Yesterday I outlined the bottom five of my top ten film soundtracks. Here are the remaining five in the list, culminating with what I feel is the best film soundtrack of all time:
If there was an award for the best use of an accordion in a film, Amelie would clearly be the winner. The story is unlike anything I’ve seen in a film; it’s very unique and quirky. The character of Amelie is very curious about the world and sees things through rose-colored glasses. She often sees things differently than other people, and takes it upon herself to better the lives of those around her. The accordion is a perfect accompaniment to the idea of this film because the instrument itself is very upbeat. While listening to this soundtrack you can’t help but find a smile forming on your face. The music just takes you away to a small village in France and makes you think you’re eating at the café where Amelie works. This is what a good soundtrack should do; it should be able to transport you back to the film whether you’re watching it or not.
4.) Jurassic Park
This film is just awesome! I remember when it came out in 1993 it terrified me, but at the same time enthralled me. I had never seen special effects like the ones in this film paired with such beautifully eloquent music. The main theme, composed so simplistically by John Williams is the type of music that dreams are made of. The first time the scientists see the dinosaurs roaming free the music starts playing in the background and the viewer is taken to a special place. This place is a place of wonder, amazement, and one with slight undertones of darkness. Williams’ music encapsulated all of this. The music, which is classically performed, is so stunning and epic; it goes perfectly with the film.
3.) The Lion King
The Lion King is the perfect Disney film, score and all. To take Elton John and Tim Rice’s lyrics and music, and combine that with a Hans Zimmer score was genius! Zimmer took into account traditional African music, weaving it into the rest of the score. In this soundtrack you can hear all different types of instruments, from the xylophone to all sorts of percussion instruments. The songs are not just memorable, but part of my childhood. I still remember the cassette in my mom’s car blasting “I Just Can’t Wait to be King” while we were going to the doctor. Watching it as an adult I find that I can appreciate the musicality of the film. I really appreciate the African music which was incorporated to songs such as “Circle of Life”. The best song by far is “Be prepared”, which has such a dark tone and look to it that it, that can give the listener some bone-chilling feelings.
2.) Star Wars
Whenever you hear the first 3 notes of this score, you automatically know what film it is. You’re instantly taken back to the first time you saw the film. John Williams was able to create a larger than life universe which contained epic wars and an evil force, a feat that seemed inconceivable until George Lucas created a canvas for him to work with. Not only did Williams compose the epic opening music, which has been used in the rest of the Star Wars films, but he composed even the smaller musical numbers. This really made them connect to each other and make the film more cohesive as a whole. Many people consider this to be the greatest score of any film, but I feel there is still one more soundtrack that outshines it.
1.) Moulin Rouge
I wrestled with switching Star Wars and this film for the number one spot, but at the end of the day I felt that this was the perfect soundtrack. Similar to Across the Universe, Moulin Rouge takes songs we all know and love and rearranges them musically to become brand new. Hits from the late 1900’s are transformed and adapted to the fit the film period of the late 1800’s. The highlights of this film include a tango version of “Roxanne” (made famous by the Police) and a French can-can version of Nirvana’s “Smells like Teen Spirit”. Many other popular songs make an appearance in a way we’ve never heard them before. Like any good musical, the music is so much a part of the film. When a song begins in the film, it isn’t that the characters are randomly bursting into song, but that the music itself is helping aid the telling of the story. The music pushes the film along and truly entertains you. Baz Luhrmann became, in my eyes, a visual and auditory genius with this soundtrack.
Hope you enjoyed my top ten list of the best movie soundtracks. What do you think? Let me know in the comment section below. Happy viewing!