I love music, but then, who doesn’t? I also, as we all know by now, love a great film. So put these two together and it’s like the perfect viewing experience.

Musical soundtracks and scores, when done right, really enhance a film. Whether it helps build atmosphere, tension or just simply ‘adds’ to the whole feel of the film, you’d miss it if it wasn’t there even if you might not be aware of it. However, using music in film isn’t always great. Horror films are notorious for overusing music, I always end up knowing when a scary moment is about to happen because I’m cued by the music…then it’s not so scary anymore. But then try watching a horror movie scene without the music and it won’t be even a little bit scary. It’s all about balance and choosing the right music for the right scene.

So here are just some of my favorite movies (most of which I’ve mentioned about 100 times already in other posts) which use music so damn well- 

6. THE GREAT GATSBY- Directed by Baz Luhrmann, Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire and others.

the great gatsby

This film was created by the Gods for me. I swear that’s how I felt when it was coming out. Firstly, it’s one of my favorite all time books. I read it far too often. Next, we’ve got my husband as the gorgeous Gatsby (and he played it SO well!) And finally Jay-Z, one of my favorite artists, produced the soundtrack. It’s like I made it myself.
But this post is about music, let me try and get back on track. A lot of people were unhappy and critical that the soundtrack was being produced by Jay-Z seeing as the film is set in 1920’s america, but honestly, I don’t think they could have chose better. The film ended up being a great mix, a modern twist on a classic without actually destroying or overlooking any of the books charm and essence. The music complemented the movie brilliantly and once again proved that The Great Gatsby is still highly relevant and relatable to today’s culture.

5. PULP FICTION- Directed by Quentin Tarantino, Starring Uma Thurman, Samuel J Jackson, John Travolta and others. 

pulp fiction

Of course I was going to mention Pulp Fiction. How could you not? I’ll admit, it came close to being replaced with Jackie Brown, the soundtrack to that film is amazing.
Anyway, it’s no secret this film has an amazing soundtrack. The diner scene is probably one of the most recognizable movie scenes of the 2oth/21st century and I will forever be reminded of it whenever I listen to Chuck Berry or Urge Overkill. Ugh, now I’m craving a milkshake.

4. GOODFELLAS- Directed by Martin Scorsese, Starring Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, Robert De Niro and others. 

The music in this film is picked so perfectly yet I wonder how many people know how much detail went into it. Apparently, Scorsese only chose the music for Goodfellas if it “commented on the scene or the characters in an oblique way.”  The other rule for the soundtrack was that the music had to be only music that could have been heard at that time. Another thing I love about the use of this soundtrack is that sometimes apparently the lyrics of the songs were put between dialogue to comment on the action. It just shows how much goes into creating a masterpiece.

3. AMERICAN HUSTLE- Directed by David O Russel, Starring Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Adams and others.

I know I talk about this film a lot, or at least it feels like I do, but it’s honestly because I just think it’s so great. I remember watching it in the cinema with a friend when it came out and actually feeling overwhelmed by the soundtrack. It just fit my mood so well, my taste so well, and most importantly it complemented the film perfectly. I ended up buying the soundtrack and just loving every song on there, from ELO to Duke Ellington, it’s perfection. I especially love the scene in the bar where they are all singing along to Tom Jones’s Delilah, I can’t help but want to be there with them.

2. BLACK SWAN- Directed by Darren Aronofsky, Staring Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis and Vincent Cassel. 


Yeah yeah, of course I was going to mention Black Swan. I have watched it over 30 times, what did you expect?! But seriously, the musical score by Clint Mansell was entirely original, drawing on elements from Tchaikovsky’s Ballet Swan Lake. It even got an nomination for Best Original Score at the 2010 Oscars, and in my opinion it really deserved it. I’m not ashamed to say I bought this soundtrack and still continue to listen to it whilst pretending I am a ballerina. Try it, it’s fun. Unfortunately (or fortunately I guess) I don’t turn into a swan at the end.

1. SHUTTER ISLAND- Directed by Martin Scorsese, Staring Leonardo Dicaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley and others.

This film has hands down one of the best musical score in my opinion. None of the music was original, instead a beautiful mixture of modern classical music. This is what I was talking about when I said music can be used to create tension. In this case, they create a hell of a lot of it. The scene that always sticks out in my mind is when Teddy and Chuck are coming in to the mental asylum, all around them is barbed wire and huge walls and the song “Symphony No. 3: Passacaglia by Allegro Moderato” is playing. It is so intense and frightening you just know nothing good is ever about to happen. I’m listening to that very song as I write this and even know it makes me feel tense, uneasy, but I can’t stop listening. It’s amazingly frightening.
The song I love the most however is “Quartet for Strings and Piano in A Minor” (Gustav Mahler), it is so incredibly moving and expresses raw emotion and always evokes a strong reaction in me.

Tell me your favorite movie soundtracks and musical scores! I’m going to spend the night listening The Shutter Island soundtrack in a dark room…


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