The screenplay of a film is a major component. It's one of the primary tools by which the story may be developed, or the characters' emotions may be conveyed.
One of the most crucial parts of dialogue is the movie's opening sentence. If done correctly, it can be an unforgettable hook that grabs the attention immediately and keeps the narrative fresh long after it's ended. Many films throughout history, like GoodFellasand Gone Girl, have excellent opening lines that are still talked about years after their release.
"What came first, the music, or the misery," says 'High Fidelity' (2000).
High Fidelity is a dramedy about the owner of a record store who tells the story of his five most significant breakups. John Cusack (who also contributed to the screenplay, so we owe this wonderful opening line partly to him).
The fourth wall-breaking opening monologue from the protagonist is a thought-provoking one and a good indication of what's to follow throughout the remainder of the film. The dialogue encourages us to think about the underutilized emotional impact of music and its relation to the misery of those who listen to it.
"When I think of my wife, I always think of her head."I imagine cracking her lovely skull, dissecting her brains, and attempting to answer questions.
Gone Girl, a terrifying thriller by David Fincher, follows a man who becomes a suspect in the murder of his wife, being caught up in a media circus, and the plot takes unexpected turns around him.
Ben Affleck's opening narration is quiet yet urgent, establishing the film's haunting tone alongside Rosamund Pike's wonderful acting, which has earned her an Oscar nomination.
'The Basketball Diaries' (1995): "I attempted to make friends with God by inviting Him to my house to watch the World Series when I was eight or so."
The Basketball Diaries follows real-life figure Jim Carroll as he and his friends plunge into the hellish world of drugs and crime.
The film establishes a melodramatic and hopeless tone of despair from very early on (the opening line), to be precise. It's especially relevant considering that Carroll spent most of his life studying in Catholic high schools.
"Now, I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country."He won by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.
Patton is the story of the man who was known as "America's Fightengest General," who has won seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and paints a portrait of him in his most frenetic ways.
The opening sentence in the film establishes the protagonist as a rational, honest, and no-nonsense individual. Higher-ups dismissed Coppola because they thought it was a stupid way to begin the film. However, history proved them wrong.
"The world is transformed.I sense it in the water.I feel it in the earth."I smell it in the air."The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" (2001)
Many people consider Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy to be one of the greatest film trios ever created, for good reason. The first installment in the series, The Fellowship of the Ring, tells the story of Frodo and his friends' journey to destroy the One Ring and defeat the evil Sauron.
The entire opening sequence of the film is one of the finest film opening sequences ever, and the opening line lives up to that. Keeping with J.R.R. Tolkien's descriptive and poetic nature, it's a beautiful tribute to source material that perfectly establishes the epic journey to follow.
"There are over 550 million firearms in worldwide circulation," according to 'Lord of War."The only question is: how do we arm the other 11?
Nicolas Cage plays a Russian arms dealer who struggles to conduct business while avoiding an Interpol agent and countless business competitors.
Lord of War isn't a perfect film, but its opening sentence and subsequent title sequence are fantastic. These first few words at the start of the film tell a story by themselves, and they perfectly establish the narrative's themes and the protagonist's lack of morals.
"The first time I saw a dead human being," said 'Stand By Me' (1986).
Rob Reiner's Stand by Me is a coming-of-age story about four Oregon kids who set out on a journey to see a recently murdered stranger's body.
The film establishes the dark sense of wonder that will follow the main character's journey from its first line of dialogue. It touches on the story's themes of childhood innocence and fortifies the picture's humanistic tone.
"As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster," says 'GoodFellas.'
GoodFellas, a film by Martin Scorsese that chronicles Henry Hill's incredible journey through the mafia, is the filmmaker's most popular crime film, bringing Ray Liotta's most famous performance.
Although it isn't technically the first thing to be said in GoodFellas, it is what sets the story off; no list of film history would be complete without it. It's a hell of a hook, and the follow-up video only cements the film's reputation as one of the most enjoyable and effective.
I believe in America, according to 'The Godfather' (1972).America has made my fortune.'
The 1972 masterpiece by Francis Ford Coppola is one that needs no introduction. Everyone who has ever heard of film knows the tale of an aging patriarch who gives his youngest son the leadership of a crime family.
The Godfather's subdued, subdued opening scene isn't only one of the greatest opening scenes ever, but also one of the finest in general. The fact that it opens with a morally corrupt man speaking about the beauty of the American dream flawlessly establishes the film's tone and critique of contemporary American society.
'Citizen Kane' (1941): "Rosebud..."
Citizen Kane, Orson Welles' magnum opus about a journalist examining the meaning of an iconic editorial industry magnate, is so mysterious that it is exactly what the film's entire narrative revolves around.
As a journalist (Joseph Cotten) tries to grasp its meaning, so will each viewer wonder what it might mean. And by the time the film comes to an end, the line and when it's uttered will be so rich and profound that it'll be difficult for anyone to deduct it from the finest opening dialogue of any film ever.