What movie has the most impressive opening shot? Check out the latest Ask the Critic question and post your own

By Owen Gleiberman
Updated March 21, 2005 at 05:00 AM EST
Psycho (Movie - 1960)

What movie has the most impressive opening shot?

Opening shots can be like the first lines of a book and draw you in immediately. What’s your favorite opening shot? — Mark

It’s always a thrill when a film kicks off with one of those gliding, single-take marvels of look-Ma-no-dolly logistics. Orson Welles patented this sort of thing with the bravura three-minute-plus tracking shot that opens Touch of Evil, and directors have been paying homage to it ever since. Robert Altman, at the start of The Player, lays out his entire satirical vision of Hollywood without a cut, and you can catch a fever off of how psyched Paul Thomas Anderson is to be making Boogie Nights as you ride his camera into an L.A. nightclub. My all-time favorite opening shot, though, remains the one in Psycho: a God’s-eye view of 1960 Phoenix as a mid-afternoon purgatory, the camera already beginning its descent into motel hell.

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Psycho (Movie - 1960)

  • Movie
  • R
  • 109 minutes
  • Alfred Hitchcock