John Williams. Hans Zimmer. Danny Elfman. James Horner.
Soundtrack composers have been elevated to the status of celebrities and rock stars in their own right. Though most people might not know what John Williams looks like, everyone, whether they know it or not, knows his music. If you ask someone who their favorite composer is, you’re likely to get Hans Zimmer as an answer.
But let’s be honest, sometimes it’s difficult sitting through an entire movie soundtrack because of all the ominous music when you’re not feeling very ominous, or majestic music when you’re not feeling very accomplished.
Or you see a movie and you think, Wow, that music is beautiful. But when you look at the track titles on the soundtrack, you have know idea which one that piece of music falls under.
Music scores inspire me, and they help jog my imagination before I sit down to write. Scores challenge me to make my fictional worlds bigger and more lively. Here’s a few soundtrack pieces from movies you might not have ever considered adding to your collection. It’s okay if you haven’t seen the movies, just take a listen to the scores and share some of your favorite movie scores with us in the comments below.
Aaron Zigman, “Into the Forrest” from Bridge to Terabithia:
If you can’t handle highly emotional movies, stay away from this Disney/Walden Media flick. But the music composed here that takes the viewers and its characters from reality to the land of Terabithia is magical in its own right.
Basil Poledouris and Hans Zimmer, “Main Title” from White Fang:
When I was around eight years old my family and I took an Alaskan cruise. The theater onboard the ship played – appropriately – White Fang. And up until I found this score just a couple months ago, I remembered this haunting tune all those years, often humming it when I was alone or writing without music.
Brian Tyler, “Main Title Overture” from The Greatest Game Ever Played:
This is from a lesser known Disney movie (I know, all of these happen to be from Disney which is actually coincidental), staring the kid from those Transformers movies. I highly recommend it if you’re like me and prefer slower, historical movies. But the theme here practically tells the story on its own, about victory in the face of adversity and hardship. A great listen if you’re feeling defeated.
Christophe Beck, “Paperman” from “Paperman”:
“Paperman” is a short cartoon put out by Disney which featured before Wreck-it-Ralph. It’s hard to admit, but this short film is better than all of Pixar’s shorts (coming close to the one with the magician and his rabbit: “Presto”). Never has a short made me feel so much emotion and made me root so hard for its protagonist. If you haven’t seen it, just Youtube Paperman. The score here is fresh, and very original.
Michael Gore, “Theme” from Terms of Endearment:
This movie made me fall in love with Shirley McLain’s acting. But the theme here is just as good as her performance. If you look for it on iTunes, punch in “Theme from Terms of Endearment by Cincinnati Pops Orchestra” – it’s a much better version than what Youtube has here.
Post your favorite scores below, even new takes on familiar scores are welcome!