Excellence in Direction: Boogie Nights

One of my overall favorite technical pieces of film is the use of the tracking shot, and the first scene I think of when it comes to the tracking shot is the 3 minute opening shot of Paul Thomas Anderson’s brilliant Boogie Nights. The thing about this scene is that it is great for reasons besides just the use of the tracking shot. The purpose of this scene is to introduce you to all of the characters in this large ensemble cast. When you take the idea of this mass introduction and apply it to the period of time that this film takes place in, then the end result is this scene.

Everything about it is just perfect. You start with the odd sad clown music and transition from that right into the music of the 70’s as the camera makes its way into the nightclub, introducing you to all of the characters along the way.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is excellence:


4 thoughts on “Excellence in Direction: Boogie Nights

  1. This is one of my favorite shots in the history of movies. Robert Elswit really knows his stuff, man. Technically it is flawless, but also, on a story level, it works perfectly too. Introducing every major character in the opening shot? Excellence indeed.

    • It truly is a brilliant shot. I’ve never seen any other film introduce it’s characters in such a flawless and efficient manner. When you combine the skill of someone like Elswit with Paul Thomas Anderson then the only result you’re going to get is perfection.

  2. Love this shot. the entire movie is just masterfully directed. Anderson is someone who I really admire for his skill. The uneasiness, the nervousness in certain shots of this movie – so brilliant.

    • I absolutely agree. I think Anderson is one of the most talented filmmakers working today if not the most talented, and his brilliance really shows throughout the film.

      Thanks for checking out my site and commenting!

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