Forget the Film, Watch the Titles
June 24, 2007 3:16 PM   Subscribe

Forget the film, watch the titles is a collection of high quality streaming video versions of graphically well-designed title sequences from a number of movies, both famous & less well known, with the only prerequisite being amazing design. My favorite from the collection is this one, which is very similar to my favorite title sequence ever. For rabid Title Sequence enthusiasts with 20 minutes to spare, these YouTube clips contained edits of the top 25 best title sequences ever, (as chosen by the guy who put the clips together).
posted by jonson (45 comments total) 50 users marked this as a favorite
Very interesting. Catch me if You Can is my favorite as well. I thought about the title sequence throughout the movie, and whenever I talked to anyone about the movie, I would mention the cool opening. I think that the Simpsons did a takeoff on it as well.
posted by horsemuth at 3:26 PM on June 24, 2007

This is really cool, thanks for the link. I'm also a huge fan of the title sequence to Monster's Inc.
posted by hopeless romantique at 3:34 PM on June 24, 2007

Simpsons version
posted by horsemuth at 3:46 PM on June 24, 2007 [1 favorite]

WOW. Good stuff. I had never seen the titles for "Catch Me If You Can" -- if I had, then it is entirely possible that I would have enjoyed the movie more than I did.

And it's great to see "The Good, Bad, Ugly" as the homepage clip on the main link. BEST. SCORE. EVER.

posted by davidmsc at 3:55 PM on June 24, 2007

Charade. One of my favorites.

Any help with how to link? My search proved to be fruitless.
posted by zerobyproxy at 4:09 PM on June 24, 2007

Panic Room had excellent opening titles.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 4:15 PM on June 24, 2007

I have a rule which I find pretty consistent: animated credits equals shitass movie. I'd say it's accurate about 98% of the time. I never made it thru Kiss Kiss Bang Bang for instance.

On preview, I also quite like the Panic Room credits.
posted by dobbs at 4:16 PM on June 24, 2007

dobbs, this was certainly not true of Catch Me if you Can, which was a great movie, despite its awesome title sequence.
posted by localroger at 4:21 PM on June 24, 2007

WTF? Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is an excellent movie! I heart the opening credits as well. I thought they were stylishly done.
posted by m0nm0n at 4:21 PM on June 24, 2007

Awesome! I was glad to see Pi and Alien. 2 of my faves.
posted by The Deej at 4:25 PM on June 24, 2007

Here's one of my favorites - The Man With the Golden Arm. Superb music too.
posted by QuietDesperation at 4:27 PM on June 24, 2007

these YouTube clips contained edits of the top 25 best title sequences ever, (as chosen by the guy who put the clips together)

"The guy" is an idiot for putting North by Northwest at 24. That's one of the most beautiful opening sequences in movie history, and a source of inspiration for more than a few movies (including ones linked here). And how can you possibly leave out Orson Welles' Touch of Evil? The 5 minute single tracking shot is one of the best bits of camera work since Hitchcock's The Rope.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:33 PM on June 24, 2007

One of the best title sequences ever was the film version of Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. Worth buying the entire DVD.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was awesome, too.
posted by tkchrist at 4:36 PM on June 24, 2007

good stuff but the adobe after effects stuff on all the modern films feels really cold and impersonal. i like all the older stuff shot on an animation stand.
posted by cazoo at 4:43 PM on June 24, 2007

Dobbs: "I have a rule which I find pretty consistent: animated credits equals shitass movie."

I remember enjoying One Crazy Summer's credits, which were animated, and then I recall enjoying the movie. However, admittedly it's been at least 15 or 20 years since I've seen it. Not sure if time has been kind.

The lead character was an aspiring cartoonist, so having the credits animated made perfect sense. That may be what makes it the exception to the rule.
posted by ZachsMind at 4:46 PM on June 24, 2007

Oh. Punch Drunk Love had great titles.
posted by tkchrist at 4:52 PM on June 24, 2007

My vote: a title sequence that completely floored me: Mo' Better Blues. (It's a link to the film synopsis--if anyone can link to the title sequence I'd be indebted.)
posted by Turtles all the way down at 5:02 PM on June 24, 2007

Run Lola Run had a cool title sequence.
posted by octothorpe at 5:12 PM on June 24, 2007

The best title sequence I've ever seen is from a film called "Sebastian", which as an absurd but fun James-bond-like film made in 1968. It's about a guy who is a secret-code cracker for the British government. The credits are a long animation of all the actors names being decoded in interesting ways.

As-far-as I can tell, it's not available on DVD or VHS. Does anyone know if it's available ANYTHERE?
posted by grumblebee at 6:01 PM on June 24, 2007

I've always thought the title sequence of "Catch Me" was a homage to Saul Bass.
posted by sexymofo at 6:11 PM on June 24, 2007 [1 favorite]

Thanks for this post. It made my weekend.
posted by Tbola at 6:20 PM on June 24, 2007

Ditto here on the A Series of Unfortunate Events film credits - and the coolest part, is the best of 'em are at the end of the film. Se7en seemed pretty brilliant at the time, though it largely borrows from the work of experimental filmmakers like Stan Brakhage...(combine equal parts The Act of Seeing with One's Own Eyes and Mothlight, blend.)
posted by bobloblaw at 6:23 PM on June 24, 2007

I'm not sure where it would it would fit, but there has to be a place for the opening titles of "Dr. Strangelove" somewhere. KC135s and B52s engaging in a suggestive refueling operation to strains of "Try A Little Tenderness" acompanied by Pablo Ferro's wonderfully idiosyncratic typography. Not as flashy as most cited in the FPP, but smart and funny. An all time classic from maybe the best movie ever.
posted by hwestiii at 7:09 PM on June 24, 2007

I remember touring the Academy of Art (in San Francisco)'s video production building. I peeked into a class in session and the students were analyzing the excellent opening credits to seven. I'll check out Stan Brakhage on bobloblaw's endorsement.
posted by churl at 7:44 PM on June 24, 2007

I liked the titles for the 2006 Casino Royale. A lot of people say it looks like a straight after effects plugin.
posted by autodidact at 7:54 PM on June 24, 2007

I really enjoyed the credits for Delicatessen. I always enjoyed the Pink Panther opening credits, and so of course Monsters Inc was fun to watch.

I've always payed a lot of attention to the opening credits. Thanks for pointing this site out.
posted by ashbury at 9:08 PM on June 24, 2007


zerobyproxy, to make a link in your comment:

1. highlight and copy url

2. in your comment box here, highlight word to be the link.

3. press blue word at lower right corner of comment box that says "link"

4. when pop-up box opens paste url and press "OK" (or Enter).

There it is.
posted by nickyskye at 9:18 PM on June 24, 2007

Excellent post and thread.

2001 A Space Odyssey. That sublime opening sequence felt life changing to watch the first time, tremendous excitement about being part of the beginning of this new age of technological innovation.

Not a film opening but the memorable Sopranos opening sequence. Edward Gorey animation for Mystery Theater.

Always thought the film title/credits deserved much more praise. Some movies it was the very best part. The Kiss Kiss Bang Bang one you linked is brilliant.

James Bond films always had spectacular title sequences. Awesome.

Opening for Yellow Submarine.

Some flicks have a phenomenal song connected with the opening sequence, Rent for example with Seasons of Love, To Sir With Love, the original Alfie, Good, Bad and the Ugly, Georgy Girl.
posted by nickyskye at 10:09 PM on June 24, 2007

Man, nicky I forgot all about that Edward Gorey opening titles to Mystery. I used to watch that every week when I was a little kid; I never stuck around to watch Mystery, which was too grown up for me, but I LOVED the opening credits! Thanks for the nostalgia. And yes, churl & ashbury, Delicatessen has AMAZING opening titles, and that's probably the one case where the thought & effort that went into the titles was exactly on par with the thought & effort (& talent) that went into making the movie. What a great film Delicatessen was!
posted by jonson at 10:33 PM on June 24, 2007

Those responsible for my favorite titles have been sacked.
posted by kyleg at 10:44 PM on June 24, 2007

Funny. In just the last couple of days, the Wife and I have been through tons of movies in our collection trying to come up ith the best title sequence. The obvious choice goes to Seven, If for no other reason, they gave away so much in those credits. If you were really on the ball, you would have caught many of the secrets of the movie, before the film even started. That was kinda awesome.

Next there is Fight Club. It's good, but it really doesn't win the high marks till it pulls out to the gun in the mouth moment. I liked it, but it still isn't my favorite.

No, my best is a really weird choice, Fight Club and Seven are both really solid movies, no one doubts their value. But when I say that Eurotrip had the best credits I can think of, people get all kinds of bitchy.

But really, watch them again and tell me that honest to god skill and talent didn't go into their creation.

It stands and the best credits I've seen.

And the song is damn catchy as well.
posted by quin at 10:51 PM on June 24, 2007

The opening credits of se7en certainly set the tone of that movie. I thought they were nicely done.
posted by maxwelton at 10:51 PM on June 24, 2007

Jesus, quin, now we must battle. I'll eat the quarter pounder, you have the couscous.
posted by maxwelton at 10:52 PM on June 24, 2007

Most recently, I was struck with the credits for Harry Potter and Prisoner of Azkaban. Couldn't find a link to the sequence, but the IMDb has some nice descriptions of some of the great things to notice.
posted by salishsea at 11:06 PM on June 24, 2007

Not to be blasphemous, but I love the new Dawn of the Dead opening. It's less about credits than imagery, but I still dig it.

To bring in videogames. the menuing and titling in Dirt is amazing.
posted by Lord_Pall at 11:10 PM on June 24, 2007

It's may just be that the Psycho music is so effective (and has been used ever since in association with scary stuff), but the Psycho credits, just names and shifting parallel lines and that music, made me nervous.
posted by pracowity at 2:13 AM on June 25, 2007

I'm the editor of Forget the Film, Watch the Titles and one of my personal favorites is the animated sequence for the French film Le Cactus, which is inspired by the Catch me if you Can opening sequence. Brilliant and original is this one Ex Drummer from an underground Belgian film. Can't believe nobody has mentioned these yet.
posted by SubmarineChannel at 4:10 AM on June 25, 2007 [1 favorite]

I attended a 3D/effects software users conference about ten years ago where I got to meet and drink with some gen-yew-wine Hollywood film people. One of them owned a studio which did nothing but credit sequences.

It blew my mind at time time to know that not only was the film industry specialized enough to support a company which did nothing but credit sequences for major movies, but that there was enough business to support a thriving credit-sequence business ecology.
posted by ardgedee at 7:16 AM on June 25, 2007

Great post. And SubmarineChannel, Le Cactus is stunningly gorgeous. Thanks for such a great site.
posted by mediareport at 9:07 AM on June 25, 2007

Eurotrip is pretty good movie really. For the genre. And yea those credits were imaginative.
posted by tkchrist at 10:31 AM on June 25, 2007

oooh, the opening for Le Cactus is marvelous! Nice one SubmarineChannel. Your site is great. Bravo! & Encore!

And welcome to MetaFilter! :)
posted by nickyskye at 12:26 PM on June 25, 2007

The zooming out from neurons in the brain of the protagonist to the macro situation as done in the title sequence of Fight Club.
Mentioned above is Lord of War which is a bit similar in the use of zooming through objects.

I find title sequences that use this kind of 'zooming through' mesmerising.

The title sequence of the series Dexter is similar in it's use of macro photography and high speed cameras.
posted by jouke at 1:29 PM on June 25, 2007

fandango_matt - you should click all the links in the post. The words "amazing design" link to a higher quality (well, higher than YouTube) version of the Thank You For Smoking credits.
posted by jonson at 3:08 PM on June 25, 2007

I just added 3 title sequences by Bruce Schluter of Pacific Title & Art Studio: Ricochet, xXx: State of the Union and the animated intro of the new mini-series The Starter Wife.
posted by SubmarineChannel at 3:49 AM on July 3, 2007

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