With the use of sound in films, film music with infinite power has become essential to the cinematographic experience. Some songs took years to hit, while others became hits at a moment. We picked top3 choices. Please click their choices of music on YouTube.
- Once There Was a Hushpuppy by Ben Zeitlin and Dan Romer – Beasts of the Southern Wild
- Main Theme by John Williams– Star Wars
- Time by Hans Zimmer– Inception
In the world of movie music, there are great scores and songs, and then there are the ones where hearing just a few seconds of a track can instantly conjure up memories of seeing a particular film for the first time. The opening track of Beasts of the Southern Wild, composed by director Behn Zeitlin, serves as an introduction of its own to the fantastical story of its protagonist, grounding her world in the Louisiana bayou with an emphatic and melodic score. It may well be the most recognizable and played theme of all time, but there’s no denying the quality of Star Wars and its main theme by five-time Oscar winner John Williams. It too invites audiences into its universe, eternally paired with scrolling text that tells of a galaxy far, far away where the beats of the orchestra match the choreographed space battle sequences. And speaking of time, that track from Inception is marvelously metered, with master composer Hans Zimmer inviting audiences to get lost in layers of memory and dreams as they navigate its intensely complicated plot.
Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
1) Amarcord Theme by Nino Rota – Amarcord
2) Mrs Robinson by Simon & Garfunkel – The Graduate
3) Moon River by Audrey Hepburn, Henry Mancini – Breakfast at Tiffany’s
As an Italian, who has a mother from Rimini, I grew up watching all of Federico Fellini’s films; while my father would hum all the music scores by Nino Rota. The Amarcord Theme is so dear to me that I have it as a ring tone, so if you hear a phone ringing to that tune, you’ll know it’s me! My music taste is very connected to the Sixties and Seventies, and Simon and Garfunkel’s Mrs. Robinson is an emblem of breaking away from the conservative feminine allure of the Fifties and subverting the establishment. Henry Mancini’s iconic song theme from the adaptation of Truman Capote’s masterpiece, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, won the Academy Award for Best Original Song. Johnny Mercer’s lyrics resonate with all those who have set out to conquer the Big Apple. If you’ve lived in New York, Moon River is the epitome of “chasing that rainbow’s end.”
1. See You Again by Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth – Furious 7
2. Lose Yourself by Eminem – 8 Mile
3. Shallow by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper – A Star Is Born
One of the most natural ways to evoke emotions in films is through the inclusion of sentimental songs that reflect the characters’ transformational journeys. That’s certainly the case with several of the popular singles from this millennium’s most popular movies. The Oscar and Grammy Award-winning folk pop-rock-country-infused duet, Shallow, from the 2018 remake, A Star Is Born, marks a pivotal moment in the romantic and working relationships between the film’s protagonists, Ally and Jackson. The drama’s lead stars, Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, croon melancholic, self-aware lyrics that question if they’re both happy in their lives. Another stellar Academy and Grammy Award-winning single is Eminem’s Lose Yourself, from his 2002 semi-autobiographical drama, 8 Mile. The hip-hop-rap tune’s memorable lyrics powerfully chronicle the background of the actor-musician’s character in the film, B-Rabbit. Each verse incorporates several themes the protagonist struggles with throughout the movie’s plot, and how he eventually overcomes his many problems to gain the respect of other rappers. The most memorable, heartfelt single from a film is the Grammy and Golden Globe Award-nominated pop-hip-hop-rap song, See You Again, which is one of the most defining elements from the 2015 action sequel, Furious 7. The lyrics, which were sentimentally sung by Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth, not only passionately reflect the heartbreak of losing one of the Fast Saga’s most beloved lead actors, Paul Walker, but also remind listeners that people will never truly be apart from the loved ones they have lost. All three singles are the perfect examples of how singers can chronicle the emotional journeys that characters take throughout their movies in memorable, relatable ways.
1. Introduction (Prelude) by Dmitri Shostakovich- The Gadlfy
2. Midnight Cowboys by John Barry –Midnight Cowboy
3. The Trial of Ed Crane-by Carter Burwell- The Man Who Wasn’t There
Musical scores for films are a bit of an odd duck. The best should enhance the visuals that are on the screen. While so many famous scores do this well and are loved by millions; they can sometimes (if not all of the time) feel a bit flacid when played on their own, away from the visuals. The truly great scores can be their own stand alone songs that create a sense of emotion from a listener, even if they’ve never seen the film they were written for. Shostakovich may very well be the father of modern day film scoring. John Barry may be well known to many for writing the music for the original Bond films, but his output is a masterclass in the artform. Carter Burwell is much more a minimalist in the world of film scoring, but his work still creates a well of emotions on each listen. Go listen to these now if you haven’t heard them.
- Also sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss –2001 Space Odyssey
- Piano Trio in E flat by Franz Schubert–Barry Lyndon
- Gonna Fly Now by Bill Conti –Rocky
All the best film scores have some things in common. It can convey what the film is trying to convey without dialogue, evoking emotional reactions that even the most brilliant dialogue could not. What distinguish some of the feel good songs from the masterpieces are, how the music engraves into your memory with clear crisp images of the films. I can think of any other iconic music score that captured the scenes, but Rocky’s ‘Gonna Fly Now.’ When Rocky run up the stairs of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and take a victory pose, it becomes the theme song for every underdog athlete. Bill Conti’s soundtrack showcases the small independent film, a masterpiece. Piano Trio in E flat, Franz Shubert in Barry Lyndon, When Barry meets Lady Lyndon for the first time, a look on the table and work up to kissing sequence, without saying a word, but full of emotions. Some say Kubrick’s films are cold and rigid, but his films are always so emotional. And at last, Also sprach Zarathustra, Richard Strauss in 2001 Space Odyssey, Electoric music is often used in science fictions movies to express the sense of the future, but many classics are used in 2001 Space Odyssey. It perfectly embodies the magnificent image of the Universe and captures the dawn of mankind at the same time, various metaphors for life and beyond.