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9 Movie Soundtracks Better Than The Films

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Universal

We all know the power that music can have. The way that it can evoke emotions and memories in a way that no other art form can quite manage. Music also has the power to bring films to life. The music from a film has the ability to instantly transport you back to a moment. But sometimes, the movie soundtracks are so much better than the films they are complimenting. Let’s count down nine movies who had better soundtracks than the films themselves.

9. Tron (Legacy)

There is no denying that Joseph Konsinski’s 2010 remake was visually stunning. But a confusing plot and a meandering pace quickly takes the shine off the visuals. It’s a shame, as the film promised so much, but delivered very little. On the plus side, the music was superb. Handled by legendary French electronic duo Daft Punk, it’s peppered with funky beats that sound like they have come straight from the future. Check out Derezzed, as it sums it up perfectly. If there was an artist or group that should write a soundtrack for a futuristic movie, then Daft Punk are it.

8. Natural Born Killers

Released in 1994 and directed by Oliver Stone, Natural Born Killers has become one of the most controversial films of all time. Mostly because of its excessive violence and plot. It’s not an overly bad film per se, but its appeal is fairly limited. Not everyone has the stomach for an ultra-violent murder-fest. What did have appeal though, was the fantastic soundtrack. This was handled by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. According to Reznor, he watched the film 50 times to get in the mood for writing the music. I don’t know how he mentally managed to do that and not go insane, but his brand of experimental industrial rock fitted snugly with the dark tones of the film. In fact, I would say tracks like Burn are more visceral than the violence on offer from the film.

7. Maximum Overdrive

This camp 80’s horror flick was actually directed by Stephen King in his one and only directorial appearance. The film was based on one of King’s short horror stories, Trucks, where machines turn on their makers. In essence, it’s a pretty terrible film. But what he did manage to do was to get one of his favourite bands to release their album as the soundtrack to the movie. AC/DC’s Who Made Who was the album in question, and my word, what an album. Hells Bells and You Shook me all Night Long are just some of the timeless anthems that feature in the movie. The album certainly makes the film bearable and even adds a little more cheekiness to it, but it by no means polishes a turkey. I’m a massive Stephen King fan, but he should definitely stick to writing books and stay away from the director’s chair. Take my advice and just buy the album.

6. Last Action Hero

Keeping the rock theme going, we now turn our attention to 1993’s Last Action Hero. Now, I was kind of torn with this one. I look back on the film with some affection for its cheesiness; ham acting and Schwarzenegger send-off’s. But in reality, it was a pretty terrible movie. It was a parody within a parody. In fact, it was so bad it was good. Which is why it’s giving me such an internal debate about slating it on this list. What wasn’t terrible, though, was the movie soundtrack.

It featured some of the world’s biggest rocks bands. There were tracks from Def Leppard; Aerosmith; Alice in Chains and AC/DC to name but a few, which more than makes up for the limp movie. The fist-pumping rock actually lends itself well to the cheesiness of the movie, so sit back, switch your brain off, and enjoy.

5. Saturday Night Fever

I would say that I have met people throughout my life who like an eclectic mix of music. What I haven’t met, is a large number of people that love disco. Either I just haven’t met them, or they avoid me, but there’s no denying that John Travolta’s sharp-dressed and dapper-dancing had mass appeal in 1978. It was a movie of its time and let’s be honest, looks incredibly dated when looking back now. It was definitely a film that was of its time and let’s be honest, it should probably stay there.

There is no denying the fantastic soundtrack though. Legendary disco-jivers the Bee Gees provided a large swathe of the music, but it also had ‘Disco Inferno’ from The Trammps. Now that is an iconic song. It’s a staple song of every wedding and birthday DJ across the globe. Everyone has heard of disco, but like green curtains and flares, it should be consigned to the history books for all eternity. If you must watch the film, you will probably look back on the movie and cringe, but the music will definitely give you a smile.

4. Drive

I remember watching this Ryan Gosling violent crime-noir and being a bit confused. There is no doubt that it was visually stunning and brutally visceral, but the plot was silly and some of the dialogue was, well, pretty diabolical. What wasn’t diabolical was the soundtrack. It was composed by Cliff Martinez. Nope, I’d not heard of him either. But here’s a fun fact for you. He was once the session drummer for the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Cool, eh? Anyway, the soundtrack of drive is less funk, more 80s dark electro-pop that fits perfectly with the theme of film. You will get what I mean if you watch it. Apart from the violence, the fantastic music is all that you will remember from it. Which is reason alone to watch it.

3. Jaws

Ok, I know that this one will polarise opinion, but Jaws isn’t really a great movie. I know that back in 1975 it was hugely successful. And that it made an awful lot of people scared to go into the sea for a while. But was it a good movie? I’m not so sure. Looking back now at the rubber shark is laughable, but I appreciate that at the time, it was probably pretty scary. As with any movie whose musical score is better than its film counterpart, it’s the music that you think of first. And is there any movie more iconic than that two-note music pattern that signals the arrival of Jaws? I thought not.

The music was written by legendary composer John Williams, who also wrote the music for Star Wars and Indian Jones amongst many others. There’s no denying he has incredible talent when it comes to writing music. Which is why when you think of Jaws, you think of his music.

2. The Bodyguard

No list of superior music soundtracks would be complete without Whitney Houston’s The Bodyguard. Houston starred in the film and performed the soundtrack, but its only really the soundtrack we remember. Well, one song in particular, but what a song. I Will Always Love You was an international smash hit. It’s interesting to note that the song itself was originally written and released by country star Dolly Parton. But it was Houston’s version that took it through the stratosphere.

The soundtrack to the movie was half-filled with Whitney songs, but the other half was also crammed with great songs from other artists. The album won a Grammy award and has sold over 45 million copies around the globe. That’s a pretty incredible feat. But can you remember anything about the actual movie? Nope, me neither.

1. Batman Forever

After the first two fantastic Batman movies came Batman Forever in 1995. Now, I would argue this isn’t the worst Batman film in the franchise – that glory goes to 1997’s Batman and Robin – but it is pretty poor. The first two films were beautifully dark and melancholic; just how you expect a Batman movie to be. But Batman Forever took it down a more upbeat and sillier route. I guess the studio wanted to appeal to a wider audience, but it ended up a bit of dull mess. I would give credit to Jim Carrey though, who played the Riddler with a perfect insanity that you would expect him to do.

The soundtrack to the movie was not a dull mess. In fact, it had some absolute belters on. None more so that U2’s Hold Me, Kiss Me, Thrill Me, Kill Me, which was a hit single. The album also featured Kiss from A Rose by Seal, which was another huge hit. Add in songs from Nick Cave, PJ Harvey and Massive Attack, you have a pretty outstanding album. It was also a huge commercial success. The movie was also a huge commercial success being the highest grossing movie of 1995. But we know that commercial success doesn’t always equate to a good movie.

Avoid the film but buy the album.


And that’s our list of 9 films with a better soundtrack than the movie they appeared in. Are we wrong? Are there any we missed out that you would like to have seen on the list? If so, leave us a comment below.


Read about 9 songs better than the movies they appeared in HERE.

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Movie News

9 Iconic Jerry Goldsmith Film Scores

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The Objective Standard

Jerry Goldsmith may be a name that is not known to you, but some of the music scores he’s created will be etched into your psyche.

The late composer created some of the most iconic film scores from the past forty years. Here are nine of the best.

1. Planet of The Apes (1968)

The first film in the Planet of the Apes franchise was a trailblazer for many reasons. Not only was the story innovative and philosophical, but it also received praise for its special effects. Another thing that made the film so special, was the musical score. Goldsmith had been writing scores for a while, but this was the one that truly put him on the map. He moved away from traditional melodies and experimented with horns, bowls, and strings. The result was a brooding avant-garde tsunami that hits you, wave after wave. Genius.

2. The Omen (1976)

This horror classic has one of the creepiest soundtracks of all time. The subject matter of the child anti-Christ obviously helps. The score for the film was the benchmark for horror that influenced a slew of films in its wake. Goldsmith employed some frankly terrifying Gregorian chants to make the horror more effective. He also combined the chants with some spine-tingling strings and piano. It all works and makes the hairs on your neck stand up when you hear it. This is one of Goldsmith’s most terrifying, yet brilliant works. He even won an Oscar for it.

3. Poltergeist (1982)

Ignore the terrible remake from a few years ago, the original Poltergeist movie was brilliant. What helped make it brilliant is the score that Goldsmith implemented. It’s a far cry from the creepy atmosphere of The Omen, but more of an unsettling lullaby. On first listen it seems like an uplifting piece of music, but after a while, you realise it’s the opposite. Goldsmith wanted to use the family dynamic as the focus of the music, exploring all the layers. The result is a surprising score that earned him an Oscar nomination, although he didn’t win that one.

4. Alien (1979)

Jerry Goldsmith’s score is almost as famous as Ridley Scott’s sci-fi classic itself. It wasn’t all plain sailing though. His final score was cut to bits by Scott and the production team, although the full masterpiece is available now. What he achieves here is the coldness and terror of space, and what lies within it. It’s laden with atmosphere that takes you on a journey that touches all the emotions. There is a smorgasbord of instruments used within the score, but there is one that really stands out. The trumpet solos. They are used to great effect, and you can feel the Xenomorph creeping up behind you.

5. Gremlins (1984)

Arguably one of the greatest movies from the 1980s, Gremlins throws together a collection of genres. You’ve got comedy; horror; slapstick; gore and drama all in one. In keeping with that theme, Jerry Goldsmith created the film’s score to mirror that. In fact, it’s so gloriously over-the-top it wouldn’t be out of place in a funfair. The synth is beautifully erratic. It perfectly emulates the chaotic yet lovable rogue elements of the Gremlins themselves. It’s often thought that comedy scores should not be silly, but this preconception is thrown out of the water. Sit back and enjoy the madness.

6. Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)

Whereas the first Rambo film had a slight intelligent edge to the violence, Rambo II is an unashamedly hammy shoot-‘em-up. Keeping in theme with the film, Goldsmith manages to keep the score suitably exciting. Using his use of electronics to embellish the strings and horns, it makes for a big, brash, and thoroughly enjoyable listen. He manages to capture the exact feel of the film in his music. That’s no mean feat, and he does it to perfection.

7. Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)

The first of the Star Trek movies kickstarted a film franchise that’s still going to this day. The music of Trek is in my humble opinion, as important as the moral and optimistic themes of the stories. This is purely down to the genius of Jerry Goldsmith. Although visually superb, the film is a bit of a damp squib. The soundtrack, however, is not. It defines what Star Trek is about. The music takes you on a journey through space and exploration. There are mostly brass instruments that make up the score, and it builds to a crescendo that propels straight to the captain’s chair. The score was that good that it was used as the theme to TNG. This is some of Goldsmith’s finest work that defines Star Trek.

8. Basic Instinct (1992)

This Paul Verhoeven naughty thriller is iconic for many reasons. One of them perhaps more famous than others (ahem). Crossed legs aside, the movie itself is probably more famous for that scene than anything else. The musical score though is rather special. Goldsmith himself admitted this was one of his toughest ones to write. He pulled it off though. The music manages to capture Sharon Stone’s character perfectly. The charming beauty with a malevolent underbelly is clear to hear. He handles the contradictions with absolute aplomb and delivers a simply superb musical score.

9. The Mummy (1999)

This action romp may have had some questionable special effects, but the film score was some of Jerry Goldsmith’s finest work. Created towards the end of his career, it’s the last of the great film scores. It has everything from thunderous action and creepy horror. There are even some feel-good romantic elements. It takes you on a roller coaster of emotions but leaves you feeling fully enthralled. Even into his seventies, Jerry Goldsmith created some of his best work. A true icon and legend of film composition.


That’s our list of nine iconic Jerry Goldsmith film scores, did we miss any? Let us know in the comments below.


Check out nine movie soundtracks better than the films HERE.

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