Favorite Movie Scores?

September 26, 2012 at 01:04 PM · Joshua Iyer's blog about the Lord of the Rings Symphony got me thinking, what are your favorite movie scores? Mine are in no particular order: Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Star Wars, Life in the Undergrowth (David Attenborough documentary) the Secret of Kells (tho I am a sucker for anything remotely Celtic). LOTR is good too.


September 26, 2012 at 01:21 PM · Danny Elfman's score to Batman (1989) was what made me become a musician. I love many of his scores, and would have to say he's my favorite. As far as movie scores I think Amadeus is the best for obvious reasons.

September 26, 2012 at 01:40 PM · Are we discussing a score that is written specifically for a movie, or a score that is not so? If the latter, then my favorite is the score for 2001.

September 26, 2012 at 01:40 PM · The score to Mission, with the haunting oboe solo and wonderful tone painting; and I agree with the 2001 and Amadeus (the last also for obvious reasons!).

September 27, 2012 at 06:30 AM · For fun, let's say about original scores. Which stand on their own without the movie?

September 27, 2012 at 10:11 AM · I love violin and horses but, in addition, many horse movies have beautiful music scores full of hope, heart and courage... the perfect thing to listen just before performing!

Seceretariat (famous race horse) movie


Spirit "Run Free" score


Black Beauty (violin solo)


Serenata Immortale (I don't know if this is in a movie but it's from Immediate who makes movie music) Everybody I know had a crush on this one!


The orchestral only version is a jewel too..


September 27, 2012 at 05:36 PM · Words for the music from Psycho? I'm almost afraid to ask.

Last week CBC played a 4-minute piece from the 2011 production of Jane Eyre titled "Awaken". It's a heartrending piece that's been haunting me ever since. You can find it on YouTube.

Here's another vote for the soundtrack of 2001: A Space Odyssey. When I first saw it in 1968 it transformed The Blue Danube from a musical cliche to a thing of incredible beauty, with spacecraft taking the place of dancers. And the Adagio from Khatchaturian's ballet suite Gayane, which played as the ship headed out toward Jupiter, captured a feeling of distance and aloneness that again was a transformational experience for me.

I'm a sucker for just about any movie score by Danny Elfman or John Williams.

September 28, 2012 at 05:17 AM · Bacalov - Il Postino!

Awesome violin solo in it, btw...

September 28, 2012 at 07:43 AM · Funny, I was just about to order some movie themes from Musicnotes when I saw this question.

Theme from 'The Godfather' : Speak Softly Love

Yumeji's Theme from the Chinese (Hong Kong) movie 'In the Mood for Love'

Lawrence of Arabia, Schindler's List, The Mission.

I also like 'Mozart Thinks of Chairman Mao' from the movie 'Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress'.

September 28, 2012 at 12:27 PM · Let's not forget Schindler's List.

September 28, 2012 at 12:38 PM · My most recent favorite, Inception, Hans Zimmer. Specifically, 'Time':


September 28, 2012 at 03:16 PM · Schindler's list theme and the Gravel Road from The Village

September 28, 2012 at 06:08 PM · Film scores are constrained in so many ways that impinge on their musical quality, but despite that there are some gems dotted about. Some scores I enjoy:

Jerry Goldsmith. Star Trek: The Motion Picture--like a musical lightshow, epic and romantic; Planet of the Apes (1968)-- brilliant and edgy score.

Rachel Portman: Sirens--full of whimsy, beauty, and longing; The Human Stain--serenely haunting, like a rainy day.

Danny Elfman's underappreciated Proof of Life--a rich blend of rhythm, ethnic and electronic instrument sounds evoking adventure and tension in a South American country.

Alexandre Desplat: I think he really stretched himself and reached a peak with his music for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1, although his part 2 is more popular.

John Williams has a reputation for being a crowd-pleaser, but alongside his facility with melody is a remarkable ability to create layered impressionistic (in a non-academic sense) sketches of scenes built up from motifs inspired by the landscape, the weather, and the action.as well as the emotion. My favorites include: Jaws--there is a great deal more to this music than the instantly cliched shark theme. The score includes some of the best music for seafaring adventure ever written; Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban--full of wit but also dark and surprisingly complex at times.

There is an online radio station which plays soundtracks 24/7 called streamingsoundtracks.com It's not all solid gold but you can select music to play in the stream and over time get to know some of the better music dotted about the field.

September 29, 2012 at 01:11 PM · I don't think I have a favorite but in no particular order, I like:

The Mission

Star Wars


Pearl Harbor

Phantom Of The Opera


Schindler's List

Dances With Wolves

Last Of The Mohicans

Those come to mind immediately, there could be others.....

I was really disappointed with The Red Violin. Josh Bell did a fantastic job, but the music itself was a let-down for me.

October 1, 2012 at 07:32 AM · Platoon - Samuel Barber Adagio For Strings

October 1, 2012 at 05:02 PM · Agreed, just has to be Ennio Morricone "The Good the Bad and the Ugly" stunning music. Also the other films in the trilogy's music is pretty amazing too "A Fistful of Dollars" and "For a Few Dollars More"


October 2, 2012 at 12:55 PM · Love that wistful tune in "Once upon a time in the west". Just fits the movie so well.

October 3, 2012 at 06:15 PM · Planet of the Apes

October 4, 2012 at 05:58 PM · Alison--which one, the epic Goldsmith or the more recent Elfman?

October 4, 2012 at 07:58 PM · Hello Andres, I meant the soundtrack from the original Planet of the Apes. Although it's not exactly easy listening, it really captures the mood of the film.

October 4, 2012 at 11:20 PM · I really love the schindlers theme from the movie! It's just so sad and heart tugging! Here are some other ones I like:

The Godfather theme

Scent of a woman

Some of the Pirates of the Carraibean themes

Some of the Harry Potter songs

My Favorite Things from The Son of Music

I like many more but the list would be too long to tell you! :)

October 6, 2012 at 10:58 PM · I saw the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra perform The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Rings (1st movie) on Sat 6 Oct 2012. The movie was played on a large screen in the background while the orchestra and choirs performed. It was amazing!

Erik Ochsner was conductor, Roy Theaker was concertmaster that evening. Made me realise how much music there was in the background of a movie.

October 7, 2012 at 11:37 AM · For me, the grand pieces are the greats, no doubt about it. But even so every now and again music from a TV theme will turn my head. Recently it was by Christopher Gunning, theme music for an old Agatha Christie Poirot episode called 'Five Little Pigs'. Breathtakingly played by Yuri Torchinsky with the BBC Philharmonic. It's one of those pieces that sound very simple, but could be harder than expected. So far, no luck locating the score for it though.

October 7, 2012 at 01:23 PM · The Red Shoes.

October 7, 2012 at 02:58 PM · Weird. I'm a professional musician, and I almost never notice the music in movies. I mean, I notice that it's there, but it never makes an impression to the point where I would want to listen to it without the movie playing.

I do remember the "Kissing in the rain" music from "The Year of Living Dangerously" though, and Lara's Theme from Doctor Zhivago. (I think those are both by Maurice Jarre, so maybe I'm more a fan of his music than I realized.)

January 6, 2013 at 10:26 PM · 1492: Conquest of Paradise by Vangelis. Although I must admit that I've listened to the music score without ever seeing the film. Is that the equivalent of watching a film without reading the book?

January 7, 2013 at 06:06 PM · *Carousel (musical)

*The Pink Panther


*Maxamum Overdrive

*And what others have posted here.

January 7, 2013 at 08:32 PM · Favorite movie scores? The ones that give me the most royalties $$$. :)

January 7, 2013 at 11:38 PM · Man from Snowy River has always been a favorite

Also Gettysburg (Randy Edelmann)

Yes for LOTR, definitely

Also, if it counts: Distant Worlds, a compilation of the final fantasy (game series) soundtrack highlights by Nobuo Uematsu). While much videogame music is repetitive, there is quite a bit of artistry in many of the main themes and special pieces, for these at least!

Patriot theme is right up there with schindler's list for me

January 7, 2013 at 11:59 PM · Star Wars (classic lol)

Inception had a great soundtrack too.

January 8, 2013 at 12:15 AM · The 2011 production of Jane Eyre, with music by Dario Marianelli.


January 8, 2013 at 02:12 AM · I was surprised to see only one mention of Alexandre Desplat. His scores to The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The King's Speech, and Lust, Caution are beautiful and at many times, haunting.

Rachel Portman's Chocolat!

And Michael Giacchino's score to the Pixar film, Up, is straight-up awesome. To add onto Dario Marianelli, his score to Atonement is interesting to hear with the typewriter.

August 23, 2013 at 08:25 PM · Hans Zimmer I can easily say is the best score composer around. I like a lot of scores from him, but in particular Inception and definitely The Dark Knight. There was a lot of cello and bass in the Dark Knight!

August 23, 2013 at 09:33 PM · Oh, what a GREAT subject. Sometimes I think it's 98% about the soundtrack for me, and 2% the film. I love most of the work from these composers:

- John Barry (Biggie: Dances with Wolves, Out of Africa)

- John Williams (huge library of work, but these, however, don't stand on their own as CDs; they go well with the movie. Except for some of the Original Star Wars ones. And the "love theme" of each of the movies.)

- Hans Zimmer (Pirates of the Caribbean, Dark Knight)

- Ennio Morricone (The Mission, Cinema Paradiso - anything on the CD called "YoYo Ma Plays Ennio Morricone")

Music I adore but for the soundtrack and not the movie:

- Anything of James Newton Howard (The Village, The Happening, I am Legend)

I'm sure I'll come up more. What fun to read others' choices. Particularly ones I've never heard of.

Great topic to start!

August 23, 2013 at 10:38 PM · John Williams is a mandatory (Star Wars, Jaws, E.T, Indiana Jones AND Schindler's List)

And then Hans Zimmer is great (Inception, Dark Knight, and some of The themes from Pirates of the Caribbean are HILARIOUS!)

And I loved the soundtrack of Cherí by Alexandre Desplat. Especially the main theme (it's almost addictive). It's also odd because he sometimes adds not electric but...synthetic instruments as well.

Edit: Because Lord of the Rings is brought up, I recently saw the CSO perform (as well as a children's choir) perform to the second movie (the two towers) as it was playig on a screen i the pavillion and the lawn (at Ravinia) and I didn't realize how amazing 1. The soundtrack was and 2. How amazingly awesome it is to hear a really choir teamed up with a professional orchestra. It was to DIE for. I think they are doing the third movie next year at Ravinia again.

August 23, 2013 at 11:11 PM · What Randy says about Josh Bell and The Red Violin I'd say about Isaac Stern and Fiddler on the Roof.

Walton's Henry V. His Ben Hur would have been interesting, too (Zimbalist rejected it and demanded Miklós Rózsa make a new one, which he did under protest), but what's happened to it I haven't a clue.

If I particularly liked Britten, I'd list the Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra (It was originally composed for a film of that name).

There was a pre-Lloyd-Webber filming of Phantom of the Opera. The makers solved the problem of how to get first class opera singers to sing in the film without selling themselves short by making some of Chopin's music into one set of "opera" excerpts, and then doing the same with Tchaikowsky 4. Very effective.

August 27, 2013 at 09:24 PM · John Rokos says, "If I particularly liked Britten, I'd list the Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra (It was originally composed for a film of that name)."

Meanwhile, for a bit of comic relief, try Garrison Keillor's "Young Lutheran's Guide to the Orchestra". Not only is it quite entertaining, it shows off the instruments of the orchestra rather well.

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