30 Killer Movie Opening Lines

The first line can make or break a movie.

And some of the best films also boast superb opening gambits that suck you in, make you think, have you laughing or just tease you.

We’ve rounded up some of our favourites – let us know yours in the comments…

The Film: Annie Hall (1977)

The Line: “There's an old joke - um... two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of 'em says, "Boy, the food at this place is really terrible." The other one says, "Yeah, I know; and such small portions."

"Well, that's essentially how I feel about life - full of loneliness, and misery, and suffering, and unhappiness, and it's all over much too quickly.

"The... the other important joke, for me, is one that's usually attributed to Groucho Marx; but, I think it appears originally in Freud's "Wit and Its Relation to the Unconscious," and it goes like this - I'm paraphrasing - um, "I would never want to belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member."

"That's the key joke of my adult life, in terms of my relationships with women."

The Film: Goodfellas (1990)

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

The Film: A Matter Of Life And Death (1946)

The Line: "This is the universe. Big, isn't it?"

Next: Stand By Me, The Seventh Seal & Trainspotting


The Film: Stand By Me (1986)

The Line: “I was 12 going on 13 the first time I saw a dead human being.”

The Film: The Seventh Seal (1956)

The Line: “Who are you?”
“I am Death.”

The Film: Trainspotting (1996)

The Line: "Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a f***ing big television, choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol and dental insurance.

“Choose fixed interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisurewear and matching luggage. Choose a three-piece suite on hire purchase in a range of f***ing fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the f**k you are on Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing f***ing junk food into your mouth.

“Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pissing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, f***ed up brats you spawned to replace yourselves. Choose your future. Choose life.

“But why would I want to do a thing like that? I chose not to choose life. I chose somethin' else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you've got heroin?"

Next: Sunset Boulevard, The Third Man & Love Story


The Film: Sunset Boulevard (1950)

The Line: “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 newspapermen.

"A murder has been reported from one of those great big houses in the ten thousand block. You'll read about it in the late editions, I'm sure...”

The Film: The Third Man (1949)

The Line: “I never knew the old Vienna before the war, with its Strauss music, its glamour and easy charm - Constantinople suited me better.

“I really got to know it in the classic period of the Black Market. We'd run anything, if people wanted it enough and had the money to pay...”

The Film:
Love Story (1970)

The Line: “What can you say about a 25-year-old girl who died? That she was beautiful and brilliant? That she loved Mozart and Bach, the Beatles, and me?”

Next: Plan 9, Arsenic And Old Lace & Citizen Kane


The Film: Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959)

The Line: “Greetings, my friends! We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friends; future events such as these will affect you in the future.

"You are interested in the unknown, the mysterious, the unexplainable; that is why you are here. And now for the first time we are bringing to you the full story of what happened on that faithful day. We are giving you all the evidence, based only on the secret testimonies of the miserable souls who survived this terrifying ordeal.

"The incidents, the places, my friends, we can not keep this a secret any longer; let us punish the guilty, let us reward the innocent. My friends, can your heart stand the shocking facts about the grave robbers from outer space?”

The Film: Arsenic And Old Lace (1944)

The Line: “This is a Hallowe'en tale of Brooklyn, where anything can happen - - and it usually does. At 3 P.M. on this particular day, this was happening…”

The Film:
Citizen Kane (1941)

The Line: “Rosebud…”


Next: Dead Man's Shoes, To Kill A Mockingbird & American Beauty


The Film: Dead Man’s Shoes (2004)

The Line: “God will forgive them. He'll forgive them and allow them into Heaven. I can't live with that.”

The Film: To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)

The Line: “Maycomb was a tired old town, even in 1932 when I first knew it. Somehow, it was hotter then. Men's stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning.

"Ladies bathed before noon after their three o'clock naps. And by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frosting from sweating and sweet talcum. The day was twenty-four hours long, but it seemed longer...”

The Film: American Beauty (1999)

The Line: “My name is Lester Burnham. This is my neighbourhood; this is my street; this is my life. I am 42 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.”


Next: Patton, The Godfather & Spider-Man


The Film: Patton (1970)

The Line: "...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."

The Film: The Godfather (1972)

The Line: “I believe in America.”

The Film: Spider-Man (2002)

The Line: "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..."


Next: Apocalypse Now, Escape From New York & Full Metal Jacket


The Film: Apocalypse Now (1979)

The Line: “Saigon. S**t! I'm still only in Saigon. Every time I think I'm gonna wake up back in the jungle...”

The Film: Escape From New York (1981)

The Line: "In 1988, the crime rate in the United States rises four hundred percent. The once-great city of New York becomes the one maximum-security prison for the entire country.

“A fifty-foot containment wall is erected along the New Jersey shoreline, across the Harlem River, and down along the Brooklyn shoreline. It completely surrounds Manhattan Island. All bridges and waterways are mined. The United States Police Force, like an army, is encamped around the island.

“There are no guards inside the prison. Only prisoners and the worlds they have made. The rules are simple. Once you go in, you don't come out."

The Film: Full Metal Jacket (1987)

The Line: “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?”


Next: LA Confidential, Conan The Barbarian & Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas


The Film: LA Confidential (1997)

The Line: “'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.”

The Film: Conan The Barbarian (1982)

The Line: "Between the time when the oceans drank Atlantis, and the rise of the sons of Aryas, there was an age undreamed of.

“And unto this, Conan, destined to wear the jewelled crown of Aquilonia upon a troubled brow. It is I, his chronicler, who alone can tell thee of his saga. Let me tell you of the days of high adventure!"

The Film: Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas (1998)

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


Next: The Jerk, The Big Lebowski & The Departed


The Film:  The Jerk (1979)

The Line: “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.”

The Film: The Big Lebowski (1998)

The Line: ”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’”

The Film: The Departed (2006)

The Line: “I don't want to be a product of my environment. I want my environment to be a product of me. Years ago we had the church. That was only a way of saying - we had each other.

“The Knights of Columbus were real head-breakers; true guineas. They took over their piece of the city. Twenty years after an Irishman couldn't get a f***ing job, we had the presidency.

“May he rest in peace. That's what the n*****s don't realize. If I got one thing against the black chappies, it's this - no one gives it to you. You have to take it.”


Next: Four Weddings And A Funeral, Fight Club & Mallrats


The Film: Four Weddings And A Funeral (1994)

The Line: “Oh, f**k! F**k!”

The Film: Fight Cub (1999)

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

The Film: Mallrats (1995)

The Line: “One time my cousin Walter got this cat stuck up his ass. True story. He bought it at our local mall, so the whole fiasco wound up on the news.

“It was embarrassing for my relatives and all, but next week, he did it again. Different cat, same results, complete with another trip to the emergency room.

“So, I run into him a week later in the mall and he's buying another cat. And I says to him,  ‘Jesus, Walt! What are you doing? You know you're just gonna get this cat stuck up your ass too. Why don't you knock it off?’

“And he said to me, ‘Brodie, how the hell else am I supposed to get the gerbil out?’ My cousin was a weird guy.

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