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Great Movie Scores

January 24, 2010
This is a modified version of a blog from my MySpace page…
A project I completed last summer was to make the perfect mix of movie scores for my car.  The qualifications for this mix:


  • Must be orchestral music from a movie score or soundtrack….
  • Preferably the main “theme” of the film….
  • Must be from a movie I actually enjoy ….

The cool thing about this mix is that you can put it on in the car and play the “What movie is this from again”? game with your passengers.  It will drive them nuts trying to get the more obscure ones.  Have fun searching for samples of the choices, if you have time to kill.

So – instead of a “top” list, here are the ones on my “Favorite Movie Scores Mix” in the various categories:


I admit, I own quite a few movies in this genre – so the CD is probably unfairly tipped in favor of this category.

  • Krull (main theme/Colwyn’s Arrival) – Yes, I am a nerd.  I still love this damn movie, okay?


Krull - 1983's other sci-fi hit

  • Willow (main theme) – just say the word “daikini” over and over again and try not to amuse yourself.  It’s impossible, I tell you.


  • Blade Runner (end credits) – Vangelis is awesome – revel in the synthesizer goodness.


  • The Abyss – (epilogue/end credits)  – This score is pretty fantastic the whole way through, and it is one of my favorite overlooked films.

Before Avatar, there was The Abyss

  • Legend  (Unicorn Song) –the problem here was that the actual soundtrack is out of print.  So, you must search “Tangerine Dream” and you’ll find the ONE and only tune available on iTunes – “Unicorn Song”.   Sad how determined I was to find this song, huh?.

I truly love Ridley Scott's Legend...despite Tom Cruise

  • Jurassic Park (main theme) – everyone knows this music once they hear it – just try and see if they can guess the movie without any clues.  To be honest, the music is one of the best things about this movie.


  • The Right Stuff (“Breaking the Sound Barrier”) – another awesome overlooked movie with a kick-ass, thunderous, patriotic score.  Read the book or see the movie this summer if you have time and be amazed by all the shenanigans that occurred during the early years of the Space Program.

Dennis Quaid in The Right Stuff

  • The Last of the Mohicans (main theme) –  Let’s face it – the movie’s not as good as it could have been, but then again, the book it is based on is not that fabulous, either.  The good news is that the soundtrack brings up memories of a bare-chested Daniel Day Lewis before he decided to go off and be a “cobbler” and do one movie every three or four years… Daniel with long hair and shirtless…hmmm…Wait, okay, I’m back now.  Sigh…


  • Schindler’s List (reprise) – the music, in accordance with the film, is incredibly moving.  It’s hard to hear it and not break into sobs.  This looks strange when listening to this mix while driving, unfortunately.


  • Robin Hood:  Prince of Thieves (opening titles) – avoid the “Everything I Do” madness and start (and end) with the opening credits.  Morgan Creek also uses the first notes of this theme for their production tag, if it sounds familiar.


  • The Godfather (main theme) – yes, it is iconic.  Yes, it is freakishly AWESOME.


  • Somewhere in Time (“Variation on a Theme of Paganini”) – this piece will forever be associated with this film, and it may be a “cheat” of sorts since it isn’t an original score, but tough, dammit.  It is quite possibly one of the most beautiful classical motifs ever written.


  • To Kill a Mockingbird (suite) – much like Schindler’s List, it is really difficult for me to hear this score and not bust out crying.  This movie, along with the book it is based on, is so dear to my heart in a genuinely moving way.  If you haven’t read the book since high school or college, read it again as an adult.  I guarantee you will be touched emotionally in SOME way.


  • Out of Africa (end title/”You Are Karen”) – named for the heartbreaking closing scene where Karen/Isak Dinesen says goodbye to her beloved Africa and all she has experienced there.  Try not to see the end of this movie, especially the extended metaphor comparing the lions on the grave site to Karen and Denys, without getting a little choked up.  Plus, this movie’s cinematography is fantastic, equal in many ways to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or Days of Heaven.  R.I.P. Sydney Pollack, by the way.   This is one of his greatest films.

Pollack's Oscar-winning film

Songs Where I “Cheated:….

I had to include these, even though they didn’t fit my own requirements.

  • Flash Gordon  (Flash’s Theme) – Queen.   What can I say – He’ll save every one of us.


Ming the Merciless of Mongo (say that five times really fast)

  • North and South (main titles).  So sue me, it’s a mini-series.  The opening music is fantastic.

Start loading up your iPods now, movie fans!

Here’s  a video from Legend – set to  Tangerine Dream’s “Loved By the Sun”

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