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50 best opening lines in movies

Beginning with a bang

50 best opening lines in movies
13 June 2011

Related: 50 Greatest Closing Lines From Brilliant Movies

We've already told you how movies should end, so in a Memento-style narrative gimmick, we're going back and telling you how they should begin.

Keeping us all gripped from the very first line of dialogue, here are the 50 greatest cinematic openers ever.

We're not perfect, despite rumours to the contrary, so let us know which quotes we've forgotten about at the bottom.

(Images: All Star, Rex Features)


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

Henry Hill (Ray Liotta)

Fear & 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)

The Departed

“I don't want to be a product of my environment. I want my environment to be a product of me."

Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson)

Reservoir Dogs

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

Mr. Brown (Quentin Tarantino)


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

Mrs. De Winter (Joan Fontaine)

Million Dollar Baby

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

Scrap (Morgan Freeman)

Black Swan

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

Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman)

Fight Club

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

The Narrator (Edward Norton)


"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)

High Fidelity

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

Rob Gordon (John Cusack)

Gone Baby Gone

"I always believed it was the things you don't choose that makes you who you are."

Patrick Kenzie (Casey Affleck)

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)

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)

Citizen Kane


Charles Foster Kane (Orson Welles)

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)


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

Renton (Ewan McGregor)


"Chapter One. He adored New York City. He idolized it all out of proportion. Eh uh, no, make that he, he romanticised it all out of proportion. Better."

Isaac David (Woody Allen)

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)

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)

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)

The Weather Man

"That was refreshing. I'm refreshed. I'm refreshing."

Dave Spritz (Nicolas Cage)

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)

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)

Notes On A Scandal

"People trust me with their secrets. But who do I trust with mine? You, only you."

Barbara Covett (Judi Dench)

Raging Bull

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

Jake La Motta (Robert De Niro)

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)

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)

The Rules Of Attraction

"And it's a story that might bore you, but you don't have to listen, because I always knew it was going to be like that."

Lauren (Shannyn Sossoman)


"Oh, America. I wish I could tell you that this was still America, but I've come to realize that you can't have a country without people. And there are no people here."

Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg)

The Godfather

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

Bonasera (Salvatore Corsitto)


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

Tobey Maguire (Peter Parker)

Blood Simple

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

Private Detective Visser (M. Emmet Walsh)


"I always wondered why no-one did it before me. I mean, all those comic books, movies, TV shows... you think that one eccentric loner would've made himself a costume."

Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson)

Forrest Gump

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

Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks)


"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)

The Prestige

"Are you watching closely?"

Alfred Borden (Christian Bale)


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

Lewis (Burt Reynolds)


"I want to tell you about the time I almost died"

Azazel (Denzel Washington)

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)

The Talented Mr. Ripley

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

Tom Ripley (Matt Damon)

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)

Sin City

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

The Salesman (Josh Hartnett)


"Today is a good day to die."

Nelson Wright (Kiefer Sutherland)


“Please, sir, I want some more.”

Oliver Twist (Mark Lester)


"My name is Turkish. Funny name for an Englishman."

Turkish (Jason Statham)


“One time my cousin Walter got this cat stuck up his ass. True story."

Brodie (Jason Lee)

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)


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

Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson)


"This is a true story about friendship that runs deeper than blood. This is my story and that of the only three friends in my life that truly mattered."

Lorenzo (Jason Patric)


"Listen, here's the thing: If you can't spot the sucker in the first half hour at the table, then you ARE the sucker."

Mike McDermott (Matt Damon)

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