Seven Defining Movie Soundtracks

Conor Davies November 17, 2013 Comments Off on Seven Defining Movie Soundtracks
Seven Defining Movie Soundtracks

Movies and music have gone hand in hand for years, one not being complete without the other. Most of the memorable film moments over the last few decades have had the background music make them what they are. So on that note, let’s delve into the top 7 ‘perfect’ movie soundtracks…

Hans Zimmer- Inception


A film that defied expectations (and gravity), Christopher Nolan’s mind-epic, was helped by a thunderous score from Hans Zimmer. Zimmer and Nolan had struck  up a partnership during the latter’s Dark Knight Trilogy, which Zimmer scored with James Newton Howard. The result was some epic movie blockbuster moments, an unprecedented sight for a comic-book flick. Well Zimmer continued his run of fine form in 2010’s ‘Inception’, for which he teamed up with legendary guitarist Johnny Marr, to create some spell-binding moments (when the ‘Dream is Collapsing’ for example), in a film that was lapped up by the masses, grossing $1billion in its run around the world. Top marks Hans!

Cliff Martinez- Drive

One of the films of 2011, ‘Drive’, was a mysterious, artsy action flick, that had Ryan Gosling at its centre. However, Cliff Martinez’ gentle, yet driving electronic soundtrack was constantly bubbling underneath the grimy, at times, gruesome drama on-screen. It’s often unnoticed, but when you do realize it, it’s a magical thing. Throw in some memorable pop songs from College, Kavinsky and Desire and the balance was perfect. Nicholas Winding Refn’s film wasn’t loved by all, but one thing the majority could agree on was its majestic score.

Michael Giacchino- Up


Michael Giacchino first made his mark with cult TV series ‘Lost’, his first collaboration with JJ Abrams,  and a truly amazing score that popped up throughout six seasons, infact if it hadn’t of been for his masterful last contribution to the series, with ‘Moving On’, the infamous last scene wouldn’t have worked at all for me, as it was he pulled it off. He’s now the composer for everything from ‘Mission Impossible’, to ‘Star Trek’, but it is his work on Pixar’s ‘Up’, that impressed me the most, especially for THAT opening 10 minutes. The feeling of happiness to heart-breaking sadness is obviously partially down to the Pixar magic, but Giacchino’s soulsapping music also deserves a shout, for its tender strokes.

John Williams- Star Wars

The score that brought orchestral music back to the silver screen, John Williams’ diverse pallet of a soundtrack MUST be on this list. It had the jazzy otherwordly tones of the Cantina band, the hard action score that accompanied many flashy scenes and the romanticizing score for those ‘intimate’ moments. And it all came during Williams’ long streak of form, with ‘Indiana Jones’ and ‘Jaws’, in particular, meaning he must be one of THE best composers of our time. With his eagerly awaited return to come on the new wave of ‘Star Wars’ movies from 2015 onwards, expect more movie magic to be be made.

Lord of the Rings- Howard Shore


Peter Jackson’s adaption of the epic trilogy was widely regarded as something about a masterpiece. A tough sell given the complex nature of alternative worlds, elves and orks in J. R. R. Tolkein’s impressive collection, but whereas Jackson obviously did the business, a lot of the plaudits should also go to Howard Shore. I mean how easy can it be to weld together the appropriate tunes for a 3-hour fantasy blockbuster?! Well he managed it, from some choral vocals for the big, booming set-pieces, to even employing Enya for the quiet moments of the piece, he certainly earned his Academy Award for the stunning soundtrack he produced.

Pulp Fiction

Tarantino ripped up the soundtrack playbook once again for his 1994 pulp classic, favoring the tones of Kool & the Gang over some more traditionally-based dulcet cello tones. No, for what many deem to be his masterpiece, he careful manipulated every single scene in breath-taking detail, to ensure his creation was truly HIS. He dug out old classics like Chuck Berry’s ‘Never Can You Tell’, and gave them a fresh lick of paint, for a brand new generation to sink their teeth into. Tarantino done good!

The Good the Bad & The Ugly- Ennio Morricone

ennio morricone the_good_the_bad_and_the_ugly_-_expanded1

One of the all-time classics, Morricone’s creation became one of the most famous pieces of music ever. Parodies followed, from ‘The Simpsons’, all the way to ‘Family Guy’, but the 10 pieces that make up the film with shooting, yodelling and howling all included mean that as soon as you hear this collection of tracks, you’re immediately transported back to the dusty desert vistas that were the backdrop to this spaghetti western. A breath-taking score.

So those are my personal picks, but what about yours? Let me know in the comments!

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Seven Defining Movie Soundtracks

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