8 movie scores you need in your life
Not to be confused with the more recognised movie soundtrack, a decent instrumental score can, more often than not, be a defining factor in most films. Even carrying the gravitas to make awful flicks seem half decent. After much debate, the Esquire team has chronicled the eight film scores you simply cannot ignore. Let your education begin…
Great film, even better score. So good that Enya’s brilliant Now we are Free at the film’s close was remixed (or butchered, depending on your take) into a dance tune for sweaty youths to wave their arms around too in some dirty corner of London. While The Battle and Elysium are works of genius, the crescendo built up to in track 14′s, Am I not merciful? leading to Maximus and Commodus’ final showdown, is the peerless Hans Zimmer at his very best.
Adagio in D minor from Danny Boyle’s 2007 epic, Sunshine is -in our humble opinion – one of the finest instrumentals to come out of the movie sphere in the last ten years. Composed by John Murphy, the piece serves as the perfect auditory homage to the scale and sentiment of this often under appreciated film.
Da-dum, dum, da-dum… Da-dum, dum, da-dum - Bar maybe the famous Jaws introductory tuba rift, is there a more unforgettable or iconic opening in film score history? The synth-based original score fit the low-budget underdog tone of James Cameron’s original sci-fi classic The Terminator perfectly, which Friedel then updated to grander effect for Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
Mission Impossible II
While the second installment of the Mission Impossible franchise was far from the best (or worst for that matter) of the series, it does boast a truly fantastic score. Injection (above) is the melancholic musical lovechild of messers Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard, and the best on the track lists.
Arguably one the main stars of Oliver Stone’s epic Vietnam film Platoon is the score, the mournful Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber. Completed in 1936, it’s the second movement, String Quartet, Op. 11, which has become most famous.
Requim for a Dream
The Clint Mansell masterpiece that was later sped up, rejigged and wielded in everything from Lord of the Rings trailers to Sky Sports News adverts. Though the recent reincarnations of Requiem for a Dream range from punchy to epic in their execution, this original melody from Darren Aronofsky’s 2000 film of is a thing of beauty.
Yes, yes – we know. Hans Zimmer’s work on Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy does certainly deserve special mention. But given his two inclusions already in this list, we didn’t want to be guilty of overkill. Besides, Danny Elfman’s masterful, gothic range on the original Batman flick more than holds a candle to ol’ Hans. In 1989 director Tim Burton was tasked with not only making a blockbuster hit in Batman, but also redefining a character previously famed for dodgy tights and an fairly odd relationship with his – frankly quite camp – sidekick Robin.
Burton delivered, and his dark, sometimes frightening portrayal of the caped crusader was bolstered infinitely by Elfman’s beautifully haunting score.
There are few composers in the film score hall of fame that sit higher than John Williams. Star Wars, Schindler’s List , E.T, Saving Private Ryan…his musical contribution to cinema is second to none. While spending an afternoon plugged into any of the aforementioned film’s scores would be considered time well spent, in Jurassic Park Williams delivered the perfect auditory composition to underpin Spielberg’s seminal blockbuster. Immense.