Pre-Title Sequences from Shortest to Longest

MakeshiftPythonMakeshiftPython Omaha, NE
edited October 10 in Bond Movies Posts: 6,696
Given the news of NTTD supposedly having a pre-title sequence that clocks at 20 minutes, I thought it would be interesting to look into the length of every Bond film's pre-titles. My method of timing them was to not include the opening studio logos, so I start it off with either the gun barrel or in the case of CR, QOS, and SF start right after the stuio logos fade to black. I then stop the timer right when the main titles visual cue kicks in.

Here's all the pre-titles listed in film release order to see the evolution of the lengths:


From Russia with Love - 3:00
Goldfinger - 4:52
Thunderball - 4:32
You Only Live Twice - 5:47
On Her Majesty's Secret Service - 6:32
Diamonds Are Forever - 4:32
Live and Let Die - 4:30
The Man with the Golden Gun - 7:55
The Spy Who Loved Me- 7:40
Moonraker - 5:32
For Your Eyes Only - 6:16
Octopussy - 7:16
A View to a Kill - 5:59
The Living Daylights - 7:14
Licence to Kill - 8:32
GoldenEye - 10:10
Tomorrow Never Dies - 9:12
The World is Not Enough - 14:05
Die Another Day - 13:12
Casino Royale - 3:11
Quantum of Solace - 3:36
Skyfall - 12:33
Spectre - 12:26
No Time to Die - 23:30


Now here's all the pre-titles from shortest to longest:


From Russia with Love - 3:00
Casino Royale - 3:11
Quantum of Solace - 3:36
Live and Let Die - 4:30
Thunderball - 4:32
Diamonds Are Forever - 4:32
Goldfinger - 4:52
Moonraker - 5:32
You Only Live Twice - 5:47
A View to a Kill - 5:59
For Your Eyes Only - 6:16
On Her Majesty's Secret Service - 6:32
The Living Daylights - 7:14
Octopussy - 7:16
The Spy Who Loved Me- 7:40
The Man with the Golden Gun - 7:55
Licence to Kill - 8:32
Tomorrow Never Dies - 9:12
GoldenEye - 10:10
Spectre - 12:26
Skyfall - 12:33
Die Another Day - 13:12
The World is Not Enough - 14:05
No Time to Die - 23:30


So under Cubby and Harry's run during FRWL-TMWTGG the typical length was above 4 minutes, with FRWL being the shortest at 3:00 and TMWTGG being the longest at 7:55. When Cubby took over during TSWLM-LTK the typical length was boosted to 6-7 mins, with MR being the shortest at 5:32 and LTK being the longest at 8:32. Then with Michael and Barbara taking over since GE they've clearly favored having in having the pre-titles clocking around over 10 mins, with TND being the shortest at 9:12 and TWINE the longest at 14:05. The clear exceptions were CR and QOS, as they ran even shorter than the average length during Harry and Cubby's run.
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Comments

  • Posts: 11,420
    Thank you for putting this together! Very interesting to look at these numbers! As you pointed out on average they've definitely gotten longer later in the series with the Brosnan and Craig eras, with the exceptions of CR and QOS (both of which are awesome, shorter PTSs). My favorites seem to be pretty unaffected by length. I'm actually a little surprised DAD is as long as it is; it feels quite short in the moment watching it IMO.
  • MakeshiftPythonMakeshiftPython Omaha, NE
    edited February 2020 Posts: 6,696
    FoxRox wrote: »
    I'm actually a little surprised DAD is as long as it is; it feels quite short in the moment watching it IMO.

    So was I. I think the difference is that DAD's pre-title was always planned to be as long as it was so the sequencing feels more natural. With TWINE it was only supposed to be Bond getting the money at the bank and end with Renard being revealed as the sniper, telling Cigar Girl "everything is going according to plan" which then transitions to the titles. So once the titles finished we'd then get what seems to be a typical MI6 office scenes that we always got after the titles in older films, except it ends with a bang and transitions into the boat chase.

    All the scenes in MI6 and the boat chase would have gone on longer if they were kept in place after the titles. For example the boat chase would have expanded with police forces joining in on the river but that all got cut out. That's why the MI6 scenes feel so truncated because they had to cut it down for the PTS.
  • Posts: 11,420
    FoxRox wrote: »
    I'm actually a little surprised DAD is as long as it is; it feels quite short in the moment watching it IMO.

    So was I. I think the difference is that DAD's pre-title was always planned to be as long as it was so the sequencing feels more natural. With TWINE it was only supposed to be Bond getting the money at the bank and end with Renard being revealed as the sniper, telling Cigar Girl "everything is going according to plan" which then transitions to the titles. So once the titles finished we'd then get what seems to be a typical MI6 office scenes that we always got after the titles in older films, except it ends with a bang and transitions into the boat chase.

    All the scenes in MI6 and the boat chase would have gone on longer if they were kept in place after the titles. For example the boat chase would have expanded with police forces joining in on the river but that all got cut out. That's why the MI6 scenes feel so truncated because they had to cut it down for the PTS.

    Yes. As much as I enjoy a lot of the TWINE PTS, you can really feel its length. I'm hopeful NTTD's will feel more natural. I wouldn't mind seeing shorter PTSs make a comeback with the next era, though as I said the length isn't necessarily indicative of quality. I'd even be up for a few more Bond-less PTSs as long as they're done well (I thought we were about to get one with NTTD being set in just Norway, but the 20-minute confirmation has debunked that).
  • MakeshiftPythonMakeshiftPython Omaha, NE
    Posts: 6,696
    I remember watching THE DEPARTED for the first time and was shocked when the title of the film clocked in at 25 mins, mainly because I had become so engrossed in the film that I didn't realize the title of the film showed up. Very unusually long pre-title sequence, but it worked at the time. Hopefully the PTS for NTTD is as engrossing that you won't notice the length until the title shows up.
  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 10,982
    For TWINE, I really enjoy how it plays out with a mini-stunt out the window then straight on to MI6. There's time to pause and wonder what the hell is about to happen, since the titles didn't start. Then hell does break loose.

    And I also enjoy how the Brosnan films used the pre-title action mini-stunt leading to a larger action payoff. GE's bungee jump then the freefall to catch a plane. TND's escape from the airfield then the dogfight and ejector seat finale. DAD's real world surfing intro. Then the hovercraft chase.

  • MaxCasinoMaxCasino United States
    Posts: 2,916
    For TWINE, I really enjoy how it plays out with a mini-stunt out the window then straight on to MI6. There's time to pause and wonder what the hell is about to happen, since the titles didn't start. Then hell does break loose.

    And I also enjoy how the Brosnan films used the pre-title action mini-stunt leading to a larger action payoff. GE's bungee jump then the freefall to catch a plane. TND's escape from the airfield then the dogfight and ejector seat finale. DAD's real world surfing intro. Then the hovercraft chase.

    +1 all of PB’s films started great.
  • Posts: 11,420
    MaxCasino wrote: »
    For TWINE, I really enjoy how it plays out with a mini-stunt out the window then straight on to MI6. There's time to pause and wonder what the hell is about to happen, since the titles didn't start. Then hell does break loose.

    And I also enjoy how the Brosnan films used the pre-title action mini-stunt leading to a larger action payoff. GE's bungee jump then the freefall to catch a plane. TND's escape from the airfield then the dogfight and ejector seat finale. DAD's real world surfing intro. Then the hovercraft chase.

    +1 all of PB’s films started great.

    I agree, but regrettably, 3/4 ended weak IMO (TND, TWINE, and DAD). The only PTSs I've not been enjoying lately are YOLT and DAF.
  • MooseWithFleasMooseWithFleas Philadelphia
    Posts: 3,259
    I thought FRWL was 1 minute 52 seconds ;)

    Interesting that the End Credits probably follow a very similar pattern. DN and TB seemed to have credits that lasted no longer than 20 seconds, while now they are more like 10 minutes!

    Also Craig era is quite divisive with CR and QoS being quick hitters, while SF & SP are among the longest of the bunch
  • MakeshiftPythonMakeshiftPython Omaha, NE
    Posts: 6,696
    The end credits for Bond are actually a lot shorter than other franchise films these days. That's mainly because the title sequences for Bond still include a ton of technical credits that are usually reserved for the end credits. As a result, the end credits for Bond films only go as long as five minutes or less.

    I always thought that was pretty unique of Bond title sequences to retain the more obscure credits, likely so that the sequence can still go for four minutes. Typical main titles like the MCU films are only half as long since they're only crediting the main crew members and cast.
  • mtmmtm United Kingdom
    Posts: 11,641
    I’m kind of surprised that the last two Craig’s are only a couple of minutes shorter than TWINE’s: they don’t feel as long. I guess the issue with TWINE is that the sequence actually stops and pauses and goes back to MI6 HQ: the pace drops and that makes it feel like it’s been going for longer. In Sp and Sf it’s one continuous sequence that keeps the pace up.
    I’m curious how they’ll manage that in NTTD: it looks like it can’t be one continuous sequence, unless we’re getting Fleming-style flashbacks later on.
  • NicNacNicNac Administrator, Moderator
    Posts: 7,522
    Great thread idea @MakeshiftPython .

    TMWTGG clocked in at nearly 8 minutes?
    And we always noticed the length of TWINE, but DAD was less than a minute behind.

    I love these kind of threads.
  • RyanRyan Canada
    Posts: 669
    Interesting to put things in perspective. I didn't realize that TMWTGG was that long. It feels like such a quick, concise bit of fun. I also echo the sentiment that DAD's doesn't feel as long as it is for the same reason. The pacing is excellent.
  • mtmmtm United Kingdom
    Posts: 11,641
    NicNac wrote: »
    Great thread idea @MakeshiftPython .

    TMWTGG clocked in at nearly 8 minutes?
    And we always noticed the length of TWINE, but DAD was less than a minute behind.

    I love these kind of threads.

    Yeah that is interesting, isn't it? It certainly is a long one as quite a lot happens, but it feels much shorter because it's all one, pretty continuous sequence I guess.
  • goldenswissroyalegoldenswissroyale Switzerland
    Posts: 3,776
    Thanks for this nice Bond trivia @MakeshiftPython. I always like such Bond statisitcs. I knew that CR was rather short but didn't realise that it is the shortest after FRWL.
    And I would have guessed that SF is longer than DAD.
    As others mentioned already: Despite loving the boat chase in TWINE, I have to admit that the PTS is too long and it is a bit strange to have two different action scenes in the PTS which are even intercepted by the MI6-scene.
    FoxRox wrote: »

    I agree, but regrettably, 3/4 ended weak IMO (TND, TWINE, and DAD). The only PTSs I've not been enjoying lately are YOLT and DAF.

    I feel the same: The PTS in YOLT and DAF are disappointing.

  • NickTwentyTwoNickTwentyTwo Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts: 7,252
    I remember watching THE DEPARTED for the first time and was shocked when the title of the film clocked in at 25 mins, mainly because I had become so engrossed in the film that I didn't realize the title of the film showed up. Very unusually long pre-title sequence, but it worked at the time. Hopefully the PTS for NTTD is as engrossing that you won't notice the length until the title shows up.

    While we're talking about other films, Mandy's pre-titles sequence is half the film :P I loved that approach.
  • Posts: 11,420
    I remember watching THE DEPARTED for the first time and was shocked when the title of the film clocked in at 25 mins, mainly because I had become so engrossed in the film that I didn't realize the title of the film showed up. Very unusually long pre-title sequence, but it worked at the time. Hopefully the PTS for NTTD is as engrossing that you won't notice the length until the title shows up.

    While we're talking about other films, Mandy's pre-titles sequence is half the film :P I loved that approach.

    Sort of; we do get the other two title screens before "Mandy" ("The Shadow Mountains 1983 A.D." and "Children of the New Dawn"). I love that film though; I'm glad you brought it up.
  • NickTwentyTwoNickTwentyTwo Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts: 7,252
    FoxRox wrote: »
    I remember watching THE DEPARTED for the first time and was shocked when the title of the film clocked in at 25 mins, mainly because I had become so engrossed in the film that I didn't realize the title of the film showed up. Very unusually long pre-title sequence, but it worked at the time. Hopefully the PTS for NTTD is as engrossing that you won't notice the length until the title shows up.

    While we're talking about other films, Mandy's pre-titles sequence is half the film :P I loved that approach.

    Sort of; we do get the other two title screens before "Mandy" ("The Shadow Mountains 1983 A.D." and "Children of the New Dawn"). I love that film though; I'm glad you brought it up.

    Fair enough; I forgot about those / wouldn't have realized they counted as the film's titles. Lucky to have seen it once in theatres, and loved it as well!
  • MakeshiftPythonMakeshiftPython Omaha, NE
    Posts: 6,696
    mtm wrote: »
    I’m kind of surprised that the last two Craig’s are only a couple of minutes shorter than TWINE’s: they don’t feel as long. I guess the issue with TWINE is that the sequence actually stops and pauses and goes back to MI6 HQ: the pace drops and that makes it feel like it’s been going for longer. In Sp and Sf it’s one continuous sequence that keeps the pace up.
    I’m curious how they’ll manage that in NTTD: it looks like it can’t be one continuous sequence, unless we’re getting Fleming-style flashbacks later on.

    That's where my pre-pre-title sequence theory plays! Norway being its own sequence (perhaps five minutes), followed by a gun barrel which opens up to Matera. I could be very wrong. I do like the idea of the girl under ice in Norway hard cutting to Madeleine emerging from the water in Matera. That to me sounds like a smooth transition.
  • PropertyOfALadyPropertyOfALady Colders Federation CEO
    Posts: 3,667
    I love these kinds of threads.
  • mtmmtm United Kingdom
    Posts: 11,641
    mtm wrote: »
    I’m kind of surprised that the last two Craig’s are only a couple of minutes shorter than TWINE’s: they don’t feel as long. I guess the issue with TWINE is that the sequence actually stops and pauses and goes back to MI6 HQ: the pace drops and that makes it feel like it’s been going for longer. In Sp and Sf it’s one continuous sequence that keeps the pace up.
    I’m curious how they’ll manage that in NTTD: it looks like it can’t be one continuous sequence, unless we’re getting Fleming-style flashbacks later on.

    That's where my pre-pre-title sequence theory plays! Norway being its own sequence (perhaps five minutes), followed by a gun barrel which opens up to Matera. I could be very wrong. I do like the idea of the girl under ice in Norway hard cutting to Madeleine emerging from the water in Matera. That to me sounds like a smooth transition.

    See I think it could be possible (and I hope this isn’t too spoilery for this thread as it only concerns stuff that we’ve seen in the No Time To Die trailers) that we have the action in Matera, then credits, then perhaps later a flashback to Bond and Madeline arriving in Matera and spending their evenings together etc. It’s the kind of thing Fleming would do at the openings of his books.
    I’m not 100% convinced by that idea though: doesn’t feel quite right. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Das Boot Hill
    Posts: 45,411
    Has the NTTD pts been clocked? Must be the longest of them all?
  • MakeshiftPythonMakeshiftPython Omaha, NE
    Posts: 6,696
    I timed it on my second viewing, it was more or less 24 minutes long. 10 full minutes longer than TWINE’s.
  • I echo the sentiment that I never had any idea that DAD's PTS was only a minute behind TWINE's. As previously stated, it's probably because it's all one scene. TWINE goes from the quick shootout/building jump in Bilbao to M's office to following King to the money to the Thames boat chase ending at the Millennium Dome. It's never boring but feels a lot longer.

    In a curious way, I felt the same way about the NTTD PTS. It's never boring and goes by very fast for me, but it feels long because of the fact that so much is going on in several locations (even if they're all closer in proximity).
  • MakeshiftPythonMakeshiftPython Omaha, NE
    Posts: 6,696
    Updated the list to include NTTD. Beats TWINE's record by nine minutes.

    One thing that the two longest pre-titles have in common is that there's leaps in time and distance, with pauses in the middle to give audiences a moment to breathe before ramping up the action. The major difference is TWINE's pre-titles was drastically changed in the editing phase, whereas NTTD's pre-titles were intentionally designed as it is.

    It feels like for TWINE the filmmakers wanted to try to keep the pace up as long as possible, which meant cutting down the MI6 scenes in order to rush to the boat chase. With NTTD, it feels like the filmmakers were confident that audiences would be patient with the long pre-titles so they allowed the middle scenes with Bond and Madeleine to breathe a little more, and keep all the action beats intact. We pretty much live in an era where you can start a film WITHOUT flashing a title until the very end. This has happened with Christopher Nolan's Batman films and carried over onto the Marvel films.

    Now that we have the longest PTS with NTTD, I'm wondering when we'll see that get beat, if that ever even happens.
  • NickTwentyTwoNickTwentyTwo Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts: 7,252
    At some point they should pull a Mandy and make the PTS longer than the rest of the film. :))
  • NickTwentyTwoNickTwentyTwo Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts: 7,252
    With NTTD, it feels like the filmmakers were confident that audiences would be patient with the long pre-titles so they allowed the middle scenes with Bond and Madeleine to breathe a little more, and keep all the action beats intact.

    I feel like it isn't even a matter of audiences being patient with a long pre-titles, a majority probably aren't even familiar with the idea of a PTS, titles sequence, and film. They're just watching *movie*.

    The general public would probably be familiar enough with the fact that there is a Bond theme and accompanying visuals, but I don't think they're in the theatre thinking "when is the titles sequence going to start? This is one long PTS!". Not that you're implying that's what they're doing... I just don't think the general audience is as locked into these Bond formulae like we are.

  • Posts: 1,122
    It'll be interesting seeing what they do with the next Bond PTS. As much as I dislike TWINE I think the decision to keep the PTS long/sustain the dramatic tension of the plot was a good one. I'd say the same about NTTD. Both worked for the stories they were telling.

    As for what 'boundaries' they could push for the next one, I don't think it'll be to do with length or the span of time it could stretch. I'm not sure if we're going to have a throwaway action sequence that's not connected to the plot in the vein of GF, TND, OP etc. I suspect it'll continue to act as a fundamental part of the story, setting up characters and plot elements... I can imagine a future Bond film involving a longer PTS that maybe doesn't even introduce Bond - an opening action sequence, perhaps a location shift before the villain's plot is shown and set in motion. Not quite like TMWTGG or LALD as they'd be larger in scale and more fundamental to the film's plot. We'd only be introduced to Bond a little bit into the film, so in the same sort of vein as the DN film or the FRWL novel. With a new actor coming along I'd say this would be especially a good opportunity to do this.
  • MakeshiftPythonMakeshiftPython Omaha, NE
    Posts: 6,696
    There’s only been six true self contained PTS anyway (GF, TB, FYEO, OP, TND, CR) so statistically speaking it’s more of a rarity for Bond than fans typically make them out to be.
  • Posts: 5,292
    And even TND has a tenuous link to the main plot in the movie : the GPS gizmo is sold on the market to Gupta. Of course, he flees once the action starts.
  • MakeshiftPythonMakeshiftPython Omaha, NE
    Posts: 6,696
    I think the only PTS with no links to the main film whatsoever is OP.
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