Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Top 5 Film Scores

The Angry Lurker asked me the other week what were my favorite pieces of film music and songs. Well, I'd answer him by posting a two-part blog on film music. This first part focuses solely on film score. Music has always been an integral part of film even before sound. Film score composers may not have the same cache as, say, classical composers but they have created some of the most indelible tunes in pop culture over the years. I'm going to reveal some of my favorite film scores from my favorite films:

Chariots of Fire
Composed by Vangelis

Why is this just an "honorable mention"? Because shamefully, I have not seen this film in its entirety. Although I do believe nearly everyone knows this because it's often played during sporting events including the Olympics. This theme is far more iconic than the film itself, despite the fact that it won the Best Picture Oscar. Most people know this theme but not everyone know it is from a movie.

5. "Flying Theme" from E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
Composed by John Williams

John Williams has composed many, many, MANY iconic and memorable film scores throughout the decades from extremely popular films. From Superman to Harry Potter, he is a blockbuster composer. Everyone knows his themes. He's won 5 Oscars and was nominated numerous times. His collaborations with director Steven Spielberg has produced some of his best work (Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Jurassic Park, etc. etc.) so it was tough to decide which one to include in a Top 5. But I decided on this, it represents everything that's wonderful about the two of them.

4. "Lux Aeterna" from Requiem for a Dream

Composed by Clint Mansell

Requiem for a Dream is a very haunting and rather bleak film on drug addiction. One of the reasons, I believe, it worked the way it did is Clint Mansell's beautiful score, highlighted of course by the now iconic theme entitled "Lux Aeterna" (It was so awesome that an orchestral arrangement was used in the trailer of the second Lord of the Rings movie). If the theme from E.T. can uplift you, "Lux Aeterna" can bring you down, in the most beautiful way possible.

3. "Tara's Theme" from Gone With The Wind

Composed by Max Steiner

I'll admit that I think Gone With The Wind is a tad overrated as a film. It is an admirable, ambitious effort but it's too much like a bloated soap opera for my taste. One of the things I do love about it is Max Steiner's score, specifically the famous "Tara's Theme" which opens the film as the large title card flashes through the screen.

2. Main Theme from Psycho

Composed by Bernard Herrmann

The collaboration of director Alfred Hitchcock and composer Bernard Hermann is one of the best in film history. There's no better example than the score for Psycho, the film that pretty much started the slasher horror genre. The decision to only use strings for the score is a brilliant one since it helps bring the chill down one's spine. From the main titles theme to the all-too-familiar shower score that helped increase the shock and shrieks from the audience, this score is one of the all-time masterpieces.

1. Main Theme from Once Upon a Time in the West

Composed by Ennio Morricone

I've listened to this piece of music so many times and it does not fail to give me goosebumps or occasionally even move me. Ennio Morricone has done so many great scores both in Italy and in Hollywood. He has done great scores with Sergio Leone and his spaghetti Westerns but this is probably my all-time favorite. You don't even need to see the film to appreciate it. I defy anyone to not have goosebumps once the soprano voice kicks in. The film was in and of itself. The music made it a flatout masterpiece of the genre.


YeamieWaffles said...

These are all excellent but Requiem For a Dream's score has to be the best of all time buddy, it's honestly one of my favourite films ever and I love this score.

Copyboy said...

Dude you nailed some of the most iconic themes. Though you did forget the theme to Waterworld.

Rawr said...

love psycho, great movie

Natural One said...

The ET theme was great

Anonymous said...

The main theme of Psycho is great.

Gizmo said...

I love the flying theme from E.T.!

Sub-Radar-Mike said...

Great picks, glad you didn't rehash Inception like most film blogs... I also like Thomas Newman's track "Any Other Name", found in a bunch of films... classic.

Bersercules said...

All very good choices! Psycho was my favorite movie with might be why I think it was the best song out of the bunch!

Reilly said...

Man, you forgot the other one from Clint Mansell:

DWei said...

I've never watched any of these movies... ._.

my day in a sentence said...

Where's The Godfather main theme?

MRanthrope said...

great choices all around. I found myself nodding along i agreement with ever knew score you listed.

Bob said...

Nice picks.
I can't think of any of my favorites right now. :/

Damon said...

the E.T theme was so great
i like it :P
nice post

Bart said...

i think im going to have to check out that western

A said...

Awesome picks, awesome soundtracks, awesome films

Anonymous said...

The Psycho theme scares me!!