forrest Gump

"Hello. My name's Forrest, Forrest Gump. You want a chocolate?"

Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks)

71
34
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Greatest opening movie lines

15. Casino

"When you love someone, you've gotta trust them. There's no other way. You've got to give them the key to everything that's yours. Otherwise, what's the point?"

Ace Rothstein (Robert De Niro)

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Greatest opening movie lines

16. Flatliners

"Today is a good day to die."

Nelson Wright (Kiefer Sutherland)

58
21
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Greatest opening movie lines

17. Reservoir Dogs

"Let me tell you what 'Like a Virgin' is about..."

Mr. Brown (Quentin Tarantino)

66
33
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Greatest opening movie lines

18. The Big Lebowski

"Way out west there was this fella I wanna tell ya about. Goes by the name of Jeff Lebowski."

The Stranger (Sam Elliott)

73
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Greatest opening movie lines

19. Lawrence of Arabia

"He was the most extraordinary man I ever knew."

Anthony Quayle (Colonel Brighton

57
24
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Greatest opening movie lines

20. The Seventh Seal

"Who are you?"

"I am Death."

Antonius Block (Max von Sydow) and Death (Bengt Ekerot)


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Greatest opening movie lines

21. Raging Bull

"I remember those cheers. They still ring in my ears."

Jake La Motta (Robert De Niro)

45
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Greatest opening movie lines

22. Ferris Bueller's Day Off

“The key to faking out the parents is the clammy hands. It’s a good non-specific symptom; I’m a big believer in it."

Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick)

54
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Greatest opening movie lines

23. When Harry Met Sally

"I was sitting with my friend Arthur Kornblum in a restaurant. It was a 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."

Old Man

47
21
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Greatest opening movie lines

24. Dirty Dancing

"It was the summer of 1963, when everybody called me Baby and it didn't occur to me to mind."

Baby Houseman (Jennifer Gray)


49
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Greatest opening movie lines

25. Oliver

“Please, sir, I want some more.”

Oliver Twist (Mark Lester)

49
27
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Greatest opening movie lines

26. A Clockwork Orange

"There was me, that is Alex, and my three droogs, that is Pete, Georgie, and Dim, and we sat in the Korova Milkbar trying to make up our rassoodocks what to do with the evening."

Alex (Malcom McDowell)

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Greatest opening movie lines

27. The Sound Of Music

"The hills are alive with the sound of music."

Maria (Julie Andrews)

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Greatest opening movie lines

28. The Prestige

"Are you watching closely?"

Alfred Borden (Christian Bale)

43
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Greatest opening movie lines

29. Sunset Boulevard

"Yes, this is Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, California. It's about five o'clock in the morning – that's the homicide squad, complete with detectives and newspaper men. A murder has been reported from one of those great big houses in the 10,000 block. You'll read about it in the late editions, I'm sure."

Joe Gillis (William Holden)

37
20
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Greatest opening movie lines

30. Field Of Dreams

"I'm 36 years old, I love my family, I love baseball, and I'm about to become a farmer. But until I heard the voice, I'd never done a crazy thing in my whole life."

Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner)

43
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Greatest opening movie lines

31. High Fidelity

"What came first, the music or the misery?"

Rob Gordon (John Cusack)

41
25
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Greatest opening movie lines

32. Dr Strangelove

"For more than a year, ominous rumours had been privately circulating among high-level western leaders that the Soviet Union had been at work on what was darkly hinted to be the Ultimate Weapon, a Doomsday Device.

48
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Greatest opening movie lines

33. The Piano

"The voice you hear is not my speaking voice, but my mind's voice. I have not spoken since I was six years old. No one knows why, not even me. My father says it is a dark talent and the day I take it into my head to stop breathing will be my last."

Holly Hunter (Ada McGrath)


33
21
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Greatest opening movie lines

34. Gone Girl

"When I think of my wife, I always think of her head. I picture cracking her lovely skull. Unspooling her brains. Trying to get answers. The primal questions of any marriage: 'What are you thinking?' 'How are you feeling?' 'What have we done to each other?'"

Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck)

36
24
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Greatest opening movie lines

35. Chinatown

“All right, Curly, enough's enough. You can't eat the venetian blinds. I just had 'em installed on Wednesday.”

Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson)

36
25
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Greatest opening movie lines

36. Kill Bill Vol. 1

"Do you find me sadistic? You know, I bet I could fry an egg on your head right now, if I wanted to."

David Carradine (Bill)

32
22
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Greatest opening movie lines

37. Rebecca

"Last night, I dreamt I went to Manderley again."

Mrs. De Winter (Joan Fontaine)

36
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Greatest opening movie lines

38. In Bruges

"After I killed him, I dropped the gun in the Thames, washed the residue off me hands in the bathroom of a Burger King, and walked home to await instructions."

Ray (Colin Farrell)

27
18
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Greatest opening movie lines

39. Spider-Man (2001)

"Who am I? You sure you want to know?"

Tobey Maguire (Peter Parker)

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Greatest opening movie lines

40. Amelie

"On September 3, 1973, 6:28pm and 32 seconds, a blue fly of the Calliphorides species, whose wings can flutter 14,670 times per minute landed in Saint-Vincent Street, Montmartre."

30
22
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Greatest opening movie lines

41. The Talented Mr. Ripley

"If I could just go back... if I could rub everything out... starting with myself."

Tom Ripley (Matt Damon)

30
22
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Greatest opening movie lines

42. The Social Network

"Did you know there are more people with genius IQs living in China than there are people of any kind living in the United States?"

Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg)

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Greatest opening movie lines

43. Dead Man's Shoes

"God will forgive them. He'll forgive them and let them into heaven. I can't live with that."

Richard (Paddy Considine)

28
22
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Greatest opening movie lines

44. Million Dollar Baby

"Only ever met one man I wouldn't wanna fight."

Scrap (Morgan Freeman)

26
22
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Greatest opening movie lines

45. The Outsiders

"When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house. I had only two things on my mind; Paul Newman and a ride home."

Ponyboy (C Thomas Howell)

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Greatest opening movie lines

46. Four Weddings And A Funeral

"Oh, fuck! Fuck!"

Charles (Hugh Grant)

29
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Greatest opening movie lines

47. Black Swan

"I had the craziest dream last night. I was dancing the White Swan."

Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman)

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Greatest opening movie lines

48. Deliverance

"You w- you wanna... you wanna talk about the vanishing wilderness?"

Lewis (Burt Reynolds)

20
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Greatest opening movie lines

49. Blood Simple

"The world is full o' complainers. An' the fact is, nothin' comes with a guarantee."

Private Detective Visser (M. Emmet Walsh)

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Greatest opening movie lines

50. Do The Right Thing

"Wake up! Wake up, wake up, wake up, up ya wake, up ya wake, up ya wake, up ya wake!"

ister Señor Love Daddy (Samuel L Jackson)

27
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