The 50 Greatest Trailers of All Time (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 (Psy­choCit­i­zen 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.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.