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The FilmDebate Contributors Collaborate – Our Three Favourite Movie Soundtracks…


Posted June 12, 2016 by

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Our Three Favourite Movie Soundtracks

The fourth in our ‘contributors collaborate’ monthly feature…this time, we discuss our three favourite film soundtracks!

Adam Snowden

1. Quadrophenia – One of my all-time favourite bands is ‘The Who’, and here you have their classic 1979 coming of age film ‘Quadrophenia’, with what I consider to be the best soundtrack of all time. You can’t go wrong with songs like ‘The Real Me’, ‘I’m One’ and ‘Love Reign O’er Me’.

2. Django Unchained – Love this soundtrack, well done Mr. Tarantino, nailed it with the modern music generic fusion once again. ‘Django Unchained’ features a host of excellent songs, from a range of different genres, including hip/hop, country and blues. Even if you don’t like the film, download its soundtrack…

3. Braveheart – Heavenly and motivating, a beautifully composed soundtrack and score…

Nick Price

1. Back To The Future – Childhood scores which define Universal Orlando theme park for starters and Johnny B Goode!!

2. Ray – The legend that is Ray Charles played incredibly by Mr. Jamie Foxx and as a result epic music to go with it!

3. Guardians Of The Galaxy – Awesome Mix: Vol One – Incredible mixture of music and one of the only albums I have bought in the last 6 years. Cannot wait to see what Vol. 2 has in store!

Ruben R Diaz

1. Schindler’s List – It’s so good that I don’t listen to it anymore. John Williams can do no wrong, but for Schindler’s list he (and Spielberg) took a left turn from their light, action-adventure work of the previous decade. This soundtrack, like the movie, is riddled with pain, but not lacking a glimmer of hope even during the darkest time in human history.

2. Bram Stokers Dracula – Coppola’s retelling of a horror classic is one of my favorite films ever (Yes, Keanu was atrocious). The attention to detail in every bit of costume and set design, coupled with brilliant use of very old-school movie techniques makes this a visual feast. Wojciech Kilar’s music takes it all to a whole new level with a soundtrack ranging from epic to creepy to thrilling.

3. Tron: Legacy – If you asked me what happens in the movie I probably couldn’t tell you. To me, this movie is the most beautiful feature length music video in the history of history. Daft Punk unleashes a tornado of awesome electronic music that pounds furiously during action scenes, flows through moments of self-reflection, and swells with epic flair. It’s THE soundtrack to have on to make writing an action sequence really fun.

Honourable Mentions – Amelie, Batman Returns, The Abyss … AHHH! And that’s just scores!

Larry Oliver

1. Amelie –  Yann Tiersen.

2. Conversation – David Shire.

3. The Draughtsman’s Contract –  Michael Nyman.

Louis Skye

1. X-Men: The Last Stand – Terrible film, great score. John Powell does an amazing job of encapsulating the X-Men universe and giving each character a theme that does them justice. The film doesn’t deserve such a good score.

2. Inception – Hans Zimmer and Christopher Nolan are gold together and it’s never more obvious than with Inception. A haunting, thunderous score that adds gravitas to already stunning visuals, I haven’t stopped listening to it since the film was released.

3. Star Wars – The reason I even know film scores exist. John Williams’ standout score for the Star Wars films established him as a musical genius. He has gone on to make every Star Wars film a unique listening experience. I shudder to think of a Star Wars film that isn’t accompanied by his name.

Katie Young

1. Pulp Fiction – THE soundtrack of the nineteens. Surf rock, funk, Dusty, a soulful ballad from Maria McKee, and Urge Overkill covering Neil Diamond. If you didn’t have this one on CD so you could re-enact the Jack Rabbit Slim’s twisting competition in your room, we can’t be friends!

2. The Doom Generation – Another mid-nineties corker, this film was musical Heaven for an Industrial freak like teenage Me. Nine Inch Nails, Slowdive, The Cocteau Twins, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Aphex Twin, Belly, Porno For Pyros and many more provided the high-octane sound of this splatter-punky orgy of sex and violence. This track list will make you want to get up to no good in cars and seedy motels.

3. The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring – Let’s slow things down with some Enya singing in Elvish! I would happily listen to any of the LOTR soundtracks forever, to be honest. If Annie Lennox singing Into the West didn’t make you go foetal and cry for a week, I don’t believe you have a soul! But Fellowship might have been the first film score I ever bought. It’s so iconic, each theme effortlessly drawing you into another time, atmosphere, and place and creating pure magic. Just a wonderful example of how music can aid world-building on a deep, emotional level. May It Be will forever have the power to eviscerate me!

Daniel Smith-Rowsey

1. The Good, The Bad & The Ugly – Ennio Morricone has written the scores for over 300 movies (!), including relatively unheralded masterpieces like The Mission (1986), but somehow the songs in this three-hour film both summarize and transcend the best of his work. By the time of Sergio Leone’s third installment of his so-called Dollars Trilogy, Morricone could stretch his legs and shade in colors no one else had imagined. Morricone’s “take” on Mexican music remains utterly enriching, and that’s directly related to the on-your-sleeve, very presentational “here’s the MUSIC” style that works so well with Leone’s we-know-this-is-silly-but-let’s-go-for-it-ism. Takes you on an epic ride around the world even the twentieth time you listen to it.

2. Purple Rain – It isn’t a perfect film, but it’s by far the best rock album to be a narrative film and not a concert movie; the soundtrack including the non-Prince songs is even slightly better than any of the 12-song compilations that made up each of the five Beatles films. Purple Rain actually seems more astonishing now than it did in 1984, partly because of the sheer audacity of Prince convincing Warner Bros. to make a starless film on the strength of what was, in the simplest financial terms, two modest hits, “1999” and “Little Red Corvette.” It would have been like if Paramount had committed to a Rick Astley movie after “Never Gonna Give You Up” and “Together Forever.” We also now have thirty more years of evidence that most artists coming into their career peak don’t bother to make compromises with major movie studios to make cinema of their magnum opuses. Eminem’s 8 Mile certainly had the masterpiece song “Lose Yourself,” but the rest of that soundtrack doesn’t hold up to Eminem’s better albums the way “Purple Rain” holds up to, well, anything.

3. O Brother Where Art Thou – Country? Folk? Bluegrass? Gospel? Blues? Why not all of them together in a beautiful, densely textured ride through the Appalachians? The Coen Brothers asked T-Bone Burnett to put this score together before the filming, and it shows; the film is certainly more set to Burnett’s rhythms than it is to those of Homer’s The Odyssey (its stated inspiration). The secret reason this holds up better than other similar projects is the soundtrack’s equal embrace of whimsy, e.g. “Big Rock Candy Mountain,” and fatalism, e.g. “O Death,” “Lonesome Valley,” “Angel Band.” By the time you’ve heard all five versions of “Man of Constant Sorrow,” you don’t know if you should laugh at, hate on, or deeply feel for George Clooney and his friends – just where the Coens want you. Will the 21st century see better soundtracks? Let’s go down to the river to pray.

Honourable mentions – The Wizard of Oz (1939), The Red Shoes (1948), Singin’ in the Rain (1952), West Side Story (1961), Lady Sings the Blues (1972), Cabaret (1972), Amadeus (1984), Back to the Future (1985), New Jack City (1991), Pulp Fiction (1994), The Buena Vista Social Club (1999), Amelie (2001), The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), Wall-E (2008), eventual Hamilton movie (2018?)

Lestat de Lioncourt

1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier – This film seems to pop up in all my favourites lists, which is odd. But Henry Jackman makes an iconic score that does justice to all the main characters. From the thunderous velocity of ‘Fury’ to the screeching synths of ‘The Winter Soldier’, the score for this film is unforgettable. I absolutely love it.

2. Inception – A truly remarkable feat by Hans Zimmer. Whether there’s any truth to the slowed down Edith Piaf song inspiring the score or not, it’s genius work. The beats of the score match the action on screen and evoke a plethora of emotions. ‘Old Souls’ still makes me teary sometimes. And it still breaks my heart to think Zimmer didn’t win an Oscar.

3. Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace – Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace – All the Star Wars film scores could be on here, but the one for TPM is dearest to me. Yes, people have issues with the prequels, and rightly so, but they were the best thing to happen to teenaged me; and TPM’s score played a huge part in that. I adore the music to this day. In its entirety no other score matches its nostalgia value for me.

Honourable Mentions – ‘X-Men’ (Michael Kamen), ‘Star Wars: Episode II – The Attack of the Clones’ (John Williams), ‘Moulin Rouge’ (Baz Luhrman and Various Artists), ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ (Harry Gregson-Williams)

Jonathan Eig

1. O Brother Where Art Thou – the only one I consistently listen to year after year.

2. The Big Chill – if you are of a “certain age” it’s hard to resist.

3. Eight Mile / Purple Rain – I shouldn’t lump these together but they are so similarly constructed and I like the music from both so much that I can’t choose.

Honorable Mention – I will throw in Killer of Sheep, which boasts a great soundtrack on its surface, and also serves as a great lesson of how music rights are one of the trickiest things to navigate in any movie production.

Nolan Sordyl

1. Halloween – Written and recorded by director John Carpenter himself in only three days, this minimalist soundtrack has become synonymous with the titular holiday and horror. The main theme is based off of a drum exercise Carpenter’s father taught him, and that stripped down aesthetic in the audio perfectly compliments the low budget, no frills visuals. Producers of the film watched a test screening of the film without the score, and were worried that the film was going to be a complete bust. With the score, the film went on to be one of the scariest films of all time, and one of the most successful films ever in any genre. Maybe it is the offbeat time signature, or maybe it’s the association with the masked “shape” Michael Myers, but something about those few simple notes in the theme is undeniably creepy and enough to make you want to sleep with the lights on. See also “The Thing”. “Suspiria”.

2. Lord Of The Rings / Star Wars – Really, I couldn’t choose. Both are iconic. Both take you along on spectacular journeys. Lord of the Rings starts with the serene and idyllic shire theme and leads straight into Mount Doom. John Williams puts us in Luke’s head with his wistful, yearning notes on Tatooine, and elevates the action on the screen with the blaring, heroic horns during the destruction of the Death Star. There’s not much to say here about these that hasn’t already been said. In terms of iconic, memorable scores that defined a genre, see also any western scored by Ennio Morricone.

3. Almost Famous – Any movie that can get Led Zeppelin on their soundtrack is a winner for me. This spot could also have easily gone to “School of Rock” in that regard, another movie filled with fantastic songs. As much as Kate Hudson’s John Lennon glasses (I don’t know if that’s what they’re really called but it’s what I’m going with) or Billy Crudup’s long hair, the soundtrack here truly transports the audience back to a time and a state of mind. In a movie that is all about the music, the soundtrack has a lot of weight to carry, and Almost Famous’s soundtrack carries that weight and then some. It works so well that it’s almost impossible not to get carried away and sing along to “Tiny Dancer” with the characters on the bus. In terms of films that use their soundtrack to transport you to a time, a place, and a mindset, see also “Adventureland” and “American Graffiti”.

Tim Buckler

1. Superman – The Movie John Williams If I can only pick one Williams score it would have to be this one. Romantic, sinister, magical and of course, heroic. From the bustle of metropolis to the beauty of the Kent farm this score goes everywhere and the main march is probably my most sung song of my childhood

2. Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan – This Naval like audio odyssey really helps punch out the emotional scenes in this movie. Kirk and Spocks themes blend together to make the Enterprise theme and the cuts between that and Khans “villain” music amplify the big end space battle. Also, despite seeing this film countless times I still weep like a baby during the finale and half of that is the fault of Horner.

3. Grosse Pointe Blank – Discovered this CD when I was 10 rummaging through my brothers room looking for new music. This album introduced me to Guns N Roses, Faith No More and The Clash. Brilliant film too.


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    Rob Ormsby

    Pleased to see my top three have already been mentioned. Those being; Django, Guardians of the Galaxy and Ray. Honourable mentions to Juno, Saving Mr Banks and The Big Lebowski too.

    Rob Ormsby

    Great article by the way!

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