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Many people go into a movie theater and are barely conscious of the music that provides the atmosphere to the movie they are watching. I can’t do that. My ears are always tuned in to the melodies coming from those mega-speakers.

If I enjoy a movie’s music, I sometimes download the score. Occasionally, I download scores to movies I haven’t even seen, simply because I enjoy the music from a specific composer.

There are not many movie scores that I can listen to straight through. Suspenseful movies often have music that matches the action, which means it’s a little much to have music playing softly in the background that sounds like a car chase or a shoot-out. There are, however, certain tracks in the scores from action movies that I enjoy.

Below, I’ve listed ten of my favorite movie scores. (Please note: I am not endorsing these movies, only recommending the music!) Some of these CDs have tracks that I rarely listen to (for the reasons listed above), so I am putting in parentheses the best tracks from each one. If you click over to the Amazon page, you can listen to some of the samples and download a few mp3s.

1. Forrest Gump (best tracks: “Suite from Forrest Gump,” “I’m Forrest… Forrest Gump”, “You’re No Different”)

2. Life Is Beautiful (La Vita E Bella) (best tracks: “Buon Giorno Principessa”, “La Vita e Bella,” “Abbiamo Vinto”)

3. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (best tracks: “Evacuating London,” “The Wardrobe” and “Only the Beginning of the Adventure”)

4. Pearl Harbor (best tracks: “Tennessee,” “Brothers,” “And Then I Kissed Him”)

5. The Village (best tracks: “Noah Visits,” “What are You Asking Me?” and “The Gravel Road”)

6. Wall-E (best tracks: “Define Dancing,” “2815 AD,” “72 Degrees and Sunny”)

7. Titanic (best tracks: “Distant Memories,” “Southhampton,” and “Rose”)

8. Peter Pan (best tracks: “Flying,” “Main Title,” “Fairy Dance”)

9. Lord Of The Rings Trilogy (best tracks: “Concerning Hobbits”, “The Fellowship,” “Hope and Memory”)

10. While You Were Sleeping (best tracks: “Riverside Walk,” “Opening,” “An Untimely Accident”)

These are ten of my favorites. What about you? What movie scores do you enjoy? I’m always open to building my music library.


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26 thoughts on “10 Favorite Movie Scores”

  1. John says:

    Girl with a Pearl Earring, “Lost” from Finding Nemo, “Stuff We Did” from Up, Serendipity (esp. “Fast Forward”), Road to Perdition (esp. “Reading Room”), Amelie, “Avril 14th,” “Fools Rush In,” and “Pulling Our Weight” from Marie Antoinette, “Be Yourself” from Up in the Air, and “As Time Goes By” from Casablanca.

  2. Sam says:

    Surely Hans Zimmer’s Gladiator score must get a mention! And some of the tunes used on The Matrix trilogy are excellent…

  3. Jason Kanz says:

    Where is the Braveheart soundtrack? One of the greatest pieces of music ever written!

  4. Mason says:

    Excellent scores, particularly the Lord of the Rings.
    I have to say, the first thing I usually notice in a film is the soundtrack. A number of times I have left a movie and, despite having little interest in watching it again, gone out to get the score.
    For great movies, a great score is a must.
    Personally I think Hans Zimmer (Dark Knight, Sherlock Holmes, Gladiator, etc) is one of the best living composers. Also the Harry Potter soundtracks are brilliant and classic.

  5. Trevin Wax says:

    I do like Braveheart, and many parts of Gladiator. I haven’t heard any of the Matrix.

    I also have “Girl with a Pearl Earring” and other Zimmer scores.

    Thanks for these recommendations!

  6. Chris says:

    Gladiator and Black Hawk Down are two of my all time favorites. I can listen to them straight through, and do so with regularity.

    Braveheart would be another favorite of mine.

    And a throwback to my childhood and the very first movie soundtrack I ever purchases, The Lion King. :)

  7. Cristi says:

    Godfather, Schindler’s List, American Beauty, Walk the Line

  8. mike swalm says:

    The Jurassic Park soundtrack is one of my favorites, along with KPax.

  9. C. M. Gerbman says:

    Watership Down, To Kill a Mockingbird, Lord of the Rings-Return of the King, White Christmas…and believe it or not….Sister Act.

  10. Jared Totten says:

    V For Vendetta
    Pride and Prejudice (2005)
    Shawshank Redemption
    300

  11. Ocie says:

    The Last of the Mohicans is in my top 5 of all time.
    Rudy (which adaptations of this score have been used in numerous other movies)
    Star Wars (c’mon, you have to have a few of these on the list. right?

  12. David Tuten says:

    August Rush. Quirky little real-life fantasy film with incredible music.

  13. T. Webb says:

    I love film score music; it’s the modern equivalent of historical Western classical music. The triune God has allowed us to enjoy music, which I rejoice in daily.

    I agree with you on “The Village”… it’s an incredible score. You might also like another score by the same composer (James Newton Howard) for the film “Signs”. Another somewhat moody, but more piano driven than violin would be Philip Glass’s score for “The Hours”.

    Howard also worked with Hans Zimmer on the scores for “Batman Begins” & “The Dark Knight”, which are excellent, especially the latter. I’m not a big Zimmer fan (I can’t stand the “Pirates of the Carribean” scores–if you can call these mish mash works scores–even though the main theme is great), but his “Gladiator” score is very good, and if you like it, there is a second release with more music. His “The Last Samurai” is pretty good too.

    I agree with an earlier poster that Don Davis’s scores for the ‘Matrix’ films are great, but they get better with each movie, so start with “Reloaded”. Note: “Reloaded” comes with two CDs, one has the score, the other a bunch of garbage contemporary music that I can’t stand.

    If you like the “Lord of the Rings” music, which is arguably the best score ever, you need to get the complete scores that have been released. They run $50-$75 each, but are very worth it if you love the music. A book was released this past Christmas about the music as well.

    I should note that the incredible musical work of Bear McCreary on the recent “Battlestar Galactica” and Michael Giacchino on “Lost” are better than many film scores, and are among the most treasured music in my collection (most of it being classical).

    Note: I recommend that you check local libraries for scores before purchasing, since YMMV. Hope that helps!

  14. Evers says:

    I can’t believe you didn’t list “The Mission” if only for the beautifully haunting “Gabriel’s Oboe”…

  15. Gmills says:

    I will go w/ some already mentioned like:

    Hans Zimmer-Dark Knight
    The Mission
    The Lakehouse and Holiday-Rachel Portman
    Gladiator for sure
    Last of the Mohicans has to be the all time best (Main title track and The Kiss)

  16. david says:

    Anything by Ennio Morricone.

  17. Paul says:

    Score: Life is Beautiful

    Soundtrack: American Graffiti

  18. David Barbee says:

    The Black Stallion

  19. Trevin Wax says:

    I need to get myself a gift card for music from iTunes.

    Great recommendations, all!

  20. Matt says:

    So many comments and so few mentions of John Williams!

    Schindler’s List was already mentioned, but its beautiful. I believe Itzhak Perlman plays on the soundtrack.

    A couple other Williams favorites that are a little more obscure are: Sabrina and Amistad.

    Saving Private Ryan is also very good.

  21. Barry says:

    Most anything Hans Zimmer does ends up in my iTunes: Inception, Black Hawk Down, Gladiator, The Last Samurai, and Batman Begins are the ones I own and love.

    Also John Williams’ War of the Worlds

    The new Tron soundtrack from Daft Punk

    Harry Gregson Williams’ Kingdom of Heaven

  22. Chris Land says:

    Star Wars

    Jurassic Park

    Independance Day

    Dragonheart

    Passion of the Christ has a great score

  23. Ethan Larson says:

    Soundtrack from “The Mission”
    by Ennio Morricone
    Deeply Beautiful.

  24. Ian Clary says:

    You missed Last of the Mohicans!!

  25. Lee says:

    Man from Snowy River has an excellent soundtrack.

    And Mark Knopfler’s work in soundtracks…

  26. T. Webb says:

    Trevin,

    I second (third? fourth?) Morricone’s “The Mission”.

    THE BEST website for soundtrack reviews/ratings has to be http://www.filmtracks.com/. If you have questions about a score you’re thinking about getting, read the in-depth reviews there. Also, try your local library (for example, that helped me avoid the soundtrack for ‘Braveheart’… most people like it, but after trying it from the library, I passed).

    Enjoy!

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Trevin Wax


​Trevin Wax is Bible and Reference Publisher at LifeWay Christian Resources and managing editor of The Gospel Project. You can follow him on Twitter or receive blog posts via email. Click here for Trevin’s full bio.

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