Pomp? Check. Circumstance? Check. Fireworks? Obviously.

The Opening Ceremony for the Olympics is appointment viewing even for those who can't tell a discus from a slam dunk. With Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle helming the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics we should be treated -- if the early leaks are to be believed -- to pomp, circumstance and then some.

Of course, Boyle has his work cut out for him if he wants the 2012 event to stand out from the crowd. Conjuring a "rocket man" and relying on some breathtaking long-range archery, the creative minds behind recent Opening Ceremonies have gone all out, even if not all ideas worked as well in practice as they may have on paper. From the poignancy of Muhammad Ali's appearance in 1996 to the complex choreography of Beijing, anything is possible.

Sure, there's always an off chance of some poor execution, wardrobe malfunctions and some all-around gaffes. But all in all, the opening ceremony is always a spectacle, a very expensive spectacle. And what better way to open the world's biggest sporting event?

To get a taste of what past ceremonies have been like, watch some of the most unforgettable moments from the shows that have kicked off previous Olympic Games.

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  • Rocket Man Lift Off

    Where: Los Angeles, USA When: 1984 A "rocket man" flies into the opening ceremony with a jetpack strapped to his back.

  • Precision With Percussion

    Where: Beijing, China When: 2008 With incredible precision, the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony included a massive number of choreographed drummers.

  • The Flaming Arrow - Barcelona 1992

    Where: Barcelona, Spain When: 1992 With a little help from an Olympic archer, the cauldron was lit by a flaming arrow paired with perfect aim.

  • Giant Choreographed Skier

    Where: Torino, Italy When: 2006 An incredible color-coordinated performance gave the illusion of a giant skier in motion as the 2006 Winter Games commenced.

  • Projected Whale Illusion

    Where: Vancouver, Canada When: 2010 With incredible technology, the floor of the opening ceremony was transformed into an ocean, complete with the breaching Orca whales that the Canadian coast is famous for.

  • Muhammad Ali Lights The Cauldron

    Where: Atlanta, USA When: 1996 Olympian and heavyweight boxing legend Muhammad Ali surprised spectators when he emerged to light the Olympic cauldron along to a roaring crowd.

  • Fire And Waterworks

    Where: Sydney, Australia When: 2000 The Sydney Olympics opened with a show of water and fire that was visually beautiful and nothing short of stunning.

  • Unfortunate Doves

    Where: Seoul, South Korea When: 1988 As torchbearers were elevated high towards the Olympic cauldron, organizers released doves a bit too close to the flame.

  • Long, Crowded Hike

    Where: Moscow, Russia When: 1980 A Russian torchbearer made a long, winding journey up an awkward, narrow path through a crowd of spectators before eventually lighting the cauldron.