Everyone knows the famous closing lines in movies. You know “Forget it, Jake It’s Chinatown.” You know “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship,” from “Casablanca.”
But what about opening lines? Our friends at Shortlist.com have done their research to pick out the top 50opening lines in movies. I must admit that I never paid much attention to opening lines. Now, I will.
I will watch “Patton” anytime they want to put it on my television. Do you remember the opening line? I didn’t. It is “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.” George C Scott is one of our greatest actors, even clowning in “Strangelove.”
I confess that I am a sucker for all things Denis Lehane, especially his book and movie “Gone, Baby Gone.” But I never remembered the opening line delivered by the miscast Casey Affleck. “I always believed it was the things you don’t choose that makes you who you are.” I like that.
“Blood Simple” shocked me out of my seat when I first saw it. Totally unique. No one ever knew what was happening, including me, most of the time. Detective M. Emmet Walsh gives us words to live by in the opening scene. “The world is full of complainers. And the fact is nothin’ comes with a guarantee.” Take that.
Woody Allen used to be superb. I don’t know many movies more enjoyable than “Manhattan.” I will give you a dollar if you can remember the opening line. I love it. It is “Chapter one. He adored New York City. He idealized it all out of proportion. Uh no. Make that he romanticized it all out of proportion. Better.” I like that.
I know you will figure out this one. “Saigon. (expletive) I’m still only in Saigon. Every time I think I’m gonna wake up back in the jungle.” That, of course is Martin Sheen in “Apocalypse now” one of my top ten movies. I will watch that any time I can even though it is always cut to pieces on television.
You must know this one. “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.” You must remember Matthew Broderick as Ferris Bueller. A classic. “Bueller? Bueller?”
I will bet you $2 you won’t know this one. “I believe in America. America has made my fortune.” That is Brando, opening “Godfather.” I have seen that movie 75 times and could not have picked the opening line.
I watched “Casino,” again last weekend for the 50th time, over the objections of Blue Eyes who (I can’t believe it) doesn’t like old movies. I didn’t remember the opening line which is “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?” Robert DeNiro is simply the best and he makes me want to kill Joe Pesci.
One movie that simply blew me away was “The Usual Suspects” because you never knew what was going on until the last second. But the opening line is “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world what he did not exist. And like that…he is gone.” The line was delivered by the masterful Kevin Spacey as Verbal Kint. Bet you didn’t remember that character’s name, now did you?
Last one will be easy. What movie is this from? “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 mouths will be sir.” All right, you knew that was “Full Metal Jacket.” But who was the actor? R. Lee Ermey. Look it up.
From now on, pay more attention to the opening lines of movies. That is an order. I know I will.