When cinematography was first invented, the movie itself was silent, accompanied only by the tune of a piano. I know this may sound like a strange experience, but this is the whole point: it was an experience. And part of the reason why it was so much more immersive was the musical accompaniment. After all, it only takes a pair of earphones and an epic movie soundtrack to turn vacuuming into a legendary medieval quest. Us, the people of the beloved 21st century, are fully aware of how important music is to the tone and story of any movie, which is how a lot of soundtracks came to be more popular than the motion picture itself. We celebrate these songs by creating a list with the 10 Most Incredible Movie Soundtracks Of All Time, with the mention that we’ll only be including only instrumental songs, with no lyrics.
Composer: Hans Zimmer
Inception was an iconic movie by all means: from script, to directing and to its soundtrack. The OST, composed by the equally iconic Hans Zimmer, sums up a total of twelve tracks, with Time being the last, but definitely not the least. Today, it became an anthem to the movie and listeners easily associate it instantly with the Christopher Nolan film. The Inception soundtrack album was nominated for and won several awards, including Academy Awards, Grammys, Golden Globes and BAFTAS.
2. Hymn To The Sea
Composer: James Horner
When thinking of Titanic, most people are tempted to think of Celine Dion’s award winning My Heart Will Go On, though it’s noteworthy that her song was composed on the foundation of Horner’s orchestral soundtracks. The music album rose to the popularity of the movie, managing to sell over thirty million copies, making it one of the best selling albums of all time and the best selling primarily orchestral one. Ever. Needless to say, a lot of thought and careful mastery were put in the creation of the soundtracks, and it definitely paid out.
3. Rue’s Farewell
Movie: The Hunger Games
Composer: James Newton Howard
The Hunger Games is one of the most popular franchises of recent years, being adapted into a movie roughly after the world laid its eyes on the Twilight series. People felt the need for a change after the latter’s sappy, supernatural love story, and the former delivered. Many artists lined up to write and sing songs for the movies’ end credits, solidifying the greatness of Howard’s original soundtrack. Rue’s Farewell is special simply through the implications behind it and it fills us with a great deal of sorrow and bitterness whenever we hear it.
4. Avatar Main Theme
Composer: James Horner
Avatar marked the third collaboration between Horner and James Cameron, after Aliens and Titanic. When composing the soundtrack, Horner introduced a great deal of synthetic instruments into the melodic line, something he also did when he chose to add a computer generated choir into Titanic’s soundtrack. To make the music fit the tone and location of the story even better, he received help from an ethnomusicologist, the two of them outlining a musical culture for the Na’vi.
Movie: 12 Years A Slave
Composer: Hans Zimmer
Solomon is the eleventh track among a line-up of sixteen songs that accompany Steve McQueen’s much acclaimed movie, 12 Years A Slave. As beautiful as the music is, the movie almost didn’t have Hans Zimmer as its composer. When approached by McQueen about the project, Zimmer was reluctant in taking up the offer because he didn’t feel like he was suited to approach such a heavy, delicate topic.
6. Forrest Gump Theme Song
Movie: Forrest Gump
Composer: Alan Silvestri
A pillar in the cinematographic industry, Forrest Gump was mainly accompanied by lyrical music from various artists. The songs were released in a two disc album, and it contains songs that were recorded in the 1952-1983 time period, with Alan Silvestri composing the few orchestral pieces on the album. It stayed in the top ten of the Billboard chart for three months, reaching its peak position at number two.
7. Forbidden Friendship
Movie: How To Train Your Dragon
Composer: John Powell
Powell produced a total of twenty-five songs for the DreamWorks motion picture, Forbidden Friendship being the eleventh. The composer is a long time collaborator with the animation studio, though How To Train Your Dragon was his first solo project. The album was extremely well received among critics, landing Powell BAFTA and Academy Awards nominations.
8. Lily’s Theme
Movie: Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 2
Composer: Alexandre Desplat
Speaking of Powell’s Academy Awards nominations: funnily enough, he lost to Desplat, though at the time it was for the music composed for The King’s Speech. Already established as a critically acclaimed composer, Desplat wrote the music for both parts of the last Harry Potter installment, with Lily’s Theme also being the main soundtrack of the second part. It was performed by Mai Fujisawa, the daughter of a famed Japanese songwriter.
Movie: The Passion Of The Christ
Composer: John Debney
Many movies have been made that aim to portray the life and torments of Jesus, but few have been as controversial as The Passion Of The Christ, criticized for being too graphic and brutal. Say what you will, but you can’t deny the mastery of the music accompanying it. Debney composed this eleven track album, which won a Dove Award and was nominated for an Academy Award.
10. Lux Aeterna
Movie: Requiem For A Dream
Composer: Clint Mansell
Requiem For A Dream offered an album rich in musical tracks, but none of them are quite as memorable as Lux Aeterna. Even if you don’t know the song by name, it’s a guarantee that you’ve heard it at least once in your life, as it was used plenty of times in movie and video game trailers, with the biggest names being Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers and Assassin’s Creed.
Obviously, with such a wide array of movies released throughout the long history since the appearance of cinematography, this list is bound to be a tiny bit subjective and highly debatable. These are our 10 Most Incredible Movie Soundtracks Of All Time and we’re looking forward to see more releases that we can add in future lists.