YOUR VOICES: On Your Favorite Movie Score

your-voices

Your Voices is a simple concept created to encourage conversation and opinions between movie lovers. It works like this: I throw out a certain topic or question and I’ll take time to make my case or share my opinions. Then it’s time for Your Voices. Head to the comments section and let fellow readers and moviegoers know your thoughts on the topic for that day.

Music has played such a memorable part in so many movies. Just think about how many movies you can identify just by hearing their theme music. Or think about the times when music has been so perfectly in tune with the tone of a film. For years great composers have made names for themselves enhancing film experiences with the original music they create. And when you think about it how do you pick a favorite?

MOHICANS POSTER

When thinking about my favorite movie score so many wonderful ones popped into my head, but for me there is a clear number one. Truly great scores provoke a response while also carefully serving its movie or particular scene. For me they also transcend the film setting. I listen to and admire them completely on their own. The score from 1992’s  “The Last of the Mohicans” does all of those things to perfection.

Trevor Jones was the artist behind this masterfully diverse soundtrack. Funny thing is at the last minute director Michael Mann changed the score from electronic to orchestra. So not only did Jones create gorgeous and stimulating music, he did so with several time limitations in place. Randy Edelman was brought in to score a handful of smaller scenes which ridiculously disqualified it from Oscars contention. Nevertheless the two created something that is just as important to the film as is the great script, direction, and performances.

Whether it is the soft emotion of “The Glade Part II”, the delicate elegance of “Cora” (which was actually played at my wedding), or the pulse-pounding energy of “Fort Battle”, the pieces of music from “The Last of the Mohicans” are so strikingly unique. To go further, no movie music has ever stuck with me more. I’m not talking simply in terms of recognition. I mean music that has struck an emotional chord and continues to this day. That’s why this is an easy choice for me. But what about you?

YOUR VOICES: What is your favorite movie score?

So let Your Voices be heard. What is your favorite movie score? Is their one that holds a special place in your heart? Is it too difficult to narrow it down? Please share Your Voices on today’s question. I would love to hear from you in the comments section below.

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81 thoughts on “YOUR VOICES: On Your Favorite Movie Score

  1. I love your choice of The Last of the Mohicans! One of my all-time favorites, too. And if I can’t go with that, then I’ll take North by Northwest (1957) by Bernard Herrmann, or The Magnificent Seven (1960) by Elmer Bernstein. Great idea for a post, Keith.

  2. It’s a tie for me between Thomas Newman’s score for Road to Perdition and Nick Cave and Warren Ellis’ score for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Both are stunning.

    • To my shame I can’t place Ellis’ score. I definitely remember Newman’s particularly the main theme music. So good! I need to go back a listen to Ellis’ though.

  3. Love the concept of this post! And great topic too
    Star Wars and Nolan’s Batman had great soundtracks. Anything by Zimmer or Williams is awesome! Last samurai, interstellar, pirates of the carribean

      • Original music? Then I’ll separate my choices between musicals and non-musicals and I’ll rank them:

        7) INTO THE WOODS
        6) THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME
        5) ALADDIN
        4) SWEENEY TODD
        3) THE LION KING
        2) SOUTH PARK: B.L.A.U.
        1) HAIRSPRAY

        9) LA MEMORIA DEL AGUA
        8) BIG TROUBLE
        7) JURASSIC PARK
        6) LIAR LIAR
        5) SUPERMAN
        4) STAR WARS EPISODE IV
        3) BACK TO THE FUTURE III
        2) BACK TO THE FUTURE I
        1) THE RESCUERS DOWN UNDER

      • Lots of interesting picks and I’m amazed you were able to rank them that quick. Obviously you’ve really payed attention to movie music.

      • To give you an idea, here are my ratings:

        -CITY LIGHTS: 3/10
        -LIMELIGHT; MONSIEUR VERDOUX: 6/10
        -THE GREAT DICTATOR: 7/10
        -THE CIRCUS; MODERN TIMES: 8/10
        -THE GOLD RUSH: 9/10

        I only found THE CIRCUS and MODERN TIMES’ scores to be great, but only the former made it to my all-time favorite list.

      • Completely agree on The Gold Rush. Love everything about that picture. My grandfather showed it to me as a kid and it made a wonderful impression.

    • Pure gold indeed! When could that ever be the wrong answer. Morricone and Leone had such incredibly creative chemistry between music and scene. GB&U shows them in top form. Love the pick.

  4. A dead tie between Miklos Rosa’s score for Ben-Hur. To capture the grandiose nature of that film and that era of film is amazing. The other is John Williams score for the original Star Wars. That score screams adventure and it always takes me away.

    • Oh great picks! You’re the second person to mention John Williams and how can anyone argue with that choice? But you’re right. Rosa’s score for Ben-Hur is superb. A perfect fit for the film.

  5. Favorite depends on whether we’re talking about my favorite to listen to, or my favorite in how it works within the film. Some scores are fantastically matched to the imagery and story but make for dull listening. Twister is my favorite to listen to, although like many scores the soundtrack CD is severely lacking and out of order.

  6. I’ve got to go with Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium. You may or may not like the movie, but the score is just perfect. While a few tracks are used for comedy purpose, the majority of the score is either really uplifting or heartbreaking, and both are just beautiful all together.

    • I remember the film but I don’t remember the score. You have me really curious. I can imagine it spanning from uplifting to heartbreaking. Great pick.

  7. Inception’s my fav.
    I liked Trent Reznor’s and Atticus Ross’ Gone Girl soundtrack. Sweet at first, like a facade, then slowly distorting into very haunting tunes which kind of reflects the film’s satire.

    Full Soundtrack,dayum, check out the last soundtrack at 1:22:20 with Pike and NPH in the bedroom. See what I mean oh man I just love Gone Girl so much haha!

    I liked Nightcrawler’s soundtrack as well, it’s so triumphant, which plays with your conscience because we clearly know Lou’s work is extremely unethical.

  8. Nice question. I’d probably have to go between The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly and South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut. The former is an absolutely perfect film score and the latter contains the funniest and catchiest musical numbers I’ve ever heard.

    • GB&U is absolutely perfect. I was exposed to that one as a kid. My dad adored that movie and watched it any chance he got. That main theme stuck in my head early on and I have loved it since.

  9. I am enjoying everyone else suggestions and I think Mohicans is great but my favorite is from the Late Great Jerry Goldsmith. Adventure and Romance can’t be any greater than in “The Wind and the Lion”

  10. Still have not seen The Last of the Mohicans…should do that oen for my 2017 Blindspot I guess 🙂

    As for movie scores I always have to immediately think of The Hunt for Red October, Young Guns, Close Encounters and E.T.

  11. This is an impossible question!

    I can maybe narrow it down to five:
    – Lord of the Rings
    – Oblivion
    – Cloud Atlas
    – Once Upon A Time in the West
    – The Dark Knight Rises

    • It doesn’t get much better than Once Upon a Time in the West. So much great music. And I love how each character had their own music. Bronson’s eerie harmonic, Robards’ plucky banjo, and even Cardinale’s beautiful tunes. And the music that plays as she is riding from the train station is breathtaking.

  12. Let’s see…

    Anything Ennio Morricone did for Sergio Leone like The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly, Once Upon a Time in the West, and Once Upon a Time in America, Anything Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross did with David Fincher, Angelo Badalamenti’s music for David Lynch, and Ed Tomney’s score for Safe.

    • It normally is an impossible task, isn’t it? For me “Mohicans” has been since I first saw it in theaters. It grabbed me in the theater and I instantly sought after my own copy of the soundtrack.

  13. I’ve always enjoyed listening to Jerome Moross’ score for The Big Country…just so evocative…

    And pretty much anything by Morricone. I’ll echo Ninvoid’s comment above in that respect!
    John Williams for Star Wars/Raiders/Jurassic Park etc. And I’ve always loved the Blade Runner score by Vangelis.

  14. I have a few that I listen to quite often, though they tend to be tracks rather than full scores: John Murphy’s work in Sunshine, Hans Zimmer in Gladiator (and everything else really), Howard Shore LOTR. A recent favourite is Thomas Newman’s Bridge of Spies score, especially “Homecoming”.

  15. I’m a little late to this particular party, but Superman: The Movie is my all-time favorite score. It’s so so iconic and perfectly matches every moment of the film, from the bombastic title piece to the goofy diddy that plays whenever Ned Beatty’s Otis is doing something dumb. I love it.

  16. What a great topic, always nice to see how many people actually pay attention to the score of a movie. It’s such an important part! I am a big time Zimmer fan, so I would say either Inception or Interstellar is my favourite. In fact, having only just watched Interstellar for the second time, I was reminded of how much of the movie actually hangs on the score. I do have issues with Interstellar, mainly the final part, but the score really helps take the movie to another level and I think I would like Interstellar a lot less than I do without it. Incidentally, I am completely confused as to why the score from Mad Max: Fury Road didn’t receive an Oscar nom? No one really seems to talk much about Junkie XL’s score, so maybe I just have bad taste, but I thought it was brilliant. I actually often listen to it at work (headphones on!) to get myself really pumped. Haha! Valhalaaaaaaa!

    • If that’s the case we both have bad taste. I loved the score from Fury Road! It really energized the rolling action sequences. Loved it. Agree on Zimmer too. He may be a bit too much for some but I love his work.

  17. So many great scores mentioned here. Bernard Hermann’s score in Vertigo – Whether Stewart is wandering around San Francisco with or without Novak, enduring a nightmare, or closing in on the truth the score is ever present and crucial in creating both the surreal atmosphere and the inner turmoil of the characters.

    • Brilliant score indeed Hermann had such a great understanding of Hitchcock. It’s amazing how well he was able to help capture very specific tones and moods that Hitchcock was going for.

  18. Oh, Last of the Mohicans is one of my brother’s all time faves! I remember listening to it a lot in the car when I was in high school. I love it too, it’s as epic as the film. I was just talking about 2015 scores Keith, stop by and let me know if any of them is your faves.

    • That is so cool Ruth! I can’t tell you how many times I listened to it in my vehicles! It manages to be incredible stand alone music as well as absolutely perfect music for the film and the individual scenes! Glorious!

  19. Oh man, I missed out on this post! Not for long 😉

    So many favourite scores. I’ve not heard (or seen!) Last of the Mohicans yet, so I need to rectify that.

    Hans Zimmer’s score for Gladiator is above all my all time favourite. Probably the film score that got me into film scores. Since then I’ve definitely gravitated to the more grand, orchestral score pieces. But also love stuff from Cliff Martinez (Drive was brilliant and his stuff on The Knick). Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross are doing some brilliant things – very different, but really enjoyable to listen to.

    James Horner’s Titanic is an epic piece of music, though always found it frustrating that I could hear the same themes in other Horner scores.

    Above all, Hans Zimmer is coming out a favourite film score composer for me. Some of them sound a bit samey, but then he’ll hit on something beautiful – like the organs used in Interstellar. Funnily enough, it was the organs used in Heather Macintosh’s score for Z for Zachariah that I really enjoyed too. Organs all around!

    • You have an organ thing going! I’m with you. And Zimmer is spectacular. There are moments where you do see him channeling some of the same sounds but I’m perfectly fine with that. They are usually so well done and almost always fit their scene beautifully.

      Oh and you MUST see Mohicans and definitely listen to that score. Since the movie came out I have had that soundtrack on cassette, on CD, and now on my phone. I have to have it with me. Sooooo good.

  20. Great picks, here, Keith! My all time favorite score is Star Trek: TMP by Jerry Goldsmith. I am a soundtrack nerd and have a bunch on vinyl, CD’s and digital. Gosh, dunno if I could even attempt to put them in any order lol. Nice post, man!

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