10 Amazing Film Scores That We Love

10 Amazing Film Scores That We Love

When a movie's accompanying soundtrack is composed well, it ceases to behave like a background aesthetic. It becomes a vital character in the film. Movies with the most revered soundtracks have storylines, characters, and musical themes that cannot easily be separated. Here are ten films possessing musical scores that are as important to the production as the actions of the main characters and the fantastic featured settings.

2001: A Space Odyssey

The score to this film not only highlighted some of the best-loved classics but also introduced new audiences to the power and programmatic thrust of classical music. Each selection in the score was perfectly paired with one of Kubrick's unique takes on a facet of humanity.


Though James Horner's passing stunned movie music fans, his legacy continues to illustrate the power of music in films that truly connect with audiences. The score to Braveheart captured the essence of the common man through the sounds of Celtic tribalism, yet he pulled audiences in with every drum beat and pipe drone.

The Lord of the Rings I, II, and III

Howard Shore's minimalist approach to scoring evokes the structures of classical masters like Beethoven and Orff, but always encapsulates the primal ideas of Tolkien. Each of these scores feature incredible solos, period instruments, and a symphonic sound that stands alone in the world of movie music.

Schindler's List

John Williams reached deep into his soul to write the music for this true tale of Oscar Schindler, one of WWII's most outstanding humanitarian heroes. Williams illustrates the power of a singular evocative violin to summarize the wishes and struggles of Jewish people during the most tragic period of the 20th century.

Star Wars I-VI

Again, John Williams proves himself as the most prolific and iconic movie soundtrack composer in this saga. Every musical motif intimately connects audience members with the attitudes and essential roles of the most influential characters in cinematic history.

The Ten Commandments

Elmer Bernstein not only created a score that truly embodied the magnitude of the story of Moses and tribes of Israel, but he did it with a four-hour continuous symphonic escapade. This movie features a score that nearly rivals the motific and thematic uses of great composers like Wagner and Verdi.

Batman: The Movie

Danny Elfman's score for Batman borrowed orchestral tools from Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung but transformed them into pertinent sounds for a modern audience. No other movie score makes dark and foreboding instrumentation seem so appropriate for high action and urban technological heroics.


Not only does this Jim Henson film succeed in creating a new sense of visual wonder for audiences, it has music that summarizes an entire decade. David Bowie stars in this film as the Goblin King but also wrote the key songs featured in the film. The score is borderline avant-garde, with a bit of gospel thrown-in for appeal. This is one of the most iconic pop and classic crossover scores in fantasy adventure movie history.


This movie never matched Frank Herbert's vision for a total universe epic at the box office, but it's soundtrack was absolutely notable. It combined heavy metal instrumentation with orchestral forces to paint a distant future scenario replete with prescient human themes. The score was created by members of the group Toto, one of the most popular bands of the 1980s.

The Shining

This horror classic is one of the most misunderstood and maligned movies ever created. Very few people can claim that they completely understand the score, but it is always recognizable when played. Krystof Penderecki’s “Anaklasis” was the basis for this film's score. It is the height of distortion, and what music scholars deem Holy Minimalism. The dissonance that pervades this movie is paramount in its effect on the psyches of audiences.

John Jesensky is an award-winning conductor and composer. His prowess as an arranger and orchestrator has allowed him to work with recognizable groups in the Los Angeles movie production industry. His original scores have been featured at prestigious venues like the Cannes, Phoenix, Bare Bones, and Hollyshorts film festivals.

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