Music Break: The American President (1995)

Welcome to another edition of the Music Break series! Apparently I skipped one in October with the TCFF festivities. Well for this week, I was raking my brain to see what soundtrack I would highlight. Well, given today is post-election Wednesday, I figure it’d be fitting to highlight this Oscar-nominated score as Barrack Obama has been re-elected to stay on as The American President!

This film by Rob Reiner is one of my favorite rom-coms ever! Even though it does have political theme, the movie is more about the relationship between the widower commander in chief Andrew Shepherd and an environmental lobbyist Sydney Ellen Wade. In the movie, the popular Democratic President was also running for re-election. I love Michael Douglas and Annette Benning in this film, they have such an effortlessly playful chemistry and the dialog is full of wit, thanks to Aaron Sorkin’s script. No wonder it ranks number 75 on AFI’s Greatest Love Stories in American Cinema!

One of my favorite part of this movie is the lovely music. It has that dignified, ‘presidential’ feel to it but also kind of romantic.

Composer Marc Shiaman has frequently worked with director Rob Reiner, previously on When Harry Met Sally and A Few Good Men. He’s been nominated for Oscar five times, starting with Sleepless in Seattle (1994), The American President (1995), The First Wives Club (1997), Patch Adams (1999) and South Park: Bigger Longer and Uncut (2000).

It’s interesting to note that this movie inspired Sorkin to write the TV show The West Wing, and Martin Sheen got an upgrade from playing the White House Chief of Staff to playing President Bartlet on the show. Though the film’s president is from the Democratic party, the music apparently transcend party lines. According to its IMDb trivia, the theme was also used as the background music in ABC television’s coverage of President Ronald Reagan’s funeral.


What’s your thoughts on today’s movie music?