Monday, April 09, 2007

My Top Ten Soundtracks

A good movie soundtrack can ruin a film. Or lift it to new heights. As I wait to hear what kind of music will accompany the televised episodes of my books, here are my top ten favourite movie soundtracks.

1. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Ennio Morricone is a god. I could just as easily have chosen Once Upon a Time in the West, The Mission or Two Mules for Sister Sarah. The haunting and unforgettable waoowaoowah of this film's main theme was inspired by a coyote.

2. American Beauty
It's a crime that Tom Newman did not win an Oscar for his amazing soundtrack to this film. Just try to imagine the film without it! I particularly love his use of guinea pigs, soda pop and other unusual instruments.

3. Green Card
Hans Zimmer can do the score of my TV series or film any time! I love the Enya-like vocals, the African drums and Mozart's haunting Clarinet Concerto in A major.

4. Dil Se...
Spike Lee chose the Bollywood hit Chaiyya Chaiyya for the opening credits of Inside Man. Inspired! The rest of the CD is just as good.

5. The Namesake
I sometimes think Indian music is closer to ancient Roman music than the usual stuff filmmakers trot out as 'Roman'. This is one of those soundtracks that lifts a great film to greater heights.

6. Gladiator
A year before Gladiator came out, I imagined Nubia's 'dog song' from The Thieves of Ostia as a haunting female voice like the one on this soundtrack. But my Roman girl's voice would have been more Ofra Haza and less Celtic.

7. Moonstruck
'When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's amore!' Long live Dean Martin!

8. American Graffiti
An oldie but oh! What a goodie!

9. Sideways
I love jazz and I love California. This is a fun soundtrack from a black comedy about wine tasting.

10. O Brother Where Art Thou?
I listen to this whenever I need a spiritual boost.


  1. Great choices Caroline. I don't know some of them so will check them out. Here is my top ten.

    1. Jungle Book - great timeless songs and interesting soundtrack.
    2. Star Wars - what would this film be without John Williams's score.
    Unfortunately time has made it so familiar that it has dulled its impact. However, on the DVD of the Phantom Menace, there is a music video of clips to the Duel of the Fates which makes up for that film.
    3. The Right Stuff - Bill Conti's soundtrack to a great film.
    4. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid - The opening sequence of the old sepia film accompanied by the piano whilst they blow open the train carriage before it turns into Newman and Redford. The rest isn't too bad either.
    5. Quadrophenia - The soundtrack to a 17 year old's life. For the only time in my life, the combination of image and music made me want to go out and smash someone in the face. Not sure if that is a good recommendation.
    6. Intolerance - Not sure if this counts but some years back I went to see Carl Davis conduct his score to the old DW Grifiths movie. I think the fact that it was live and the imagery so dated made it a wonderful experience.
    7. Star Trek - the motion picture - Jerry Goldsmith's score was perfect for Star Trek - just not this film!
    8. The Italian Job - Kitch but wonderful.
    9. Lawrence of Arabia - Again, I went to see Maurice Jarre conduct some of his compositions over the film, including Lawrence of Arabia. He did a sequence showing a Passage to India without a score, his score and them combining the two and it brought the film to life.
    10. Goldfinger - I love John Barry's music and perhaps Midnight Cowboy was the best theme. However Bond is consistently up there. So pick to pick one, it has to Goldfinger.

    If I was allowed 11, I would add Amadeus. I made me appreciate the beauty of Mozart's music.
    Best wishes

  2. Anonymous7:11 AM

    Alas, *sigh* I have never heard any of those soundtracks except O Brother, Where Art Thou. I'm more of a showtunes person myself. :)

    I'm really interested in music, and when I read about Nubia's "Dog Song" and her flute playing, I often wonder if you had any particular melody in mind. Every once in a while when I'm reading about how touched people are by her "Slave Song" it makes me just want to sit down at my piano and write something like that. But I'm too lazy. ;)

    God bless you, Ms. Lawrence!

    ~A girl called many things. (Mostly Delaney)

  3. Salve, Delaney!
    The inspiratioin behind Nubia's 'dog-song' is Ofra Haza. You can find out more on the 'music' page of my website HERE

  4. Anonymous6:55 AM

    hi caroline

    im doing a project at school about roman mysteries, and i was wondering if you had the theme music to the TV series? if you do can you put it somewhere on your blog or offical site? thank you.

  5. Sorry, but I'm not allowed to put up or send even a sample because of copyright reasons. I can tell you that the two composers are called Michael Cross and Peter Wyer but I have never met them so can't tell you any more. Sorry! :-(

    You might find my page on Music helpful for your report. Go HERE.