They say that you can win or lose an audience in the first five minutes of a movie -- therefore that opening bit of dialogue has to be spot on and grab the audience immediately. Film history is littered with films that have great scripts that have resulted in works of art that reach the upper echelons of movie excellence. But, what are the films that have us from the opening line? Which timeless pieces of entertainment possess the first bit of dialogue that go down in the lexicon of movie history?
Here are the Movie Fanatic Top 10 Movie Opening Lines:
10. American Beauty
“My name is Lester Burnham. This is my neighborhood. This is my street. This is my life. I am forty-two years old. In less than a year I will be dead. Of course I don't know that yet, and in a way, I am dead already.”
9. Fear And Loathing in Las Vegas
"We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold."
"Who am I? You sure you wanna know? The story of my life is not for the faint of heart. If somebody said it was a happy little tale, if somebody told you I was just your average guy, not a care in the world, somebody lied. But let me assure you, this, like any story worth telling, is all about a girl. That girl. The girl next door. Mary Jane Watson. The woman I've loved since before I even liked girls."
7. The Big Lebowski
“Way out west there was this fella I wanna tell ya about. Goes by the name of Jeff Lebowski. At least that was the handle his loving parents gave him. But, he never had much use for it himself. See, this Lebowski, he called himself ‘The Dude.’”
6. High Fidelity
“What came first, the music or the misery?”
5. The Godfather
“I believe in America. America has made my fortune.”
4. 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!' Do you maggots understand this?”
3. Stand By Me
“I was 12 going on 13 the first time I saw a dead human being.”
2. Goodfellas (also has one of the Top 10 Best Movie Music)
“As long as I can remember, I have always wanted to be a gangster.”
1. Citizen Kane
There are five that we couldn’t let go of that didn’t quite make our list. Therefore, Movie Fanatic has a quintet of honorary mentions:
"...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."
“Come to Los Angeles! The sun shines bright, the beaches are wide and inviting, and the orange groves stretch as far as the eye can see. There are jobs aplenty, and land is cheap. Every working man can have his own house, and inside every house, a happy, all-American family. You can have all this, and who knows... you could even be discovered, become a movie star... or at least see one. Life is good in Los Angeles... it's paradise on Earth.' Ha ha ha ha. That's what they tell you, anyway.”
“I am not a bum. I'm a jerk. I once had wealth, power, and the love of a beautiful woman. Now I only have two things: My friends and... uh... my thermos. Huh? My story? Okay. It was never easy for me. I was born a poor black child. I remember the days, sittin' on the porch with my family, singin' and dancin' down in Mississippi.”
“People are always asking me if I know Tyler Durden…”
“Hello. My name’s Forrest. Forrest Gump. You want a chocolate?”