The best film titles ever made

In our August issue, Adam Lee Davies looks at the continuing rise of the film title sequence since its artistic resurgence in the 1990s. For CR Blog, Davies has selected 30 of the best title sequences ever made

From Stephen Frankfurt’s beautiful title sequence for To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

In our August issue, Adam Lee Davies looks at the continuing rise of the film title sequence since its artistic resurgence in the 1990s. In his article, Better Than the Film?, he talks to many of the genre’s leading practioners such as Kyle Cooper and Garson Yu. For CR Blog, Davies has selected 30 of the best title sequences ever made…

Show Boat (1936)

Quaint but effective opening for the 1936 incarnation of the am-dram staple

Dr. Strangelove (1964)

Pablo Ferro’s classic sequence for Kubrick’s cold war satire

  • The Pink Panther (1964)

    The only credit sequence to be afforded it’s own freaky-deaky Saturday morning cartoon series?

  • Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

    Stark, uncompromising and indelible

  • Soylent Green (1973)

    Weird and wonderful backstory to the excellent sci-fi chiller (embedding has been disabled on this clip; click the film title for YouTube link)

  • Dawn of the Dead (2004)

    Soylent Green’s jerky-cam offspring (embedding disabled)

  • Delicatessen (1991)

    Effortlessly French and utterly sumptuous (embedding disabled)

  • Goldeneye (1995)

    The first of Daniel Kleinman’s hugely evocative Bond sequences is all political instability and icy glamour

    Casino Royale (2006)

    His sequence for the recent 007 outing, with Chris Cornell giving it his all, is equally eye-popping, but looks like a very expensive car ad – much like the film

Casino (1995)

Saul Bass’s shimmering swansong

Seven (1995)

Kyle Cooper and Nine Inch Nails prepare you for the mental squalor of Fincher’s Bible-inflected thriller

The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996)

Shame about the film…

Run Lola Run (1998)

Breathless German indie-crossover hit favours hand-drawn spikiness

Panic Room (2002)

Ominous and stately, the opening of Fincher’s taught thriller recalls…

North by Northwest (1959)

…Saul Bass’s titles for ‘North By Northwest

 

Hulk (2003)

Clammy and clamorous, Garson Yu prepares us for the big green guy’s cellular meltdown

  • Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

    Pablo Ferro again, this time opening a window on dopey slacker/irony godhead, Napoleon Dynamite

  • Lord of War (2005)

    Andrew Niccol manages to usurp his own film with this jaw-dropping montage (embedding disabled)

  • Hostage (2005)

    Laurent Brett similarly outshines the middling Bruce Willis workout that followed his elegant opening sequence

OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies (2006)

Brett again, with a spot-on pastiche of swinging 50s spy malarkey

  • Down With Love (2003)

    The same approach, but applied to the Doris Day/Rock Hudson rom-com (embedding disabled)

Catch Me If You Can (2002)

…and the caper flick

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)

A touch of noir for Kiss Kiss Bang Bang from Danny Yount

Juno (2007)

Light as a summer breeze and aided no end by the lo-fi song

  • Mr Margorium’s Wonder Emporium (2007)

    Totally outshining the subsequent film in every way is the loopy intro to this woeful kiddie flick (embedding disabled)

  • The Forbidden Kingdom (2008)

    What Tarantino was trying to do with Kill Bill compressed into two fantastic minutes (embedding disabled)

Adam Lee Davies writes about film for Time Out London and Little White Lies