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When you think of a movie, what is one of the main things that makes that movie memorable? It could be the acting (or lack thereof), the locations, or the current James Bond girl. But one of the main things that makes a movie great is the music.
I mean, Star Wars is a classic movie, but how much would we remember about it if it wasn’t for John Williams and his orchestra belting out the Star Wars soundtrack, or the Imperial March? Other movies with memorable stirring music include “Dances With Wolves”, “Last of The Mohicans“, Indiana Jones, the headbanging scene in Wayne’s World to the tune of Bohemian Rhapsody, and of course…Rocky.
If you have Spotify, you have access to huge amounts of music from movie soundtracks and scores. And many users have taken the time to compile that music into playlists, including me (although I haven’t really had the time to devote to it much). People may argue endlessly about what music is “good” or “bad”, but the one type of music which seems to appeal to a broad spectrum of people is movie music. Because who doesn’t love movies and popcorn?
Ultimate Epic Movie Scores
This is one of my favorite movie soundtrack compilations on Spotify, as it has (in my opinion) some of the essential ones on there. The Top Gun anthem, Going The Distance from Rocky, Misty Mountains from The Hobbit, and Now We Are Free from Gladiator.
Currently comprising 287 songs at over 17 hours running time, this playlist spans a lot of movies and a lot of genres. Definitely one to subscribe to and watch.
It’s even got the original Doctor Who soundtrack, which is a win in my book. See, even Tom Cruise agrees with me.
NME’s 50 Greatest Movie Soundtracks
For those of you not in the know, NME is a British music magazine, which has been published since the late 1940s. So with 70 years of experience behind it, covering music of all stripes, I think you can safely say they know a thing or two about music. So what do they know about movie music?
Their “50 Greatest Movie Soundtracks” (which ironically only contains 49 songs!), cover a range of genres and time periods. You have up-to-date stuff like About a Boy, and more older stuff like Dirty Harry and Easy Rider.
I am pleased to see Kill Bill and Blade Runner in there, as I think that Quentin Tarantino’s taste and Vangelis’ compositions combine to offer some really great music, which sometimes gets overlooked or underappreciated.
Best Movie Soundtracks (Instrumental)
There’s just something about the Indiana Jones soundtrack that really gets my blood pumping. I suddenly want to jump off my chair, put on my leather jacket and hat, and run out the door to the jungle to look for lost treasure and battle evil Nazis. Or the Imperial March from The Empire Strikes Back, which brings out my evil side, and makes me pick up my red lightsaber and challenge the dog to a duel.
The point is that instrumental soundtracks can be extremely powerful. You don’t always need words to provide the passion in music. Sometimes all you need is a damn good orchestra and very good acoustics. And John Williams. You MUST have John Williams.
Talking of the John, this 750-strong playlist had none other than the Cantina Band from Star Wars. Now, those dudes could play.
If you don’t think Indiana Jones or Star Wars makes my point, look for Vangelis’ Conquest of Paradise on this list. If that doesn’t stir you, you sir are dead.
Best Film Scores
I initially hesitated about this one, because it includes the soundtrack to the new A-Team movie, which should have never been made (I’m a traditionalist, and a child of the 1980s). But then I saw my pal John Williams, and I thought “OK, you’re saved!“. Inclusion of the Back to The Future music more than made up for the A-Team.
This list also includes some older classics, such as A Bridge Too Far, and 633 Squadron, but mainly the list has a very definite slant towards more modern mainstream movies. The entire list runs to 344 songs, and 21 hours playing time.
Best Movie Songs
This one starts off with a rather spirited little number from Moulin Rouge, and once you have finished dancing across the room, the list then rapidly slides downhill to Natural Born Killers (an abrupt change of direction there!). But fear not, it very quickly picks up again with Dean Martin and Elvis Presley.
But the one which crowns the list is the Blues Brothers! Because everybody needs somebody to love.
This list comprises 76 songs at 5 hours running time.
100 Songs You’ve Heard in the Movies
I really enjoyed this one as it contains movie music which I absolutely love. Top of the list is The Bare Necessities from the Jungle Book. Following hot on the heels is Stayin’ Alive from Saturday Night Fever (told you I was old!), and Shaft (at this rate, I am going to have to do an Obama and show my birth certificate).
If you appreciate good movie music, this is a list you should subscribe to. It has 95 songs (despite the title of the playlist), running to nearly 6 hours listening time.
Soundtracks & Scores
This huge 735-strong list starts off with a rather depressing tone from Schindler’s List, but then starts to get into more uplifting fare such as The Pink Panther, Forrest Gump, Last of The Mohicans, and Braveheart.
Just try to ignore Pirates of the Caribbean. Sorry Pirates fans but I have heard that music being used too many times in TV commercials and other TV shows to like it anymore.
At the Movies
As an 80s child, I was heartened to see Duran Duran and Simple Minds included in this playlist, which motivated me to look further. And thankfully I did as this is one sweet collection. For it contains the incomparable Reverend Al Green with “Let’s Stay Together“.
Add to that Aretha Franklin, Queen, and yes my buddy John Williams. He really gets around, that guy.
This playlist is a rather short 107 songs, but it is a lot of good ones.
Epic & Intense Soundtracks
I was reading about this playlist on another website, and I laughed out loud when I read the description. It said that there are times when you imagine yourself in the movies, and all you need to complete the fantasy is the appropriate epic and intense soundtrack to “get you moving“.
This brought me back to when I was a young kid (25), and I would run down the street silently saying to myself “Obi-Wan said you killed my father! Nooooo!!!“. Now if only I had a Spotify list back then with the appropriate epic and intense Star Wars music…I would have lightsabered the bus driver.
This Loch Ness Monster size-list of 873 songs gives you everything you need to insert yourself into your movie fantasy. From Superman to Jurassic Park to Gladiator, this list has something for everyone.
Ultimate Movie Instrumentals
We end with a playlist in a similar vein — 181 instrumental songs that will get you swaying, jiggling, shaking, and with your hands up as the world’s foremost composer. Listen to classics such A Fistful of Dollars, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, Doctor Zhivago, and The Godfather.
This will remind you of what true classic movie music is like, and will also give you plenty of ideas for your next Netflix date.
So Which Classics Did I Inexplicably Miss?
Yes OK, I did miss out Harry Potter, and the Twilight movies. It may be good music, but I just don’t think it stacks up against some of the bigger classics (such as Life of Brian’s “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life”).
Let us know in the comments what you regard as first-class movie music. Which Spotify playlists do you listen to for your movie fix?
Image Credit: Movie Popcorn by xactive via Shutterstock