Movies and music have been tightly entwined since the beginnings of cinema. So it's no simple feat to search the vast landscape of film soundtracks and identify ten landmarks. In doing so, I had to establish some ground rules.
I chose to exclude movie musicals, simply because they are their own breed of moviemaking. It just wouldn't be fair to evaluate a movie specifically designed for music and visuals against one that was not. (But perhaps we'll do a list of top ten musicals someday.)
I'm also ignoring soundtracks that are simply collections of songs—albums that are merely "inspired by the film," though that eliminates significant soundtracks like The Graduate and Flashdance. While music is essential to such films with songs specifically written for them, it still seemed unfair to stack simple pop music next to original film scores.
This also explains the absence of an obvious choice like 2001: A Space Odyssey. Alex North's original score for that film was nixed by Stanley Kubrick in favor of using 20th century compositions by established composers. The same logic applies to movies like Amadeus and Fantasia—both brilliant films that rely on music, but still unoriginal.
With all that in mind, here are ten original film scores that have left their mark on the history of cinema.
(Other notable works: The Silence of the Lambs, Gangs of New York) Why is it that science fiction and fantasy often inspires the greatest film scores? Probably because they often offer a broad range of emotion—adventure, romance, thrills, mystery, as well as the distinction between good and evil—resulting in a more diverse musical palette. Shore's score may not initially grab the ear in the same way as John Williams, but the Wagnerian ...1
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The Sound of (Movie) Music
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