Have you ever watched a movie and found yourself drawn in by the background instrumental music? For example, some of the battles that take place in the Lord of The Rings trilogy, or especially in Star Wars. Film scores haven't always been so prominent in the industry, but without them most movies would lose so much of what makes them great. Imagine Darth Vader walking without any music playing behind him (bad example, he's still pretty threatening) but you get the point. Film scores are just as big of a part of the film as every other aspect involved. Here are some of the best film scores in history.
1. Chariots of Fire by Vangelis (1981)
This film's score is so damn inspiring it just makes me want to do things in slow motion. Put this song on your I-Pod and do anything. Literally anything at all and tell me you don't feel like a champion. This film won best picture over Raiders of The Lost Ark and Red and it probably had a lot to do with this song. The Academy must have been so inspired that they just went with it. All jokes aside, this movie may not be the most memorable on this list but this score is probably one that most people know (but never knew what movie it came from)
2. Aliens by James Horner (1986)
What a haunting score. James Horner truly created a masterpiece here. The tone fits perfectly with the movie, providing a certain mystery and deep darkness that just makes you feel like you're lost in space. It's grace is almost hypnotic. Being the second film in the franchise, it perfectly evolves from what Ridley Scott created in the first installment. I highly recommend both this score and the film itself to anyone who enjoys the horror genre.
3. Lord of The Rings Trilogy by Howard Shore (2001-2003)
These films had such an epic presence on screen and the score is extremely effective in bringing even more feeling to every scene. Howard Shore has created a score that has buried itself into the minds of Tolkien fans everywhere. The instruments themselves fit into the world setting so well, it's like bringing magic to life. Keep in mind, The Hobbit trilogy (ugh) gets a pretty bad rep but we're focusing on Lord of The Rings. Three masterfully crafted films with a masterfully crafted score to match.
4. The Pink Panther by Henry Mancini (1963)
Yeah now this is what I'm talking about. Time to take a step away from the glorious battlefield and into the mysterious, brassy score of The Pink Panther. This theme is probably one of the most entertaining in history, and is definitely so very memorable. With four Oscar wins and over 200 movies to credit in his career, Henry Mancini will be remembered forever for this amazing composition.
5. Batman by Danny Elfman (1989)
Of all the classic film scores that exist, this has got to be one of the best. It is truly revolutionary. As the film begins with Danny Elfman's opening playing, it really prepares you for what's to come; a brilliant film with one of the best (if not the best) acting portrayal of Batman by Michael Keaton. This score pushed the envelope for comic book movies, forcing the audience take the movie much more seriously. Tim Burton's rendition of Batman may be commercially overshadowed by the more recent versions of the Dark Knight himself, but 1989's Batman will always be responsible for laying the groundwork.
6. Dr. No by Monty Norman and John Barry (1962)
This song is enough to give anyone chills. It perfectly embodies James Bond, it's smooth but powerful at the same time. From the moment it begins, you know Bond is here, and he's here to kick ass and take names. Or kick ass and say his name. This song is by far probably one of the most memorable pieces of music in the history of film, and it shows. I'm aware that there was some legal scuffle over the composition of this score, but I put credit to both Monty Norman and John Barry because with music this great, who has time to argue?
7. Psycho by Bernard Herrmann (1960)
Taking a step away from the sexy and bombastic, and back into the dark corners of the film industry. Psycho is such an iconic film, it's no wonder this score has become such a huge hit. It presents a chilling energy that builds so much tension that you feel like somebody is standing over your shoulder. The composition of the string section applies perfectly to this film, blending horror and suspense. This is not only one of the greatest horror films ever made, but by far one of the best film scores as well.
8. The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly by Ennio Morricone (1966)
Once you hear it, there's no forgetting it. That's the masterful work of the living legend Ennio Morricone. There were so many amazing film scores he's responsible for that I wanted to include, but this one stood out so much. This song will forever propel the success of this film, and both are equally incredible. It's a must see for you hardcore film fans.
9. Halloween by John Carpenter (1977)
Talk about terrifying. The song itself is simple but extremely effective. It gives Michael Myers that dark brooding mystery as he stalks his prey. It's as ominous as the character himself and I applaud John Carpenter for his work. Although this is one of the horror films that sadly spawned one too many sequels, the original film in the franchise is worthy of this list.
10. Star Wars by John Williams (1977, 1980, 1983)
This isn't me saying this is the best of his scores, considering films like Jaws, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Jurassic Park, and the list just goes on and on but you get the point. Everything the man composes just turns out to be amazing but sadly I've spent too much time arguing with myself over what to include by him. So I decided on Star Wars. I can't think of a single more memorable song than this one. It has the grandness of an opera with the drive of a battle song. What more could you ask for in a movie score?
What are some of your favorite film scores? Let me know in the comments below!