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The beauty of some movies is that they can grab the viewer's attention instantly with a great title sequence. Here now are my top 10 in that illustrious category.
10. The James Bond films: Since the first Bond film, Dr. No (1962), opened with the now-classic gun barrel, audiences have come to know what to expect from watching Agent 007. The late, great Maurice Binder designed the sexy, eye-popping title sequences for nearly all of the series' first 16 entries.
9. The Pink Panther series: Peter Sellers understandably became a superstar as clumsy Inspector Clouseau, but the title character became equally famous thanks to the great title sequences introduced with the first Pink Panther (1964). Is it any wonder he got his own cartoon and a deal with Owens Corning? Henry Mancini's great music was the finishing touch.
8. Catch Me If You Can (2002): Steven Spielberg's wonderful, sexy comedy took a cue from the Panther films with its title sequence. John Williams's classy score is warmly reminiscent of Mancini's Panther music.
7. Superman (1978): The film which made a star of Christopher Reeve deservedly became the yardstick by which all superhero films have since been measured. This is for many reasons, including John Williams's wonderful, rousing score accompanying the title which tell us that a great epic adventure is about to unfold before us.
6. Star Wars (1977): All six films in the Star Wars saga begin with the opening crawl, which is reminiscent of the cliffhanger serials which were George Lucas's main inspiration in making the saga. The film which introduced us to the saga remains the most famous of all six openings.
5. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966): The third, and best, of the three westerns Clint Eastwood did with director Sergio Leone reflected its big budget with its elaborate title sequence.
4. Psycho (1960): The classic story of the Bates Motel became, arguably, Alfred Hitchcock's most famous film. The title sequence by Saul Bass is simple, but effective with the credits racing to Bernard Herrmann's nerve-wracking score.
3. Vertigo (1958): Hitchcock again. Whereas Psycho was nerve-jolting horror, Vertigo offered a hypnotic look into the mind of James Stewart's detective as he pursues Kim Novak's femme fatale. The title sequence, with its (naturally) great Bernard Herrmann music, reflects the hypnotic nature of the film.
2. The Black Hole (1979): The film itself proved disappointing, but the title sequence was great, thanks mainly to John Barry's great score.
1. The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967): Roman Polanski's vampire comedy gets right down to business thanks to its animated title sequence.