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Best Scored Movies of All Time

Updated on October 9, 2016

Dazed and Confused (1993)

By far, my top selection for best scored movies goes to the 1993 film Dazed and Confused. From beginning to end, the music flows seemlessly with the plot in a perfect cohesion that actually brings you back into the 1970s.

Not only is the film an extremely relevant period piece which has only continued to gain truth as time progresses, but Dazed and Confused is also one of the best scored movies I have ever seen.

Consisting of popular classics such as "Sweet Emotion" by Aerosmith, "Highway Star" by Deep Purple, "School's Out" by Alice Cooper, "Low Rider" by War, "Hurricane" by Bob Dylan and more by Foghat, Peter Frampton, ZZ Top, KISS, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Steve Miller.

The soundtrack for this movie could not be more fitting and each song was clearly chosen and placed into the part of the movie it belonged to perfectly. The sound editing is simply remarkable and if you haven't seen this movie, you need to watch it.

The Score of Star Wars Received Numerous Awards

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

John Williams composed all six of the scores for the Star Wars movies, from the 1977-1983 Original Trilogy versions, to the Prequel Trilogies filmed between 1999 and 2005. All of the scores are considered to be some of the top scored movies of all time.

The score for Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back is the top selling all-orchestral soundtrack in movie history. John Williams became one of the most successful composers in movie history by bringing back the orchestra into cinema.

John Williams is a composer, a conductist, and a painist. Other scores composed by Williams include Jaws, Jurassic Park, E.T., and the Indiana Jones series.

Prague Film Orchestra - Star Wars Imperial March

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The Breakfast Club (1985)

The Breakfast Club is considered to be one of the best soundtracks of all time by people of all generations. Unlike other movies on this list, The Breakfast Club makes the top choices for movie scores because of one song - "Don't You Forget About Me".

The song, performed by Simple Minds, was originally offered to Billy Idol, who turned down the track. After the release of The Breakfast Club in 1985, "Don't You Forget About Me" became known as the best song in cinematic history.

Nothing sums up the Reagan era more than the fact that a worthy band became famous overnight for a song they never even wrote in the first place.

The Lion King Was So Well Scored it Wound Up on Broadway

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Forrest Gump (1994)

Forrest Gump is a classic film that touched the lives of millions. The film starred Tom Hanks and received several Academy Awards, as well as Golden Globe Awards.

The score for Forrest Gump was composed by Alan Silvestri. The soundtrack to the movie was released on the same day as the movie and gained high acclaim from world renowned critics.

Alan Silvestri is a composer and conducter known for his work on the movie Forrest Gump, as well as the Back to the Future Trilogy, Captain America, and Marvel's The Avengers.

Consisting of 34 amazing songs, performed by artists such as Elvis Presley, Bob Seger, The Supremes, The Byrds and Jefferson Airplane, the soundtrack for Forrest Gump peaked at #2 on the Billboard Charts.


The Lion King (1994)

Disney is known for their high budget films that have no limitations, but I think it is safe to say that the movie The Lion King had a way of worming itself into all of our hearts, Disney fans, and non-Disney fans alike.

The score for the movie was composed by Hans Zimmer, composer for Gladiator, The Dark Knight and Inception.

Zimmer has received four Grammy Awards, two Golden Globes and one Oscar. Four of those awards were for his work with the film The Lion King.

The Lion King is currently the best-selling soundtrack album for an animated movie inside the United State. Over 7 million copies have been sold in total, with 4,934,000 copies sold just in 1994.

My Heart Will Go On was Awarded One Academy Award and One Golden Globe

Titanic (1997)

James Horner composed, conducted and orchestrated the score for the film Titanic, released in 1997. James Horner not only composed the score for Titanic, but also Star Trek, Avatar, The Amazing Spiderman, A Beautiful Mind, and many more notable films.

Titanic's soundtrack was released by Sony in November of 1997. Originally Enya was the composer that producer James Cameron had chosen for this iconic film, but when she declined, Cameron gave the job to Horner.

Horner has won two Academy Awards, two Golden Globes, three Satellite Awards, and three Saturn Awards.

The most popular track from the Titanic soundtrack is Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On." The song won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe.


Theme Song from Titanic

As someone who loves both film and music, this 6 CD set of the Greatest Film Themes is a favorite in my house and features some of the most classic songs used i

Requiem for a Dream (2000)

The soundtrack for Requiem for a Dream was composed by Clint Mansell and Kronos Quartet. Mansell's most well known scores include Requiem, Smokin' Aces and Black Swan. The Kronos Quartet is a string quartet that hails from San Francisco, California.

The movie, which follows several people of different ages as they fall down the hole of drug addiction, is tied seemlessly with slow orchestrated movies while the cast gets hooked on downers, and high-sped tracks as they discover uppers.

The soundtrack is as heart-wrenching as the movie, and because of this, it has gained critical acclaim from some of the world's most renowned film critics.

Soundtrack Cover for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

The score for the 2004 film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is as eccentric as the film. Composed by Jon Brion, a California musician, the soundtrack for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is in one word: beautiful.

Beck heavily collaborated with Brion for this soundtrack, which included tracks from the Electric Light Orchestra, The Polyphonic Spree, The Willowz and Don Nelson.

Hip-hop artist Jay Electronica famously looped five Jon Brion compositions from the Eternal Sunshine soundtrack when Jay produced his tracks Act 1, Act 2 and The Pledge.

The Great Gatsby (2013)

The Great Gatsby, a film by Baz Luhrmann, is one of this centuries best scored films hand down. Not only is the film in and of itself exceptional, but the music for this film is absolutely captivating.

An adaptation of a popular book by F. Scott Fitzgerald, this movie was destined to either be a ballpark homerun, or a strike-out. Leonardo DiCaprio along with Toby McGuire managed to steal the stage however.

The score for the film was produced by Grammy Award winning musician Jay-Z and Australian screenwriter Baz Luhrmann. The soundtrack for The Great Gatsby consisted of pieces performed by Jay-Z himself, as well as Amy Winehouse, Florence and the Machine, Nero, The Bryan Ferry Orchestra, as well as many others.

The soundtrack for The Great Gatsby managed to bring the story into the 21st century while still maintaining F. Scott Fitzgerald's signature sound. Interscope Records released the soundtrack April, 2013. It debuted at number two on Billboard Chart's top 200 for 2013.

R. Kurt. Osenlud of Slant Magazine wrote that the album was "easily the most anticipated album of its kind in years" and further described its sound as an "extraordinary melding of vintage and contemporary sounds".

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    • Kathleen Odenthal profile image
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      Kathleen Odenthal Romano 2 years ago from Bayonne, New Jersey

      Thank you for putting so much time into your comment! I love hearing other peoples opinions and obviously something like this hub is completely opinion based. I love your list of top ten scores though! You mentioned some great ones that I didn't even think of, like the secrets of arietty and the secret of kells.

    • kotobukijake profile image

      kotobukijake 2 years ago

      "Don't You Forget About Me" is "known as the best song in cinematic history"? I didn't know that. It is a durned good song, but I have to admit grudgingly that I have not yet seen The Breakfast Club. Also, I'd wager that I could pick a few songs that are better from the movies, including some original to the movies. But that is neither here nor there--your hub is "The Best Scored Movies of All Time," not "The Best Movie Soundtracks of All Time." To me, that means the focus is on the instrumental music. I fully agree with Star Wars, and particularly Empire, making the cut, and mad props on including Requiem for a Dream. However, while I loved Alan Silvestri's score for Forrest Gump, that soundtrack was OWNED by the found songs expertly scattered throughout. For The Lion King one could make the case that it was indeed one the best scores ever written, but again the songs truly elevated it to another level. Titanic is easily a qualifier for this list, but I doubt it would make my Top 10; as much as I LOVED Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, the music left a weaker impression on me than the other films on this list, and The Great Gatsby is debatable for me. All that said, this would probably be my Top 10: #10-Requiem for a Dream (Clint Mansell); #9-The Secret of Kells (Bruno Coulais); #8-Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (John Williams); #7-Ghost World (David Kitay); #6-Jurassic Park (John Williams); #5-The Secret World of Arietty (Cecile Corbel); #4-The Princess Bride (Mark Knopfler); #3-Miller's Crossing (Carter Burwell); #2-The Godfather (Nino Rota); #1-Fargo (Carter Burwell). Also, honorable mention to Raiders of the Lost Ark, Home Alone and Jaws, by John Williams; Raising Arizona, by Carter Burwell; Coraline, by Bruno Coulais; The Wind Rises, by Joe Hisaishi; Wag the Dog, by Mark Knopfler; Moonrise Kingdom and Philomena, by Alexandre Desplat; and Edward Scissorhands and Batman, by Danny Elfman. As to soundtracks as a whole, that's a whole other big list, but Forrest Gump and Dazed and Confused would certainly sit nicely among films like O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Almost Famous. Clearly, I love music in film--sorry if I got carried away there. I've said for years there needs to an Oscar for "Best Soundtrack Compilation," though I know think it should be called "Best Use of Music in Film." Your list is, I think, ample evidence that if the Academy wants to be more accessible to the movie-going masses they need to get off their high horse about original music and look at how music actually plays in a movie. Anyway, fun hub, and I'll certainly make an effort to check out The Breakfast Club, to see why that song's use became so iconic.

    • Alphadogg16 profile image

      Kevin W 2 years ago from Texas

      Being that I'm a sci fi geek, Star Wars is one of my all time favorites (all six of them). The breakfast club & the lion King were good movies too. Thumbs up on your hub Kathleen.

    • Kathleen Odenthal profile image
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      Kathleen Odenthal Romano 2 years ago from Bayonne, New Jersey

      Omg! You HAVE to see it! It's a classic! Matthew McCoughnahay, (I know I butchered that but Im sleep), Ben Affleck, Adam Goldbaum and so many more fabulous actors and actresses. I should have been born in that decade. It makes me sad to watch that movie, because I wish I got to witness that decade. I always take your compliments at the highest regard, thank you very much! :)

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      I've seen many of these movies, but not all. I regret that I've never seen your top pick. Shame on me! I was in high school in the 70's and love the era. I'll have to keep my eyes out for it. I spent much of the 70's being dazed and confused!

      Great hub, Kathleen. But then again, I've grown to know you as a great writer who chooses interesting, engaging topics to write about.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Good picks and very interesting.

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