Nearing the end of the Top 50 countdown, we have now entered my top ten film scores, which has actually been a long time coming since I’ve only done five a week. This week, I’ve included some widely regarded classics and some personal favorites, several with a decidedly Celtic sound, themes I regard so highly that they’re basically interchangeable on the list. Only one week to go for the top 5. Enjoy!
#10: Titanic (1997), Oscar winner – James Horner
My original cryfest, Titanic is a marvelous film on nearly every level, but nowhere does it excel so masterfully as in the music department, thanks to the late great James Horner. His soothing Celtic strains play much more to the romance rather than the disaster, but there’s a deep sadness to it that fits the tragedy to a capital T.
#9: Forrest Gump (1994), Oscar nominee – Alan Silvestri
Yet another emotional journey with a memorable rock soundtrack as well, Forrest Gump had to have a fittingly poignant theme, and frequent Robert Zemeckis collaborator Alan Silvestri was just the man for the job. The first few notes alone bring back all the feels from one of my favorite films, starting with that drifting feather, while the ending makes me feel like I could run across the country. I don’t know if I should smile or cry. I think it’s both.
#8: Jurassic Park (1993), no nomination – John Williams
Putting the awe in awesome, Jurassic Park would be incomplete without John Williams’ exquisite themes. Again, the music conjures the immense glory of reborn dinosaurs, as well as the fascinating terror when they run amok. While I haven’t seen Jurassic World yet, I’m glad to hear that apparently Michael Giacchino has both honored and complemented Williams’ achievement.
#7: How to Train Your Dragon (2010), Oscar nominee – John Powell
The more I listen to this score, the more I absolutely LOVE it! I enjoy almost any kind of Celtic music, but this film amps it up beautifully to nail the tension, the fun, the wonder—pretty much everything one would expect from riding on a dragon. I could listen to this music forever. DreamWorks knew they had something great; they recently used the action theme for their 20th anniversary ads.
#6: The Chronicles of Narnia (2005, 2008), no nominations – Harry Gregson-Williams
From my list, it’s clear that I’m fond of epic and majestic film scores, and the music for the current trilogy of Narnia adaptations certainly fits that description. I’m only including the first two films here, though, since the third, Voyage of the Dawn Treader, had a different composer and was generally not quite as good. I probably admire Prince Caspian’s score most of all, since it builds on the first film’s themes and gets even more epic. Someone hurry up and make The Silver Chair already!