ByBeth Boone-Wilson, writer at
Verified Creator. Love all things DC and Horror... but most of all I love Jason Voorhees
Beth Boone-Wilson

One of the most effective tools to capture an audience is the use of powerful, emotion-inducing , music that has the ability to stand the test of time and is easily recognized outside of the movie for which it was created. The emotion a movie produces can be amplified by applying the right music, enhancing the movie's energy and passion. Setting the right environment for a movie is incredibly important; music has the power to create the mood before making it through the opening credits.

"To me, movies and music go hand in hand. When I'm writing a script, one of the first things I do is find the music I'm going to play for the opening sequence." — Quentin Tarantino

Let's talk about a few movie themes that stand out from the crowd:

10. 'The Hobbit'

It's hard to choose only one song from The Hobbit, but this song really compliments the story and broadens the audience's experience. The deep, solemn tune runs parallel to the atmosphere of the movie, giving it a significant purpose. It is haunting, yet beautiful, and serves as an alternative, more creative narration. The song may be short and simple, but it manages to emanate a sense of melancholy that foreshadows the majority of the film.

9. 'Dracula Untold'

The gothic tone of "City of The Dead" makes it the perfect companion for the legendary story of Dracula. The crystalline beginning quickly transforms into a dark, somber melody paired with the angelic soprano vocals of Eurielle. The entire song feels magical, and pairs well with the notorious folklore many know and love.

8. 'Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?'

"I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow" is the perfect tribute to an overlooked part of American history. The 1930s were a time of growth and change, and music was a big part of the culture during the period. With bluegrass being the staple of American root music just prior to the rise of jazz, the film perfectly utilizes the popularity of the sound, and adds a little humor to go with it.

7. 'Braveheart'

Braveheart first captured hearts over 20 years ago, and the theme song's timeless celtic melody is still adored today. James Horner clearly has a gift for creating instrumental masterpieces, which is apparent in Braveheart, along with his scores for Titanic, Avatar, and Troy. The late composer had this to say about his admiration for music:

"I'm a fanatic about Irish music. I love its moody, modal and timeless quality. I'm different from some other composers, because I don't look at this as just a job. I think of music as art." — James Horner

6. 'Ben-Hur'

The main theme matches the emotion of the story, with an inspiring, passionate violin solo providing a solid anchor for the song. The harmonious, gradual swelling builds upon the film's progression of emotions. Although the story is fictional, the time period and eternal bond between brothers is relatable, heartening, and layered, which is transparent throughout the song. Criticized for not living up to the soundtrack made famous by the 1959 version of Ben-Hur, this breathtaking theme has not been given the unbiased recognition it deserves.

5. 'Atonement'

The entire score for this film was beautifully done, with each song serving a significant purpose and eliciting specific emotions. This specific piece served as the main theme and the tone is remarkably fitting for 1930s England. Appropriately, the score did not go unrecognized, winning both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score. Composed by Dario Marianelli, who was also responsible for the musical score for Pride & Prejudice, making it his second collaboration with director Joe Wright.

4. 'Inception'

Composed by Hans Zimmer, the score for is as captivating as the movie itself. The slow buildup of the music reflects the storyline perfectly, and the tune somehow manages to express actual heartbreak. Zimmer borrowed a "single manipulated beat" from Edith Piaf's song "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien" for the score, using additional portions throughout the movie's entire soundtrack. Zimmer has stated that using the song was never intended to be a secret. I guess when it works, it works.

3. 'The Great Gatsby'

The Great Gatsby deserved a beautiful theme song, and Lana Del Rey's "Young and Beautiful" did not disappoint. The low register of Del Rey's voice offered a haunting sound suitable for the tragic love story. The slow tempo, combined with dreamy vocals connects the song to the longing and desperation felt by the main characters throughout the film. It's definitely a breath of fresh air amidst the numerous high-paced, energetic songs featured during the film.

2. 'Titanic'

A legendary love story deserves an equally epic love song, and Titanic nailed it. Scored by James Horner and performed by Celine Dion, "My Heart Will Go On" won as oscar for the Best Song From A Film in 1998. It was also the highest selling single worldwide the same year. I doubt anything could ever compare to the recognition Titanic's theme song received.

1. 'Last Of The Mohicans'

Co-composed by Trevor Jones and Randy Edelman, the theme song for Last of the Mohicans has an epic sound that can not be replicated. Though the soundtrack was originally supposed to have an electronic score, orchestral was chosen to better represent the historic drama. The main tune used throughout the film was written by Scottish songwriter Dougie MacLean for a song off of his 1990 album, and adapted to match the raw passion of the storyline.

Music is the backbone of a film, and can make a good movie great by turning the experience up a notch. Would the scene in Rocky where Stallone is running up the steps have been as powerful without an epic song to go along with it; would Halloween have been as scary without the eerie music to accompany Michael on his murder spree? Music enhances the emotions of a film by adding impact. Next time you sit down to enjoy a new movie, take a minute to really appreciate the music that accompanies it.

"Music in movies is all about dissonance and consonance, tension and release." — Quincy Jones

Share your favorite movie theme song in the comments below!


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