They say you should ‘never judge a book by its cover’ but when you start watching a movie and immediately a great opening line hits you, you know that you’re likely in for a good couple of hours.

An opening line can be a powerful thing, we take a look at some of the most iconic opening lines from movies.

Stand By Me

“I was 12 going on 13 the first time I saw a dead human being”.

So began the 1986 coming of age drama, Stand By Me. The film, which saw a writer retelling the story of a time that he and his childhood friends found the body of a missing boy, starred Will Wheaton and ill-fated River Phoenix.

river phoenix stand by meRiver Phoenix was just 23 when he died from a drug overdose

Gone With The Wind

“What do we care if we were expelled from college, Scarlett. The war is gonna start any day now, so it won’t affect college anyhow.”

The 1939 movie adaption of Margaret Mitchell’s Pulitzer prize winning novel starred Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara and is a 4 hour epic. Rhett Butler’s closing line has become one of the most famous movie lines, full stop. Just as Rhett finally decides to leave Scarlett, he turns to her and says: “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn”. And who can blame him?

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

“We were somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.”

Johnny Depp starred in the movie adaption of Hunter S. Thompson’s cult novel, what ensues after this opening line is anybody’s guess. Acid addled mayhem is probably the best way to describe it. And lizards.

American Beauty

“My name is Lester Burnham. This is my neigbourhood; this is my street; this is my life. I am 42 years old; in less than a year I will be dead. Of course, I don’t know that yet, and in a way, I am dead already”.

We may spend the majority of American Beauty waiting to see how Lester Burnham is going to die, but more importantly we watch him learn how to live in the process.


“Mmm. I look good. I mean, really good. Hey, everyone! Come and see how good I look!”

Ron Burgundy. Enough said.

Bridget Jones’s Diary

“It all began on New Year’s Day, in my thirty-second year of being single. Once again, I found myself on my own...and going to my mother’s annual turkey curry buffet”.

It was hard for us to put this one in here. While we love Bridget, we’re still mourning the news that Mark Darcey had died in the latest Bridget Jones book. Long live Bridget and Mark!

renee zellweger bridget jonesRenee Zellweger played Bridget Jones in the movies

Love Actually

“Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrival’s gate at Heathrow Airport”. This quote may start one of the best lovey-dovey chick flicks of all time, but it’s also just a great little mantra to remember for every day life.


“As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster”. This line is so good it’s even been sampled in a bunch of songs. No one plays a gangster quite like Ray Liotta.

Apocalypse Now

“Saigon. S***! I’m still only in Saigon. Every time I think I’m gonna wake up back in the jungle”.

Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 movie Apocalypse Now is based on Joseph Conrad’s novel Heart of Darkness and sees Marlon Brando in one of his career defining roles. The director had apparently considered firing Brando because he hadn’t learned his lines properly, fortunately he didn’t.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

“The key to faking out the parents is the clammy hands. It’s a good non-specific symptoms; I’m a big believer in it”.

If Carlsberg made days off school! Ferris Bueller certainly doesn’t laze around the sofa watching reruns of Supermarket Sweep.