3. Dawn of the Dead (2004)
I can see the placement of this one as somewhat surprising to people – I just have a very personal connection with these credits. You see… I took a reluctant friend to see this film – one of those poor souls who just didn’t get Zombie films. This guy was especially stubborn in general too, as in he was not quick to like things. Anyway, it was in the intro scenes of this movie, followed by the beginning credits showcasing news footage of the growing Zombie apocalypse to the tune of Johnny Cash that made this guy finally get on board. Not just with this movie – but the entire genre. I know that people were sore about the whole fast zombie thing, I am one of those people… and it’s not even that this movie is amazing or anything – but if I needed to show someone really quickly why they should love the zombie genre, I would show them these credits.
2. Everything by Saul Bass
Saul Bass is freaking everywhere. You see him when looking at your oatmeal, drinking out of a paper cup, making a phone call… even sneezing you see him. Why? Because Saul Bass is responsible for some of the most recognizable company logos out there – logos that still exist today. You probably have also seen his work in the form of movie posters – such as his poster for The Shining. However the best work of this man has to be his beginning title sequences. Casino, Vertigo, North By Northwest, Goodfellas, Spartacus – the list is huge and impressive. But it’s not just his filmography that’s impressive – it’s that before Saul Bass, beginning credits were never considered to be anything dynamic, before him titles were static and boring. He was the father of awesome title sequences. Oh, and Psycho – I left out Psycho.
1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
It’s a little bit of a cheat to begin your movie with a shot of a sun/earth/moon alignment to the tune of Strauss’s Also sprach Zarathustra in that there really isn’t anything that beats it ever again; it is truly the most epic beginning title known to man. The film could be about a carpet salesman and it would still go down in history as being the most epic cinematic masterpiece if it had these credits before it. I understand that for a lot of people this movie is hard to sit through – but I have to confess right here and now that it happens to be my favorite film of all time. I can’t fully explain why that is as no doubt anyone can explain why a film is their favorite – I just think it’s beautiful. The pacing is painfully slow at times, but that’s part of its appeal to me – every move is thoughtful and precise and grows into this story that spans past the entire human existence and into the deep unknowns of space and life in general. It’s just so damn epic, something that this title sequence does wonders of representing in only a minute and a half.