London 2012: Opening Ceremony Extravaganza

Dramatic photos of Oscar-winning English director Danny Boyle's extravaganza, a celebration he called "as unpredictable and inventive as the British people." Click to see amazing photos from the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

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The Olympic rings light up the stadium during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 27, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Morry Gash, Pool)
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The London 2012 Olympics greeted the world with a spectacular celebration that featured a Beatle, the Queen, Mr. Bean and a colorful celebration of UK life. Click to see great photos of the opening ceremony.
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Sir Paul McCartney, 70, closed the ceremony with a rousing performance of “Hey Jude" with the entire Olympic stadium singing along to every word.
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EMPTY_CAPTION"Good Evening Mr. Bond" with those words Queen Elizabeth II stole the show. The 86-year-old monarch was speaking to movie idol Daniel Craig, in his role as super-spy James Bond, in a movie clip that opened the 2012 Summer Games.
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Actor Rowan Atkinson as "Mr. Bean" provided laughs, as he was shown dreaming that he was appearing in "Chariots of Fire."
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The Olympic rings light up the stadium during the Opening Ceremony.
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Actors dressed to resemble Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and James Bond parachute into the stadium during the opening ceremony.
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Fireworks rain down as the 2012 London Olympic opening ceremony gets underway.
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David Beckham passes under Tower Bridge driving a speedboat named 'Max Power' which carries the Olympic Torch with its torchbearer.
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Actors perform in a sequence meant to represent Britain's National Health Service during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 London Summer Olympics.
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Fireworks illuminate the sky over Olympic Stadium during Opening Ceremonies.
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Fireworks burst above the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
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Fireworks light up the Olympic Stadium during the Opening Ceremony.
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Fireworks explode over the Olympic Stadium during the opening ceremony.
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The Olympic cauldron is lit during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics.
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Torchbearer Sir Steve Redgrave hands the Olympic Flame over to seven young athletes who present Britain's hopes for the next Olympics during the opening ceremony.
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U.S. athletes walk in the opening parade during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics.
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A scene from the 2012 London Olympic opening ceremony.
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Boxer Muhammad Ali participates in the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics
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Sarah Attar of Saudi Arabia enters the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games. Attar is one of the first female athletes to compete for Saudi Arabia at the Olympics.
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The Olympic Cauldron was lit during the opening ceremony by seven young British athletes, each nominated by one of the country’s best Olympians.
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The opening ceremony could have hardly been more British, marked by a flyover from the Red Arrow aerobatics team.
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German athletes walk in a parade during the Opening Ceremony at the London 2012 Summer Olympics.
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Simon Whitfield of the Canada Olympic triathlon team carries his country's flag during the opening ceremony.
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One member of the Australian team seizes his moment in the spotlight to broadcast a message to a loved one.
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Jamaica's Usain Bolt carries this country's flag during the Opening Ceremony.
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Dancers perform on a smoky stage during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
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Opening ceremony director Danny Boyle dedicated the show to the 15,000 volunteers required to keep the show running.
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Performers pay tribute to British music during the opening ceremony by holding up David Bowie puppets.
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A scene from the 2012 London Olympic opening ceremony.
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A large Voldemort puppet from the Harry Potter series looms over performers.
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Actors perform during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
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Dancers perform in the Gosh and NHS scene during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
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United States's Mariel Zagunis carries the flag during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics. The ceremony reportedly cost $42 million to produce and features celebrity appearances, 86 musical tracks and, of course, a spectacular fireworks show.
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General view taken as actors performing during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
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Dancers spell out GOSH, an acronym for London's beloved Great Ormond Street Hospital.
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Rings representing both the Olympics and the Industrial Revolution are lit during the Opening Ceremony.
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Actors scale chimneys during a performance at the Opening Ceremony.
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Performers scale smoking pillars to depict the Industrial Revolution during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Summer Olympics.
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An artist is lowered down during the Opening Ceremony.
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Performers climb a grassy knoll in a scene depicting the English countryside.
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Artists perform during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics.
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Actors celebrate the country's rich history by portraying the transition from the English countryside to the Industrial Revolution.
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Performers make a circle during the Opening Ceremony.
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Artists perform in a pastoral scene with sheep prior to the start of the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
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A balloon flies over spectators before the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
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Performers depict a picturesque view of the English countryside during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
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Spectators look on as performers depict a traditional view of the English countryside during the Opening Ceremony.
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Spectators look on as performers play cricket on the pitch during the preshow prior to the Opening Ceremony.
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Actors and audience members anxiously await the beginning of the Opening Ceremony.
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Artistic director Danny Boyle has titled the Opening Ceremony show "Isles of Wonder."
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Opening Ceremony artistic director Danny Boyle speaks next to the Olympic Bell ahead of the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics.
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The parade of nations featured most of the roughly 10,500 athletes although some planned to stay away to save their strength for competition.
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British cyclist and Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins salutes the crowd at the start of the opening ceremony.
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The Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team "Red Arrows" perform a flypast prior to the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
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The Red Arrows fly over the Olympic Stadium and the ArcelorMittal Orbit Tower ahead of the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games.
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The President of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge, left, and Britain's Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, back right, applaud as Britain's Queen Elizabeth II arrives during the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics.
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Boxing great Muhammad Ali participates in the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics.
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Team USA athletes march during the opening ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympics.
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Former Prime Minister Tony Blair attends the Opening Ceremony.
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U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his wife Ann arrive for the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics.
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Britain's Prince Charles and his wife Camila, Duchess of Cornwall, arrive for the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Summer Olympics.
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Prince William and his wife Catherine, duchess of Cambridge, wait for the beginning of the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Summer Games.
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Ryan Musgrave of Chicago shows his patriotic pride prior to the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics.
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Members of the British military walk to Olympic Stadium for the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Games.
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Spectators shield themselves with raincoats during the Opening Ceremony.
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Fans gather outside of the Olympic stadium in anticipation of the Opening Ceremony.
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Crowds gather before the 2012 London Olympic opening ceremony.
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Anna Prior, left, ties a British flag around her son, Johnny Prior's neck, as they walk toward Olympic Stadium to watch the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Games.
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Fans show their enthusiasm outside of the Olympic stadium as they eagerly await the London 2012 Opening Ceremony.
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Torchbearer Ashley Banjo carries the Olympic flame with members of the dance troupe Diversity through the borough of Barking and Dagenham during Day 65 of the London 2012 Olympic torch relay.
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The Olympic stadium is quiet before the 2012 London Olympic opening ceremony.
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Duran Duran performs at the Opening Ceremony Celebration Concert in Hyde Park, London. The concert is part of a series of events organize by the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic Games.
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Torchbearer 136 Julia Chilcott lights the Olympic cauldron with the Olympic flame at the end of Day 62 of the torch relay leg in Maidstone, England. The official Olympic cauldron was lit by seven young British athletes.
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Dancers rehearse for the Opening Ceremony at Olympic Park in London. A total of 15,000 people will participate in the London 2012 Opening and Closing Ceremonies.
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A worker cleans the chairs of the Olympic Stadium at the Olympic Park in London in preparation for the Opening Ceremony. Sixty-two thousand attendees will fill the stands for the spectacle.
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Workers put up a banner on a fence near the velodrome venue prior to the start of the 2012 Summer Olympics. An estimated 1 billion viewers will tune in to watch the Opening Ceremony on July 27.
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A scene from the 2012 London Olympic opening ceremony.
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Crowds gather before the 2012 London Olympic opening ceremony.
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National flags of all countries attending the London 2012 Olympic Games are on display where the Opening Ceremony will take place. This year, 10,500 athletes from 204 countries are competing for 302 gold medals.
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A scene from the 2012 London Olympic opening ceremony.
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A scene from the 2012 London Olympic opening ceremony.
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A scene from the 2012 London Olympic opening ceremony.
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A scene from the 2012 London Olympic opening ceremony.
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A scene from the 2012 London Olympic opening ceremony.
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A scene from the 2012 London Olympic opening ceremony.
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A scene from the 2012 London Olympic opening ceremony.
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A scene from the 2012 London Olympic opening ceremony.
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A scene from the 2012 London Olympic opening ceremony.
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A scene from the 2012 London Olympic opening ceremony.
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A scene from the 2012 London Olympic opening ceremony.
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A scene from the 2012 London Olympic opening ceremony.
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A scene from the 2012 London Olympic opening ceremony.
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A scene from the 2012 London Olympic opening ceremony.
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A scene from the 2012 London Olympic opening ceremony.
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