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A Compilation of Best Soundtrack Lists


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The guys over at IGN have put together a nice list of soundtracks...based upon the following criteria:

"What makes a great soundtrack?

Many variables are at work, that's for sure. But the core elements to a successful soundtrack are that it should complement the film to which it is attached, enhancing the emotional aspects of the film in the same way that a well-crafted score would. It should also be able to stand alone once removed from the context of the film; you know the type of album you find yourself reaching for years after the film has faded from the foreground of your memory.

True, a good soundtrack should transport you back to the film, assuming of course that the film was actually good (let's face it, many soundtracks are actually better than the film they were crafted for), but it should also be filled with good music that you will want to listen to again and again over time.

These were the criteria running through our collective brains when we sat down to map out our Top 25 Soundtracks list. We were looking for soundtracks that not only melded seamlessly into the characters and images of the films they accompanied, but also were the kind of albums we'd want in our collection, the type of albums we'd consider as Desert Island Discs or definitely pack along for a serious road trip."

I think they did a pretty good job. What would you add?

25. Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof (Maverick Records, March 27th, 2007)

24. Dazed and Confused - The Film Soundtrack Everyone Will Be Talking About (Giant Records, September 28th, 1993)

23. Lost In Translation - Music From The Motion Picture Soundtrack (Emperor Norton, September 9th, 2003)

22. Pulp Fiction - Music From The Motion Picture (MCA, September 27th, 1994)

21. Dirty Deeds - Music From The Motion Picture (BMG, July 8th, 2002)

20. Juice - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Fontana, December 31st, 1991)

19. Pump Up The Volume (Fontana, August 14th, 1990)

18. Repo Man - Music From The Motion Picture (Fontana, 1984)

17. Music From The Motion Picture Dead Presidents (Capitol Records, September 26th, 1995)

16. The Devil's Rejects (Hip-O Records, June 28th, 2005)

15. A Hard Day's Night (Capitol Records, July 10th, 1964

14. Colors (Warner Bros Records. 1988)

13. Trainspotting - Music From The Motion Picture (Capitol Records, July 9th, 1996)

12. The Harder They Come (Island Records, 1972)

11. Saturday Night Fever - The Original Movie Sound Track (Polydor, 1977)

10. Judgment Night - Music From The Motion Picture (Sony, September 14th, 1998)

9. This Is Spinal Tap (Polydor)

8. Kill Bill Vol. 1 Original Soundtrack (Maverick Records, September 23rd, 2003)

7. The Big Chill - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Motown Records)

6. Music From The Motion Picture First Love, Last Rites (Sony, August 25th, 1998)

5. O Brother, Where Art Thou? - Music From A Film By Joel Cohen & Ethan Cohen (Lost Highway, December 5th, 2000)

4. Purple Rain (Warner Bros., August 6th, 1984)

3. Heavy Metal - Music From The Motion Picture (Elektra Records

2. The Blues Brothers - Music From The Soundtrack (Atlantic Records, June 1980)

1. Music From The Motion Picture Garden State (Sony, August 10th, 2004)

Read the full review HERE

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Correction: I see they included one non-american production. Trainspotting.

I am not bashing america like Dude things but not even one spaghetti-western soundtrack? Almodovar? Bregovic? Those great middle eastern movies? China? Japan? Mancini? Blah? Blah?

oh... Superfly?

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Correction: I see they included one non-american production. Trainspotting.

I am not bashing america like Dude things but not even one spaghetti-western soundtrack? Almodovar? Bregovic? Those great middle eastern movies? China? Japan? Mancini? Blah? Blah?

oh... Superfly?

I see the list as just a starting point. The selections werent bad...but I agree, where are the Felini scores, etc.

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  • 2 months later...

Vanity Fair will be publishing their top 50 soundtracks in their latest issue - here is the top 10 according to an article today in Yahoo:

10 The Big Chill

9 American Graffiti

8 Saturday Night Fever

7 Trainspotting

6 Superfly

5 The Graduate

4 Pulp Fiction

3 The Harder They Come

2 A Hard Day's Night

1 Purple Rain

Read More

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The UK Telegraph has put together a solid list of what they consider to be the Top 100 Best Movie Soundtracks, ranging from 'A Fistful of Dollars' to 'Some Like it Hot', from Mozart and Wagner to Rodgers & Hammerstein. Here are some samples below:

The Empire Strikes Back John Williams, 1980

The Sound of Music Rodgers & Hammerstein, 1965

The Harder They Come Various, 1972

Trouble Man Marvin Gaye, 1972

Diva Vladimir Cosma, 1981

That Summer! Various, Arista, 1979

The Payback James Brown, 1974

Help! The Beatles, 1965

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Hard to believe, but we have never started a thread on this subject. Well, the fine folks over at Ask Metafilter have, so we will start with some of their member's recommendations:

Legends of the Fall, Princess Mononoke, and The Gladiator.

Many Almodovar film soundtracks including Hable con Ella.

once upon a time in the west and the good, the bad, the ugly By Ennio Morricone

the fountain and Requiem for a Dream by Clint Mansell

the day the earth stood still by Bernard Hermann


Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

The Buddha of Suburbia (Bowie)

Peter Gabriel - The Last Temptation of Christ,

Blade Runner - Vangelis

Hermann's Taxi Driver score is great.

Ithe score to Akira (anime)

2001: A Space Odyssey

Walt Disney's Fantasia

Any Hitchcock film scored by Bernard Herrman

North By Northwest

once upon a time in the west and the good, the bad, the ugly By Ennio Morricone

There Will Be Blood

Fight Club

Last of the Mohicans, Dances with Wolves and Pirates of the Caribbean

All three of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Ring films.

The Last of the Mohicans.

Koyaanisqatsi Philip Glass score, The Truman Show.

Garden State.

The Firm

David Lean & Maurice Jarre combo in Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago.


Flash Gordon

Dead Man

28 Days Later

Blade Runner

Star Wars.

Morricone's spaghetti western music as well.


Team America


Last of the Mohicans

Anton Karas's score for The Third Man

Almost anything Danny Elfman has composed, most notably Batman and Edward Scissorhands.

Triplets of Belleville

Rocky (the original)

Edward Scissorhands

The Natural

Lawrence of Arabia

Once Upon a Time in the West

Nthing Koyaanisqatsi, The Fountain.

The Hours, and most things done by Michael Nyman.

Conan the Barbarian.

Star Wars soundtracks

Lalo Schifrin's soundtrack to Enter the Dragon.

Nick Cave's score for the brilliant, tense, creepy western The Proposition

Triplets of Belleville

Popul Vuh's score for Werner Herzog's AGUIRRE: THE WRATH OF GOD and several other Herzog films...

Goblin's scores for Dario Argento's SUSPIRIA and George Romero's DAWN OF THE DEAD

One Hour Photo. I had no idea it was done by the Run Lola Run guys

Fight Club

Kill Bill: Vol. 1

The Piano.

Patrick Doyle's work (Hamlet, etc)

There Will Be Blood

Requiem for a Dream

Waking Life by Tosca Tango Orchestra

othe music in LOST is really good

8MM h

A Clockwork Orange

Superman the Movie (John Williams)

Robocop (Basil Poledouris)

Not so Popularly Appreciated:

The Witches of Eastwick (John Williams)

Hot Shots Part Deux (Basil Poledouris)

I would recommend almost anything by Poledouris:

Conan the Barbarian

Red Dawn

Hunt for Red October

Starship Troopers

Paris, Texas

Clean, Shaven

The Conversation

Garden State

Terminator 2

The Mission

• Control (Ian Curtis biopic).

• The Apocalypse Now soundtrack.

• The Blade Runner soundtrack

• The Life is Beautiful soundtrack

Who Framed Roger Rabbit

The scores to Run Lola Run, Sneakers, Les Triplettes De Belleville, Adaptation, The Fifth Element, and Pee Wee's Big Adventure.

Seconding The Mission and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Lalo Shrifrin, and his haunting soundtrack to THX-1138

soundtrack work of Cliff Martinez on Steven Soderbergh films like Traffic, Solaris, and The Limey.


Craig Armstrong - his movie credits include Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge, The Quiet American, Ray, Love Actually, Plunkett & Macleane and World Trade Center.

Schindler's List

Midnight Express...

Donnie Darko

The Last Temptation of Christ. Soundtrack's by Peter Gabriel.

jeunet's amelie and darabont's the shawshank redemption.

The Age of Innocence

all three of the paul thomas anderson films (magnolia, punch drunk love, and there will be blood)

Seconding Cliff Martinez's scores, especially Solaris.


The Constant Gardener

The Door In The Floor

Casino Royale


The Illusionist

Notes on a Scandal


Meet Joe Black

Master and Commander

The Fountain

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (good jazz soundtrack)

Sideways. (Rolfe Kent)

Oh Brother, Where Art Thou in this list.

Magnolia was inspired by Aimee Mann's music

The Piano

The Mission

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Triplets of Beleville


Conan the Barbarian

Morricone's score for The Untouchables, as well.

Morricone - John Carpenter's The Thing

'Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence.'

Riuchi Sakamoto

Exodus has my favorite movie score written by Ernest Gold.

Badlands yet. Some of the music (the stuff from Carl Orff) was re-used to much lesser effect in True Romance


The About a Boy soundtrack by Badly Drawn Boy.

"Blackhawk Down" i

"The Mission"

The Red Violin and Immortal Beloved

Empire of the Sun

Memphis Belle (George Fenton)

Danny Boy - Harry Connick Jr.

Prince's soundtrack to Purple Rain. I'd also say his soundtrack for Batman but Prince's music was minimally used in the film and pretty much overshadowed by Danny Elfman's music.

the jimmy cliff music in the harder they come.

Miles Davis wrote the score to 'Ascenseur pour l'echafaud'. I


Blues brothers

Angelo Badalamenti purveyor of fine soundtracks to most of David Lynch's films and of course Twin Peaks?

"Dead Man." Niel Young's soundtrack

Solaris, by Cliff Martinez

Bladerunner, by Vangelis

Mishima, by Philip Glass

The first Sopranos 'soundtrack' also has some neat songs on it

Andrew Dickson's soundtrack for Naked (directed by Mike Leigh)

The Mission.

Ry Cooder's score for 'Paris, Texas,'

Jack Nitzche's 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest,'

his assembly-line beat beneath Captain Beefheart's growl in the opening of 'Blue Collar,'

his work with Randy Newman, The Last Poets, Buffy St. Marie, Mick Jagger, and, well, Ry Cooder in 'Performance."

Philip Glass's 'Koyaanisqutsi'

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Jon Brion)

Ghost in the Shell

harold and maude

The Rocketeer

Wojciech Kilar's score to Polanski's The Ninth Gate.

Get Carter



You might like the work of Emir Kusturika. All of his films are heavily influenced by Balkan music and gypsy culture and permeate much of the film. Not all of the action is moved by the music but a fair amount of it is.


Black Cat, White Cat

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon a

Iron Monkey

Pee Wee's Big Adventure. (Danny Elfman)

"Amadeus" ...

Planet of the Apes (the Heston version) i

No Country for Old Men



"Hush" (episode 4.10 of Buffy) has to be mentioned. 28 minutes (over half the episode) of no dialog, so of course the sound track has extra...oomph.

"The Body" (5.16) has no music other than the theme song, a wind chime, and quiet Christmas music in a flashback.

Koyaanisqatsi, Powaqqatsi, Naqoyqatsi. All three of these have incredible soundtracks, and there really is no movie without the soundtracks.

Edward Scissorhands

The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover

A Bronx Tale

"The Ten Commandments of Love"

Once Upon a Time in the West. Morricone's score was written and recorded before filming began and apparently Leone filmed scenes with the score playing on the set.

The Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three


Escaflowne series (even though its anime, it's an excellent soundtrack that fits the series)

Never Ending Story.

Koyanqatsi, and Poyanaqatsi

American Beauty

Shawshank Redemption

Meet Joe Black

Road to Perdition

Apocalypse Now


Lost Highway and Twin Peaks.

The Proposition.

Stargate (the movie) actually has a pretty good soundtrack.

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The GTA series always had great music, and GTA 4 is no exception. I'll admit, I miss the older songs on the games that took place years ago (Vice city had songs that really took you back to the eighties) The modern day songs are just as good, and the various types of music means there's something for everyone. Also, lets not forget about the talk radio stations. If you need a good laugh between shooting sprees, Just or Unjust is perfect.




Free Sound Effects

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