IFC.com (the web site of the Independent Film Channel) has worked up a list of the all-time best movie trailers — or, as they put it, the films that promote the actual films. The list cuts across different eras and features many older classics (Psycho, Citizen Kane, Dr. Strangelove, etc.) as well as more recent films. Above, we’ve included their number one pick, Ridley Scott’s Alien. And below, we’ve added IFC’s description, which sets the stage for viewing the trailer:
Masterfully cut and artful to boot, the first glimpse of Ridley Scott’s 1979 sci-horror classic features not a single word of dialogue and begins in abstract: a ride through a star field, a hover above some sort of moon rock, blocky shapes that slowly materialize into the letters of the title, craggy landscape traversed with a macro lens before pulling back to clarify what lies on that cratered surface — the egg of an alien life form. It cracks open, releasing an ill-omened white light and the high-pitched alarm (an animalistic squeal?) that unnerves throughout the rest of the trailer.