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Added by Larri on 12 Sep 2009 12:19
3580 Views 6 Comments

20 Soundtracks to die for

Sort by: Showing 20 items
Decade: Rating: List Type:
People who added this item 7527 Average listal rating (5483 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 8.5
Composer: Alan Silvestri
Oscar-nomination for Best Music, Original Song

Silvestri made a theme song to this time-travel tale that's a lot of fun I think, but Huey Lewis & The News made two true feel-good songs, "Back in Time" and "The Power of Love" of which the latter earned an Oscar-nomination. Cheer up, I command you.

Larri's rating:
People who added this item 677 Average listal rating (421 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6.6
Bad Taste (1987)
Composer: The Remnants

Ha! You didn't expect this!
We have aliens from outer space terrorizing a small town in New Zealand and what's the cure? Four original badasses and some odd hair metal. I don't even like that kinda music in general but it just makes the movie funnier than it already is. It also helps bring the action-factor to it. Blasting the life out of those bastards wouldn't be half as delightful as it is now.

And of course we have the laid-back title song.
Larri's rating:
People who added this item 5189 Average listal rating (3569 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.5
Batman (1989)
Composer: Danny Elfman

I can only imagine the shock that the audience of the older generation went through when they realised Burton's Batman wasn't as jolly as The Dark Knight of the 60s.
That must have occured to them already in the first seconds when Elfman's tremendous score guided as through the bat symbol in the film's opening (the video below).
One of my all-time favorite intros.
But you know what's weird? Danny Elfman removed the sound you hear at 0:56-0:57 from the theme of Batman Returns - and to me it lost a great deal of its effectiveness!

Also check out (heh) Prince's soundtrack.
Larri's rating:
People who added this item 4612 Average listal rating (3109 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 8.1
Blade Runner (1982)
Composer: Vangelis

I'm not much of a fan of Blade Runner but Vangelis if anyone is who made it work with his ambient soundtrack. Really subtle and quiet chords melt in the background so well it makes you wonder whether it's the actual music - or just distant voices echoing in the gloomy shithole called Los Angeles of 2019.
Extremely dark and depressing, this is the music I listen when I'm down or pissed off and want to make it worse.

Blade Runner End Theme

Also check out:
-"Tears in Rain"
-"Blade Runner Blues"
Larri's rating:
People who added this item 375 Average listal rating (237 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.5
Composer: Joseph Koo

Countless times I've been waving invisible guns when listening to this theme song. Kinda unusual music for a gangster film but all the more fitting for a gunpowder-smelling action spectacle.
Another great song on the soundtrack is "Gei Hui Feng" by Roman Tam, especially the way it's used. As he's sitting in a dark restaurant Chow Yun-Fat opens up to his companions about the life-threatening situation he was in and "Gei Hui Feng" is in the background.

But we're gonna go with the main theme:

Weird fact: here in Finland we have a version where a song from Forrest Gump is used. You can imagine the WTF-expression I had when I heard Alan Silvestri's piano playing as Ho gets out of jail.

Also check out:
-"Birdy's flight" by Peter Gabriel
-"A Better Tomorrow" by Leslie Cheung
-"Gei Hui Feng" by Roman Tam
-"Mian Shi Chi" by Chen Xiao-Yun
Larri's rating:
People who added this item 2192 Average listal rating (1374 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 8
Composer: John Barry
Oscar-winner: Best Music, Original Score

Don't expect Morricone-like whistles, "OOH"s and "UHH"s from this Western score. This is much more traditional but not one bit less compelling. On the other hand, Dances with Wolves wasn't just a Western either. It's an American epic and a journey that needs a more conventional way to approach. The only thing competing with the grandeur of Barry's score is the enormous wilderness opening in front of John Dunbar. And, of course, his friendship with Indians.

The Buffalo Hunt (album version)

Check the entire OST.
Larri's rating:
People who added this item 1217 Average listal rating (723 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.4
Das Boot (1981)
Klaus Doldinger's theme song to a German cop show Ein Fall für Zwei is probably in my all time TOP5 songs but Das Boot isn't far behind.
I mean this is just as friggin intimidating as being in The Boat must have been. Not one funny or light moment in the song. Dead serious. The portion in the middle is slightly lighter but even that is something truly brooding.
Judging by the number of covers, countless techno musicians like it too. Can't blame them.

Larri's rating:
People who added this item 1570 Average listal rating (1005 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.7
Composer: Lalo Schifrin

I bet the boy wonder from Argentina had a Cop Movie 101 in front of him when he was creating the score for Dirty Harry. It's classic chase music all the way with a fast pace, jazzy rhythm and drums so much that it sounds like someone is pounding a car with a steel bucket (????). Music for total badasses.

But Schifrin also did a slower and tender song "San Francisco After Dark" (or "San Francisco Night") that was played at the end credits of every Dirty Harry if I'm correct. Even in the very first Dirty Harry the music was there, it was just so silent and less-is-more that it's not that easy to recognize but the melody is the same. As a stand-alone song the one used in Dead Pool is better but the version in the first is clearly the most effective when it's combined with the already mind-blowing ending.

Also check out:
-"This Side of Forever" by Lalo Schifrin, Jerry Fielding and Roberta Flack ("San Francisco Night" with vocals)
-"Sudden Impact Main Theme"
-"Dead Pool Main Theme"
Larri's rating:
People who added this item 6387 Average listal rating (4367 ratings) 8.7 IMDB Rating 9.2
The Godfather (1972)
Composer: Nino Rota
Oscar-nomination for Best Music, Original Dramatic Score

God said: "Let this musique live eternally" and it will. I think everyone has heard this even if they didn't have a clue of the actual movie. It's an essential part of pop culture. Oh, and if you think "The Godfather" doesn't romanticize the life of a gangster, listen to this song and tell me it doesn't. Also check out "Vito's theme" from Part II.

Larri's rating:
Composer: Ennio Morricone

The main theme, "Ecstacy of Gold", "Il Triello". We all know those songs and what kind of masterpieces they all are. The main theme with its' screams and whistles. The huge epic operatic feeling of Ecstacy of Gold and the suspense that Il Triello creates in the final stand-off. But I want everyone to remember the slow but all the more emotional "Il Tramonto" that plays when we see Lee van Cleef's figure on the horizon. Tarantino likes it.

Ennio Morricone - Il Tramonto (The Sundown)
Larri's rating:
People who added this item 4679 Average listal rating (3168 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 8.1
Composer: John Williams

Rarely has a score captured the mentality and state of mind of a mindless monster this strikingly. A creature that can't be reasoned with due to its primitive instinct of eating everything in sight. You don't fuck with Bruce the Shark and John Williams knows that. He treated this beast the way he should be. With an Academy Award winning music.

The score however is not all scary and 100 percent horror music. When Chief Brody, Hooper and Quint are hunting for the shark the score gets downright adventurous. You get all the essential tones of the movie in "Sea attack number one" which plays in the background as the main trio starts to battle with Bruce.

"You're gonna need a bigger boat."
John Williams - Sea Attack Number One

Check out the entire OST.
Did you know that a portion of the score was used frequently in a Chinese b-horror trash movie called Oily Maniac only year after Jaws? It sounds horrible but it only proves that there are people who clearly wanted to be the ones to compose the music.
Larri's rating:
People who added this item 2129 Average listal rating (1455 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.6
Composer: Michael Kamen, Eric Clapton & David Sanborn

A film composer, a rock legend and a saxophonist. Now that's a lethal combo.
Kamen handled the action pieces while Clapton and Sanborn made the weepy and bluesy music for Riggs as well as the not-so-serious, roguish parts of Murtaugh's mid-life crisis. Legendary buddy cop music.
Not to mention the pop songs they had in each part.

Meet Martin Riggs

Unfortunately, an even greater song (in my opinion) from the soundtrack, "The Weapon", never appeared in the movie.
Also check out:
-"Mr. Joshua"
-"Lethal Weapon" by Honeymoon Suite
-"Cheer Down" by George Harrison from Lethal Weapon 2
-"Probably Me" by Sting & Eric Clapton from Lethal Weapon 3
-"Runaway Train" by Eric Clapton & Elton John from Lethal Weapon 3
Larri's rating:
People who added this item 712 Average listal rating (441 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.2
Manhunter (1986)
You know why many people tend to forget that this is actually the first Hannibal Lecter movie? Because Silence of the Lambs was so different in style compared to this. My theory is Michael Mann was so into Miami Vice at the time that he couldn't stand just producing it. He wanted to make a movie but for some reason Manhunter was never called Miami Vice. The pastel colors, neon shades, the landscapes and above all the music it's all Miami Vice. But that's what's so great.
This next song was in fact used earlier in Miami Vice. It's too easy to make the connection.

Red 7 - Heartbeat

Also check out:
-"Strong as I am" by The Prime Movers
-"Evaporation" by Shriekback
-"Graham's theme" by Michel Rubini
Larri's rating:
Composer: Ennio Morricone

There are basically four different songs in the soundtrack but it's enough to make it a straight up classic. The score is much more serious than in The Dollar Trilogy. Not too much funny whistling noises or such but one pretty and atmospherical theme for the leading lady - and one for The Death himself who stalks his prey in the wasteland of the West.
Listen to the guitar wires and the harmonica. It's breathtaking.

The Man with the Harmonica
Larri's rating:
People who added this item 3611 Average listal rating (2271 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 8
Rain Man (1988)
Composer: Hans Zimmer
Oscar-nomination for Best Music, Original Score

Reportedly, Barry Levinson didn't want string music in order to make Rain Man less sentimental. Wise choice. So, Zimmer made a synthesizer theme song that quite frankly reminds me of something related to Indiana Jones rather than an autistic savant. Sneaking in the jungle swinging a machete. But in a strange way, that's exactly what Raymond Babbitt is. Mysterious, unpredictable and something we may never fully comprehend. Definitely.

And I just wanna say, in my opinion, Hans Zimmer was always better in his early years than today. Back then his music was more subtle but now he's trying so hard that it comes out ridiculously epic and pretentious (The Dark Knight, Da Vinci Code, etc.)
Larri's rating:
People who added this item 3013 Average listal rating (2024 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 8.1
Rocky (1976)
Composer: Bill Conti
Oscar-nomination for Best Music, Original Song

This goes for all Rocky films. Gotta love the wind instruments, the montages, the power it gives you to overcome your problems. And rising up to challenge.
The often very sad but still very hopegiving music suits perfectly in the landscapes and suburbia of the crappy Philadelphia. Later the music was there to pump adrenaline into your body.

From Rocky II, "The Redemption"

Bill Conti - Redemption

Also check out:
-"Going the Distance"
-"Gonna Fly Now"
-"Eye of The Tiger" by Survivor (Rocky III)
-"Heart's on Fire" by John Cafferty (Rocky IV)
-"Training Montage" by Vince DiCola (Rocky IV)
-"War" by Vince DiCola (Rocky IV)
-"The Measure of a Man" by Elton John
Larri's rating:
People who added this item 4176 Average listal rating (2720 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 8.3
Scarface (1983)
Composer: Giorgio Moroder

When I hear the word 'mob film' the last thing I think about is 80s synthesizer disco pop. So what the fuck? Giorgio Moroder made the best soundtrack I've ever heard. Disco pop in an ultraviolent gangster flick. To most it's probably a standard 80s soundtrack but to me it's feast to the ears.

It's hard to decide between Push it to the limit and Gina and Elvira's theme but I'm gonna choose the latter. It's strange to hear such a gentle song after a bloody civil war at Tony's mansion. This left me sitting in my bed mouth wide-open the first time I saw it. Shocked by the brutal ending, stunned by the beautiful music following it.

Gina & Elvira's Theme

Also check out
-"Push it to the limit" by Paul Engemann
-"She's on Fire" by Amy Holland
-"Shake it Up" by Elizabeth Daily
-"Vamos a Bailar" by Maria Conchita
-"Tony's theme"
Larri's rating:
+ Empire Strikes Back & Return Of The Jedi

Composer: John Williams
Oscar-winner: Best Music, Original Score. Later ones were nominated.

It's hard to come up with anything new when talking about Star Wars. I can't explain it either, I can only praise. Most of us remember the main theme or "The Imperial March" most fondly but real nerds hum "Cantina Band" "The Force theme" "Han Solo and Princess" "Tie Fighter Attack" and all the other larger-than-life melodies it has to offer. We all know Star Wars is one huge space opera so the music was never just something to play in the background. We get all emotions from one end to another.

John Williams - Throne Room and End Title

Check out each of the soundtracks.
Larri's rating:
People who added this item 424 Average listal rating (270 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.3
Composer: Wang Chung

The British new wave band Wang Chung did the whole soundtrack whose only problem is that it's so rare! You can't find jack shit from the soundtrack. Except the main theme but at least that's one ass-kicking song.

To Live and Die in L.A.

I normally wouldn't say this but now I have to: download this soundtrack illegally. That's the only way to get your hands on this. It's short but sweet. Wang Chung made some fast and action-packed chase music.
Larri's rating:
People who added this item 2330 Average listal rating (1512 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.8
Composer: Ennio Morricone
Oscar-nomination for Best Music, Original Score

This really divides opinions. We can all recognize the notes of classic gangster music (by this I mean classic, you can't think of anything else when you hear it!) but it seems Morricone modernized them alot. He added in a lot of bass and heavy drum stomping - and it's infectious as shit.
Naturally, Morricone did a more conventional piece of music too, "Untouchables (End Title)" but, ironically, that's the one that has the cheapest TV series feeling and sounds the most forgettable. Not that I don't like it but that's the one that sounds like Morricone the least.

Instead, "Strength of the Righteous (Main Title)" kicks me in the balls.
Larri's rating:

My personal favorites. I tried to add just those that have more than one good song in them but, for example, Das Boot Main theme is so outstanding I couldn't leave it out. If you feel that there's something left out, the reason is that I A) didn't remember them, B) have never heard them or C) don't give a crap about them.
Looking at this list, you can probably figure out what kinda music keeps my heart pumping.

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