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Movie Themes No. 2

Updated on July 25, 2016

Movies and Composers

My second article on my favourite music soundtracks are some of the most well known and loved and who knows maybe yours too. If you enjoy them too then that's wonderful. These movie themes come from some outstanding movies that I have enjoyed immensely and from composers who have crafted a soundtrack which has contributed to the enjoyment of film and helped me and I'm sure many others recall scenes from the movie as if it was yesterday.

I had fun compiling this short walk down memory lane so I hope you enjoy it with me. Feel free to comment and even suggest movies that I should have put down here.

Chariots of Fire

Chariots of Fire (1981)

Directed by: Hugh Hudson

Starring: Ben Cross, Ian Charleson and Nicholas Farrell

Music: Vangelis (Evangelos Odysseus Papathanassiou)

This film is about what compels people to do what they do. Eric Liddell played by Ian Charleson, athletes for the glory of God, whereas Harold Abrahams played by Ben Cross athletes to demonstrate his worth to a culture that is anti-Semitic. Though they don't run for the same reasons they both have the same tenacity and resolve which drives them on. They stand up for what they believe in and reject the easy route of sacrificing their principles and choose the long hard route.

The supporting cast is also amazing, with Nigel Havers, Nicholas Farrell, Ian Holm and Sir John Gielgud all making significant offerings to the final creation.

There is absolutely nothing redundant about this movie. The direction and the writing are all exceptional and the acting is superb and of course there's that haunting score by Vangelis Papathanassiou.

Once again, this is truly a stupendous film with common themes that transcend time and place.

The Godfather Theme

The Godfather (1972)

Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola

Starring: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino

Music: Nino Rota

In a movie consistently included among the best ever made, Marlon Brando plays the aging patriarch of a Mafia dynasty who seeks to transfer control of his criminal empire to his reluctant son, played by Al Pacino.

Nino Rota was born in Milan in 1911 and his classical training and Italian heritage stand him in good stead in the elegant and dark score. The score evokes both the deep Italian roots of the characters world and the mannered life of great wealth they live.

Mission Impossible Theme

Mission Impossible (1996)

Directed by: Brian De Palma

Starring: Tom Cruise, Jon Voight and Emmanuelle Béart

Music: Danny Elfman

In the first movie of the franchise based (loosely) on the classic American TV series, Tom Cruise plays an American agent cut off from his organization who must clear his name and unmask the real spy.

While U2 members Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen, Jr. had fun with the iconic “Theme fromMission: Impossible," and garnered a top ten hit for their trouble, the rest ofMission: Impossible music is, for the most part, generic and unremarkable. Danny Elfman’s Oingo Boingo eclectic rock credits and his association with Tim Burton are not much in evidence here.

Blade Runner

Blade Runner (1982)

Directed by: Ridley Scott

Starring: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer

Music: Vangelis (Evangelos Odysseus Papathanassiou)

Based on a novel by science fiction legend Philip K. Dick, Blade Runner tells the story of a bounty hunter (Harrison Ford) tracking down 4 replicants in an atmospheric and rain-soaked near-future dystopia.

While the music didn't generate any hit singles, it’s definitely stylish and evocative, perfectly underscoring the big city alienation and the rather tragic story of artificial beings who are nevertheless capable of emotion being marked for death while they are on a quest to find their point of origin. The perfect union of art , science, human emotions and nature. A masterpiece.

Jurassic Park Theme

Raptors

Jurassic Park (1993)

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Starring: Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum

Music: John Williams

An island is populated with dinosaurs created from preserved DNA (dinosaur blood found in the body of a mosquito in amber) and things go terribly wrong when a power failure causes safeguards to no longer keep the savage animals contained.

John Williams is an enormously successful composer (41 Oscar nominations, five wins) who has composed scores for an even dozen Steven Spielberg films. This score is one of his best works, much of it rather bombastic and self-important, but it does have some wonderful wistful moments and some good menacing music for when characters are endeavouring not to be devoured by raptors.

ET

E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Starring: Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore and Peter Coyote

Music: John Williams

A lonely boy meets a stranded alien who has healing powers and loves Reese's Pieces. Together they must evade a major government manhunt (alien-hunt?) to make sure ET can not only phone home, but manage to go home.

In keeping with John William’s awards and success, the ET soundtrack is particularly compelling and interesting. It conveys mystery, sentimentality and melodrama through restrained and somewhat emotional orchestration.

Top Gun

Top Gun (1986)

Directed by: Tony Scott

Starring: Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis and Val Kilmer

Music: Harold Faltermeyer

Competitive fighter pilots bond, compete and, in some cases, contend with unsanctioned romance and personal tragedy.

The soundtrack album, one of the most successful of all time, charted at number one for five weeks in 1986. It features smash hits of the most mainstream sort of pop music from the mid-‘80s, though from a rather miscellaneous collection of artists including Kenny Loggins and a forgettable song by Cheap Trick. Chances are good you’ll recognize Berlin’s fantastic “Take my Breath Away.” All in all, bombastic and smug pop which despite that has endured for the ages.

The James Bond Theme

Sean Connery - 007

Dr. No (1962)

Directed by: Terence Young

Starring: Sean Connery, Ursula Andress and Bernard Lee

Music: John Barry

In this classic Sean Connery James Bond film, our hero travels toJamaicato thwart the evil plans of the mysterious Dr. No to put an end to theUSspace program.

The Dr. No soundtrack itself is arguably the weakest musically of the whole James Bond franchise, though the James Bond Theme is what James Bond is all about and one of John Barry's great pieces of music. The soundtrack is memorable primarily because it includes songs by Byron Lee & the Dragonaires, the Jamaican ska, calypso and soca band who were instrumental in introducingCaribbeanmusic to the world. They portray a hotel band in Dr. No and their appearance in the film was their first big international break. The clip I've included is the James Bond Theme.

Philadelphia

Philadelphia (1993)

Directed by: Jonathan Demme

Starring: Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington and Roberta Maxwell

Music: Howard Shore

Tom Hanks plays a man fired by a law firm because he has AIDS. He hires a homophobic small-time lawyer to pursue a wrongful termination lawsuit.

Though he would later be praised for his scoring of the Lord of the Rings movies,HowardShoreturns in a lacklustre performance forPhiladelphia. Bruce Springsteen turns in a gritty and heartfelt ballad of urban alienation and loss with “Streets of Philadelphia.” The soundtrack also includes misfired covers of the classics ''Please Send Me Someone to Love'' and ''Have You Ever Seen the Rain?,'' a Peter Gabriel mood piece and an embarrassing Neil Young song.

What do you think?

Do you believe that a movie soundtrack enhances the movie?

See results

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    • one2get2no profile image
      Author

      Philip Cooper 5 years ago from Olney

      Thank you for dropping by.

    • jainismus profile image

      Mahaveer Sanglikar 5 years ago from Pune, India

      Great list of Movie soundtracks, I have listened to most of them.

    • one2get2no profile image
      Author

      Philip Cooper 6 years ago from Olney

      Thanks for stopping by Vinaya..:)

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 6 years ago from Nepal

      Great movies and great sound tracks. Mission Impossible is my favorite on this list.

    • againsttheodds profile image

      againsttheodds 6 years ago

      I like the soundtrack from Traffic.

    • profile image

      Philip Cooper 6 years ago

      Moulin Rouge was a great movie and American Pie too...the others I don't know.

    • RANDOMTHTS4ALL profile image

      Daniele Paulson 6 years ago from Redding CA

      I really love Moulin Rouge,50 First Dates,and the American Pie The Wedding soundtracks. Thank you for sharing.

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