No movie is truly complete without a good score. Often the soundtrack stays with me long after most of the film has faded. These songs are my personal favorites, in no particular order and from a smattering of genres. Without them, the scenes they backed would not have had the same impact for me. I find myself humming them at random moments and in most cases was compelled to purchase either the soundtrack or a compilation by their respective composer or artist to obtain them.
Dmitri Shostakovich – Jazz Suite Waltz Number 2
First noticed this one during Eyes Wide Shut (Stanley Kubrick, 1999). It seems a steady popular choice for beautiful but non-distracting background music. I noticed it not long ago in a Nero Wolfe episode as well. I found it so beautiful, it immediately replaced The Canon In D as my favorite instrumental piece. It gets regular play at home and is one of my ringtones.
Nino Rota – A Time For Us
Heard in Romeo & Juliet (Franco Zefferelli, 1968). Beautiful. Heartbreaking. The innocence, playfulness, and tragedy of the entire film compressed into a little over 3 minutes. I have never heard an arrangement I didn’t love, but Nino Rota’s is by far the best. Another in my regular rotation on my playlist at home.
Roger Williams – Theme From Somewhere In Time (from Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody On A Theme Of Paganini, Variation 18)
Forever bound with Somewhere In Time (Jeannot Szwarc, 1980). So completely captures the mood of the film that I never hear it without scenes flashing through my head.
Strange Fruit (Jimmy Nail) – What Might Been
As a child of the 80′s, I loved the entire score of Still Crazy (Brian Gibson, 1998), but this song really caught me. One of my favorite artists is Jimmy Nail, but I heard him first here. Now, of course, I have several of his cds. Lots of airplay here, both in the house and in the truck.
Blue Oyster Cult – Don’t Fear The Reaper
I cannot think of any piece of music, anywhere, ever, that could have better captured the tone of this film. As with most of the pieces I list in this post, this song is forever linked in my mind with this movie.
Hans Zimmer – The Battle
Never, ever underestimate the sweeping power of music. If I had never seen or heard of Gladiator (Ridley Scott, 2000), I would still clearly see an epic battle in my mind while listening to this piece. Hans Zimmer has the ability to carry you away with his compositions, and I always enjoy listening to his scores. This is definitely my favorite, though.
John Williams (City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra) – Theme From Raiders Of The Lost Ark
Action, adventure, and the feel of an adrenaline rush in musical form. Perfectly captures the film, and the protagonist. The only thing missing is the sound of a bullwhip.
Roy Orbison – In Dreams
Blue Velvet (David Lynch, 1986) was the first David Lynch film I ever saw. It will always be my favorite. Everything about the scene with Stockwell’s performance of this creeps the s*#t out of me. I feel like I should check the closets and under the beds before I go to sleep after I watch it. Now that is an excellent use of a song.