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Thirteen of the greatest film soundtracks of all time…


In last week’s Sunday Stealing I mentioned (as I’m sure I have before) my love of the oft-ignored film score. Many of the CDs I first purchased as a teenager were soundtrack CDs, so when everyone else was listening to Oasis, Blur, Pulp, Aqua and Chumbawumba, I was delighting myself with John Williams, Alan Silvestri, Anton Karas and James Horner.

Given I am still battling through writer’s block, I decided to share thirteen of my favourite film scores with you all. Most are movies you will have heard of, all are pieces of music worth acquainting yourself with.

Enjoy :)

Journey to the Island (Jurassic Park) – John Williams

One of the most recognisable film composers of all time, John Williams’ work has been heard by billions of people worldwide. Star Wars, Superman, Indiana Jones, E.T, Schindler’s List, Jaws, Close Encounters…all instantly recognisable and magnificent pieces of work.

But none more so for me than this track from one of my favourite movies of all time.

Breaking of the Fellowship (The Fellowship of the Ring) – Howard Shore

Simply one of the greatest soundtrack scores of the last twenty-five years. I could create a Thursday Thirteen list purely from the soundtracks of this trilogy of epic motion pictures, but this piece has always been a particular favourite of mine.

The Third Man – Anton Karas

If you have never seen The Third Man you are not only missing out on one of the greatest films ever made, but also one of the greatest soundtracks ever made. Seriously, everything about this score is a delight. Cue the zither!

Why So Serious? (The Dark Knight) – Hans Zimmer & James Newton Howard

One of the greatest Superhero movies ever made. One of the greatest movies ever made. So it’s fitting it also has one of the best soundtracks Hans Zimmer has ever composed (or rather co-composed) to score it.

Hanging / Escape (Plunkett and Maclean) – Craig Armstrong

My love of Craig Armstrong knows no bounds. Most will know him as the composer for Romeo and Juliet or Moulin Rouge, but this track (actually two pieces joined together) has long been one of my favorite of his movie work. Stunning from beginning to end.

The Kraken (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest) – Hans Zimmer

If you were to remove the sublime Journey to the Line from the equation, this is without doubt my favourite track from Hans Zimmer.

Scorponok (Transformers) – Steve Jablonsky

Will forever remind me of the ups and downs of Adelaide ’07 and of psyching myself up for job interviews. A cracking action score that is far better than the movie deserves (although, in all honesty, this and its sequel are two of my guilty pleasures!)

Love Theme (St Elmo’s Fire)

I will not hear a bad word said about this piece of music! Got that?

Point of No Return (Back to the Future III) – Alan Silvestri

Everything about this film trilogy was magnificent, especially Alan Silvestri’s superb soundtrack. Of which this track from the brilliant conclusion to the third installment is a highlight.

Elora Danan (Willow) – James Horner

Viewers of this seminal fantasy film from the 1980s will have seen Warwick Davis in action long before he lit up the screens in Harry Potter, Merlin and Life’s Too Short. Granted, it’s not a movie that is greatly loved (although I cherish it) but Horner’s score is one of the best soundtrack’s of the 1980s, if not ever.

North by Northwest Suite – Bernard Herrmann

Forget Psycho, this is the definitive Hitchcock score. A work of absolute genius and one of the finest film scores ever composed.

Prologue (JFK) – John Williams

Another classic, often overlooked track from legendary composer John Williams. One of my personal favourites.


Going Home (Theme from Local Hero) – Mark Knopfler

My favourite film score of all time. I love this track with an intense and fiery passion!

What about you? Are there any film scores (or composers) that rock your world?

14 thoughts on “Thirteen of the greatest film soundtracks of all time…

  1. These are wonderful. Hadn’t heard 3rd Man in ages. I remember it from my childhood when one of my sisters used to collect records (78s).


  2. Tron 2 had a pretty good soundtrack. It was all done by Daft Punk!


  3. I’ve always loved the Jurassic Park soundtrack – still have it around here, somewhere.

    More recently, I’ve enjoyed many tracks from 28 Days Later, and the soundtrack from the Untouchables has some great stuff, too.

    But I have to comment on the fact you mentioned Pulp in your first paragraph. I LOVE PULP!!!!


    Happy TT to you!


    • The Untouchables soundtrack is fantastic. I used to own it on cassette and think I wore it out with playing it too much.

      Pulp are magnificent, love them!

      Awesome to karaoke to as well :)


  4. Stargate, Mass Effect 3(game) Halo (game) Halo 2, Robocop, Starship Troopers, The Last Samurai, Ran (THE Samurai movie), Gladiator, Braveheart, The Punisher (with Thomas Jane), Avatar, any of the Alien movies, The Abyss, Rango, WALL-E, to name a few.


    • All fantastic suggestions.

      I’m not a fan of the movie Gladiator but do love Zimmer’s score. Braveheart has long been a favourite of mine but I haven’t seen nor heard Wall-E, Stargate or The Last Samurai, so will have to check them out sometime.

      I’ve not heard the game soundtracks you’ve mentioned as I’m not a huge gamer, but do enjoy the Zelda scores :)


  5. Completely agree with “St Elmo’s Fire”, “Willow” and “Going Home”! :)


  6. I like the Transformers soundtrack the best!


  7. I love, love, love the LotR soundtrack. I have all three movies and play them frequently. They are, btw, very good to write to …


    • I listen to soundtrack scores a lot whilst writing, and the soundtrack changes depending on the passages I’m writing (e.g. flat out action, low key drama, heartbreaking romance).

      LOTR was one of my fall backs for a long time. I had the three extended editions and would listen to them all the time whilst writing but alas I no longer have them.

      Will have to try and get hold of them again :)


  8. Ha, I have the the Jurassic Park CD!
    I like the soundtrack of Final Fantasy too.


  9. Pingback: On Epic Music | Musings of a Philosopher

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