Movie themes

So many music threads, what’s one more?

After game four of the World Series, NBC ran the inevitable clip retrospective of the games. The music in the background was the theme from Robin Hood: Prince of Theives. Admittedly, not a great film, but I always did like the theme music. It was refreshing to hear music for an adventure movie that didn’t sound like just another John Williams regurgitation.

What’s your favorite movie theme music?

(Ground rules: Music must be played at or near the beginning of the film. Pop tunes recorded for the closing credits do not count.)

The theme to Edward Scissorhands. Danny Elfman is God.

Shared pain is lessened; shared joy is increased.

My first favorite movie theme would have to be “Patton”, by Jerry Goldsmith. (Loving that music started a whole film music/Jerry Goldsmith collecting habit for me, I might add.)

If you are familiar with the theme music, it has a “echo” sound with horns at the beginning, and has a low organ theme in there, and then the jaunty, catchy military theme. I heard an interview with Goldsmith, he said the “echoing” horns alluded to Patton’s belief in reincarnation, the low organ theme alluded to Patton’s religious/spiritual side, and the jaunty military theme was - well, Patton was a General, after all.

I thought that all this symbolism being put into a mere film score theme quite something. You just half-listen to most film music as you watch the movie, not understanding that often there is a lot of work, thought, artistry involved in composing good film music.

The thing that kills me about “Patton” is that it got something like 11 Oscar nominations, and it won all but one Oscar. Guess who didn’t get an Oscar? You guessed it, Jerry Goldsmith. He was robbed I tell you, ROBBED!!! (He did get an Oscar for “The Omen” a few years later, though.)

Other favorite themes would be “Marnie” by Bernard Herrmann, “Under Fire”, “L.A. Confidential”, “Chinatown” and “Alien”, all by Jerry Goldsmith (I love Goldsmith!) Also, “The Mission”, “Once Upon a Time in the West”, “Days of Heaven” and “Frantic” by Ennio Morricone.

Star Wars is a given, obviously, but I also love Jerry Goldsmith’s Back to the Future theme. And James Horner’s Titanic and Braveheart.

Danny Elfman is outstandingly cool - though he does do a trifle too many horror gothic themes. My favourite, in a long list, is his work on Nightmare Before Christmas.

There are many others who come up as one-offs (Michael Nyman’s Piano, Vangelis’s 1492, and the Last of the Mohicans crowd) and too many others to list.

“Vyvyan! Where did you get that Howitzer?” “…I found it.”

The Legend Of PigeonMan - updates every Wed & Sat

Quigley Down Under has some of the best movie music since Korngold.

…at night, the ice weasels come…

Fight Club had a pretty good soundtrack (by The Dust Brothers).

The Star Wars series is pretty good, esp. Empire Strikes Back.

some others would be Forrest Gump, Batman, and Kodo’s work on The Hunted.

And I know it’s nothing but pop songs, but I love the soundtrack to Mortal Kombat.

There are others that I can’t remember right now. I’ll get back with you later.

You say “cheesy” like that’s a BAD thing.

The score from Ladyhawke. All instrumental; all wonderful.


“Back the the Future” was an excellent score, but as the anal-retentive self-appointed Jerry Goldsmith expert, I have to tell you that he did not write that score. (I can’t remember who did - it shouldn’t be difficult to find out, though.)

I can’t recall who did “Quigley Down Under”, but, yes, that is a great theme too!

The IMDb to the rescue!

Back to the Future appears to have been done by Alan Silvestri.

Quigley Down Under was done by Basil Poledouris.

I hadn’t heard of Poledouris before and was surprised at the number of movies he’s done. He seems to be very versatile.

Yes, Poledouris (sp?) is wonderful, though I must admit my record/CD collection of his works is teensy. I should remedy that! One of his most striking themes is to “Conan the Barbarian”. That is really great music, no matter how you feel about the film…

Bernard Herrmann’s “Vertigo” score.

Dammit! I hate it when I do that. I checked up on all the others, too…


“Vyvyan! Where did you get that Howitzer?” “…I found it.”

The Legend Of PigeonMan - updates every Wed & Sat

I’ve always thought that, as a series, the James Bond movies had the best theme songs. (OK, maybe they count as pop songs recorded for the movie, but they are played during the opening credits.)

Thunderball and Goldfinger are my two favorites.

I also really like the Sergio Leone western themes. Does anyone know if they ever released a soundtrack compilation?

“Drink your coffee! Remember, there are people sleeping in China.”

Dennis Matheson —
Hike, Dive, Ski, Climb —

Nothing wrong with pop songs used as movie themes. I was just excluding things like Brian Adams’ “Everthing I Do”, which while a good song obviously was only included in Robin Hood: Prince of Theives to boost soundtrack sales and encourage the DJs to mention the film. Something orchestral would really have been more appropriate for the movie.

“Miller’s Crossing”
“The Natural”
“The Untouchables” (especially the end-credits theme)
“Dead Ringers”

“My hovercraft is full of eels.”

A few months ago, I saw a sleeper movie called “The Mighty”. It had Sharon Stone in it and was actually a very good film…but I digress. It had an awesome soundtrack…kind of celtic new age. I though that Sting wrote the music or something but the imdb doesn’t bear that out.

“Predictable, really I suppose. It was an act of purest optimism to have posed the question in the first place.” --John Cleese

The Mighty was a fantastic film - and Sting did sing the main song that went with the theme, but i don’t think he did anything more than that. I intend buying the soundtrack one day - just for that one scene where they are returning from rescuing the damsel, and crossing the bridge followed by the Knights! WOW, did I ever go ape over that! Toooo coooool!

“Vyvyan! Where did you get that Howitzer?” “…I found it.”

The Legend Of PigeonMan - updates every Wed & Sat

tanstaafl: Many Sergeo Leone film scores are composed by Ennio Morricone. Also, I am pretty sure there are several CD compilations of “Western Themes” or Ennio Morricone Western Themes - just search using Ennio Morricone’s name, and I am sure you will find something!

Although it was a bad movie, I love the theme for “Casino Royal,” that spoof-ish James Bond movie.

The Godfather

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