Favorite Opening Titles: ‘Bullitt’
Peter Yates’ 1968 neo-noir action thriller film “Bullitt” was my introduction to one of the coolest actors and movie stars ever to inhabit this planet of ours, Steve McQueen. It also starts off with one of the most ingenious opening title sequences I have ever seen as a dozen men are waiting outside of a building for a certain individual whom we later see is waiting for them and already prepared to escape their clutches. Seeing the names of the main actors being revealed and then having them come right at us showed how creative one can get with opening titles, and they have the benefit of being scored by the man who would later create the music which Edgar Wright would call “acid jazz” for “Dirty Harry,” Lalo Schifrin.
The opening titles for “Bullitt” were designed by Cuban-American graphic and film titles designer, Pablo Ferro. His list of credits is extensive, and many of his other film titles may end up on this website at some point. What I love about his work on this particular sequence is how cool it all works and how it gives you a sense of not only characters on the move like John Ross, but also of how we are invited to look much closer at everything which goes on here. While everything might seem crystal clear on the surface, the antagonists are eventually going to get quite a rude awakening when they realize they are not as smart as they think.
Keep in mind, we do not see any of the main characters in these opening titles. What we do see is the beginning of a chase for a certain individual, and it is contained within a motion picture which has one of the greatest car chases in cinematic history. While we are left to guess how everything we see here adds up, this is perfect as the characters we are eventually introduced to such as Steve McQueen’s Frank Bullitt, Robert Vaughn’s Walter Chambers and Don Gordon’s Detective Delgetti are thrust into a situation which has more layers than they initially realize.
“Bullitt” remains one of the greatest cop movies ever this side of “The French Connection,” and I recommend you check it out if you have not yet done so. Please feel free to check out its opening titles down below.