5 Things

July 30, 2015

Top 5 Most Effective Film Scores

The art of filmmaking involves many different components. Motion pictures and cinematography is only one ingredient in which to emotionally immerse the viewer in its unique universe. Sound is arguably the most crucial. Movies not withstanding, music has proved time and time again that it can tell its own narrative. When integrated into a motion picture, sound and music appreciably assists in helping to give the narrative its identity. From The Exorcist to Superman, film scores have become something iconic on their own. Today, we are not going to look at necessarily the best film scores, but ones that have been the most effective in evoking the appropriate emotions they desired.

1. Halloween – made on a budget of around $300,000, the score for Halloween has become one of the most sinister sounding and famous scores in the horror genre. Created by director John Carpenter, the movie was first presented to an executive working at 20th Century Fox. When told that Halloween wasn’t anywhere near scary, Carpenter was determined to come up with an effective score. Using synthesizers, he managed to create something that would have probably otherwise sounded repetitive with any other instrument, but the result was music that represented the mysterious but curious evil of the film’s main villain. Halloween soon became a franchise and the score lived on in different forms for the sequels, designed by different composers.

2. Rocky – Undoubtedly the most famous boxing movie of all time, Rocky was Sylvester Stallone’s major breakthrough which spawned five sequels and a spinoff, which is to be released late in 2015. In the original, the cinematography depressingly depicts the slums of Philadelphia and the every day mundane routine of Rocky’s life, the score often sounding tender but downbeat. However, the mood changes in the film’s second half when Rocky gets his shot at the sport’s most richest prize. The famous ‘Gonna Fly Now’ theme during the training montage has since been used in many forms of references to the film and even reached the number 1 spot in Billboard magazine seven months after Rocky’s US release. It is nothing short of the ultimate movie sport score!

3. Star Wars – usually one not to use the word “epic” where possible, it is about the only word to describe the score for Star Wars. Composed using the London Symphony Orchestra with  original ideas coming from composer John Williams, the score for Star Wars has had several re-releases throughout the years since the film’s theatrical debut on 25th May, 1977. The opening crawl is undoubtedly the most well known of all of its components, designed to tell of the forthcoming action, but also to represent the gargantuan setting of the universe.

4. The Terminator – another low budget project, The Terminator tells the story of a future when machines rule the world, but cunningly links those events to the current era in which we live. The thunderous beats of the main theme assist the gritty cinematography in a most threatening manner. The final shot of Sarah Connor driving off under heavy gray clouds with the knowledge that a storm was heading her way felt ominous and somewhat depressing. But it also conveyed the message that it was also going to be a conflict that she and the world had a fighting chance against as the theme kicked in. Its tone was decidedly lighter  to fit the more action orientated sequel, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and its effect unfortunately became lost in the next three installments.

5. Requiem for a Dream This heavily distressing feature depicts the lives of several different characters. But their lives revolve around one priority. Drugs. Apart from the main theme which heavily foreshadows nothing but downfall, the score surprisingly contains many different moods and rhythms to represent every moment. Sequences that are seemingly, and momentarily, upbeat will still be accompanied by music that declares that the characters’ happiness will have major repercussions in the near future due to the choices they make. By the final act, the pieces turn into something of an unstoppable audio battering ram, but director Darren Aronofsky also cleverly used moments of silence in between to convey the isolation and ramifications. If you ever want to know how a score can feel like a sonic gut punch then you don’t want to miss out on the experience watching this two hour public service announcement.

About the Author

Lee Skavydis
Lee Skavydis
I am a die hard movie fan, owning over 500 movies on both DVD and Blu Ray. I try to go to the cinema at least once a week when time permits. My other hobbies include following fight sports such as boxing, travelling around, writing and editing, listening to heavy rock and cook the odd occasional recipe. I used to write for several prolific boxing websites, interviewing some of the most famous names associated with the sport around.



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