The Art of Movie Title Sequences … and My Top Ten Favorites

Hello all, this is my last post for at least a week as I’m flying to London tomorrow night (God willing the volcanic ash doesn’t wreak havoc on our travel plans!). However, look for two special guest posts next week so please check back later.

I promised on my Rocknrolla post last Friday that I’ll be posting my top ten favorite movie sequences. But before we get to that, let me share a few great websites on movie titles. One in particular, watchthetitles.com, with the fitting tagline ‘Forget the film, watch the titles‘, has a nice way of saying what a great movie title is all about:

The very best title sequences not only succeed in putting the audience in the right mood for the movie, they transcend their proper function and venture off into the realm of something far deeper and far greater. They are the signifiers of contemporary pop culture and an art form in their own right.

The pioneer in this business is a graphic designer by the name of Saul Bass (view his bio courtesy of DesignMuseum), who’s collaborated with famous movie directors the likes of Alfred Hitchcock, Otto Preminger and Martin Scorsese. His most famous work include the opening titles for Psycho, Vertigo, Spartacus, and in the 90s, he created the title design for four of Scorsese’s movies: Goodfellas, Cape Fear, The Age of Innocence and Casino.

Another cool resource for movie titles is artofthetitle.com, which features film and television title design from around the world. They also feature interviews with the designers themselves, such as Kyle Cooper, whose work I admire (a lot of them are in my top ten below). Oh and this site list their top ten James Bond opening sequences, I remember growing up watching those sexy opening montage with girls and guns, which are considered risqué where I came from that they actually censored the bare breast of the underwater dancing girl in For Your Eyes Only! As cool as those were back then, I’m sick of seeing those sexist visuals of girls dangling off of a gun, slithering/gyrating away, which is why the title sequence for Casino Royale is such a breath of fresh air!

I think movie titles, whether they appear at the beginning or the end of the movie, are part of the fun of watching movies, in a lot of cases, they’re better and far more entertaining than the movies themselves. With that said, I give you my top ten favorites (in random order):

1. Stranger than Fiction

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2. The Age of Innocence


3. Casino Royale

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4. 300



5. The Incredible Hulk

Courtesy of Artofthetitle.com

» View the video and read Kyle Cooper’s interview in artofthetitle.com

6. Up in the Air

Courtesy of Artofthetitle.com

» View the behind-the-scenes video on makingof.com site.

7. Sherlock Holmes



8. Thank You for Smoking
…v


9. Catch Me If You Can


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10. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang


So your turn, folks. Please share some of your favorite title sequences!