film still

The Top Soundtracks

Christopher Fowler

 Earlier this year, the soundtrack composer James Horner was killed in a plane crash, and we lost one of Hollywood's finest composers working. I always play soundtrack music as I write, and his scores often feature in my daily playlist. The top soundtracks get voted on by the public every year. This year the top five strike me as very odd. 

  • Lord of the Rings - Howard Shore 
  • Schindler's List - John Williams 
  • Gladiator - Hans Zimmer 
  • Star Wars - John Williams 

Out Of Africa - John Barry If you were going to pick the best of John Williams, surely Close Encounters of the Third Kind or E.T. or Empire of the Sun would feature rather than his muted score for a film about Nazis? And as for John Barry, Out of Africa over The Lion In Winter, Walkabout or Body Heat? Or Bond? And no nod to Horner for Titanic or this, from Brainstorm? 

Audio file


As for Hans Zimmer (who does tend to stretch himself too thinly) I can't recall the score for Gladiator but I do regularly listen to Inception, Interstellar and his wonderful score for I'll Do Anything. 

If I was compiling my own top list it would include Alexandre Desplat's music for The Grand Budapest Hotel, Paul Ferris's remarkable score for Witchfinder General, Paul Giovanni's much-imitated music for The Wicker Man, Krzysztof Komeda's equally copied score for Rosemary's Baby, Michael Nyman's soundtrack for The Draughtsman's Contract and Mark Isham's soundtrack for Crash. More recently I'd pick Roque Banos's excellent score for The 13 Rosas, Joan Valent's soundtrack for Las Brujas De Zugarramurdi, Johnny Jewel's score for Lost River and Fernando Velasquez's score for Crimson Peak. Here's the title track from Lost River. 

Audio file


Anchovee (not verified) Tue, 10/11/2015 - 09:54

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

My favourite soundtracks tend to be from my favourite films - they add so much to the experience I couldn't imagine watching them with different music. I love Unkle's contributions to Sexy Beast (plus there are a couple of Roque Banos numbers in there too), Hans Zimmer's Black Rain and Yann Tiersen's playful Amelie soundtrack.

I have those (and other) soundtracks on my iPhone and it's odd how they pop up at odd times when you're out and about. Listening to Don Logan's sweary rant over Unkle's beats can be strange when you're in Tesco wandering around the bread aisle.

Rh (not verified) Tue, 10/11/2015 - 22:56

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Plus 1 for grand budapest hotel and of course Wicker man. Also enjoyed clint mansell's moon; underworld's sunshine and a genuine funky pleasure, "Shut it, the music of the sweeney". Supermarket perturber would be natural born killers!

chris hughes (not verified) Thu, 12/11/2015 - 10:48

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I love Maurice Jarre's music to Lawrence of Arabia - just the opening bars and I'm squinting into the distance to make out if that's Omar Sharif heading towards me on a camel... I love Nino Rota too and you never hear his music much these days - one of my favourites was from a film starring Stewart Granger, called The Legion's Last Patrol. The film was dire, as I recall, but the music was great.

Rich (not verified) Fri, 13/11/2015 - 17:49

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Two of my favourites are the soundtrack for 'Blade Runner' by Vangelis and the soundtrack for 'Dressed To Kill' by Pino Donaggio.