Turf Moor enjoyed a night that generations will talk about forever as the Champions of England were beaten 1-0 thanks to a sensational Robbie Blake wonder goal.
The Clarets first home game in the top flight for 33 years was illuminated by Blake's fantastic 18th minute volley, which earned Owen Coyle's men their first ever Premier League points.
Blake wins it!
And in a game that had everything, Brian Jensen made a magnificent save to deny Michael Carrick from the penalty spot and seal a thrilling night.
United, who fielded a strong side despite making six changes to the side that defeated Birmingham at the weekend, started brightly.
Michael Owen soon had the ball in the net, but the linesman had rightly flagged the ex-Liverpool man offside.
Steven Fletcher had Burnley's first chance after 10 minutes and perhaps should have done better, missing a dropping volley before firing a bouncing ball well over with Ben Foster's goal at his mercy.
Steven Jordan had to be alert to cut out Michael Carrick's run on 11 minutes, but his ball goalwards caused momentary panic amongst the Clarets faithful before sailing behind for a corner.
However, the Clarets settled down and Chris McCann was just inches from meeting Jordan's deep cross on the quarter hour mark.
And Turf Moor was in absolute raptures on 18 minutes, with a real goal of the season candidate.
Jordan's delightful deep cross was only half cleared to Robbie Blake, who smashed a stunning volley past Foster and into the top corner.
Cheeky chants of "You're not Robbie Blake" rang out around Turf Moor as Wayne Rooney fired a shot wide just a minute later.
It almost got even better for Burnley on 23 minutes but Fletcher couldn't keep his bicycle kick down from Blake's lofted free kick.
The Clarets soaked up plenty of United pressure, but it wasn't until the 36th minute when the reigning champions had their next effort, Owen steering a header wide when he really should have tested Brian Jensen.
Rooney then got in behind the Burnley defence on 41 minutes, but his cross was put behind by man mountain Andre Bikey, who was a rock alongside Carlisle in the first half.
Jensen was the Clarets hero on the stroke of half time, saving wonderfully from Carrick's penalty after Blake had felled Evra in the box.
And that was the last action of a frenetic first half in which Burnley held their own against United.
Sir Alex Ferguson's side started the second half on the front foot, but the first real chance was from a Blake free kick on 52 minutes which the former Bradford man curled just wide.
Rooney, in front of the watching England manager Fabio Capello, was having a frustrating night - and the taunts came his way again on 57 minutes when he fired well over from distance.
For a spell the Clarets dominated, getting the ball down and teasing the United backline.
But if anyone needed a reminder of the threat posed by the champions, they got it on 66 minutes when sub Dimitar Berbatov, on for the ineffective Owen just after the hour mark, fired a ball just over.
A minute later, Jensen saved well from Ji-Sung Park before Jordan blocked superbly from Antonio Valencia's follow-up.
Jensen denies Giggs
It was becoming end to end and Fletcher killed a ball dead on 68 minutes before firing a shot just over Foster's goal.
Elliott soon stung Foster's fingers with a piledriver as the Clarets faithful breathlessly counted the clock down.
Time seemed to tick away so slowly as United continued to press for an equaliser, only to be repelled at every chance by a water-tight Clarets back line.
And Rooney was arguably lucky to stay on the pitch on 85 minutes for an awful challenge on man of the match Tyrone Mears.
Four agonising added minutes, counted down throughout by the majority inside a deafening Turf Moor, produced minor scares before Alan Whiley's final whistle brought the house down and kick started the celebrations.
Burnley: Jensen, Mears, Carlisle, Bikey, Jordan, Blake, Elliott, Alexander (Gudjonsson 73), McCann, Paterson (Eagles 73), Fletcher.
Subs: Penny, Kalvenes, McDonald, Thompson, Guerrero.
Booked: Paterson (19, foul), Blake (36, foul)
Manchester United: Foster, O'Shea, Brown (Neville 71), Evans, Evra, Park, Anderson (Valencia 59), Carrick, Giggs, Rooney, Owen (Berbatov 63).
Subs: Scholes, Gibson, Kuszczak, De Laet.
Booked: Rooney (85, foul)