Favorite movie music – my top twenty list


Photo Courtesy of Pixelcrave
Orchestra at Piazza San Marco, Venezia – photo courtesy of Pixelcrave.net

F. Gary Gray, Law Abiding Citizen‘s director recently tweeted, “My mtg with the composer Brian Tyler went really well. He just gets it. Music is so important, it can ruin your movie if it’s not right.”

I couldn’t agree more. Music can make or break a movie. Not only does it create the mood and ambience of a film, it’s also what gives ‘life’ to certain key scenes, or an entire film for that matter. Nothing else has the same power to evoke emotion as music, and some directors know this to heart. Steven Spielberg for one, who frequently works with one of Hollywood’s greatest composers John Williams, skillfully uses music to add more oomphs to a lot of his films. Jurrasic Park, Schindler’s List, Indiana Jones, E.T., to name a few, all of those scores create a lasting impression in the audience’s mind.

Some movies and their music score are inseparable, if you leave every scene in a movie the exact same, but swap the music, it’ll be a different film altogether. I can’t imagine watching Somewhere in Time without the lush Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini rendition by John Barry. Even though the piece was written back in the early 1930s, I always think of the movie every time I heard that music! This is also the case where the score is far superior than the film itself. It lingers with you long after I’m done watching it and one I can listen to over and over again.

Soundtracks are getting more common these days, and those can be very effective as well. Instead of hiring a composer to do a custom theme, they’d use pre-recorded songs they deem fitting for a specific movie. I’m going to break down my list to two different categories as theme songs and soundtracks are kind of a different animal. So without further ado, here are my two lists of favorites:

1. Gladiator (Hans Zimmer)
2. Somewhere in Time (John Barry)
3. Phantom of the Opera (Andrew Lloyd Webber)
4. Batman Begins/The Dark Knight (Hans Zimmer)
5. Sabrina (John Williams)
6. Casino Royale (David Arnold)
7. Out of Africa (John Barry)
8. The Lord of the Rings (Howard Shore)
9. Braveheart (James Horner)
10. Sense & Sensibility (Patrick Doyle)

1. P.S. I Love You
2. Sleepless in Seattle
3. Return to Me
4. Notting Hill
5. The Bodyguard
6. Moulin Rouge
7. St. Elmo’s Fire
8. Flashdance
9. Waiting to Exhale
10. Dirty Dancing

Thanks to my friend Scot (with one ‘t’) who suggested this trivia:

Do you know the name of the songs played in the Elephant song medley that Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman sung in Moulin Rouge!?

9 thoughts on “Favorite movie music – my top twenty list

    1. PrairieGirl

      It’s very worth putting on your must-see list. Extremely moving love story within the historical context of U.S. calvary and Indians, and amazing Great Plains scenery. Put this together with the music (and Kevin Costner), and it’s a stirring, memorable film. BTW, finally have Gladiator in my queue, so will have a chance to listen to the music with your list in mind.

  1. Great minds eh? And in answer to Scot (with on “t”) ‘s trivia:

    All you need is love-The Beatles
    I was made for loving you? (Not sure about this one)
    Just One Night
    In the Name of Love-U2
    Don’t Leave me this way
    Silly Love Songs
    Up Where We Belong
    I Will Always Love You-Originally by Dolly Parton not Whitney as a lot of people think.
    Your Song-Elton John.

    Think that’s your lot 😛

    1. Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding! We have a winner! 😀

      I absolutely adore the soundtrack and the way old songs are made new again in the movie. I could listen to Ewan’s singing all day long!

  2. I don’t know bout you guys, but the score to Cutthroat Island is pretty damn impressive – the film might be crap, but the music ain’t bad at all….

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