07/27/2012 07:27 EDT | Updated 09/26/2012 05:12 EDT

Olympic Opening Ceremony: James Bond, The Queen, Paul McCartney, The Best Moments From London's Opener (PHOTOS)

It was more than three-and-a-half hours long, spanned centuries of history, thousands of costumed dancers, athletes from more than a hundred countries and one monarch.

So out of all the pageantry that made up the London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony, what were the highlights? The moments that had us "oohing and aaahing" and wanting to hit rewind on our PVR? Or those moments that had us chortling and shaking our heads?

Check out our shortlist of the ceremony's best, then vote in our poll for your favourite. Disagree with our choices? Tell us all about it in the comments below.

The Olympic Rings: Industrial Revolution Style

The show's first breathtaking moment was when the iron workers poured 'molten' metal to create the Olympic rings -- then having those same rings lifted into the air where they formed the Olympic logo, showering the performers in glittering, dazzling sparks. Wow.

James Bond Meets The Queen

Probably the most talked about moment during the ceremony. Who wasn't impressed by the video of Daniel Craig escorting the Queen (the actual Queen!) onto a helicopter and then having her 'parachute' into the stadium (not really the actual Queen!)? Only the royal corgis who were left behind at the palace.

David Beckham... On A Speedboat

Vancouver had Wayne Gretzky on the back of a pick-up. The Brits put their most famous footballer in black tie and put him on a speedboat down the Thames with the torch to pass on the Olympic flame. No contest.

Mary Poppins vs. Voldemort

There were rumours that his was match-up was going to happen. Man, were we glad it did. If you were watching the opener with your children, they probably ate this up. Mary Poppins saved the day, natch.

A Tribute... To Health Care!

Another one from the "We should've thought of that!" file. The organizers put together a tribute to Britain's National Health Service. Why didn't we do that during the Vancouver Games?

The Musical Montages To End All Musical Montages

The Beatles. David Bowie. Queen. The Rolling Stones. The Sex Pistols. That was just a fraction of the musical acts they crammed into the ceremony's tribute to British music. Well played, Britain, well played.

Paul McCartney

Would the organizers dream of not including Sir Paul in the festivities? Seeing Macca come out and sing that iconic line from Abbey Road, "And in the end, the love you get is equal to the love you give," was, in a word, epic. We'll even forgive the technical glitch in "Hey Jude." We know all the words anyway.

The Gorgeous Cauldron

The defining moment of every Olympic opening ceremony is the lighting of the cauldron. The London organizers didn't disappoint. London's cauldron lighting was heavy with symbolism; from the selection of seven young British athletes to light it, to that gorgeous moment when those copper petals, brought in during the parade of nations, were joined together to form the flame that will remain lit for 17 days. Perfection.

Olympic Opening Ceremony