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What is the greatest book-to-movie adaptation of all time?

1

2001: A Space Odyssey

Nov 25, 2014
2001: A Space Odyssey

This book was originally a collaborative project worked on by both author Arthur C. Clark and director Stanley Kubrick, and it was always envisioned as a visual and aural presentation. However, Clark worked more on the final product, and Kubrick ended up not getting his name on the book jacket, but making it into a feature film instead. What is so fantastic about this pairing is that the book and the movie are such great compliments but also offer such different experiences. Clark is a scientist and a very realistic writer, and the book is full of evidence and explanations to back up what the monolith is, how the human technology works in this artificial “future,” and what the motivations are. The film has very little dialogue and leaves most of that up to imagination or interpretation; however, the visuals and music are so good that key scenes, like the shutting down of Hal’s memory or the apes finding the monolith, have been both parodied and revered throughout pop culture. The downside to this pairing is that some claim that all the esoteric imagery in the movie is hard to actually decipher if you haven’t read the book, and others who loved the film’s visuals are disappointed that Clark is not really a poetic or aesthetic writer; he strongly favors “hard” scientific writing to flowery imagery.

Book Release: 1962 | Film Release: 1971 | Author (book): Arthur C. Clark | Director (film): Stanley Kubrick | Stars (film): Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood

Genre: Science Fiction | Book Acclaim: Overall positive acclaim | Film Acclaim: Considered one of Kubrick's crowning achievements due to the strong score and visual elements | Major Differences: The movie has less scientific explanation and is more focused on imagery, and the book is heavy on scientific explanation like most of Clark's work.

2

A Clockwork Orange

Nov 25, 2014
A Clockwork Orange

This is another example of Kubrick doing an excellent job with a classic science fiction story. Anthony Burgess wrote A Clockwork Orange in 1962 about the rise in gang violence in England and was inspired by an incident when his wife was assaulted. The book started as a non-fiction behaviorist essay, and he turned it into a full novel quickly in order to make some needed cash. The result was his most highly acclaimed work, a story about a young man who commits atrocious and violent acts and is unable to be reformed by society. In 1971, Kubrick got the rights and turned the story into a movie. The resulting film is an odd mixture of violence and visually stunning scenes that paint a surreal image of a dystopian future where gangs run wild and people are vain and petty. Although the film achieved great success, Burgess regrets the movie being made, because he fears it makes it easier for viewers to misinterpret the message as glorifying violence. This film does a great job of bringing an awesome story to life, but loses some credibility since the author does not approve.

Book Release: 1962 | Film Release: 1971 | Author (book): Anthony Burgess | Director (film): Stanley Kubrick | Stars (film): Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee, Adrienne Corri, Miriam Karlin

Genre: Dystopian Crime, Science Fiction | Book Acclaim: Was hailed as controversial and banned | Film Acclaim: Widely hailed as a success | Major Differences: Burgess meant the book to warn against violence and gang activity, but the film seems to glorify it. In the film, Alex, the anti-hero, loves classical music, an element added to justify the classical score.

3

Gone With the Wind

Nov 25, 2014
Gone With the Wind

Margaret Mitchell’s classic novel Gone With the Wind, written in 1936, stunned readers with its poetic language and awesome story. The book is groundbreaking in that it is a coming of age war story about a woman, not a man, but was criticized for its positive portrayal of slavery and use of black stereotypes. However, many critics see it more as a morality tale that shows the folly of slavery and the plush southern lifestyle, rather than some racist glorification. The book was turned into a movie starring Vivien Leigh and Clark Gabel in 1936, with Victor Fleming as the director. The film was criticized by some as being “bloated” and overdramatic because of its length and content, but this is honestly one of the best cases of a movie staying almost entirely true to the book. The film is also filled with famous lines and scenes that defined modern cinema, such as Scarlett and Ret kissing with the burning city in the background, and Scarlett’s sassy lines of dialogue. The film has also been criticized by feminists for mixing romance and rape – there is a scene where Ret forces himself on an angry Scarlet, and the next morning she wakes up happy and fulfilled. Despite the mixed response to the subject matter, this remains one of the greatest books and movies of all time, and a great example of a strong book-to-movie adaptation.

Book Release: 1936 | Film Release: 1939 | Author (book): Margaret Mitchell | Director (film): Victor Fleming | Stars (film): Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Leslie Howard, Olivia de Havilland

Genre: Romance, Historical Fiction | Book Acclaim: Received the Pulitzer Prize for her work | Film Acclaim: positive reviews overall, although some called it "bloated" due to length and drama; criticized for glorifying slavery | Major Differences: Scarlett holds up the turnip and claims she will never go hungry again, Scarlet and Ret kissing while fleeing the burning city.

4

The Wizard of Oz

Nov 25, 2014
The Wizard of Oz

Beloved children’s book The Wizard of Oz, written in 1900 by L. Frank Baum, was an instant classic that captivated adults and kids alike with its surreal world and loveable characters. The book sold like crazy, was made into a musical, and then adapted from the musical into a feature film in 1939 by Victor Fleming. The film starred Judy Garland singing and acting as Dorothy, and had audiences completely enthralled. Since this was one of the first color films, audiences were totally blown away when the landscape changes from dull Kansas black and white to technicolor bliss in the land of Oz. The one downside here is that the book is too long to all fit in the film, and some really good scenes and characters were left out.

Book Release: 1900 | Film Release: 1939 | Author (book): L. Frank Baum | Director (film): Victor Fleming | Stars (film): Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, Jack Haley, Billie Burke, Margaret Hamilton, Charley Grapewin, Clara Blandick, Pat Walshe

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure | Book Acclaim: The first two editions sold out immediately | Film Acclaim: One of the most beloved films in history | Major Differences: The book has more characters and scenarios, and the movie is more focused on Dorothy learning the value of home than just her adventure and journey to get home.

5

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Nov 25, 2014
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

This novel by Ken Kesey focuses on behaviorism and what happens when a free spirit is introduced to the controlled environment of a mental institution. The story itself, written in 1962, is very compelling and counterculture, and the movie version, from 1975, also packs a heavy punch. The film was directed by Milos Forman, and features Jack Nicholson in the lead role. This is a great film to watch if you want a good story and some anti-establishment sentiment, and the movie certainly does the book justice.

Book Release: 1962 | Film Release: 1975 | Author (book): Ken Kesey | Director (film): Milos Forman | Stars (film): Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, William Redfield

Genre: Behaviorism novel, American novel | Book Acclaim: Best known of Kesey's work | Film Acclaim: Considered an all-time classic film | Major Differences: Less focus on the behavior of all characters and how they interact, and more on the main character being the heroic figure.

6

Carrie

Nov 25, 2014
Carrie

Stephen King’s most controversial work, Carrie is told mostly through expostulatory newspaper clippings and letters that detail the horrible events that occurred in Maine when an unstable, telekinetic girl committed mass murder. Many of King’s books have been made into movies, from the absolutely corny and made for TV to timeless masterpieces. This particular film, directed by Brian De Palma, was an instant hit. The use of gorgeous actress Sissy Spacek as Carrrie worked out perfectly, due to her stunning yet creepy looks. The movie also features John Travolta, great music, tons of visuallygreat scenes, and plenty of blood and blood-curdling horror. The only downside of this translation is that the book and the movie are pretty dissimilar, due to the expository way the book is written.

Book Release: 1974 | Film Release: 1976 | Author (book): Stephen King | Director (film): Brian de Palma | Stars (film): Sissy Spacek, John Travolta, Piper Laurie, Amy Irving, William Katt

Genre: Horror | Book Acclaim: Highly acclaimed | Film Acclaim: Considered one of the best films of the year | Major Differences: the book is mostly told through experts from newspapers and letters, as though it were a true story; More focus in the film on just following Carrie's story instead of the aftermath.

7

Fight Club

Nov 25, 2014
Fight Club

This Chuck Palahniuk book was originally adapted from a short story, and was controversial even before being made into a major motion pictures. Many critics believed it to be too dark and nihilistic, embracing the ideas of insanity, violence, and anarchy. However Palahniuk always intended the story to be satirical and not taken completely seriously. The film was directed by David Fincher, and it stars Brad Pitt and Edward Norton. Pitt is not real, but a figment of Norton’s demented, sleep deprived perception that causes him to start illegal fighting groups and generally commit mayhem and spread destruction. While many loved the film for the score and visual aspects as well as the acting and understood it was meant to be dark humor, others found it offensive and disturbing. This is a great example of a book being made into a solid movie, but some found the whole idea too much to stomach.

Book Release: 1996 | Film Release: 1999 | Author (book): Chuck Palahniuk | Director (film): David Fincher | Stars (film): Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Helena Bonham Carter

Genre: Satirical fiction | Book Acclaim: at first was published as a short story and rejected as disturbing, but the novel received acclaim | Film Acclaim: 50/50 - some thought it was brilliant, others disrupting; the debate surrounding its portrayal of violence was similar to the one that followed A Clockwork Orange | Major Differences: very similar - just slightly more graphic than the book

8

The Lord of The Rings Series

Nov 25, 2014
The Lord of The Rings Series

This series was first written by J.R.R. Tolkien, initially directly after his time serving in WWII, but not published until 1971. The books were a huge success, and Tolkien finally saw his dream come to life. The fantastical world of Middle Earth featuring Hobbits, Elves, and Dwarves, was a reality that millions read and loved. Tolkien died soon after, and although he knew his work was influential, he had no idea just how huge it was. In 2001, Peter Jackson turned the series into a film trilogy, which is now the greatest grossing film series of all time. The movies were hailed for their awesome special effects and use of language from the books. However, some diehard readers did criticize the films for leaving out important plot elements from the story, and for focusing so much on the epic battles in order to appeal to today’s viewers.

Book Release: 1954-1955 | Film Release: 2001-2003 | Author (book): J.R.R. Tolkein | Director (film): Peter Jackson | Stars (film): Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Vigo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Hugo Weaving

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure | Book Acclaim: One of the best selling and highest grossing series of all time | Film Acclaim: Highest grossing film series in history, highly critically accalimed | Major Differences: some things are skipped, less description and scenery and more violence and brutality

9

Jurassic Park

Nov 25, 2014
Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park is one of the best examples of a book turned into a wildly successful movie. Michael Crichton writes novels that are usually based on history or science, in an expository fashion, as though the events in the stories really happened. Jurassic Park is a book from 1990 that serves as a cautionary tale against what can happen when genetic engineering gets out of control. The 1993 Steven Spielberg film is more of an action adventure story about dinosaurs getting loose at an amusement park, but it is still a hell of a lot of fun to watch, and very satisfying. The major criticism of this adaptation is that the movie does not convey the dark implications of the book. For example, in the movie, John Hammond is a loveable genius who creates dinosaurs to amuse his grandchildren and friends, while in the book he is an evil, selfish mastermind who gets eaten by dinosaurs in the end.

Book Release: 1990 | Film Release: 1993 | Author (book): Michael Crichton | Director (film): Steven Spielberg | Stars (film): Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough, Samuel L. Jackson, Wayne Knight

Genre: Science Fiction | Book Acclaim: Bestseller and highly regarded before the film was released | Film Acclaim: Very high critical and audience acclaim | Major Differences: many story differences; the book is much darker; for example, Hammond is a very unlikable character who gets eaten by dinosaurs in the book, but a loveable and silly character in the movie

10

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Nov 25, 2014
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

This work of classic gonzo journalism by Hunter S. Thompson tells the story of one man’s trip to Vegas to cover a sporting event that turns into an all-out drug bender, but it is so much more than that. The 1971 novel is really a story about the loss of innocence from the 1960s, and the changing tide of the country. The 1998 movie adaptation with Johnny Depp does a great job of conveying this, although it does focus more on the drug bender aspect than the deeper meaning. Some enjoyed the film, while other found it completely unwatchable and too cartoonish due to Terry Gilliam’s odd directing style. However, as a die-hard Thompson devotee, this gets my stamp of approval.

Book Release: 1971 | Film Release: 1998 | Author (book): Hunter S. Thompson | Director (film): Terry Gilliam | Stars (film): Johnny Depp, Benicio del Toro

Genre: Autobiography, American prose | Book Acclaim: Most famous of Thompson's work, a cult classic | Film Acclaim: mixed almost 50/50 - some find it unwatchable or say it doesn’t live up to the book, while others say it succeeds the same way the book did and laud Depp's performance | Major Differences: only one "flashback scene" filmed as opposed to the many in the book, some scenes left out of movie


GOAT Staff Score - Book-to-Movie Adaptation

The candidates have been assigned a raw score across a range of criteria. The raw scores have been weighted to reflect the impact that each individual criterion has on the 'Final GOAT Score'. Only weighted scores are displayed in this table. -->TURN DEVICE SIDEWAYS TO VIEW ON MOBILE-->
 True to Original Story (25%)Reader's Reception to Films (25%)Critical Acclaim (25%)Strong Visual Imagery (15%)Staying Power (10%)Raw ScoreFinal GOAT Score
2001: A Space Odyssey108510841805
A Clockwork Orange9639734655
Gone With the Wind5947934645
The Wizard of Oz25981034620
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest7473627555
Carrie3766527540
Fight Club81011424530
The Lord of the Rings Series42104222480
Jurassic Park1382317360
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas6125115310

GOAT Verdict:

2001: a space odyssey is The Greatest Book-to-Movie Adaptation of All Time
The official GOAT pickfor Greatest Book-to-Movie Adaptation Of All Time is 2001: A Space Odyssey, adapted from Arthur C. Clark’s book to a movie by Stanley Kubrick. Since Kubrick actually worked with Clark on the book and came up with some of the ideas, the translation of the work into film was bound to be a success. The visuals in this movie and the overall ideas behind it were so monumental that it is still revered as a masterpiece today. However, no book-to-movie adaptation is perfect. Those who love Clark’s technical style and devotion to science found the film a bit too artsy, while fans of Kubrick’s work couldn’t all get into the dry and technical style of Clark’s writing.

0

What is the greatest heist scene of all time?

1

The Dark Knight

Nov 18, 2014 - youtube.com - 83
The Dark Knight

Robbing banks has been a generally accepted pastime of supervillains since the dawn of comic book publication, but almost every attempt was either foiled or glossed over with cartoon violence. When Christopher Nolan’s Batman series portrayed the Joker’s crack at heist operations, however, all bets were off. Even from the first shots, the robbery shows a level of tactical coordination and efficiency that most conventional heist films lack. The thugs manage to wear clown masks that somehow come off as plausible, and the Joker himself is shuffled into the ranks of the thieves, demonstrating his cunning and ruthlessness in a single sweep as he pits the team against one another. This scene has everything that a well-done heist needs – action, suspense, some gunplay, and a getaway that won’t be leaving the record books anytime soon.

Release: 2008 | Director: Christopher Nolan | Budget: $185 mm | Key Actors: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Heath Ledger, Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Morgan Freeman

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94% | IMDB Score: 9.0 | Box Office Gross: $1 B

2

Heat

Nov 18, 2014 - youtube.com - 71
Heat

With a few money bags and high-powered assault rifles, Heat may have defined the bank robbery genre for decades to come. Michael Mann’s high-octane hit found a strong focal point in its armed robbery scene, which pulls no punches as it heads from the bank’s interior to the crowded city streets, all the while trailing the “heroes” of the attempt. A full team of robbers, spanning from Val Kilmer to Robert DeNiro, keep the camera constantly moving and panning between operatives, further amplifying the sense of chaos that accompanies the heist. In the urban escape portion, the echoes of gunfire – which were captured using blank rounds and not altered using dubbing – fill the streets with bold, deafening cracks, and grant Heat a sense of unparalleled realism. This guns-blazing approach to bank robberies would later influence the video game series Payday, and live on in the minds of action film fanatics everywhere.

Release: 1995 | Director: Michael Mann | Budget: $60 mm | Key Actors: Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, Tom Sizemore, Jon Voight, Val Kilmer

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 86% | IMDB Score: 8.3 | Box Office Gross: $187.4 mm

3

The Town

Nov 18, 2014 - youtube.com - 74
The Town

For a film that deals with a string of robberies, it helps to be specific. While the earlier heists are generally pulled off without a hitch (and with the help of some very strange masks), the ensuing operations of the Boston-based gang are met with less success, but more entertainment. The armored truck robbery in The Town is memorable for a variety of reasons, but it generally owes its pulse-pounding atmosphere and sense of frenetic energy to the heist’s catastrophic failure. Ben Affleck’s surprisingly masterful directing lent a sense of desperation to the van chase, folding the architecture of Charlestown, Massachusetts into a narrow and dizzying labyrinth that seemed equally dangerous for both the criminals and law enforcement. Bleak colors, stylish violence, and the scramble for survival make The Town one of the most unique and nail-biting heist sequences ever filmed.

Release: 2010 | Director: Ben Affleck | Budget: $37 mm | Key Actors: Ben Affleck, Rebecca Hall, Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, Blake Lively

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94% | IMDB Score: 7.6 | Box Office Gross: $154 mm

4

The Dark Knight Rises

Nov 18, 2014 - youtube.com - 84
The Dark Knight Rises

Christopher Nolan has never tried to hide his obsession with dramatic action sequences, and with the several million dollars he was given for The Dark Knight Rises, this is especially evident. Bane, the terrifying mass of brains and brawn played by Tom Hardy, takes on a stock exchange with the same bold and violent energy that defined him in the film’s midair opening sequence. Nolan makes careful use of his oversized set, banks of spark-producing assemblies, and low camera angles to create a gripping and surprisingly intimate moment of terror. Tracking shots linger on the width of Bane’s back, while synthesized vocal elements give the villain an otherworldly and even robotic aspect. Nolan used Bane as a fulcrum for the entire heist scene, balancing the dread of the moment around Tom Hardy’s monologues and brutality with his own trademark style.

Release: 2012 | Director: Christopher Nolan | Budget: $230 mm | Key Actors: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88% | IMDB Score: 8.6 | Box Office Gross: $1 B

5

The Place Beyond the Pines

Nov 18, 2014 - youtube.com - 73
The Place Beyond the Pines

Most bank robberies are carried out with a full team at the mastermind’s back, but The Place Beyond the Pines cuts out the excess and strips the heist down to its core: a motorcycle-riding gunman with a penchant for screaming and climbing onto countertops. Ryan Gosling’s character is the opposite of his role in Drive, fixated on aggression and demonstrating a fundamental lack of control at every turn. Everything about this scene exudes anger and instability, including its minimalist soundtrack and muted color palette. The tracking shots lead into shaky, sweeping views of the bank lobby, and at times, the camera gives the impression of struggling to even keep up with the gunman. Not every heist goes to plan, but The Place Beyond the Pines is proof that even successful heists can put a knot in your stomach.

Release: 2012 | Director: Derek Cianfrance | Budget: $15 mm | Key Actors: Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Ray Liotta

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 80% | IMDB Score: 7.4 | Box Office Gross: $35.5 mm

6

Reservoir Dogs

Nov 18, 2014 - youtube.com - 79
Reservoir Dogs

There’s always an unmistakable sense of style and strangeness to a Tarantino film, and Reservoir Dogs is no exception. While the film may not put a spotlight on the actual moment of the robbery, Mr. Pink’s gun-toting, suit-sprinting, car-dodging escape from the jewelry shop is one of the most bizarre getaway scenes in cinematic history, and succeeds in capturing the frantic energy of a heist. Or, in this case, a heist gone wrong. The scene makes use of several tracking shots with minimal stabilization, as well as borderline slapstick close-ups of the officers in pursuit. The absence of a musical score only highlights the staccato rhythm of shoes on pavement, and the distant drone of police sirens. Mr. Pink’s mad dash to acquire his escape vehicle – and the over-the-shoulder, handheld filming technique while inside the car – cements this Reservoir Dogs scene in heist history.

Release: 1992 | Director: Quentin Tarantino | Budget: $1.2 mm | Key Actors: Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Chris Penn, Steve Buscemi, Lawrence Tierney, Michael Madsen

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92% | IMDB Score: 8.4 | Box Office Gross: $4 mm

7

Inside Man

Nov 18, 2014 - youtube.com - 71
Inside Man

In the world of heist planning, there are two distinct schools of thought: the Trojan horse approach, or the shoot-into-the-ceiling approach. Inside Man mixes and matches with these tactics, but leans heavily on the former concept, entering the building under the auspices of a cleaning crew with janitorial garb. When the levy breaks and Clive Owen begins to bark commands, however, the latter school of thought comes down like a sledgehammer. Inside Man portrays a remarkably clean and surgical approach to the seizure of a bank, and Clive Owen’s reliance upon tricks such as false accents and smoke canisters only reinforces his role as a true professional. Another fantastic element in Inside Man’s heist presentation is Clive Owen’s confrontation with a patrolling officer, which begins with a revolver being aimed through a crack in the bank’s doors. When it comes to loud and fast heists done properly, Inside Man is a prime contender.

Release: 2006 | Director: Spike Lee | Budget: $45 mm | Key Actors: Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, Jodie Foster, Willem Dafoe

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 86% | IMDB Score: 7.7 | Box Office Gross: $184.3 mm

8

Public Enemies

Nov 18, 2014 - youtube.com - 68
Public Enemies

It’s impossible to discuss heist films without taking a step back to examine old-school robberies. Public Enemies puts the spotlight on the notorious gangster, John Dillinger, and his exploits in the field of bank robberies. Johnny Depp wears the long coat and fedora as well as anybody from Dillinger’s heyday, and the overt, Thompson-wielding seizure of the bank – done in defiance of both alarms and approaching policemen – remains true to Dillinger’s character. No detail was spared in recreating the lives of these gangsters and their assaults, and this is especially evident in the film’s first bank robbery. Depp gives the gangster an air of style and unique (albeit warped) philosophy, assuring the hostages that his band is not after their money, but the money of the bank. The period costuming and brisk pace of the getaway shootout give Public Enemies a rightful leg up in the competition.

Release: 2009 | Director: Michael Mann | Budget: $100 mm | Key Actors: Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 69% | IMDB Score: 7.0 | Box Office Gross: $214.1 mm

9

Drive

Nov 18, 2014 - youtube.com - 65
Drive

As the nameless driver (played by Ryan Gosling) tells the two balaclava-wearing thieves before the heist, “I give you a five minute window. Anything happens in that five minutes and I'm yours.” Five minutes, in edited film time, is all Ryan Gosling needs to prove that a good heist scene doesn’t require rappelling ropes or explosives. In fact, it doesn’t even require footage of the actual heist. The driver’s true talent is his cold and calculated strategy for getaways, which requires an unassuming speed, a police radio scanner, and a handy supply of toothpicks. In one of the slowest getaway scenes in cinematic history, Ryan Gosling ferries the criminals by blending into the nocturnal L.A. traffic, and defines his character without ever saying more than two words. Drive feeds

on the tension and understated danger of its crime world, fueled by a 1980s-esque electronic soundtrack and a silver Chevy Impala.

Release: 2011 | Director: Nicolas Winding Refn | Budget: $15 mm | Key Actors: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Christina Hendricks, Ron Perlman

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93% | IMDB Score: 7.8 | Box Office Gross: $76.1 mm

10

Dog Day Afternoon

Nov 18, 2014 - youtube.com - 69
Dog Day Afternoon

Not all heist scenes need to be a maelstrom of violence and automatic gunfire, as evidenced by Al Pacino’s quieter heist film, Dog Day Afternoon (which happens to be based on a true story). With the intention of stealing money for his wife’s gender reassignment surgery, Pacino and his partners only get as far as drawing their guns before the heist begins to go downhill. One partner rapidly backs out, and bouts of diabetic complications or asthma force the robbers to begin releasing their hostages in a steady stream. The scene’s snappy dialogue, lack of background music, and awkward exchanges are what gives Dog Day Afternoon its quirky tone and gallows humor. In just one scene, the film managed to spell out its central predicament and mood, while also molding the framework for one of Hollywood’s most infamous heist-gone-wrong tales.

Release: 1975 | Director: Sidney Lumet | Budget: $1.8 mm | Key Actors: Al Pacino, John Cazale, Charles Durnin

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97% | IMDB Score: 8.1 | Box Office Gross: $50 mm


GOAT Staff Score - Heist Scene

The candidates have been assigned a raw score across a range of criteria. The raw scores have been weighted to reflect the impact that each individual criterion has on the 'Final GOAT Score'. Only weighted scores are displayed in this table. -->TURN DEVICE SIDEWAYS TO VIEW ON MOBILE-->
 Intensity (30%)Cinematography (25%)Acting (20%)Sound (15%)Special Effects (10%)Raw ScoreFinal GOAT Score
The Dark Knight991091047930
Heat108710944880
The Town8647833655
The Dark Knight Rises41066733650
The Place Beyond the Pines6652524510
Reservoir Dogs7523219440
Inside Man3295423435
Public Enemies5134619355
Drive2418318330
Dog Day Afternoon1381114290

GOAT Verdict:

The Dark Knight Bank Robbery Scene is the Greatest Heist Scene of All Time

When Christopher Nolan set out to craft a sequel to Batman Begins, expectations were already high. What nobody anticipated, however, was just how flawless The Dark Knight would be. The opening sequence in the film, which manages to skirt around Heath Ledger’s Joker long enough to let a sense of mystique and instability take root, succeeds in portraying a heist that’s almost too good to be from a comic book film. Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard gave the scene an impeccable score, with its music swelling but never rising to the point of distraction or overstating the tension. The action is fast-moving, fluid, and takes the viewer to every level and stage of the heist, never pausing for too long or defusing the scene’s energy. The true payoff in this scene is the Joker’s reveal and climactic shootout with the bank manager, followed by a truly memorable and brazen escape into Gotham’s traffic in a yellow school bus. The Joker’s heist has it all – menacing gunplay, a highly technical infiltration scheme, and an unforgettable introduction by one of cinema’s most recent “classic” villains. When it comes to the greatest heist scene of all time, The Dark Knight steals the crown.

0

What is the greatest television credits sequence of all time?

1

Game of Thrones

Nov 17, 2014 - youtube.com - 53
Game of Thrones

Quite possibly the one sequence to spawn more imitations, spoofs and remakes than any other on our list is the Emmy award-winning opening to Game Of Thrones. Implementing a small-scale version of George RR Martin’s endlessly rich world, the camera adopts a bird’s eye view to showcase what’s in store for the viewer. It sweeps across the vast sun-dappled topography this Middle Age-esque fantasy inhabits, every majestic turn and pause accented by Ramin Djawadi’s beautiful score that’s impossible to stop humming. Perhaps the reason die-hard Thrones fans never miss the segment, is because it is riddled with clues pertaining to the next hour’s entertainment. The determination and breadth of challenge taken on by the team at Elastic, who crafted the journey through the seven kingdoms, meant every single episode’s titles varied. As the series of cogs and pulleys cause cities, towns and castles to rise and fall, who knows where the next stop on the map will be as the story focus shifts from one episode to the next.

Running Years: 2011-? | Credits Designer: Angus Wall | Soundtrack: Ramin Djawadi "Main Title" | Sequence Length: 1:40

Genre: Fantasy | Style: Table-top modeling, animation | Awards: Won - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Main Title Design (2011) | Youtube Views: 12,344,670

2

Dexter

Nov 17, 2014 - youtube.com - 46
Dexter

The sloppy push of a knife as it skewers a soggy fried egg. A dull razor scraping against a bristled cheek. Pink bacon slathers as it’s devoured by a hungry mouth. The stark visual montage of Dexter is chiefly why it remains memorable to audiences - but it’s the attention to crisp, clear sound design that amps up the morning routine of the Miami serial killer. Tight close-ups of Dexter preparing for the day evoke sickening sensations, as even the most pedestrian of activities - like pulling a sweater over his head - draws comparisons to the macabre nature of his ‘dark passenger.’ It’s a very cleverly composed sequence, with every step taunting the viewer even more due to the carnival-theme musical score. A jittery, happy-go-lucky ditty that only creates anxiety and fear. The colour palette of these credits might be bright, bold and striking - but the heart of the piece beats as black as night.

Running Years: 2006-2013 | Credits Designer: Eric Anderson | Soundtrack: Rolfe Kent "Dexter Main Title" | Sequence Length: 1:56

Genre: Drama | Style: Live-action | Awards: Won - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Main Title Design (2007), Nominated - Primtime Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music (2007), Won - BMI Cable | Youtube Views: 4,062,828

3

The X-Files

Nov 17, 2014 - youtube.com - 53
The X-Files

Dare you quest into the realm of lurking terror that awaits every man? From the opening strains of Mark Snow’s theme, an eerie whistle of a tune now synonymous with the show, the matter of whether or not the truth is out there has never seemed more ambiguous. The 40-second title sequence encourages audiences to question the impossible through a simplistic bricolage of live-action footage and static imagery. A lurking shadowy figure hovers in a hallway, a screaming man’s face is distorted by an unknown force, grainy hand-held footage depicts a flying saucer hovering in the sky amidst flashes of barely-visible monstrous shapes. Partly to establish tone, and introduce us to the premise, it ultimately makes you wonder; if that elusive truth is “out there” - who would want to come face-to-face with its inextricable horror?

Running Years: 1993-2002 | Credits Designer: James Castle, Carol Johnsen, Bruce Bryant | Soundtrack: Mark Snow "Materia Primoris" | Sequence Length: 0:42

Genre: Sci-fi | Style: Still photography, live-action | Awards: Won - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Graphic Design and Title Sequences (1994), Nominated - Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Individual | Youtube Views: 768, 467

4

True Detective

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True Detective

A simmering struggle between images of light and dark, the seedy gothic underbelly of the Deep South is exposed to astonishing effect during the opening moments of True Detective. The implied ‘truth’ behind the show’s two leads is introduced via a montage of juxtaposed stills, depicting the industrial wastelands of Louisiana. Serving as a reflection of the characters’ complex personal issues, the sequence focuses on the fragmented nature of humanity and how people are defined by their environments. Double-exposure photography chillingly fuses together images to form new, terrifying icons of horror. Head shots of its two stars, Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, devolve from what you’d expect from HBO. Signalling their strife in uniquely unsettling methods, there’s no finer example of a mood-setting TV opener than this.

Running Years: 2014-? | Credits Designer: Raoul Marks | Soundtrack: The Handsome Family "Far From Any Road" | Sequence Length: 1:37

Genre: Drama | Style: Still photography, live-action | Awards: Won - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Main Title Design (2014) | Youtube Views: 1,025,284

5

American Horror Story

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American Horror Story

An anthology horror show that’s in a league of its own, American Horror Story’s opening credits are arguably the greatest in terms of atmospherics. The work of design house Prologue, chief designer Kyle Cooper cut his teeth on David Fincher’s Seven and has matured further into the darkest recesses of human nature. The disturbing imagery - broken dolls, fetuses floating in jars, corpses trapped beneath plastic wrap - roll out like a scene from a fractured mind unable to untangle this jumble of horrors. For each subsequent season the specific footage has been tweaked to include clues to the season’s narrative arc, but all remain twinned to one constantly pulsating terror - the soundtrack. A bloodcurdling disjointed jam, perfectly timed to the changing onscreen icons, there’s no chance you’ll doze off before the real fright begins.

Running Years: 2011-? | Credits Designer: Kyle Cooper | Soundtrack: Cesar Davila-Irizarry "American Horror Story" | Sequence Length: Still photography, live-action

Genre: Horror | Style: Still photography, live-action | Awards: Nominated - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Main Title Design (2011, 2012), Won - BMI Cable Award For Music Composition (2012), Won - OFTA Television Awards for Best New Theme Song In A Series, Best New Titles Sequence (2012, 2013) | Youtube Views: 274,579

6

The United States of Tara

Nov 17, 2014 - youtube.com - 55
The United States of Tara

Sometimes, a simple stream of head shots with captioned names serves a TV show that might not harbour the most unique premise. A wholly brilliant dramedy from the sprawling creative mind of Diablo Cody? It had to have the perfect title sequence. Part exposition device, part creative jamboree, the stop motion cut-out figures that introduce us to the world of split-personality Tara paint her three “alters” to utter perfection. Each pop-up lures us into a triptych of seemingly different worlds, each inhabited by their respective alter. Springing up out of nowhere, the seamless blend between the trio of larger-than-life personas hosted inside the regular mom are brought to life by award-winning designer Jamie Caliri. The most telling element - the cherry on top of the sundae - is Tim DeLaughter’s catchy theme song, a riff on Tara’s mission to take control of her fate.

Running Years: 2009-2011 | Credits Designer: Jamie Caliri | Soundtrack: Tim DeLaughter "Learn To Love The Ride" | Sequence Length: 1:05

Genre: Comedy drama | Style: Stop-motion animation | Awards: Won - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Main Title Design (2009) | Youtube Views: 811,232

7

The Simpsons

Nov 17, 2014 - youtube.com - 44
The Simpsons

Fox’s premier family comedy is renowned for the attention to detail creator Matt Groening and co. cram into every single title sequence. As puffy cumulus clouds part to reveal the title breathlessly worded out in song - BAM! - the fast-paced race home for The Simpsons through the town of Springfield begins to Danny Elfman’s legendary orchestral theme. Now in its second update since the series began in 1989, the creators kept two of its defining gags in tact. When the camera peers in on Bart’s detention, his chalkboard punishment changes from week to week; ranging from amusing childish quips to cutting social commentary. However, ask anyone about The Simpsons title as the unanimous verdict on their brilliance will be in the mere mention of the couch. Moments before the episode starts proper, the family scramble into the living room to retire on the sofa - and each week are confronted by a new challenge preventing them from doing so. It’s really an impressive addition to the show - which has seen guest directors Guillermo Del Toro and graffiti artist Banksy brought on to helm sequences - proving that this is one classic comedy that’s still got what it takes.

Running Years: 1989-? | Credits Designer: Matt Groening | Soundtrack: Danny Elfman "The Simpsons Theme" | Sequence Length: 1:30

Genre: Comedy | Style: Animation | Awards: Nominated - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Main Title Theme Music (1990), Won - BMI TV Music Award (1996, 1998, 2003), Won - National Music Awards UK Favourite TV Theme (2002) | Youtube Views: 15 million+

8

The Sopranos

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The Sopranos

The gangster genre of 70s, 80s and 90s cinema brought the intimate lifestyles of wiseguys into the public consciousness. HBO took that notion a step further with The Sopranos. Delivering a black comedy drama via mob patriarch, Tony Soprano, the show capitalised on his continued struggle between his familial obligations and his life as the leader of David Chase, the show’s creator, forged a simple opening sequence that introduces us to Tony’s daily route from New York City back to his New Jersey homestead. It’s an engaging minute that sheds light on a routine activity that even mobsters undertake on a day-to-day basis. To top it off, Alabama 3’s sultry song accompaniment further showcases the inner turmoil of the show’s loveable antihero.

Running Years: 1999-2007 | Credits Designer: David Chase | Soundtrack: Alabama 3 "Woke Up This Morning" | Sequence Length: 1:37

Genre: Drama | Style: Live-action | Awards: None | Youtube Views: 160,431

9

Mad Men

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Mad Men

The shortest entry on this list by far, Mad Men’s simple graphical sequence begins with the cut-out figure of a man entering his office. It harks back to the pioneering work of film credit designer Saul Bass, which is a clever touch as his finest achievements in this particular artform were at their best during the 50s and 60s - the very era Mad Men depicts. To the tune of RJD2’s string theme - again a nod to theme composer Bernard Hermann - the shady man plummets from the great height of a skyscraper. His descent is glorified as his tumbling body whizzes past gigantic advertisements. Moments before he splatters to his death, he is scooped up by an impossibly large woman’s foot. Thematically it addresses the show’s dark streak running throughout each season; everything might look peachy keen but even the suave Don Draper can fall from grace.

Running Years: 2007- | Credits Designer: Mark Gardner | Soundtrack: RJD2 “A Beautiful Mine” | Sequence Length: 0:36

Genre: Drama | Style: Animation | Awards: Won - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Main Title Design (2008) | Youtube Views: 1,497,964

10

The Outer Limits

Nov 17, 2014 - youtube.com - 54
The Outer Limits

There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. As a series of waves oscillate across the screen, the monotone “control voice” narrated by Vic Perrin immediately confronts viewers with the possibility that they are subject to a shady government experiment. While this spooky anthology series draws inevitable comparisons to The Twilight Zone, its opening credits evoke a far more sinister work at play. Much like the hysteria derived from Orson Welles’ War Of The Worlds radio broadcast, the clever wraparound credits serve as a quasi-cautionary warning. At the time of release, breaking the fourth wall was not a common occurrence, making this one of the most chilling opening titles ever seen on the small screen.

Running Years: 1963-1965 | Credits Designer: Project Unlimited, Inc. | Soundtrack: Dominic Frontiere "Outer Limits Theme" | Sequence Length: 1:08

Genre: Sci-fi | Style: Animation | Awards: None | Youtube Views: 41,580


GOAT Staff Score - TV Credits Sequence

The candidates have been assigned a raw score across a range of criteria. The raw scores have been weighted to reflect the impact that each individual criterion has on the 'Final GOAT Score'. Only weighted scores are displayed in this table. -->TURN DEVICE SIDEWAYS TO VIEW ON MOBILE-->
 Originality (25%)Visual Style (20%)Soundtrack (20%)Atmosphere (15%)Critical Reception (10%)Influence (10%)Raw ScoreFinal GOAT Score
United States Of Tara85625127510
The Outer Limits11261819265
The X-Files269981044665
American Horror Story743109740625
The Sopranos33734626420
True Detective47886538630
Dexter910547439695
Game Of Thrones10910710248855
The Simpsons62452928455
Mad Men58113321380

GOAT Verdict:

Games of Thrones The Greatest Television Credits Sequence of All Time
One of the most popular TV shows currently on the air, Game Of Thrones’ also lays claim to possessing the Greatest TV Credit Sequence Of All Time. Ranking far higher than every other entry on the shortlist by a landslide, it snags the title with ease. For such an intricately-woven storyline that continues to tangle itself with each passing season, the only way to present such a masterclass in television is via its breathtaking introduction. The sprawling map of the seven kingdoms rendered in painstaking 3D models demonstrates the vast universe the show’s beloved characters inhabit to stunning effect. A web of machinations – cogs, pulleys, levers – all sync together to orchestrate the rise and fall of empires; a truly informative introduction that incites genuine excitement for the episode to come. It’s no surprise that it won the Emmy for Outstanding Main Title – but it’s still a shock that Ramin Djawadi’s achingly-beautiful score went unnoticed.

0

What is the greatest cinematic long take of all time?

Oct 13, 2014 - vimeo.com - 203
Children of Men – Car Scene

The most intense long take scene ever captured on film. The Car Scene from Children of Men is a mesmerizing arrangement of scene orchestration and gut-wrenching acting that rivals any action sequence in existence. The post-apocalyptic reality of Alfonso Cuaron’s United Kingdom in 2027 is vividly reinforced by the powerful, often terrifying imagery that unfolds before the helpless passengers riding in Julian Taylor’s (played by Julianne Moore) station wagon. With a seemingly impossible level of preparation, timing, and execution, coupled with one of the most unforgettable group acting performances you'll ever see; the car scene from Children of Men will surely stand among the greatest examples of the long take technique in the entire history of film-making.

Release Date: January 5th, 2007 | Director: Alfonso Cuarón | Director Photography: Emmanuel Lubezki | Scene Length: 3:57 | # of Scripted Actors: At least 40 (including stuntmen) | # of Extras: 0 | Soundtrack: None

Oscars: Nominated – Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing | Box Office Gross: $35.55 mm | Google Results (children of men “long take”): 123,000

2

True Detective - The Stash House

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True Detective - The Stash House

Without question, the greatest long take scene in television history. TV Shows aren’t supposed to use long takes. It’s too difficult to execute, the audience won’t properly appreciate it, the cast and crew don’t have the talent to pull it off . . . . Cary Fukunaga must have fought back the desire to laugh in the face of those critics who doubted his ambitious idea. But of course True Detective didn’t become the phenomenon it is today without breaking most of TV’s tired rules, and the Stash House scene from Episode 4 is perhaps the single best example of what makes this show so special. We run along with Rusty Cohle (Mathew Mcconaughey) and the Iron Crusaders as they attempt to rob the stash house of a rival gang. It was supposed to be an easy in and out job, they’d pose as police, gain entry, keep the peace, get the score, and get out. Of course nothing goes according to plan, and our chance to ride up-close and personal with Rusty and the gang makes for one of the most heart-pounding experiences in television history.

Release Date: Feb. 9th, 2014 | Director: Cary Fukunaga | Director Photography: Adam Arkapaw | Scene Length: 6:04 | # of Scripted Actors: At least 20 (including stuntmen) | # of Extras: 20+ | Soundtrack: None

Emmys: Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series, Outstanding Casting Drama Series, Outstanding Makeup for a Single-Camera Series, Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series, Outstanding Main Title Design | Box Office Gross: Na | Google Results (true detective “long take”): 20,300

3

Goodfellas – Welcome to the Copacabana

Oct 13, 2014 - youtube.com - 125
Goodfellas – Welcome to the Copacabana

The greatest scene from one of the greatest gangster films of all time. The Cobacabana scene from Martin Scorcese’s Goodfellas will forever rank as one of the most iconic and memorable moments in film history. It feels as if we’re riding on Karen’s (Lorraine Bracco) shoulders as she is introduced to the over-the-top lifestyle of Henry Hill (Ray Liotta). Scorcese’s embodiment of this underground world is incredibly detailed and life-like. A full 2 minutes and 27 seconds of pre-orchestrated theatre; the scene immerses the audience deep into the underbelly of the late 50’s New York mob universe. The steadicam work in this shot is superb, and the cameraman should be commended with the highest honors. The Cobacabana scene has been celebrated since the film’s release in 1990, and it is sure to live on as one of the greatest long take scenes in film history.

Release Date: Sept. 21st, 1990| Director: Martin Scorsese | Director Photography: Michael Ballhaus | Scene Length: 2:27 | # of Scripted Actors: At least 15 | # of extras: Hundreds | Soundtrack: The Crystals – "Then He Kissed Me"

Oscars: Nominated – Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Film Editing | Box Office Gross: $46.80 mm | Google Results (goodfellas “long take”): 7,170

4

Touch of Evil – Opening

Oct 13, 2014 - youtube.com - 165
Touch of Evil – Opening

The greatest long take in the career of one of the all-time greatest directors. Orson Welles directed The War of The Worlds on the radio in 1939. He directed Citizen Kane in 1941. And he further added to his legendary portfolio with this, the famous opening scene from Touch of Evil in 1958. Nearly 60 years later, it still stands as one of the best examples of a tracking shot in the history of cinema. Just consider the monumental setup required for this shot: over 3.5 un-cut minutes of tape, at least 10 scripted actors, hundreds of extras, props, moving set pieces and crew . . . all captured by a dolly-mounted camera that feels as futuristic as any on our list. With a star-studded cast featuring Charlton Heston and Janet Leigh, the film never reached the pantheon of history that Citizen Kane did; but where Touch of Evil gains an edge is the strength of its opening sequence, undoubtedly one of the greatest long take scenes in film history.

Release Date: May 1st, 1958 | Director: Orson Welles | Director Photography: Russell Metty | Scene Length: 3:34 | # of Scripted Actors: At least 10 | # of Extras: Hundreds | Soundtrack: Henry Mancini - Main Title (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Oscars: None | Box Office Gross: $2.25 mm | Google Results (touch of evil “long take”): 9,520

Oct 13, 2014 - vimeo.com - 149
The Player - Opening

The second greatest long take scene of the 1990’s. In a decade of film that saw the uncut tracking shot rise to unmatched levels of popularity, the opening scene from The Player was a masterpiece of orchestration, camera-work, and one-take acting that stands above all the imposters who would follow. Robert Altman’s 1992 Hollywood thriller is the story of Griffin Mill (played by Tim Robbins), the hot-shot studio script screener who made a nasty enemy somewhere in his past. Mill begins receiving death threats from a writer he once scorned, and we are soon guided down a Hollywood rabbit hole of unscrupulous characters and shady dealings. The insane 8 minute opener manages to introduce dozens of characters and story-lines using a single take. The scene is both impossibly choreographed and effortlessly natural. With a super-meta plot that was probably a couple of generations before it’s time, Altman manages to execute one of the greatest long take scenes in film history with his opening sequence in The Player.

Release Date: May 8th, 1992 | Director: Robert Altman | Director Photography: Jean Lépine | Scene Length: 8:07 | # of Scripted Actors: at least 17 | # of Extras: Dozens | Soundtrack: Thomas Newman (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Oscars: Nominated – Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Film Editing | Box Office Gross: $21.70 mm | Google Results (the player “long take”): 114,000

6

Panic Room – The Break-In

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Panic Room – The Break-In

One of the most complex and mind-bending long take scenes in film history. David Fincher’s gyrating depiction of the home invasion at Meg Altman’s (Jodie Foster) Upper West Side brownstone sends chills up my spine every time I watch it. The camera floats between the floors of the cold, colorless mansion as if we’re witnessing the crime through the eyes of a silent, slow-moving drone. The creepy familiarity of the invaders would make anyone re-think their own home security protocol, and although Foster lives in a world of wealth far beyond that of most; we can all relate to the standard architectural entry-points of her property. With an equally spooky soundtrack of impending doom, and several perplexing CGI camera tricks, the entire scene proves to be one of the most successful in Fincher’s career. The Break-in scene from Panic Room clearly stands among the most successful long takes in film history.

Release Date: March, 29th, 2002 | Director: David Fincher | Director Photography: Conrad Hall & Darius Khondji | Scene Length: 2:27 | # of Scripted Actors: 1 | # of Extras: 0 | Soundtrack: Howard Shore – Panic Room (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Oscars: None | Box Office Gross: $96.40 mm | Google Results room (panic room “long take”): 4,280

7

Soy Cuba – Funeral

Oct 13, 2014 - youtube.com - 167
Soy Cuba – Funeral

The most ahead-of-its-time long take scene in film history. Soy Cuba is probably the most obscure film on our list, but it is a film with a story and a provenance that should be known by all fans of cinema. The movie was produced in Soviet Cuba in 1964 by Mosfilms, still the largest and most powerful film studio in Russia. Directed by Mikhail Kalatozov, and universally panned by critics in Cuba and the Soviet Union, this black and white collection of four short stories was essentially forgotten in the pages of history for over 25 years. It wasn’t until the early 90’s when the film was re-discovered in America, and with the help of American film-makers Martin Scorcese and Francis Ford Coppola, it was restored and re-aired in American theatres. The film employs some of the earliest examples of incredibly difficult and acrobatic tracking camera-work, including the use of: cables, pullies, dollies, and human elbow grease to give the appearance that the viewer is floating magically above the dramatic funeral procession in the Cuban streets below. It is a masterpiece of imaginative film-making.

Release Date: December, 1995 (Filmed in 1964) | Director: Mikhail Kalatozov | Director Photography: Sergey Urusevskiy | Scene Length: 2:28 | # of Scripted Actors: At least 10 | # of Extras: Hundreds | Soundtrack: Carlos Fariñas

Oscars: Na | Box Office Gross: 168,100 | Google Results (soy cuba “long take”): 13,600

8

The Protector (Tom-Yum-Goong) – Stair Climb

Oct 13, 2014 - youtube.com - 132
The Protector (Tom-Yum-Goong) – Stair Climb

The greatest long take martial arts scene in history. Thai filmmaker Prachya Pinkaew is an all-time master of the martial arts genre, having directed both Tom Yum Goong and Ong Bak: Thai Warrior, and this scene from the former film is possibly his greatest cinematic achiement. It’s no accident that such a legendary director would be joined by an actor of similar caliber in Tony Jaa. Like so many other action superstars, Jaa cut his teeth in the world of martials arts, with strong ability in a variety of disciplines including: Aikido, Judo, Kung-Fu, Muay Thai & Taekwondo. The scene itself involves dozens of stuntmen and hundreds of set effects, props, and extras. The seemingly endless 4 minute segment depicts the film’s hero Kham (Tony Jaa) battling his way past countless henchmen, up 4 flights of stairs, where he will meet the film’s protagonist. One of the most difficult parts of the take was finding a steadicam operater able to keep up with the lightning-quick pace of Jaa. The meticulous planning and execution of this legendary shot clearly places it among the greatest long takes in film history.

Release Date: September 8th, 2006 | Director: Prachya Pinkaew | Director Photography: Nattawut Kittikhun | Scene Length: 3:54 | # of Scripted Actors: At least 30 (including stuntmen) | # of Extras: 50+

Oscars: None | Box Office Gross: $12.04 mm | Google Results (the protector “long take”): 116,000

9

Kill Bill: Vol. 1 – Bathroom Scene

Oct 13, 2014 - youtube.com - 142
Kill Bill: Vol. 1 – Bathroom Scene

The greatest long take ever executed by Quentin Tarantino. The bathroom scene from Kill Bill: Volume 1 might be lost in your fuzzy memory of the melee at the House of Blue Leaves. That brutally gory and iconic fight scene takes place in the same setting as this long take, and it’s probably the part you remember best. But just before that epic moment, Tarantino treats us to a highly complex and difficult long take. We start slowly floating above The Bride (Uma Thurmann), flying from room to room, as she heads for the restroom. Soon the camera slowly falls from space and we are behind a steadicam, frantically tracking a cast of characters through the frenzied restaurant. After a whirlwind tour or colors, music and curious story-lines we arrive back at the fateful restroom, and The Bride prepares for her eventual victory over O-Ren and the Crazy Eights. With a super-human combination of impossible camera work, fast-paced color and sound, and convincing performances by all the players, Tarantino has achieved in Kill Bill: Volume 1, one of the greatest long take scenes in film history.

Release Date: October 10th, 2003 | Director: Quentin Tarantino | Director Photography: Robert Richardson | Scene Length: 1:38 | # of Scripted Actors: At least 10 | # of Extras: 40+ | Soundtrack: The 5.6.7.8's - "Woo Hoo"

Oscars: None | Box Office Gross: $70.10 mm | Google Results (kill bill: vol. 1 “long take”): 1,640

10

Hanna – Subway Fight Scene

Oct 13, 2014 - youtube.com - 164
Hanna – Subway Fight Scene

The greatest big-screen long take of this decade. Eric Bana’s subway fight in Hanna is a subtle yet captivating example of exquisite steadicam work in a tracking shot. The fight itself only features five actors, but thanks to the whirling, angular patterns traced by the camera we get the impression that Eric Heller (Bana) has taken down an entire army with his bare fists. The almost dance-like choreography of the fighters, columns, and camera-man imbue the scene with a hypnotizing energy that was impossible to achieve any other way, given the tight budget constraints of the project. We must also acknowledge the first 90 seconds of the shot, where the director Joe Wright sold us on a living, breathing Berlin train station, and carefully teased us with the not-so-discrete shadowy suit who followed Heller into the underground arena. A soundtrack powered by The Chemical Brothers helps kick the scene into another gear once the struggle begins. When all is said and done, the subway fight scene in Hanna will go down as one of the greatest long take fight scenes in history.

Release Date: April 8th, 2011 | Director: Joe Wright | Director Photography: Alwin H. Küchler | Scene Length: 2:30 | # of Scripted Actors: 5 | # of Extras: 30+ | Soundtrack: Chemical Brothers - "Bahnhof Rumble"

Oscars: None | Box Office Gross: $40.26 mm | Google Results (hanna “long take”): 60,000

GOAT Staff Score - Long Take

The candidates have been assigned a raw score across a range of criteria. The raw scores have been weighted to reflect the impact that each individual criterion has on the 'Final GOAT Score'. Only weighted scores are displayed in this table. -->TURN DEVICE SIDEWAYS TO VIEW ON MOBILE-->
 Orchestration (20%)Camera Work (20%)Acting (20%)Critical Reception (15%)Public Reception (15%)Audio / Music (10%)Total Final GOAT Score
Children of Men - Car Scene93997845740
True Detective - Stash House651088744730
Goodfellas - Copacabana5471010945710
Touch of Evil - Opening78555434590
The Player - Opening37874635585
Panic Room - Break-In4101461035550
I am Cuba - Funeral89261127495
The Protector - Stair Climb102319227470
Kill Bill Vol. 1 - Bathroom26633525420
Hanna - Subway Fight11422313210

GOAT Verdict:

Children_of_Men_GOAT
When a director uses a cinematic device like the long take, they are always taking a calculated risk. The technique can often distract an audience from the plot of the film, and the original goal of the device is often never realized. But in the case of Alfonso Cuarón’s Children of Men, the film is greatly enriched by this unforgettable long-take scene, and it simply would not have been the same without it. Featuring an incredibly complex and ambitious sequence of events, we ride along with five incredible actors as they encounter a vigilante attack that feels as close to reality as any moment in film history. In the glimpse of an eye, we go from a place of pure innocence and serenity to gut-wrenching terror and violence. A veritable roller-coaster of visuals, sounds, and emotions, the Car Scene from Children of Men stands atop the pyramid as the greatest cinematic long take of all time.

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