Do the First and Final Lines of Famous Films Can Teach Us a Lot about Good Screenwriting?

How do screenwriters bookend the first and final lines of dialogue?

By now, we should all be very familiar with Jacob T. Swinney's popular "First and Final Frames," a video essay series that explores how filmmakers visually bookend their films and how some even use the opportunity to say something deeper about the story or characters. Video essayist Daniel Whidden takes Swinney's idea and rewrites it with screenwriters in mind, comparing the first and final lines of the top 50 films on IMDb to see if there is any connection between the words spoken in the opening sequence and the ones spoken as the screen begins to fade to black. Judge for yourself in the video below:

Much like Swinney's exploration into the first and final frames of films, Whidden's video essay reveals that the first and final lines of dialogue in any given film is—kind of hit or miss, at least if what you're looking for is some kind of powerfully clever statement about the events that were sandwiched in between them.

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