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some kick ass opening title sequences

This was one of the posts that I had written long time ago, saved it as a draft in a hurry and promptly forgot about it. Here it is, a short list from the thread I started in Compositors Club forum. You can find a truckload of amazing title sequences I have posted at Compositors Club.

*click on the names to watch them

Catch me if you Can
Nice animation and transitions with colors reminiscent of Rhapsody in Blue, very entertaining.

Guy Ritchie re-invented the smart-mouthing, attitude driven, funny gangster flicks for the late 90s and new millennium, so did this opening sequence featuring some tolerance-based frame cutouts (or whatever they are called), clever transitions and nice typography where you are introduced to all the characters and personalities. Clever indeed.

Identity *could not find it on YouTube or anywhere Sad
Kyle Cooper designed title sequence for killer psycho thriller starring John Cusack is slow and disturbing, just like the movie. Its easy to find parallels with the Se7en sequence in few places of the Identity sequence.

Island of Dr. Moreau
Another sequence by Kyle Cooper with amazing editing of imagery.

Pulp Fiction
I can talk for hours on this movie but the title sequence is another story, it was a homage to the exploitation movies of the 70s and featured the old track Misrlou that came to be known as Pulp Ficition theme song later!

Complex movie, Scorcesse's Casino opens with Robert DeNiro getting popped in the first scene and the title sequence takes off from there Rober DeNiro falling into hell from heaven. Poignant and elegant. Saul Bass' return to title sequence designing since the halcyon days with Otto Preminger and Alfred Hitchcock movies, at his best.

Fight Club
David Fincher had to receive separate funding for the complex "Fear Center" title sequence. In the DVD commentary, Fincher remarks that the studio told him "if the movie's good" they would allow him to do the very expensive introduction.
Matthew Butler at Digital Domain designed and directed this brilliant piece of title sequence which starts at the Fear Center of the brain and travels across the labyrinth of the brain and comes through the nose of main character (strangely we never know the name of the main character) and stops at the gun pushed in his mouth. Absolute masterpiece with a blistering soundtrack of Dust Brothers.

Reservoir Dogs
Quentin Tarantino's first movie as a director for this gangster drama features a stylish title sequence that many Bollywood movies have copied and ripped over and over again. Not convinced? Watch it for yourself.

Raging Bull
This could possibly be the most simple and brilliant piece of opening title sequence ever. The title starts super slo-mo with Robert DeNiro in the boxing ring with occasional camera flashes reminds of him in the ring with audience around him. Just black and white and brilliant imagery for a movie based on the life of Jake LaMotta.


I can never stop mentioning this one! I haven't said enough already. Smile
My first proper understanding of the serious movie titling started with Se7en opening title sequence by the now-legendary Kyle Cooper (who then was working with Imaginary Forces), for which he did not use any Computer Graphics but created by scratching with a pin the film surface of every single frame, then the title plate was added to the actual footage!

So the next time you see that grungy scratchy look on any reels, commercials or titles, you'll remember where it all started.

Later he went on to create opening sequences for many memorable opening sequences like Donnie Brasco, Spiderman 1 & 2, Hellboy, The Mask of Zorro, Identity, Darkness Falls, including ID designs for Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Silver Pictures and many more.

What makes Kyle Cooper unique is that his title sequence designs are like the narrative of the entire story, he has often been imitated by too many designers worldwide for so many movies. Did i mention that Kyle Cooper is some kind of God to me?

Panic Room
David Fincher once again uses 3d titles cleverly placed around, in front of buildings of Manhattan. For some it was a matchmoving marvel of a title sequence for me! Further the movie extensively uses a compositing technique called as Photogrammetry, in some ways this movie made it popular which was later used in Secret Window, Harry Potter, Peter Pan, Spiderman and other movies.

Dr. Strangelove: or How I Stopped Worrying and Loving the Bomb
Pablo Ferro designed this opening sequence for Stanley Kubrick's Dr.Strangelove, featuring phallic imagery of U2 bombers refueling in the air. Clever placement of text and creative use of typography.
* Also notice the typo there just below the title of the movie, it is "Base on the book" instead of "Based on the book". Kubrick pointed that out to Pablo after the movie was released but it was too late.


Contrary to the movie, the title sequence is a treat. Taking points off the 3d city and arranging them like Braille script before revealing the text and all that. Take a look if you haven't already. This movie serves the actual aim of this thread, "Forget the film, Watch the titles"


One more from the saddle of Imaginary Forces of Kyle Cooper days, still gives me the 'juice-bumps' every time I watch this.

Parting Shot:
Something for the road...

Movies With No Title
While many films omit any opening credits at all, such as The Godfather, Star Wars, and The Lord of the Rings, a couple of notable films have gone so far as to not even include a title at the start of the film. Films that do this usually come in two categories.

Insignia Films
Instead of showing the film's actual title written out, a symbol is shown at the start to imply the title in some way. The film's full title is usually then seen written out during the end credits.

Some examples are:
Ghostbusters II - instead of an actual title, the Ghostbusters cartoon logo appears where the title should be, holding up two fingers.
Batman Forever - the word Forever simply appears over the Batman logo.
Summer of Sam - "Summer of Sam" never appears at the beginning, but instead the words "Son of Sam" appears written with blocks.
Kill Bill: Vol. 2 - only the words "Vol. 2" appears at the beginning.
Shrek 2 - only the number "2" appears, in "Shrek style".
X-Men 2 - only "X2" appears.
Batman Begins - just after the company logos, a swarm of bats engulfs the screen and the new Batman logo can be seen faintly floating towards us.

Films Sans Titles
The movie never shows any title at all, creating the feeling that the entire film has been a cold opening.

Some examples of this:
Fantasia -- also the very first film to not have opening credits, originally premiered without even a title, except for a card appearing over the intermission. However, recent rereleased and video versions remove the intermission and place the title card at the start of the film.
Apocalypse Now - i love the smell of napalm in the morning...
The Mummy Returns - mommy...
Gangs of New York
The Passion of the Christ
Van Helsing
Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events - you get the entire title sequence in the end.
Miami Vice - frozen title cards, ring any bells?

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