The Terminator (1984)
The Entrance: The Austrian Oak is given the perfect platform to strut his stuff as the Terminator materialises in 1984, minus his clothes.
First Appearance? It certainly is, and one that gives Arnie the chance to show off his gym-toned arse. All those squats were worth it after all!
Why So Awesome: Whichever way you cut it, Schwarzenegger looks pretty damn imposing here, and the way he deals with the trio of cyber-punk smartarses is particularly gratifying. “Your clothes… give them to me. Now.” Cinematic gold.
Weird Science (1985)
The Entrance: The gorgeous Lisa emerges from young Wyatt’s bathroom, clad only in her undies and a tiny top. “So…” she begins. “What would you little maniacs like to do first?”
First Appearance? Absolutely! Up until now she was merely a collection of clippings from the boys’ girlie mags.
Why So Awesome: Kelly LeBrock looks an absolute knockout, and this ‘80s classic only goes uphill following her arrival! As if her introduction wasn’t enough, there’s a steamy shower scene to come… it’s every teenage boy’s dream!
The Entrance: Kevin Spacey’s John Doe strolls into the police station, his shirt covered in blood, and repeatedly attempts to get Detective Mills’ attention, gradually raising his voice to a penetrating bellow. “DETECTIVE… you’re looking for me.”
First Appearance? We’ve seen him lurking in the shadows, but this is our first proper look at Spacey’s deranged killer.
Why So Awesome: Spacey’s involvement had initially been cloaked in secrecy, so if you weren’t expecting it, his arrival is a great bit of stunt casting. Even without the element of surprise, his arrival prompts the beginning of a series of twists that will turn the entire narrative on its head by the time the film reaches its grisly close.
The Entrance: The chestburster makes its theatrical bow, with an attention-grabbing entrance through John Hurt’s midsection.
First Appearance? It’s not the first alien the crew have encountered. It’s not even the first to have attacked them. But it’s the first sighting of this particular critter, and the most flamboyant alien introduction of all!
Why So Awesome: It’s the most memorably horrific moment from a memorably horrific film, with plenty of splatter thrown in for good measure. As if the relentless tension wasn’t bad enough, now there’s a family-sized portion of gore to chow down on as well!
The Mask (1994)
The Entrance: Cameron Diaz has Jim Carrey tripping over his tongue as she pays him a visit at his workplace wearing a showstopping red dress. Worth watching if only for her truly epic hair-toss.
First Appearance? It is, although her entrance on stage at the Coco Bongo club runs it close in the sexiness stakes.
Why So Awesome: Nobody had really heard of Cameron Diaz before The Mask , but her dress alone ensured that nobody would be forgetting her in a hurry. Even Carrey’s frantic mugging can’t distract from the star power on show here…
Jurassic Park (1993)
The Entrance: The T-Rex makes its grand entrance, looming out of the darkness to terrorise John Hammond’s helpless grandkids.
First Appearance? Yes. Up until now, the dinos on display have been a relatively benevolent bunch. A friendly brachiosaur here, a sickly triceratops there… from here on in it’s raptors and tyrannosaurs ahoy!
Why So Awesome: The build-up is measured to perfection, from the trembling glass of water to the unfortunate goat… and when the main attraction finally comes hulking into view, it doesn’t disappoint. Magical stuff.
The Usual Suspects (1995)
The Entrance: As Verbal Kint exits the police station, he gradually shakes off the limp we’ve previously seen him sporting, giving us our first proper look at Keyser Soze.
First Appearance? Kind of. We’ve seen flashback images of Keyser, but since they formed part of Verbal’s song and dance, we now know they were not to be trusted. Obviously we’ve been sat watching “Verbal” the whole way through, but we’d argue this marks Keyser’s “entrance” to the film. And like that, he’s gone.
Why So Awesome: As one of the finest twist endings in movie history, it’s an entrance that takes some beating!
The Wizard Of Oz (1939)
The Entrance: As the merry folk of Munchkinland set about celebrating the death of the Wicked Witch of the East, her ill-tempered sister arrives in a puff of smoke to put something of a dampener on proceedings.
First Appearance? Yes, and the resulting sense of terror is palpable. Judging by the reactions of the Munchkins, this is not a woman to be trifled with.
Why So Awesome: It’s a great set-up, establishing a legitimate grudge on the part of the Wicked Witch of the West (after all, they’re literally dancing on her sister’s grave) and conjuring a real sense of dread concerning her prospective revenge.
Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl (2003)
The Entrance: Jack Sparrow sails into Port Royal, stepping off his plucky vessel just before it sinks altogether.
First Appearance? Yes indeed. This is our first introduction to Captain Jack, and his shambolic entrance gives us a fair idea of what to expect from the man described by many as “the worst pirate I’ve ever seen”.
Why So Awesome? The pull-away and reveal of Jack’s steadily sinking ship is a great little sight gag, whilst his jaunty step ashore sums up his insouciant nature perfectly. Right from the off, you know he’s going to be a fun character to hang around with!
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
The Entrance: A signature Kubrick shot in which a close-up of the maliciously smirking Alex pulls back to show him holding court with his fellow droogs.
First Appearance? Indeed. It’s the very first frame of the film.
Why So Awesome: The eyes have it. Malcolm McDowell’s steely blue stare is truly unnerving, as is the sinister smile playing across his lips. Simultaneously frightening and appealing, it’s the entire character distilled into a single look.
Dr. No (1962)
The Entrance: Honey Ryder emerges from the glittering ocean, clad in a rather fetching white bikini.
First Appearance? Yep. Not only is this the first appearance of Honey Ryder, but the first appearance of any Bond Girl full stop! Quite the distinction.
Why So Awesome: Have you not eyes in your head? She looks simply marvellous. Halle Berry and Daniel Craig both made a decent fist of recreating this one, but neither of them are a patch on Ursula Andress.
The Silence Of The Lambs (1991)
The Entrance: Clarice Starling pays a visit to the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, where she is introduced to cannibalistic serial killer, Hannibal Lecter.
First Appearance? It is, and on first impressions, he seems a rather genteel old boy, doesn’t he? Apart from all that business with the Chianti…
Why So Awesome: The hospital is a truly nightmarish proposition, and serves to expertly build the tension preceding Lecter’s introduction. As Clarice runs the gauntlet of semen-throwing inmates, one can’t shake the feeling that although these men are terrifying, the one at the end of the corridor is going to be far, far worse.
The Entrance: “Gilda, are you decent?” comes the enquiry from George MacReady. Pausing momentarily to consider the question, Rita Hayworth tosses her hair provocatively before musing, “Me? Sure I’m decent.” Meanwhile, every man in the audience falls head over heels…
First Appearance? It is, and is also the film’s most memorable moment. Simply irresistible.
Why So Awesome: Double-entendres are generally fairly tawdry affairs, but in this case, the ambiguity of meaning is intoxicating rather than tedious. Immediately, you want to know who this woman is, and what she’s about. What a way to bait the hook!
The Dark Knight (2008)
The Entrance: Having ripped off a bank controlled by Gotham’s main crime cartel, the Joker strolls chuckling into the resulting summit meeting, before showing off one of his niftiest magic tricks…
First Appearance? Nope. In fact, he helps himself to two previous entrances! First off there’s the unsettling sight of him waiting on a street corner, and then there’s the brilliant reveal in which he peels off his clown mask to reveal his true colours. Spine-tingling stuff.
Why So Awesome? This is the first opportunity to see Heath Ledger in full flow, and he certainly makes the most of it, his unnerving vocal tics setting the tone for the mania to come. And the pencil trick is deliciously grisly!
The Entrance: Bruce the shark pops out of the water, giving Chief Brody (not to mention the audience) the fright of his life!
First Appearance? Bruce first makes his presence felt during the early attacks on Amity Island, but this is the first time we see his ugly mug in all its glory.
Why So Awesome: After a relatively subdued section of the film, the tension is ratcheted right back up again with Bruce’s toothy introduction. Brody’s laconic quip is the icing on the cake. They are indeed going to need a bigger boat.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988)
The Entrance: Jessica Rabbit takes to the stage to the collective thud of male jaws hitting the floor.
First Appearance? Yes, and one that nobody’s likely to forget in a hurry. One has to remind oneself that she’s only a drawing…
Why So Awesome: Jessica’s smoky-voiced song and dance routine is one of the sexiest sequences ever committed to celluloid. Ginger hair has never looked so alluring before or since!
Once Upon A Time In The West (1968)
The Entrance: Having been hired to intimidate landowner Brett McBain by a greedy railroad tycoon, blue-eyed sociopath Frank decides instead to murder the man, along with his wife and children, as they’re preparing dinner. Pleased to meet you too!
First Appearance? It’s the first time the audience has clapped eyes on him, which makes the violence even more shocking.
Why So Awesome: Best known for his heroic roles, Henry Fonda shatters his nice-guy image in one fell swoop. A prime example of subverting the audience’s expectations.
Star Wars (1977)
The Entrance: As his Storm Troopers blast their way through the rebel ship, Darth Vader steps calmly aboard, the embodiment of black-clad authority. And thus, a screen icon is born.
First Appearance? It’s the opening salvo from one of the most instantly recognisable characters in cinematic history.
Why So Awesome: From the word go, Vader is presented as an incredibly imposing villain. Later enhanced by John William's famous theme, those familiar feelings of excitement and dread can be readily aroused at the drop of a hat. A truly masterful bit of characterisation.
Lawrence Of Arabia (1962)
The Entrance: A speck of colour appears upon the horizon, gradually taking the shape of a man on a camel as Sherif Ali makes his stately way across the desert.
First Appearance? Yes, and he’s not about to rush it either. He certainly takes his sweet time on this one!
Why So Awesome: Proof if proof were needed that a spectacular entrance needn’t be showy, flashy or sudden. One of the most awe-inspiring scenes of a visually luxuriant film, it’s a majestic, considered entrance, and one for the audience to savour.
The Third Man (1949)
The Entrance: Having been informed that his old friend Harry Lime is dead, Holly Martins is lead a merry dance through the streets of Vienna, before the light from a nearby window reveals a brief glimpse of a figure lurking in the shadows… yep, it’s none other than Harry Lime himself.
First Appearance? Yes, albeit a brief one. That said, Orson Welles manages to make quite the impression with the limited time available.
Why So Awesome: It’s a reveal that has been building for some time, and when it finally arrives, the payoff is richly satisfying. The ambiguity in Welles’ expression is what makes this moment so priceless… amusement, self-satisfaction and something malignant all vie for room within one of cinema’s most enigmatic smiles.