I've carefully picked the best examples of soundtrack craftsmanship and I've thought it would be a nice idea to keep a "great movie music" list handy. My intention was to choose the tracks that you may want to listen again and again!
There are times when silence is golden. There are many movie makers who prefer the absence of a soundtrack. But without a doubt, a soundtrack adds much to the movie experience when it fits perfectly to the tone of the film. Darth Vader would still exist without the "Imperial March" for sure, but the effect and the experience wouldn't be the same.
Please Note: While this post mainly deals with music specifically composed and recorded for movies (this may also be a reason for excluding some otherwise great music), there may be still one or two exceptions to this.
- I wish I could add more songs to this list, but it seems it's not possible due to Steemit's "maximum post length" policy.
- Of course, these are the ones I like the most, after all, "the beauty is in the eye of the beholder" (or, "in the ear of the beholder", in this case?) and this list inevitably reflects my own taste. Nevertheless, please never hesitate to share your thoughts and favorite soundtracks in the comments area! :)
"THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY"
(1966 - Directed By Sergio Leone)
Composer: Ennio Morricone
Title: "The Ecstasy Of Gold"
There must be a reason why Metallica has been using "Ecstasy Of Gold" as the opening music for their concerts for more than 30 years. One of the most iconic soundtrack pieces of all time. Well, after all, it's a Morricone piece! Watching legendary actors Lee Van Cleef (R.I.P.) and Eli Wallach (R.I.P.) along with Clint Eastwood was always a great joy (add fantastic cinematography to the mix), and today it's almost impossible to imagine this classic without Morricone's music. Just close your eyes and you'll already feel like you're watching the movie without the visuals (or, the music becomes the visuals themselves?). That's Morricone's magic!
"You see in this world there are two kinds of people my friend. Those with loaded guns, and those who dig. You dig."
"THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS"
(1992 - Directed By Michael Mann)
Composer: Dougie MacLean / Trevor Jones / Randy Edelman
Title: "The Kiss"
I think much of the credit (if not all of it) should go to Dougie MacLean as the composer of the main theme which we hear frequently throughout the movie (this is especially valid for a track like "The Kiss")... Dougie MacLean's "The Gael" was the main piece that was influenced both Trevor Jones and Randy Edelman during their work for the soundtrack (nevertheless, they added their own arrangements and orchestral touch to the work). The power of the theme easily grabs your attention during the movie and urges you to listen more. Dougie MacLean's "The Gael" might be one of the most covered pieces of all time yet the name of its composer remained relatively unknown to the masses!
"Great Spirit, Maker of All Life. A warrior goes to you swift and straight as an arrow shot into the sun. Welcome him and let him take his place at the council fire of my people. He is Uncas, my son. Tell them to be patient and ask death for speed; for they are all there but one - I, Chingachgook - Last of the Mohicans."
"FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE"
(1966 - Directed By Sergio Leone)
Composer: Ennio Morricone
Title: "For a Few Dollars More"
The second movie of the "Dollars Trilogy" from Sergio Leone (and I think you can already tell that I'm a Lee Van Cleef fan.) - Is it ever possible to forget that pocketwatch and the cruel story behind it? The cast shines with Van Cleef, Eastwood, and Gian Maria Volontè (who "owns" the pocketwatch; you may remember him from "Fistful Of Dollars"). Klaus Kinski steals the show whenever he appears. Of the soundtrack, pure Morricone magic. Delicious, and once you taste it... You know... Hit the "repeat" button and enjoy!
"Where life had no value, death, sometimes, had its price.
That is why the bounty killers appeared."
"ROBIN HOOD: PRINCE OF THIEVES"
(1991 - Directed By Kevin Reynolds)
Composer: Bryan Adams / Michael Kamen / Robert J. Lange
Title: "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You"
"ROBIN HOOD: PRINCE OF THIEVES" may not be a masterpiece as a movie (the film has its own moments of cheesiness) though I still like it thanks to its dark mood and great cast including Morgan Freeman, Alan Rickman [R.I.P.], Christian Slater and Kevin Costner (it even has a glimpse of Sean Connery)... The "East - West conflict" between the characters of Robin (Costner) and Azeem (Freeman) was an interesting aspect of the movie.
Kevin Reynolds' film is still the first thing I recall whenever I hear the song, it has been closely identified with the movie (mission accomplished; what is a soundtrack for, right?) - It's known as a Bryan Adams song but it seems the writing credits should also include the names of Michael Kamen (R.I.P. , what an early loss; you may remember him from many movie soundtracks including "Die Hard", "Highlander", "Mr. Holland's Opus" and his collaboration with Metallica) and Robert J. Lange.
"I've seen knights in armor panic at the first hint of battle. And I've seen the lowliest, unarmed squire pull a spear from his own body, to defend a dying horse. Nobility is not a birthright. It's defined by one's actions."
"RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK"
(1981 - Directed By Steven Spielberg)
Composer: John Williams
Title: "The Raiders March" (Indiana Jones Theme)
If John Williams had just composed IMPERIAL MARCH (a.k.a. Darth Vader's Theme) and nothing else, that would be more than enough to put him among one of the greatest composers of the history of cinema (Wagner and Mahler inspiration is clear but it's "ok"), but he has too many gems in his pocket to ignore! "The Raiders March" is to Dr. Jones what Imperial March is to Darth Vader, these themes and the characters they represent are impossible to separate from each other. Whenever you hear "The Raiders March", chances are high that Dr. Jones once again saved himself (and his friends) from an almost certain death. I couldn't think of a better theme that would be able to keep the pace with Dr. Jones.
- "You're not the man I knew ten years ago"
- "It's not the years, honey, it's the mileage."
(1993 - Directed By Jonathan Demme)
Composer: Bruce Springsteen
Title: "Streets Of Philadelphia"
Composed by Bruce "The Boss" Springsteen for the movie "Philadelphia", "Streets Of Philadelphia" had won the Academy Award for "Best Original Song" (the song definitely deserves it, though you already know what I feel about Oscars, I don't care about them) - Great performances from Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington. You may also remember the director, Jonathan Demme, as the director of the movie "The Silence of the Lambs".
- "What do you love about the law, Andrew?"
- "It's that every now and again - not often, but occasionally - you get to be a part of justice being done. That really is quite a thrill when that happens."
"THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK"
(1980 - Directed By Irvin Kershner)
Composer: John Williams
Title: "Imperial March" (Darth Vader Theme)
Composed by John Williams for "The Empire Strikes Back", "Imperial March" is by far one of the most known symphonic film themes ever. Numerous bands did their own covers of "Imperial March", including Rage Against The Machine and Metallica yet surely the original is the best and it has its own place in our hearts. Even though it's written as a "dark" march, it can even be a great mood booster (try it, it works) to face a monday morning or a doctoral thesis defense. Oh, I almost forgot; "The Empire Strikes Back" is the best Star Wars movie ever (Thank God that it's not directed by George Lucas)
"Luke, you can destroy the Emperor. He has foreseen this. It is your destiny. Join me, and together we can rule the galaxy as father and son."
"THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER"
(1990 - Directed By John McTiernan)
Composer: Basil Poledouris
Title: "Hymn To Red October (Main Title)"
An unbelievably underrated soundtrack from the Greek composer, Basil Poledouris. You must give a chance to Poledouris and listen to this great piece which already grasps the attention of the viewer (and listener) in the beginning of the movie.
When a movie is based on a Tom Clancy book, you can be sure that you'll have a great plot, and John McTiernan (the director) serves the tricky story very well. Sean Connery is a pleasure to watch as always (and despite his Scottish accent, he's still a very convincing Russian submarine captain), and rest of the cast is all veteran movie stars from Sam Neill to Alec Baldwin, Tim Curry, Jeffrey Jones, Scott Glenn, Stellan Skarsgård and the voice of Darth Vader, James Earl Jones!
"I miss the peace of fishing like when I was a boy. Forty years I've been at sea. A war at sea. A war with no battles, no monuments... only casualties. I widowed her the day I married her. My wife died while I was at sea, you know"
"BACK TO THE FUTURE"
(1985 - Directed By Robert Zemeckis)
Composer: Alan Silvestri
"Back To The Future" Themes
Alan Silvestri is known for his life-long collaboration with the director Robert Zemeckis which reminds me of another famous "couple" in the movie business, Steven Spielberg and John Williams. What Silvestri did in the soundtracks of "Forrest Gump" and "Contact" are among my favorites. "Back To The Future" was already introducing great songs like "The Power Of Love", "Back In Time" and "Johnny B. Goode", yet the movie's own themes were still IMPOSSIBLE to forget due to Alan Silvestri's genius. Epic!
- "Wait a minute. Wait a minute, Doc. Ah... Are you telling me that you built a time machine... out of a DeLorean?"
- "The way I see it, if you're gonna build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some *style?*"
"CONAN THE BARBARIAN"
(1982 - Directed By John Milius)
Composer: Basil Poledouris
Track: "Riddle of Steel/Riders of Doom"
Basil Poledouris is a legendary composer but, unfortunately, his name is relatively unknown. He's the man behind the marvelous soundtracks of "RoboCop" and "The Hunt For Red October". I've just added "Riddle of Steel/Riders of Doom" from the soundtrack of "CONAN THE BARBARIAN" to this list, but please don't let that misguide you, because the entire soundtrack is spellbinding and it already has its own cult following (for a reason). Arnold Schwarzenegger had reprised his role as "Conan" in the sequel, "Conan The Destroyer". Were these good movies? It depends, but without a doubt, they're still the best Conan movies we have (Arnold had also had his best years as an actor at the last half of the 80s and at the first half of the 90s) - I suggest listening to this Soundtrack (especially "Conan The Barbarian") track by track. You won't be disappointed.
- "Crom, I have never prayed to you before. I have no tongue for it. No one, not even you, will remember if we were good men or bad. Why we fought, or why we died. All that matters is that two stood against many. That's what's important! Valor pleases you, Crom... so grant me one request. Grant me revenge! And if you do not listen, then to HELL with you!"
(1995 - Directed By Mel Gibson)
Composer: James Horner
Track: "For The Love Of A Princess"
I have been following Mel Gibson's directorial career closely from the beginning (let's say, "almost from the beginning" because I haven't watched his documentary "Mel Gibson Goes Back to School" yet) and it's still hard to believe that "Braveheart" was his second movie as a director. What happened there, did he just read the book "How To Be A Successful Movie Director In Ten Lessons"? The story he told about "The Man Without A Face" was a moving one, but "Braveheart" was indeed a huge step! Love him or hate him, Mel Gibson has the courage and talent!
James Horner (R.I.P.) was a BRILLIANT composer but I think what he did in Braveheart was simply out of this world. The reason I've choosed "For the Love of a Princess" for this list is that I think it reflects the tone of the Soundtrack very well. I can just listen to any track from that soundtrack and leave the "repeat" button "on" for all day.
- "Now tell me, what does that mean to be noble? Your title gives you claim to the throne of our country, but men don't follow titles, they follow courage. "
(1993 - Directed By Jane Campion)
Composer: Michael Nyman
Track: "The Heart Asks Pleasure First"
We are facing MASTERPIECES here, both the movie and its soundtrack by Michael Nyman. "The Piano" had a fantastic cast with Holly Hunter, Sam Neill, Harvey Keitel and Anna Paquin, an incredible talent who received an academy award for her performance in the movie (then she was only 11 years old), as the daughter of Ada (Holly Hunter). The Piano is full of unforgettable scenes thanks to iconic cinematography, moving story, extraordinary performances, and of course, MESMERIZING soundtrack. This is a movie where Ada (a mute woman) makes her voice heard through a piano, and when that happens, the viewer clearly understands what this instrument means to her. She's not "mute" anymore. She has her own voice! "The Piano" is the absolute manifestation of human emotions. A must watch, and, a must listen! Don't miss it!
"At night! I think of my piano in its ocean grave, and sometimes of myself floating above it. Down there everything is so still and silent that it lulls me to sleep. It is a weird lullaby and so it is; it is mine"
"2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY"
(1968 - Directed By Stanley Kubrick)
Composer: Johann Strauss II
Track: "The Blue Danube"
An all time cult classic from Stanley Kubrick (I must add, almost any Kubrick movie is a genre defining classic: "Full Metal Jacket", "A Clockwork Orange", "Spartacus", "Paths Of Glory", "The Shining", "Lolita", "Eyes Wide Shut", "The Killing"). I'm amazed that Kubrick made 2001:A SPACE ODYSSEY in 1968; It has been FIVE DECADES and its special effects still look better than most of today's CGI garbage. I mean it... "CGI" means that there isn't anything to look at in the first place, most of the things we see in today's cinema are not even there! On the other hand, "2001" is a requiem for human evolution, a philosophical treasure which NEVER loses its brightness.
If you're telling a story on human nature and evolution, then what could be a better choice than accompanying the odyssey with the ultimate examples of human achievement? From Khachaturian to Strauss, this is the "ultimate" soundtrack!
"It can only be attributable to human error."
"THE BLUES BROTHERS"
(1980 - Directed By John Landis)
Composer: Aretha Franklin / Teddy White
Where else would you be able to listen to such legendary musicians as Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Cab Calloway and John Lee Hooker? Add "The Blues Brothers" (Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi) and Carrie Fisher to the mix along with a million car crashes and extreme absurdity. Dan Aykroyd's and John Belushi's body languages are simply amazing, I would still laugh very hard even with the volume turned completely off. The cast is quite hilarious, even Steven Spielberg and Frank Oz (the pupeteer of Master Yoda) have cameo appearances here!
"It's 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark... and we're wearing sunglasses."
(1959 - Directed By William Wyler)
Composer: Miklos Rozsa
When it comes to movie soundtracks, we have many good composers (Hans Zimmer, John Williams, Michael Nyman, James Horner, Howard Shore, Alan Silvestri, Danny Elfman, Michael Kamen and many more), but at the end of the day, there are only two Gods sitting on top of Mount Olympus: Ennio Morricone, and Miklos Rozsa. The latter shows his divine genius in Ben-Hur's soundtrack. I'm a fan of his brilliant work and consider the soundtracks of "BEN-HUR" and "EL-CID" as his magnum opuses. If you haven't listened this piece before (Ben-Hur: Overture), I suggest digging into it with all the focus you have, it may be the start of your own journey into Miklos Rozsa's genius. It will worth the time you invest, I'll guarantee that. If you have an Epic movie, then you need an Epic Composer. That's Miklos Rozsa!
"You can break a man's skull, you can arrest him, you can throw him into a dungeon. But how do you fight an idea?"
"THE GODFATHER: PART II"
(1974 - Directed By Francis Ford Coppola)
Composer: Nino Rota / Carmine Coppola
Track: "The Brothers Mourn"
"The Godfather: Part II" is my favorite movie of the trilogy, and the same is also valid for the soundtrack piece I've chosen for you (the movie introduced a new theme with the opening track of the soundtrack, "The Immigrant"), "The Brothers Mourn" is my favorite composition from Francis Ford Coppola's epic movie. Despite the absence of Marlon Brando (though I must admit that I'm not a fan of him especially for what he and Bernardo Bertolucci did to Maria Schneider in the movie "Last Tango in Paris"), in my humble opinion, the second part of the trilogy is the most powerful of all.
It happens very rarely, but there comes a moment in the history of cinema where all the cast and the crew of a film resonate in the same frequency. Godfather Part II is one of those movies. It has a great story, it has the right mood with extraordinary performances and it has a powerful antagonist, Hyman Roth (Lee Strasberg). We have the tension between Michael Corleone (Pacino) and Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall), Fredo's (John Cazale) "Betrayal", Kay's (Diane Keaton) decision, Robert De Niro's amazing Vito Corleone portrayal in flashbacks, and we are witnessing the first steps of the Corleone Empire. Vito Corleone's revenge in Sicily and the conversation between Tom Hagen and Frank Pentangeli (Michael V. Gazzo) were another great moments (where they speak about the customs of The Roman Empire). Having said that, the whole movie is a cinematographic masterpiece.
"I know it was you, Fredo. You broke my heart. You broke my heart!"
"SCENT OF A WOMAN"
(1992 - Directed By Martin Brest)
Composer: Carlos Gardel / Alfredo Le Pera
Track: "Por Una Cabeza"
That's how you make a movie immortal. The Thanksgiving dinner scene (which ends with a family crisis), the Ferrari scene (a blind man driving a V8 sports car), "Por Una Cabeza" scene (in which we have a special interest), call-girl scene (where we wait in the limo but still know where Lt. Col. Frank Slade is), and finally, the court scene (which is definitely my favorite court scene of all time along with the one in Stanley Kramer's "Inherit The Wind"). "Por Una Cabeza" was used in Steven Spielberg's "Schindler's List", Stephan Elliott's "Easy Virtue" and James Cameron's "True Lies" yet it's imprinted on the memories of cinephiles with "Scent Of A Woman".
"THE LORD OF THE RINGS: The Two Towers"
(2002 - Directed By Peter Jackson)
Composer: Howard Shore
Track: "Forth Eorlingas"
Howard Shore's best work by far, I mean, all the music he composed for "The Lord Of The Rings" Trilogy! This was a hard choice but I like the climax very much on the soundtrack piece "Forth Eorlingas" (on the video at 02:40), this is the exact moment when reinforcements arrive with Gandalf to help the folks at Helm's Deep. I wish the producers of StarWars prequels and sequels followed the same "serious" tone as the crew of "The Lord Of The Rings" Trilogy. Do you see a character like Jar Jar, nonsense jokes or childish war scenes that no one is hurt here? No.
In my humble opinion, "The Lord Of The Rings" is first and foremost the story of EGO, whether it be the ego of a Hobbit, an Elf, a Dwarf, a Wizard, or a Human. You remember the scene in "The Return Of The King" where Gollum has became the victim of his own ego at Mount Doom? He was not able to let go his ego (The One Ring)... For the same reason, the real hero of the story is Samwise Gamgee. If Frodo Baggins was the ring-bearer, then Samwise Gamgee was the "Frodo Baggins bearer", he was the master of his own ego (not the opposite) and emotionally far more powerful than Frodo. If Samwise Gamgee had been the ring-bearer, we might have a shorter story (but who wants that, not me!)
Thank you Mr. Jackson, Mr. Shore, and most importantly, Mr. Tolkien!
"Look to my coming on the first light of the fifth day, at dawn look to the east."
"TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY"
(1991 - Directed By James Cameron)
Composer: Brad Fiedel
Track: "Main Theme"
That intro should be considered as one of the most powerful opening scenes in cinema history. It sets the tone for the rest of the movie; so one thing's for sure: It won't get any brighter. Without a doubt, Brad Fiedel has his own share in that dark atmosphere with his impressive soundtrack. At 00:40, you can even see "The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse". Great soundtrack, great Sci-Fi! Masterpiece!
(And by the way, Guns N' Roses was rocking the 90s and you can see it in the movie: "You Could Be Mine" from "Use Your Illusion II" was fetured in the film too)
"The unknown future rolls toward us. I face it, for the first time, with a sense of hope. Because if a machine, a Terminator, can learn the value of human life, maybe we can too"
"CHARIOTS OF FIRE"
(1981 - Directed By Hugh Hudson)
Track: "Chariots Of Fire (Titles)"
Do you run? If not, chances are high that after seeing this movie (if you haven't seen it yet) you may want to sprint. It tells the story of two athletes who have their own ways to deal with class hierarchy, prejudice, defeat, frailty and victory. If there was an "Emotional Anatomy" class, this movie would be a great source for its students.
I'm 99% sure you've already heard Vangelis' composition for the movie. As I said once and will repeat again (it seems I'm a "bit" obsessive about this)..: I don't care about Oscar awards, any awards, or IMDB ratings. Just a note: Vangelis has had an Oscar for his work in "Chariots Of Fire".
"Aubrey, I've known the fear of losing but now I am almost too frightened to win."
"EYES WIDE SHUT"
(1999 - Directed By Stanley Kubrick)
Composer: Jocelyn Pook
Track: "Masked Ball"
Now, please close your eyes, turn the volume up, and give your full attention to this one. Have you ever heard anything creepier than Jocelyn Pook's "Masked Ball"? I haven't. The closest thing to this kind of creepiness would be "The Omen" (1976) Soundtrack. Yes, that would be close, but still not close enough. I think no one can be told how hypnotizing this track is, so please listen to it and let me know what you think.
"Eyes Wide Shut" (based on "Traumnovelle") is unfortunately the last movie of Stanley Kubrick, what a shame he's passed away and we will not be able to see new masterpieces from a "MASTER" director like him. "Eyes Wide Shut" has a lot to say on relationships and intimacy. But, just a small note here: It also has a lot to say on so many things (but they are far beyond the scope of this blog post), after all, when Kubrick makes a movie, there is no room for coincidences in them. it offers tons of material to debate on as we would naturally expect from Kubrick.
"No dream is ever just a dream"
(1982 - Directed By John Carpenter)
Composer: Ennio Morricone
Track: "Main Theme"
Whenever I think of "The Thing" for whatever reason (like writing a blog post), it reminds me of Lovecraft's story. As the time of writing this, John Carpenter's phenomenal work, "The Thing", is the closest thing we have to H. P. Lovecraft's "At The Mountains Of Madness" ("The Thing" is actually based on John Campbell's "Who Goes There", though it's still a shame we don't have a movie adaptation of Lovecraft's novella.)
While most horror movies ask "who will be the next victim?", Carpenter's "The Thing" asks, "who will NOT be?"... It's hard to guess how many movies have had their inspiration from this classic. The tension Carpenter creates between his characters, all the paranoia and trust issues between them add much to the thrill factor. Confining this movie to the words "Horror" / "Mystery" / "Sci-Fi" wouldn't be fair. The greatest misfortune of the movie was, having been released in the same year as Spielberg's "friendly" extraterrestrial "E.T."... But fortunately, it was able to build its own cult following. Having said that, this movie still has a serious problem: It's too short!
As it is peculiar to geniuses, Ennio Morricone too prefers simplicity here.
"We're gonna draw a little bit of everybody's blood...
'cause we're gonna find out who's The Thing"
(1976 - Directed By John Avildsen)
Composer: Bill Conti
Track: "Going the Distance"
The quote below epitomizes the story of Rocky... I mean, "Rocky", the original, the one, and the only. To me, there is only one Rocky movie. It was released in 1976. It was telling the story of a "nobody" whose only purpose was to have everyone know that he was not a "nobody", not a loser. It was so different by all means from all the other sequels including "Rocky V" which was also directed by the same director (these movies were not even close to the Rocky's quality). At the end of the movie, Rocky doesn't even win. But on the other hand, he doesn't even care about the result. He still stands on his feet, he has the love of Adrian, and that's what matters the most. Because he's not alone in this world anymore.
When it comes to Bill Conti's soundtrack, what can I say? This must be the absolute mood-lifter for hard days. "Going the Distance" is my favorite (especially the climax, at 01:30) but the album also includes another hit, "Gonna Fly Now".
"Ah come on, Adrian, it's true. I was nobody. But that don't matter either, you know? 'Cause I was thinkin', it really don't matter if I lose this fight. It really don't matter if this guy opens my head, either. 'Cause all I wanna do is go the distance. Nobody's ever gone the distance with Creed, and if I can go that distance, you see, and that bell rings and I'm still standin', I'm gonna know for the first time in my life, see, that I weren't just another bum from the neighborhood."
(1973 - Directed By William Friedkin)
Composer: Mike Oldfield
Track: "Georgetown / Tubular Bells"
Based on William Blatty's book, Friedkin's cult movie is an unforgettable experience for both those who love it and those who don't. Love it or hate it, the experience will be delivered and there is no escape from it: When it ends, this movie guarantees to make you feel battered, knocked out cold! For a moment, just try to visualize, what kind of reaction Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" might have had if Gibson had made it in 1973. "The Exorcist" was an extremely bold movie with its taboo-breaking way of handling the book and multi-level storytelling. Technical perfection, extraordinary makeup and special effects, great performances and timeless scenes (including the spider-walk, and the scene where we see an "alternative" way of handling a crucifix!)
Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells" is already a classic and it's been used in numerous projects including various TV Shows and Ads, though it's widely associated with Friedkin's movie.
"So don't listen to him. Remember that - do not listen."
(1984 - Directed By Milos Forman)
Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
One doesn't have to be an expert on classical music, or doesn't even have to be an avid classical music listener to deeply enjoy Milos Forman's "award sweeper" (just letting you know; this movie has 8 Oscars including the categories "best picture" and "best director") - "The Director's Cut" is the version you should be watching which has 20 minutes of additional footage.
In the times of Mozart, musicians and composers were no different than their servants in the eyes of nobles (note: we're all equal for sure, but that's another story) - Musicians and composers were eating with the other servants on the same table, and they were only allowed to make their entries from the back doors, even when they were giving concerts. It was a hard life and they were competing with each other to get support from nobles, kings, and emperors (in our case, Emperor Joseph II) - Antonio Salieri (F. Murray Abraham) was already enjoying the advantages of being the emperor's court composer, including a regular salary. When Mozart (Tom Hulce), a new kid on the block appears with all his uncanny, extraordinary talents; Saliery quickly realizes that his position in the court is in great danger. Salieri is in agony. He envies Mozart's splendid talent, he hates him; and even worse, the music he loves the most is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's music!
- "My dear young man, don't take it too hard. Your work is ingenious. It's quality work. And there are simply too many notes, that's all. Just cut a few and it will be perfect."
- "Which few did you have in mind, Majesty?"
"KILL BILL: VOL 1"
(2003 - Directed By Quentin Tarantino)
Composer: Gheorghe Zamfir
Track: "The Lonely Shepherd"
Welcome to Tarantino's "How To Use Music In A Movie" class. From "Bang Bang" to "Malagueña Salerosa", "The Flower of Carnage" and Santa Esmeralda's energetic "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" cover (though I definitely prefer Nina Simone's original), Kill Bill (both Vol 1 and Vol 2) Soundtrack never misses a shot and adds much to Beatrix Kiddo's (Uma Thurman) revenge story. "Kill Bill" is my favorite revenge story along with Chan-wook Park's "Oldboy", Ridley Scott's "Gladiator" and Alexandre Dumas' classic novel, "The Count of Monte Cristo". Tarantino builds an unparalleled roller coaster between genres and creates a great mix of spaghetti westerns, samurai movies, japanese animes and martial arts films.
Choosing a track from the soundtrack was not an easy task but I have chosen Zamfir's "The Lonely Shepherd" because of its mystical nature. My second choice would be "The Flower Of Carnage" which plays at the end of the duel with O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu)
"Those of you lucky enough to have your lives, take them with you. However, leave the limbs you've lost. They belong to me now"
"STAND BY ME"
(1986 - Directed By Rob Reiner)
Artist: Ben E. King
Track: "Stand By Me"
"Stand By Me" is based on Stephen King's "The Body", and the movie was almost given the same name as King's novella. But fortunately, it didn't happen, I think the name "Stand By Me" fits perfectly to the movie (and we have a great song with the same name). It tells the story of four childhood friends, Gordie (a wannabe writer who loves to tell stories, and searches a way to make peace with his brother's loss), Chris (comes from a troubled family), Teddy (has a father who suffers from post traumatic stress disorder due to his service in WW2), and Vern (a shy, overweight kid whose brother enjoys bullying him all the time).
The "magnificent four" decide to find the body of a missing boy who's presumed dead. Throughout their journey, they make viewers remember their own childhood memories and unforgettable friendships!
"I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?"
(2000 - Directed By Ridley Scott)
Composer: Hans Zimmer / Lisa Gerrard
Track: "Elysium" / "Honour Him" / "Now We Are Free"
Fact: When the director Ridley Scott is at his best, the world of cinema gets a masterpiece. "Gladiator" is among them. I'm amazed the effort they put in here; cinematography, art direction, performances and editing is top notch. I like "darkness" and dark tones in movies very much, we've got them too here; after all, he lost his family, his wife and son, so there shouldn't be any place for "good mood" here. "Gladiator" benefits a lot from its moving sountrack from Lisa Gerrard and Hans Zimmer. The video we've got here brings three of the most powerful themes from the soundtrack.
"My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions and loyal servant to the TRUE emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next."
(1994 - Directed By Quentin Tarantino)
Artist: Urge Overkill (song written By Neil Diamond)
Track: "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon"
Genius... Of all the absurdly funny stories Tarantino included in his Pulp Fiction, the story of that wristwatch still kills me. This is an illegal amusement park from beginning to end, full of great performers, great performances and iconic moments. Tarantino movies rarely disappoint with their soundtracks; Urge Overkill's "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon" cover is one of the gems we have here (though I would still prefer the original; Neil Diamond's version)
"THE DARK KNIGHT"
(2008 - Directed By Christopher Nolan)
Composer: Hans Zimmer / James Newton Howard
Track: "A Dark Knight"
One thing's for sure: After Nolan's magnific interpretation of "Batman", not many movie directors will dare to make another movie in the same zone (and after Heath Ledger's performance in "The Dark Knight", who can ever dare to portray "Joker"? HE - WAS - EPIC!). Only James Mangold's "Logan" comes close (but only "close") to what Nolan achieved in his Batman Trilogy. Nolan's Batman was not a comics hero anymore, it was a REAL character (along with other characters in the Trilogy) with his own vulnerabilities and dark background. I find it so amusing that so many movies still blatantly ignore their protagonists' and antagonists' character depth.
"They're only as good as the world allows them to be. I'll show you. When the chips are down, these... these civilized people, they'll eat each other. See, I'm not a monster. I'm just ahead of the curve."
(1999 - Directed By Sam Mendes)
Composer: Thomas Newman
Track: "Any Other Name"
Sam Mendes' "American Beauty" is open to many different interpretations... Yet without a doubt; fake lives, illusory satiation, forms of modern slavery, so called happiness, and as always, the destructive power of human ego are definitely among some of its core themes. Watching "The Plastic Bag Scene" accompanied by Thomas Newman's music is CINEMATIC POETRY!
"It's hard to stay mad, when there's so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I'm seeing it all at once, and it's too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that's about to burst"
"REQUIEM FOR A DREAM"
(2000 - Directed By Darren Aronofsky)
Composer: Clint Mansell
Track: "Lux Aeterna"
"REQUIEM FOR A DREAM" is not an "easy watch" (this is an extreme understatement by the way) as we witness the destinies of Sara (Ellen Burstyn), Harry (Jared Leto) and Marion (Jennifer Connelly)... What a heart-wrenching experience it was to see all these souls perish. Of all the movies I watched throughout my life, Aronofsky's "Requiem For a Dream" and Gaspar Noe's "Irreversible" were hardest to bear, they were both like an endurance test. An endurance test that rewards the viewers with pure quality in movie making and storytelling.
Clint Mansell's "Lux Aeterna" is already a classic now and you may hear its tune on various occasions, but whenever I hear it, I remember eye pupils.
"Purple in the morning, blue in the afternoon, orange in the evening."
(1982 - Directed By Ridley Scott)
Track: "Blade Runner (End Titles)"
Blade Runner is a genre-definer, by all means. Its soundtrack should be considered as one of the greatest soundtrack albums ever made (and it somehow reminds me of some Pink Floyd, especially "The Division Bell"), so there isn't any need to make a particular choice from the soundtrack here. It's a pity that the original recording was released in 1994, almost 12 years later than the movie's release. A cult movie from Ridley Scott, and a cult soundtrack from Vangelis.
"All he'd wanted were the same answers the rest of us want. Where did I come from? Where am I going? How long have I got? All I could do was sit there and watch him die."