Tuesday, March 17, 2009

MASTER LIST #10: The 170 Greatest Movie Soundtracks

I'm a big soundtrack geek. Many of the following scores I'm about to list are ones I've owned on vinyl or CD for years--some since I was 10 or so. Almost all of the works mentioned here are crafted so brilliantly that the often-superlative movies they were written for now seem like gravy; this is a list of records that are all great to just sit down and listen to on their own. So, for your listening pleasure--and I DO recommend these take at least a partial place on your listening devices (ya gotta get the top 25, at least!)--here are my choices for the 150 greatest movie scores ever written, based on (1) listenability, (2) originality, (3) arrangement, (4) match-up with images, (5) and influence:

1) The Good, The Bad and The Ugly by Ennio Morricone
2) Psycho by Bernard Herrmann
3) Rumblefish by Stewart Copeland
4) Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Alex North
5) O Lucky Man! by Alan Price
6) Shaft by Isaac Hayes
7) Gone With The Wind by Max Steiner
8) Star Wars by John Williams
9) Lawrence of Arabia by Maurice Jarre
10) Local Hero by Mark Knopfler
11) Chinatown by Jerry Goldsmith
12) The Black Stallion by Carmine Coppola
13) The Warner Brother cartoons scored by Carl Stalling
14) To Kill a Mockingbird by Elmer Bernstein
15) Giant by Dimitri Tiomkin
16) Taxi Driver by Bernard Herrmann
17) Anatomy of a Murder by Duke Ellington
18) Cool Hand Luke by Lalo Schifrin
19) Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid by Burt Bacharach
20) The Adventures of Robin Hood by Erich Wolfgang Korngold
21) Blow-Up by Herbie Hancock
22) The Shawshank Redemption by Thomas Newman
23) Sunset Blvd. by Franz Waxman
24) Alexander Nevsky by Sergei Prokoviev
25) A Little Romance by Georges Delarue
26) Close Encounters of the Third Kind by John Williams
27) Doctor Zhivago by Maurice Jarre
28) Bugsy Malone by Paul Williams
29) Tess by Phillipe Sarde
30) A Streetcar Named Desire by Alex North
31) The Outlaw Josey Wales by Jerry Fielding
32) Howards’ End by Richard Robbins
33) Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure by Danny Elfman
34) Brokeback Mountain by Gustavo Santolalla
35) Jaws by John Williams
36) Vertigo by Bernard Herrmann
37) Ed Wood by Howard Shore
38) The Wild Bunch by Jerry Fielding
39) Midnight Express by Giorgio Moroder
40) Rocky by Bill Conti
41) Bullitt by Lalo Schifrin
42) Raiders of the Lost Ark by John Williams
43) The Godfather by Nino Rota
44) Blue by Zbigniew Preisner
45) The Treasure of the Sierra Madre by Max Steiner
46) Alien by Jerry Goldsmith
47) The Last Temptation of Christ by Peter Gabriel
48) The Pink Panther by Henry Mancini
49) Blue Velvet by Angelo Badalamenti
50) One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest by Jack Nitzsche
51) Casino Royale by Burt Bacharach
52) Forbidden Planet by Louis and Bebe Barron
53) The Knack and How to Get It by John Barry
54) High Noon by Dimitri Tiomkin
55) The Magnificent Seven by Elmer Bernstein
56) The Umbrellas of Cherbourg by Jacques Demy and Michel Legrand
57) Once Upon a Time in the West by Ennio Morricone
58) Dirty Harry by Lalo Schifrin
59) Planet of the Apes by Jerry Goldsmith
60) Repulsion by Chico Hamilton
61) This is Spinal Tap by Reiner, Guest, McKean and Shearer
62) Blade Runner by Vangelis
63) Touch of Evil by Henry Mancini
64) Spartacus by Alex North
65) The Third Man by Anton Karas
66) The Taking of Pelham One-Two-Three by David Shire
67) Papillon by Jerry Goldsmith
68) City Lights by Charles Chaplin
69) Ragtime by Randy Newman
70) The Long Riders by Ry Cooder
71) The Mission by Ennio Morricone
72) Koyanniquatsi by Philip Glass
73) Bambi by Frank Churchill and Edward Plumb
74) The Right Stuff by Bill Conti
75) The Natural by Randy Newman
76) Halloween by John Carpenter
77) The Age of Innocence by Elmer Bernstein
78) In Cold Blood by Quincy Jones
79) The Way We Were by Marvin Hamlisch
80) The Elephant Man by John Morriss
81) The Boys From Brazil by Jerry Goldsmith
82) Judgment at Nuremberg by Ernest Gold
83) A Hard Day's Night by The Beatles
84) Seven by Howard Shore
85) Truck Turner by Isaac Hayes
86) The Bridge on the River Kwai by Malcolm Arnold
87) North by Northwest by Bernard Herrmann
88) One From The Heart by Tom Waits
89) Breakfast at Tiffany's by Henry Mancini
90) The Sea Hawk by Erich Wolfgang Korngold
91) Summer of ’42 by Michel Legrand
92) On Golden Pond by Dave Grusin
93) Field of Dreams by James Horner
94) Little Women by Thomas Newman
95) Inside Moves by John Barry
96) Magnolia by Jon Brion
97) A Place in the Sun by Franz Waxman
98) Sophie’s Choice by Marvin Hamlisch
99) Body Heat by John Barry
100) Love Story by Francis Lai
101) Patton by Jerry Goldsmith
102) The Thief of Bagdad by Miklos Rosza
103) Miller’s Crossing by Carter Burwell
104) Round Midnight by Herbie Hancock
105) The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash by Neil Innes
106) Sorcerer by Tangerine Dream
107) The Remains of the Day by Richard Robbins
108) 1941 by John Williams
109) The Endless Summer by Jack Nitzsche
110) Carrie by Pino Donnagio
111) Barton Fink by Carter Burwell
112) Sleuth by John Addison
113) The Andromeda Strain by Gil Melle
114) Rosemary’s Baby by Krzysztof Komeda
115) Hud by Elmer Bernstein
116) Mad Max by Brian May
117) Kundun by Philip Glass
118) Nights of Cabiria by Nino Rota
119) The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford by Nick Cave & Warren Ellis
120) Phantom of the Paradise by Paul Williams
121) The 400 Blows by Georges Delarue
122) Images by John Williams
123) Altered States by John Corigliano
124) The Day The Earth Stood Still by Bernard Herrmann
125) Wuthering Heights by Alfred Newman
126) From Russia With Love by John Barry
127) Shadow of a Doubt by Dimitri Tiomkin
128) Once Upon A Time In America by Ennio Morricone
129) Head by The Monkees
130) The Stunt Man by Dominic Frontiere
131) Dancer in the Dark by Bjork and Lars Von Trier
132) Beauty and the Beast by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman
133) Young Frankenstein by John Morriss
134) American Beauty by Thomas Newman
135) The Straight Story by Angelo Badalamenti
136) Black Orpheus by Luiz Bonfa and Antonio Carlos Jobim
137) Donnie Darko by Michael Andrews
138) Madame Bovary by Miklos Rosza
139) Marvin and Tige by Patrick Williams
140) Mary Poppins by Robert and Richard Sherman
141) The Social Network by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
142) L.A. Confidential by Jerry Goldsmith
143) Blow Out by Pino Donaggio
144) Chilly Scenes of Winter by Ken Lauber
145) The Escape Artist by Georges Delarue
146) The Gospel According to St. Matthew by Luis Bacalov
147) King of the Hill by Cliff Martinez
148) Matewan by Mason Daring
149) The Poseidon Adventure by John Williams
150) Southern Comfort by Ry Cooder

And now, a bonus: Since the late 60s, the source music score has almost taken the place of traditional film scores. Source music, put simply, is pre-existing music used as the score. They're often the most fun to listen to, because it's like tapping into a jukebox inside the filmmakers' heads. So, here, are the 20 BEST SOURCE MUSIC SCORES:

ARTISTS: The Heartbeats, The Regents, The Flamingos, The Beach Boys, The Crows, The Cleftones, Buddy Knox, Joey Dee and the Starliters, Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, Lee Dorsey, The Big Bopper, The Platters, The Diamonds, Johnny Burnette, Chuck Berry, The Spaniels, The Fleetwoods, The Clovers, The Monotones, Buddy Holly, Bill Haley and His Comets, Booker T. and The MGs, The Five Satins, Sonny Till, Del Shannon, The Skyliners, Flash Cadillac and The Continental Kids, and The Del-Vikings
ARTISTS: Tony Bennett, The Cleftones, Otis Williams and The Charms, The Moonglows, Giuseppe Di Stefano, The Cadillacs, Billy Ward and His Dominoes, Mina, The Marvelettes, Johnny Mathis, Betty Curtis, The Crystals, The Chantels, Bobby Vinton, The Harptones, The Shangri-Las, Dean Martin, The Crystals, Donovan, Jerry Vale, Aretha Franklin, Bobby Darin, The Rolling Stones, Jack Jones, The Ronettes, Darlene Love, The Drifters, Vito and The Salutations, Cream, Derek & The Dominos, Harry Nilsson, The Who, George Harrison, Muddy Waters, and Sid Vicious
ARTISTS: Cheap Trick, The Cars, Little Feat, Jimi Hendrix, Valerie Carter, and The Ramones
ARTISTS: Aram Khachaturyan, György Ligeti, Johann Strauss, and Richard Strauss
ARTISTS: Paul Whiteman, Ozzie Nelson, Leo Reisman, Larry Stewart, Dick Powell, Bing Crosby, Jimmie Grier, Donald Novis, Victor Young, The Boswell Sisters, Pinky Tomlin, Hoagy Carmichael, Blue Sky Boys, Jimmie Davis, Tommy Dorsey, Enric Madriguera and his Hotel Biltmore Orchestra, and Johnny Hamp's Kentucky Serenaders
ARTISTS: The Rolling Stones, The Chantells, Giuseppe Di Stefano, Renato Carosone, The Marvelettes, John Mayall's Bluesbusters, Eric Clapton, The Charts, The Chips, Johnny Ace, Ray Barretto, The Aquatones, The Nutmegs, The Paragons, Jimmy Roselli, Little Caesar and The Romans, The Shirelles, The Ronettes, and The Miracles
ARTISTS: Brenton Wood, Little Eva, Gary U.S. Bonds, The Rumblers, Malvina Reynolds, Woody Guthrie, Jimmy Gilmer and The Fireballs, Shirley Ellis, Ricky Nelson, Lenny Welch, The Essex, Claudine Clark, The Rivingtons, Joan Baez, The Corsairs, The Weavers, Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry, Muddy Waters, The Sensations, Elizabeth Cotten, Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, Van Morrison, The Rascals, and John Fahey
ARTISTS: Elsie Carlisle with Bert Ambrose and His Orchestra, Connie Boswell, Sam Browne and The Carlyle Cousins, Bing Crosby, Arthur Tracy, The Boswell Sisters with The Dorsey Brothers Orchestra, Phyllis Robbins with Orlando and His Orchestra, Rudy Vallee and The Connecticut Yankees, Dolly Dawn with George Hall and His Orchestra, Helen Kane, Irving Aaronson and His Commanders, and Fred Astaire
ARTISTS: Scott Joplin, arranged by Marvin Hamlisch
ARTISTS: George Gershwin, arranged by Andre Previn
ARTISTS: Bach, Puccini, the Marx Brothers, Harry James, Dick Hyman, Count Basie, Bobby Short, Michael Bramon, Derek Smith, and Roy Eldridge
ARTIST: Cat Stevens
ARTISTS: J.S. Bach, Georges Delarue, Louis Prima, Morris Stoloff, Dean Martin, Muddy Waters, Otis Redding, The Rolling Stones, Roxy Music, Devo, Les Paul and Mary Ford, Lee Dorsey, Hoagy Carmichael, Dinah Washington, Ramsey Lewis, Dobie Gray, Les McCann and Eddie Harris, Little Richard, Jeff Beck, Ray Charles, The Paragons, Cream, The Moody Blues, Jimmy Smith, The Velvetones, Brenda Lee, Harry Nillsson, Fleetwood Mac, B.B. King, Tony Bennett, The Platters, and The Animals
ARTISTS: Wendy Carlos, Rachel Elkind, Hector Berlioz, Henry Hall & the Gleneagles Hotel Band, Bela Bartok, Krzysztof Penderecki, the Ray Noble Orchestra with Al Bowlly, and Gyorgy Ligeti
ARTISTS: Aerosmith, Deep Purple, Alice Cooper, Black Oak Arkansas, War, Ted Nugent, Peter Frampton, Bob Dylan, Foghat, Nazareth, Black Sabbath, Head East, ZZ Top, Sweet, Rick Derringer, Kiss, Dr. John, Steve Miller, The Runaways, Seals & Crofts, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and The Edgar Winter Group
ARTISTS: Hank Williams, Tony Bennett, Lefty Frizzell, Eddie Fisher, Pee Wee King, Frankie Laine, Jo Stafford, Hank Snow, and Johnnie Ray
ARTISTS: Walter Carlos, Ludwig van Beethoven, G. Rossini, Edward Elgar, Terry Tucker, Erika Eigan, and Gene Kelly
ARTISTS: Al Green, Dusty Springfield, Chuck Barry, Rick Nelson, Dick Dale, Kool and the Gang, The Tornadoes, The Centurions, Link Wray, The Robins, Urge Overkill, The Statler Brothers, Maria McKee, The Markettes and The Revels
ARTISTS: Rachel Sweet, Barbara Lynn, Dee Dee Sharp, Jan Bradley, Chubby Checker, Bunker Hill, The Five Du-Tones, Little Peggy March, The Lafayettes, Lesley Gore, The Ray Bryant Combo, The Ikettes, Toussaint McCall, Gene Pitney, The Champs, Jerry Dallman and The Knightcaps, Gene Chandler, The Flares, The Bracelettes, The Two Du-Tones, Gene and Wendell and The Dovells
ARTISTS: Nino Rota, Elliott Smith, Billy Swan, The Revolts, Ethan Rose, Frances White, Ludwig van Beethoven, Henry Davies, Cast King, Cool Nutz, and Menomena


Chinatown (11), Alien (46), Planet of the Apes (59), Papillon (67), The Boys From Brazil (81), Patton (101), L.A. Confidential (141)
JOHN WILLIAMS: Star Wars (8), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (26), Jaws (35), Raiders of the Lost Ark (42), 1941 (108), Images (122), The Poseidon Adventure (148)

Psycho (2), Taxi Driver (16), Vertigo (36), North by Northwest (87), The Day The Earth Stood Still (124)

1) The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, Once Upon a Time in the West (57), The Mission (71), Once Upon A Time In America (128)
ELMER BERNSTEIN: To Kill a Mockingbird (14), The Magnificent Seven (55), The Age of Innocence (77), Hud (115)
JOHN BARRY: The Knack and How to Get It (53), Inside Moves (96), Body Heat (99), From Russia With Love (126)

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (4), A Streetcar Named Desire (30), Spartacus (64)
LALO SCHIFRIN: Cool Hand Luke (18), Bullitt (41), Dirty Harry (58)
THOMAS NEWMAN: The Shawshank Redemption (22), Little Women (94), American Beauty (134)
GEORGES DELARUE: A Little Romance (25), The 400 Blows (121), The Escape Artist (144)
HENRY MANCINI: The Pink Panther (48), Touch of Evil (63), Breakfast at Tiffany's (89)

Shaft (6), Truck Turner (85)
MAX STEINER: Gone With The Wind (7), The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (45)
MAURICE JARRE: Lawrence of Arabia (9), Doctor Zhivago (27)
DIMITRI TIOMKIN: Giant (15), High Noon (54)
BURT BACHARACH: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (19), Casino Royale (51)
ERICH WOLFGANG KORNGOLD: The Adventures of Robin Hood (20), The Sea Hawk (90)
FRANZ WAXMAN: Sunset Blvd. (23), A Place in the Sun (97)
PAUL WILLIAMS: Bugsy Malone (28), Phantom of the Paradise (120)
JERRY FIELDING: The Outlaw Josey Wales (31), The Wild Bunch (38)
RICHARD ROBBINS: Howards’ End (32), The Remains of the Day (107)
HOWARD SHORE: Ed Wood (37), Seven (84)
BILL CONTI: Rocky (40), The Right Stuff (74)
NINO ROTA: The Godfather (43), Nights of Cabiria (118)
ANGELO BADALAMENTI: Blue Velvet (49), The Straight Story (135)
JACK NIEZSCHE: One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (50), The Endless Summer (109)
MICHEL LEGRAND: The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (56), Summer of ’42 (91)
RANDY NEWMAN: Ragtime (69), The Natural (75)
RY COODER: The Long Riders (70), Southern Comfort (149)
PHILIP GLASS: Koyanniquatsi (72), Kundun (117)
MARVIN HAMLISCH: The Way We Were (79), Sophie’s Choice (98)
JOHN MORRISS: The Elephant Man (80), Young Frankenstein (133)
MIKLOS ROSZA: The Thief of Bagdad (102), Madame Bovary (138)
CARTER BURWELL: Miller’s Crossing (103), Barton Fink (111)
PINO DONAGGIO: Carrie (110), Blow Out (142)

NEXT MASTER LIST: The 150 Greatest Songs from Movies


Psychic 17 said...

Just thought I should point out a mistake. The soundtrack to no:119) The Assasination of Jeddie James was written by Nick Cave and Warren ELLIS. Not Miller as stated.

Jack Pendarvis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jack Pendarvis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jack Pendarvis said...

Let me simplify my first two overly complicated comments. I think THE WORLD OF HENRY ORIENT might be Elmer Bernstein's best score. And maybe my favorite, period. There, I said it!

Dean Treadway said...

Thanks, Psychic! And WORLD OF HENRY ORIENT, huh? I gotta watch that again. I haven't seen it since the late 70s (on a double bill with another George Roy Hill precocious kids movie A LITTLE ROMANCE, the score to which DID make this list).