Entrances of All-Time
|Movie Title/Year and Film Character with Scene Description|
During the opening credits sequence, boxer Jake La Motta (Robert De Niro), with his face hidden in the monk-like hood of his leopard-skin robe, warmed up alone in the ring by shadow-boxing into the smoky air.
He gracefully danced or jogged up and down - in slow-motion in the dreamy sequence - to the melancholy, haunting soundtrack of the "Intermezzo" from Cavalleria Rusticana (an opera by Pietro Mascagni).
The next scene was set in New York City, in 1964, twenty-three years later. In stark contrast, La Motta was now a paunchy stand-up comedian at the Barbizon Plaza Theatre, where a sign advertised his appearance. Alone in his dressing room, he was rehearsing for his nightclub appearance reciting bits of Shakespearean tragedy, wearing a tuxedo and open shirt. His fantasy of disrobing in the ring presented the film's recurrent theme of sexual anxiety, fear, and confusion:
The rest of the film was a flashback - a look back at the middle-aged man's life to try to understand why he was reciting lines in his dressing room.
Clash of the Titans (1981)
Director Desmond Davis' mythological adventure-fantasy Clash of the Titans, about the Greek myth of Perseus, was the last feature film from legendary stop-motion animator Ray Harryhausen. The real star of the film was its special effects, including such creatures as Medusa and the Kraken.
Demigod Perseus (Harry Hamlin), the favored son of Zeus (Laurence Olivier), won the hand of the Princess Andromeda (Judi Bowker) in marriage. However, Calibos (Neil McCarthy), the Princess' former love and his mother, the Sea Goddess Thetis (Maggie Smith), vengefully threatened to sacrifice Andromeda as a virgin offering to the Kraken, a huge, legendary Scandinavian sea monster (a giant squid or octopus?).
In order to save the Princess, Perseus went on a quest to vanquish the Kraken. The only way to defeat the Kraken was by using the head of another monster - the snake-haired Medusa, the Gorgon. On the Isle of the Dead, Medusa was a dangerous creature with blood-poisoned arrows and living snakes for hair - her gaze would turn any living creature to stone, including the Kraken. In the battle against Medusa, Perseus (who was covering his eyes with his shield, and looking away) lost some of his men, although he was able to decapitate Medusa with his sword and carry away her severed head.
During his long journey to save his love, Andromeda was about to be sacrificed to the Kraken back in Joppa, by being chained to rocks by the seashore. Just in time to free Andromeda, Perseus used Medusa's head and deadly gaze to turn the Kraken into a stone statue. After the Kraken crumbled to pieces from the heavy weight of its own body, Perseus threw Medusa's head into the sea and rescued Andromeda.
The Battle Against Medusa and Its Beheading
Escape From New York (1981)
S.D. "Snake" Plissken
The opening of the film, set in 1997, described the crime rate rising 400% in the US in 1988, and told how Manhattan Island had become a maximum-security prison. A 50-foot containment wall had been built to completely surround the island. The narrator described: "There are no guards inside the prison: only prisoners and the worlds they have made." The rules of the Manhattan Island Maximum Security Prison on the island were succinct: "Once you go in, you don't come out." A prison escape attempt ended with the deadly explosion of a small boat with two paddlers on it.
A bus arrived at the prison. Bearded, one eye-patched, dangerous ex-commando war hero "Snake" Plissken (Kurt Russell), convicted of a Federal Depository bank robbery and now a new prison inmate, was led by guards to the entrance of the prison where he descended stairs. He seemed unimpressed by the security. He was escorted down a narrow corridor by the armed guards, following an orange line drawn on the floor.
He was soon to be granted time, by chief police commissioner and prison head Hauk (Lee Van Cleef), to complete a deadly 24-hour mission to rescue the President inside New York's Manhattan, in exchange for a presidential pardon. A small jet ("Air Force One") carrying the President had been hijacked by rebels of the "national liberation front" and as the jet crashed, the President had made it to an escape pod and landed in Manhattan itself, but was being held hostage.
The Paramount logo dissolved into an actual mountain peak. It was 1936 in a South American rainforest jungle, with high jutting canyon walls shrouded by thick mists.
An expedition was being led by an American, Dr. Indiana "Indy" Jones (Harrison Ford), first seen faceless and only in silhouette while guiding the group. Teasingly viewed from the back, he sported his signature short, brown leather flight jacket, a brimmed felt fedora, and a bullwhip firmly held in his hand.
His face was memorably revealed after Spanish Peruvian Barranca (Vic Tablian) reached for his gun and cocked it when a treasure map was found. Jones responded reflexively with lightning speed by accurately and gracefully uncoiling his bullwhip and wrapping it around Barranca's hand. His reaction sent the gun into the river where it discharged harmlessly. Barranca fled into the forest.
Then, Jones was fully revealed - he stepped from darkness (in silhouette) into the light.
Time Bandits (1981)
This had to be one of the strangest, most unexpected entrances in film history.
Young Kevin (Craig Warnock) and his dwarf friends had just deposed of an ogre (Peter Vaughan) and his wife (Katherine Helmond) by knocking them overboard into the sea.
Not long after, the ship shuddered, and suddenly, it began to lift out of the water, revealing that it was a hat (!) worn by a giant (Ian Muir)!
The giant came ashore, raising the ship/hat and its occupants hundreds of feet into the air, and in a typically Monty Python-esque gruesome joke, the giant stepped on an unaware, bickering couple (resembling anthropomorphic elephants) in a shack along the beach.
Kevin and his friends were finally able to have the giant put them down after injecting a sleeping potion into his head.
Blade runner cop Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) first met the breathtakingly beautiful, cool assistant/secretary of Eldon Tyrell (Joe Turkel) named Rachael (Sean Young) in his spacious office, bathed in a yellowish-hue, a soft, golden, sunset-time glow and dominated by a gigantic bay window overlooking the city.
She appeared like a heroine from a 40s film noir - a Mildred Pierce (1945), Joan Crawford-like heroine with dark eyebrows, soulful eyes, red lips, smooth clear skin, and hair tied rigidly back.
After first asking him what he thought of the corporation's expensive artificial owl ("Do you like our owl?"), she questioned his dim view of Tyrell's work in creating replicants, and he told her: "Replicants are like any other machine. They're either a benefit or a hazard. If they're a benefit, it's not my problem."
She probingly asked Deckard a "personal question": "Have you ever retired a human by mistake?" Deckard emphatically replied: "No", to which she responded: "But in your position, that is a risk?"
Tyrell later told Deckard when she left, after Deckard had tested her (positively) for being a replicant, that she had been implanted with memories:
Struggling, desperate, argumentative, unemployed, and difficult-to-work-with actor Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman) decided to challenge his weary and harried agent/friend George Field's (Sydney Pollack) repeated insistence and painful reminders to Michael:
After Michael muttered: "Oh, yeah," the scene in George's office cut to a crowded New York City street, as Michael's cross-dressed female persona "Dorothy Michaels" slowly emerged from the pedestrian crowd in a telephoto shot.
He/she was wearing an auburn wig, oversized glasses and a frumpy high-necklined dress - and would soon (successfully) audition for a role as a feisty hospital administrator on the daytime soap-opera Southwest General.
Most memorable was the entrance scene of Cuban refugee turned coke addict Tony "Scarface" Montana's (Al Pacino) sexy but callous cokehead future wife Elvira Hancock (Michelle Pfeiffer). His boss, drug kingpin Frank Lopez (Robert Loggia), had desultory remarks to make about her before she appeared:
She wore a tight backless, teal-colored dress as she descended in an elevator, and slinked over to the group of gangsters. When Frank asked about her whereabouts because he was starving and wanted to go to dinner, she sassed back: "You're always hungry. You should try starving." She was introduced to Tony Montana, who had been eyeing her the entire time.
When Frank mentioned that he wanted to go to the Babylon Club again for dinner, she noted: "You know, Frank, if anyone wanted to assassinate you... you wouldn't be too hard to find...You never know, do you? Maybe the catcher on your Little League team."
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
The first adult appearance of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Tom Hulce) came during a flashback - with an immense build-up of anticipation to see what he was like. The entrance came as a shock to a younger Antonio Salieri (F. Murray Abraham), who had experienced a life-long obsession and rivalry with the young, revered talented musician.
Salieri had snuck into a dining room to sample delectable food just before a performance of Mozart's music at the Archbishop's palace. There, he was interrupted by the arrival of Mozart himself - seen only from the knees down -- the point of view of Constanze (Elizabeth Berridge) who was hiding under the table. The amorous, giggling childish musical prodigy grabbed her and dragged her under the table with him.
Salieri voyeuristically watched the boisterous couple while hiding. He listened as Mozart playfully spoke with her:
Then, he seriously proposed marriage to her ("Em-yrram!"), but when she refused, he replied that he loved her ("Uoy-evol-I-tub"). When he then told her to eat his shit ("Tihs-ym-tae") while kissing her bounteous cleavage, she called him a "filthy fiend." It was unnerving for Salieri to hear the supposedly 'dignified' and virtuous musician drunkenly using lewd scatological humor while chasing after Constanze.
Suddenly, Mozart's Serenade for Thirteen Wind Instruments was heard, and to Salieri's amazement, the young famed composer rose and frantically said: "My music! They've started without me!" He dashed back to orchestrate the chamber music during the performance, with both Constanze and Salieri following shortly thereafter.
Reflecting back, the older Salieri was noticeably offended by the lowly, boorish behavior of the genius musician. He expressed his disgust:
Paris, Texas (1984, US/Fr./W.Germ.)
Travis Clay Henderson
The music of Ry Cooder accompanied the quest by dazed wanderer Travis Clay Henderson (Harry Dean Stanton) for his estranged wife Jane (Nastassja Kinski).
The film began with his stumbling through and out of the arid Texas desert during the opening credits.
The Terminator model T-101 (or Model T-800)
An indestructible cyborg Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) was sent back from the future (a devastated, post-apocalyptic 2029 Los Angeles) to present-day 1984. His mission was to eliminate Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), the mother of future unborn son John Connor, a resistance leader of the future.
The powerfully-muscular Terminator materialized after lightning or electrical flashes in the night, naked (crouched and head down) in the bluish night-light of the city near a yellow garbage truck. [The scene was filmed at the Griffith Park Observatory, Griffith Park, in Los Angeles.]
The Terminator slowly stood up and scanned the surroundings and then walked over to an overlook to view the lights of the city.
He accosted three punks with switchblades and demanded their clothes, and killed two of them before getting his demands met.
A second series of electrical flashes in a downtown alleyway signaled the teleported entrance of another naked individual, dumped onto the concrete. His mission was to rescue and protect future resistance leader John Connor's mother Sarah Connor - and father the child.
He stole a pair of pants from a homeless bum, and ran off when the police approached.
He was further pursued into a clothing store where he obtained more items of clothing before eluding them.
The Woman in Red (1984)
Co-writer/director/star Gene Wilder's romantic comedy (sex farce) was a Hollywood remake, adapted from the French film Pardon Mon Affaire (1976) by director Yves Robert. The sex farce was one of the earliest PG-13 rated films by the MPAA, due to the brief ful nudity of star Kelly Le Brock in a bedroom scene with Gene Wilder.
In the film's signature sequence (a variation of Marilyn Monroe's iconic NY subway grating scene in The Seven Year Itch (1955)), happily-married San Francisco ad agency executive Teddy Pierce (Gene Wilder) spotted a beautiful, long-legged, red-dressed model named Charlotte (real-life super-model Kelly Le Brock in her screen debut). He was spying on her in an underground parking garage, when she accidentally walked over a large air vent. The updraft caused her dress to fly into the air, exposing her red panties.
Although she was surprised and embarrassed by a sudden gust of wind and pushed down her dress as she went on her way (she was oblivious to Teddy's gaze), she quickly turned and got back atop the vent to do a sexy impromptu dance (to the sounds of Stevie Wonder singing the title theme song), as Teddy watched wide-eyed. Afterwards, he chased after her and met her in the elevator, now fully obsessed and infatuated by her and thereby jeopardizing his marriage to Didi (Judith Ivey).
Weird Science (1985)
Unpopular teenaged nerds Gary Wallace (Anthony Michael Hall) and Wyatt Donnelly (Ilan Mitchell-Smith), out of pure hormonal/sexual frustration, decide to use Wyatt's computer to create a "perfect" woman after watching a colorized print of The Bride of Frankenstein (1935).
At one point, Wyatt initially gives their creation mammoth breasts, to which Gary remarked: "Anything bigger than a handful, you're risking a sprained tongue."
Connected by a phone modem, they started feeding the computer cut-out magazine images of supermodels, Penthouse Magazine cutouts, Albert Einstein, and art/music skills while wearing brassieres on their heads ("It's ceremonial," explained Gary) while they connected electrodes to a plastic Barbie-doll figure. The computer started to act on its own while connecting into a government mainframe as it assembled the data - and an electrical storm activated the doll.
Suddenly after lots of explosions and wind, everything stopped and the door to Wyatt's room began to bulge inward, before finally exploding. Out of the red-lit, foggy hallway entered a sexy, leggy red-headed woman (supermodel Kelly LeBrock), wearing nothing but micro-panties and a small white muscle-shirt top. The camera panned up her body, from her feet to her head.
She stood in the doorway, as Dr. Frankenstein shouted from their television: "She's alive! Alive!" Their creation cooed with a mischievious twinkle in her eyes:
In the subsequent scene, the two wide-eyed boys ogled her as they shared a shower with her, as the camera panned up and down her naked body and she commented:
(chronological, by film title)
Introduction | 1920s-1935 | 1936-1939 | 1940-1945 | 1946-1949 | 1950-1955 | 1956-1959 | 1960-1965 | 1966-1969
1970-1975 | 1976-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1989 | 1990-1995 | 1996-1999 | 2000-2005 | 2006-Present