Best film scores to otherwise weak movies?

My wife and I occasionally find ourselves watching an average to poor quality movie, but loving the score. Basically, if the Academy Awards would evaluate purely on the score, some of these films could win the Best Original Score Oscar, despite being in weak movies. What are yours?


** Tales of Earthsea** - A movie that I have a soft spot for despite it being deeply flawed. However, the score is one of the best I’ve heard.

I’ll post more later as I think of them.

I mentioned this in the ealier “movie score” thread, but The Fountain was a mess of a film with a really moving score.

My choice is 1941.

Tron Legacy

Okay, technically, it’s a soundtrack, not a score, but I think* Zachariah* (1971) fits here. The soundtrack album features tracks by the James Gang, Country Joe and the Fish, the New York Rock n’ Roll Ensemble and Doug Kershaw, as well as some very good original music by Jimmie Haskell, and is a collectors item. The film itself is a dud, an attempt at a kind of hippie Zen Western comedy. I love the music for the opening and closing credits. I just wish it went with a better film.

Mine, too. God that was an awful movie, but I love that peppy theme!

Legend has two soundtracks that are both praised in different circles; one was scored by Tangerine Dream, and one by Jerry Goldsmith.

I’d go with Disney’s The Black Hole, which has a score by John Barry that’s better than the movie deserves. For that matter Star Trek: The Motion Picture would be a dead loss without Jerry Goldsmith’s sweeping music, and by gum you get plenty of opportunity to enjoy it during the film.

It could have been called Star Trek: People Look at a Screen While You Look at Them Looking at a Screen. And it was all done with split diopters, how about that?

I was a bit disappointed with the original Conan - it felt as if it could have been a real epic, but it needed more something - but Basil Poledouris’ score is terrific and has apparently been reused in several trailers.

Jaws 2
Capricorn One

I believe Karnak (sp?) the Great said this was the final score of the Jaws/Capricorn game. Seriously, good scores, blah films (C.O. is slightly better).

Awesome…wait, what’s a “split diopter”? Wikipedia wasn’t much help. Nor was Google.

The movie Alien 3 has a fantastic score by Elliot Goldenthal, great sweeping crescendos and powerful synth-augmented orchestral tones. I like the movie personally but I’ve heard a lot of people don’t…

A gadget that focuses one side of the picture on something close and the other side on something further away. Excellent description and examples here.

*Dragonheart *was not a very good movie (no matter how much I wanted it to be), but it’s scoreis so great that’s it’s appeared in roughly 90% of all film trailers made since it came out.

Risky Business isn’t a bad movie, but it’s score is so good it makes it a lot better.

Tangerine Dream strikes again!

Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story has a pretty good score. In fact for a while in the '90s, it seemed that pretty much every inspirational-type film coming out was lifting it for its trailer.

Good one. I did not know what that one was from.

I was going to mention 1941. Awesome soundtrack, and I used to listen to it whil I worked out.

But I strongly disagree that it’s an awful movie. It might have been a little weak, but it had a lot of funny stuff in it and a lot of good lines.

Burt Bacharach’s music for the 1967 version of Casino Royale.

Cutthroat Island is, by any reasonable standard, a truly terrible movie.

But John Debney’s score is nothing short of magnificent, easily one of the best of the 90s, and holds up with any of the classic scores that Korngold did for Errol Flynn flicks back in the day. In fact, the movie sucks so much that it diminishes the score, in context, greatly, too. But the CD is thrilling and one I listen to regularly.