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Favourite film soundtracks and themes

MusicalNotes.jpgThis is a feature suggested by Simone, your favourite film soundtracks. Now that got me thinking, there were a few top lists on television over the holidays about favourite soundtracks and they were featuring one song, not the soundtrack. To me a soundtrack is a collection of all the songs from the film, whereas the lists were proving there's another side to this feature, your favourite film theme.

So let's combine the two. What's your favourite film theme, i.e. one single song that so defines a film or film moment for you that whenever you hear it you think of the film, or you deliberately hum it to evoke the film memories. Then what film soundtrack sticks in your mind, or you've bought and genuinely like?

For me, and let me tackle the soundtracks first, there's a couple of clear winners because they are the only ones in my CD and digital collection that are soundtracks.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show
I love it. I love the film and the music, and I've watched it so many times. I used to sing and dance to the Time Warp and Sweet Transvestite in the student union and I can remember the DJ (a guy who used to wear Dennis the Menace red and black stripy jumpers all the time) getting exceedingly annoyed about me asking for them - those and REM's Stand, but that's just because we did the silly dance to it…Anyway, I have that soundtrack and I love it, it always makes me smile and think of those days.

The Mission
I have this album, I think I originally had it on tape, and it's very relaxing to listen to and has some wonderful orchestrated songs.

Purple Rain
Not just the main theme, but the whole album by Prince, again originally on tape. There are some great songs on there, not such a great film, but the songs are good.

The Commitments
I remember buying this album on vinyl after seeing the film.

A Chorus Line
Yes, I have that soundtrack too. Hey I like the film version starring Michael Douglas and directed by Richard Attenborough, what's wrong with that? Some of the songs are quite cool, like I Can Do That, Surprise Surprise and Dance: Ten; Looks: Three.

Oh man. I have tapes of the television soundtrack and also the film. I remember being in the shower a few years ago and started humming this base track, a really funky song, and not knowing where it was from. Eventually I discovered it just popped into my head from years and years before when I was listening to the Fame tapes. Hot Lunch Jam.

Walk the Line
I haven't bought this yet but it's a definite purchase. Never was I a Johnny Cash fan until I saw this film and now I'm really switched onto his music.

Batman Motion Picture Score
Now this is not the Prince soundtrack, this is the Danny Elfman orchestrated soundtrack which has the killer theme in it. When I used to write in my youth I would always listen to this theme which would help me slip into the mood I needed to start writing. It's a great film and a superb theme which really does identify the film

So that leads us nicely onto the film themes. There are definitely some songs that stick with me from a film, here are a few:

Batman, the original theme
Star Wars main theme and the Emperor's theme
Back to the Future - The Power of Love by Huey Lewis and the News
James Bond themes galore - Diamonds are Forever, Live and Let Die, etc, etc
Chorus Line's main theme - One
Highlander's love theme - Who Wants to Live Forever by Queen
Magnolia provides a few good songs from Aimee Mann including One
Caddyshack - Kenny Loggins I'm Alright, man I love that dancing gopher! He's also brought us another couple of classic themes, are they in your list?
Against All Odds, I love hitting that drum beat moment in the Phil Collins song
Rocky's themes, the opening theme as well as Eye of the Tiger by Survivor
Fame - Hot Lunch Jam, I have to mention that one
Always - Smoke Gets in your Eyes by The Platters

Okay, I've deliberately held back because I have a huge list. There's just a few for you. What about your list? Do you have classics like Jaws or are you going for much smaller films like Mannequin, or newer films like Love Actually?

Get your suggestions in for your favourite soundtracks to films as well as just your favourite themes.



It´s so difficult to choose. I will put some favourite composers of mine, and the name of the soundtrack which includes the theme, to make it as easiest as possible.

-John Williams: Schindler´s List

-Bernard Herrmann: Taxi Driver

-Basil Poledouris: Conan the Barbarian

-Leonard Rosenman: Lord of The Rings (Animated)

-Jerry Goldsmith: Star Trek

-Miklos Rozsa: Quo Vadis

-Alex North: Cleopatra Love Theme

-Max Steiner: Gone with the Wind

-Patrick Doyle: Much ado about nothing

-Malcolm Arnold: The Bridge on the River Kwai

-Danny Elfman: Batman

-Michael Kamen: Robin Hood

-Ennio Morricone: Once upon a time in America

-Angelo Badalamenti: Twin Peaks

I also hold back many others, but these are representative.

Score or song: pretty much anything by John Williams in the 80's. Superman, Indiana, Star Wars.

Favorite Soundtracks:
Leaving Las Vegas
Motorcycle Diaries
o, Brother Where Art Thou
Maximum Overdrive
Brokeback Mountain
High Fidelity
Reservoir Dogs
Kill Bill

uh.. is that enough or should I list more?
~Andrew James

One soundtrack, outside of "the usual suspects" that I've found myself listening to quite a bit lately, is Cliff Martinez' score to Soderbergh's "Solaris" remake.

Waxing lyrical are we now with this feature eh?

I have a good collection of film soundtracks, looking at them now makes me realise I am a real chick! ;)

Star Wars I, II, III, IV, V, VI
The Godfather trilogy
Purple Rain
Grease 1 & 2
Funny Girl
The Mirror Has Two Faces
The Way We Were
On A Clear Day You Can See Forever
A Star is Born
High Fidelity
Empire Records
Reality Bites
Jerry Maguire
LotR trilogy
The Phantom of the Opera
You've Got Mail
Sleepless in Seattle
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
Bridget Jones Diary

Favorite Movie Themes

1. Star Wars, John Williams

2. The Godfather, Nino Rota

3. Superman, John Williams

4. Somewhere in Time, John Barry

5. James Bond theme, John Barry

6. The Magnificent Seven, Elmer Bernstein

7. Lawrence of Arabia, Maurice Jarre

8. Lord of the Rings, Howard Shore

9. Rocky, Bill Conti

10. The Untouchables, Ennio Morricone


Danny Elfman's score is simply mesmerizing. The score in the opening credits used to be my benchmark for testing a surround sound system. The way it grows and grows makes it one of the best themes from a movie to date.
"The Descent Into Mystery", used during the scene where Batman is returning to the Bat Cave after rescuing Vicki Vale from the Museum, still sends a tingle down my spine and always makes that scene stand out in my memory.

Batman Begins
Some people complained that the score was not up to par with Danny Elfman's. That Batman lacked a "theme". Perhaps so, but the soundtrack captured the mood and atmosphere of the picture. As soon as I saw it the first time I knew I had to get this OST. As regards the lack of a Batman "theme"... this was merely the beginning, he's only earning it. And naming each track after a species of bat was a great idea.

The Blues Brothers
Absolutely brilliant! From their rendition of "Rawhide", to the guest appearances by Cab Calloway, the late great James Brown, Aretha Franklin, and Ray Charles, and the fantastic "Everybody Needs Somebody To Love", this soundtrack flows from start to finish, and is often blasted in the spidey household. ;o)

Probably my favourite of Hans Zimmer's work. It's quite different from his previous projects, which perhaps helps it stand out all the more. It perfectly compliments the movie.

This picture has such an amazing soundtrack. Unfortunately, a lot of the great tracks didn't make it onto the CD for one reason or another. But just in watching the movie itself it is easy to find yourself tapping your foot to the music in the background.

High Fidelity
A really great soundtrack. In fact, it couldn't have been any other way given the content of the movie. Unfortunate though that given the sheer volume of songs contained in the movie, the soundtrack only contains 15 tracks.

Lord Of The Rings Trilogy
The score from all 3 movies was simply beautiful.

Pulp Fiction
Another one that is often on my iPod, the songs evoke memories of classic scenes.

Taxi Driver
Bernard Herrmann created a masterpiece with this. It's dark, chilling, haunting.... yet fused with some glorious moments of jazz. It's beautiful.

Songs / Themes

Back To The Future
Huey Lewis & The News' "Power Of Love" and "Back In Time", along with Alan Silvestri's theme.

The Big Lebowski
The Gipsy King's version of "Hotel California" from where we first see THE JESUS, and Kenny Rogers And The Early Edition's "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)" from THAT dream sequence. Fantastic!

Cable Guy
Jim Carrey's "Somebody To Love"

Indiana Jones
The theme tune by John Williams

Jackie Brown
Bobby Womack's "Across 110th Street" from the opening sequence, and The Brothers Johnson's "Strawberry Letter #23" that plays in Samuel L. Jackson's car when he locks Chris Tucker in the boot (trunk).


Kill Bill: Vol. 1
"Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" and "The Lonely Shepherd" are the sstand-out tracks for me.

"Gonna Fly Now" would make anyone want to get up and go for a run!

Star Wars
Some fantastic scoring from all 6 movies.

The theme that makes you feel you can fly!

really like morricone's theme for 'what have you done to solange?'
and the title track (by goblin) for argento's 'profondo rosso'.
i suppose i didnt really like soundtracks until recent years,
the one ive listened to most recently would be kill bill part 2. nice mix
of stuff on there.

Vangelis - Blade Runner original Soundtrack. It's awesome.

The Nightmare Before Christmas Soundtrack - This is Halloween

Top Gun Soundtrack - I love the intro song with the cool shots of the jets taking off. Can't remember the name of the song.

I forgot some other essentials:

Elmer Bernstein: Magnificent Seven

James Horner: Titanic

Jerome Moross: The Big Country

Dimitri Tiomkin: High Noon

John Barry: The Lion in Winter.

Great themes :)

Whatever soundtracks were on special offer through Britannia Music Club in the last 80's / early '90s I've probably got gathering dust somewhere.

John Williams certainly had his day for musical scores, some will ring through me head forever. His list of scores is very impressive. For songwriting Randy Newman deserves a mention for the Toy Story soundtracks, they all fit so well.

So to answer the question posed in the post, which tune and which song - the answers do come from Williams and Newman. Williams for Jurrasic Park and Newman for "You've got a Friend in Me".

This is a good one Rich.

I am totally going to agree with you on the Highlander sound track (I love Queen). So I will go and add Flash Fordon by Queen as well.

A few other sound tracks which rock.

Moulin Rouge
Fight Club (I love Tom Waits)
Stand by Me
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
Karate Kid 1 & 2
Braveheart (I love Pipes)

What about Richard Strauss? I wonder who would know his music if not for that tremendous theme when the monkey hits the bones. In fact, and that´s ironic, the best music theme ever done comes from a classic composer out of his context. That´s also Kubrick´s credit. Volumes could be written about it.

Wow, there's some amazing suggestions so far.

Much ado about nothing is one of my favourite films, well I love all KB's Shakespeare remakes.

The Magnificent Seven, Jaws, 2001 and The Bridge on the River Kwai are those type of themes you can't get out of your head. Ever. Wonderful.

Leaving Las Vegas, Singles, High Fidelity, all very good soundtracks. I loved Singles at the time and I've still got some of those tracks on my Sony.

Anything by Tarantino has a really interesting and often very entertaining soundtrack.

Solaris - I just love Natascha McElhone...was there a soundtrack? Was there anyone else in it?

Untouchables - I remember being aware of the score for this and thinking that it really did complement the film. I might revisit this one.

Spidey - cracking list

Oh, the Superman theme is so iconic, it moved me when watching the sequel opening scenes and had me beaming like a child!

C - Top Gun Soundtrack - Is that not Kenny Loggins Danger Zone?

I forgot to mention Tom Petty's She's the One soundtrack - with Walls as the main song.

Most Cameron Crowe films - from Say Anything, Singles, Almost Famous, Jerry Maguire and the much recent Elizabethtown - always comes out with a really great soundtrack. You can tell the influence of music on the man and also from his wife Nancy Wilson (formerly from the duo Heart)

What's your favourite film theme, i.e. one single song that so defines a film or film moment for you that whenever you hear it you think of the film, or you deliberately hum it to evoke the film memories.

I have imported this one from my all-time list category:

1. Nobody Does It Better, Carly Simon, The Spy Who Loved Me
2. Can You Read My Mind, Maureen McGovern, Superman
3. Finding Out the Hard Way, Cynthia Rhodes, Staying Alive
4. (I’ve Had) the Time of My Life, Bill Medley/Jennifer Warnes, Dirty Dancing
5. The Goodbye Girl, David Gates, The Goodbye Girl
6. The Way We Were, Barbra Streisand, The Way We Were
7. I Finally Found Someone, Barbra Streisand/Bryan Adams, The Mirror Has Two Faces
8. Promise Me You’ll Remember, Harry Connick Jr., The Godfather III
9. Take My Breath Away, Berlin, Top Gun
10. Stay, Lisa Loeb, Reality Bites
11. The Last Time I Felt Like This, Johnny Mathis, Same Time Next Year
12. Everything I Do, I Do It for You, Bryan Adams, Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves
13. With One More Look at You, Barbra Streisand, A Star Is Born
14. Anyone at All, Carole King, You’ve Got Mail
15. For Your Eyes Only, Sheena Easton, For Your Eyes Only
16. Secret Garden, Bruce Springsteen, Jerry Maguire
17. Walls, Tom Petty, She’s the One
18. Fallen, Lauren Wood, Pretty Woman
19. Must Have Been Love, Roxette, Pretty Woman
20. Footloose, Kenny Loggins, Footloose

Oh Say Anything is a cracking film, especially that moment he holds up the stereo and plays Peter Gabriel Red Rain.

Honeymoon in Vegas?

And dont forget In Your Eyes too Richard! ;P

Most of the films written by John Hughes have great songs in their soundtrack too- Pretty in Pink, Some Kind of Wonderful, Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

What about Just for a Moment from Joel Schumacher's St. Elmo's Fire, that song always get me all choked up.

Another favorite soundtrack of mine is Disney's Newsies, a musical by Kenny Ortega, starring a much younger Christian Bale with Bill Pullman. Now the songs from that film are amazing, with Santa Fe being my favorite and was sung by Bale. Anybody here who has seen that movie?

Now if somebody will only stop me from posting!!!

C / Richard - thanks to the pair of you bringing up Top Gun I can't get "Mighty Wings" out of my head!!

'Passion'~ Music for "The Last Temptation Of Christ"
By Peter Gabriel



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