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August 9, 2022

The Best Opening Scenes In 80s Movies

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Rob Reiner’s The Princess Bride is a strange and enchanting gem of a film that draws audiences in from the opening scene. It begins with a poor kid (Fred Savage) playing video games in bed. His immersion in classic 1980s console action is interrupted by a visit from their grandfather (Peter Falk), who is their unwanted gift of a book. The book is an heirloom read aloud by countless generations of the family. The boy doesn’t necessarily want to have the book read to him, but the grandfather promises a story about “miracles, true love, giants, torture, revenge, chases, escapes”. The boy promises, perhaps symbolically on behalf of the audience, to “Try to stay awake” and off we go!

The opening scene of The Princess Bride works so well because it plants the seed in viewers’ minds that watching a movie, especially this movie, is no different than the transcendental magic of having a book read to you as a child. From the opening line, “Buttercup was raised on a small farm…” our imaginations are busy making crucial associations with warm memories of fairy tales past. It’s an unusual hook to open a film, but a hugely effective one. Once awakened, the desire to see what comes next is all-powerful.



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