Please recommend movie scores and soundtracks that stand alone as works of art.
June 28, 2012 4:19 AM   Subscribe

What are the best movie soundtracks and scores that can be listened to as musical experiences purely based on the music, not in relation to the movies they were written for?

A while ago there was an askme asking for recommendations of modern orchestral pieces and it occurred to me that movie scores would be a great source, based on my love of the music from Lord of the Rings, The Piano, Carrington, Requiem for a Dream and others which I enjoy a great deal without even thinking of the movies associated with them.

What are some of the best movie scores and soundtracks that stand alone as amazing musical experiences?
posted by h00py to Media & Arts (110 answers total) 64 users marked this as a favorite
Shine for sure. It is basically just a ton of excellent classical music. One of my favourite soundtracks.

Also, and this may be weird, but the soundtrack to Brokeback Mountain is really lovely. A lot of it is just simple guitar, but it is wonderful. I listen to it at work sometimes just because the music is gorgeous.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 4:31 AM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

And are you looking for orchestral only, or soundtracks featuring a collection of songs recorded by a variety of artists? Because the soundtrack to Forrest Gump is phenomenal.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 4:32 AM on June 28, 2012

I've always loved Jerry Goldsmith's Star Trek: The Motion Picture soundtrack, especially when it gets dark and moody. And it features a Blaster Beam.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 4:34 AM on June 28, 2012

I like Edward Shearmur's soundtrack for K-PAX and Cliff Martinez's score for Solaris.
posted by rongorongo at 4:36 AM on June 28, 2012

Moonrise Kingdom had a great soundtrack - lots of Hank Williams and Benjamin Britten, and music by Alexandre Desplat written especially for the film.
posted by Ziggy500 at 4:39 AM on June 28, 2012

Response by poster: Yes, I included soundtracks because I like curated song sets too. I should have said that I'm after the names of the composers of your recommended scores also, so thanks for including them. All recommendations gratefully received!
posted by h00py at 4:42 AM on June 28, 2012

The soundtrack to Tron: Legacy is amazing! I've never even seen the movie but listened to the soundtrack nearly every day for months.
posted by indognito at 4:47 AM on June 28, 2012 [5 favorites]

I like The Royal Tenenbaums, Inception, and Prometheus.
posted by neushoorn at 4:55 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

I really enjoy listening to the Mishima soundtrack. It's by Phillip Glass and it's more of a pastiche of small sets. They're all evocative of moods and setting in the film, but stand strongly on their own if you've never seen the film (which you really should, if you've not done so.)
posted by Thorzdad at 4:56 AM on June 28, 2012 [3 favorites]

My favourites are:

The Royal Tenenbaums
Passion (Music from The Last Temptation of Christ)
posted by fso at 4:56 AM on June 28, 2012

Jonny Greenwood's score for There Will Be Blood (if you're a fan of that sort of thing).
posted by supercres at 4:57 AM on June 28, 2012

I'm not sure it's what you're looking for, but I actually think the only "soundtrack" I own is from Big Night. It's one of my favourite movies, and I think part of the reason I like the soundtrack is because it puts me in mind of the movie, but I do believe the songs stand on their own.
posted by segatakai at 5:00 AM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

I still listen to Romeo and Juilette (Leo and Clair) all there years later.
posted by saradarlin at 5:09 AM on June 28, 2012 [4 favorites]

Ry Cooder's slide guitar soundtrack for Paris, Texas.
posted by theodolite at 5:11 AM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

Ennio Morricone was a master, and his score to The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is a stone-cold classic. For your consideration: The Ecstasy of Gold.
posted by Rinku at 5:15 AM on June 28, 2012 [3 favorites]

Any of Michael Nyman's. There's an excellent CD The Essential Michael Nyman Band which has stuff from several and I've listened to it many times.
posted by Segundus at 5:23 AM on June 28, 2012 [3 favorites]

My favorite soundtrack is the one from The Incredibles .
posted by bijou243 at 5:29 AM on June 28, 2012

Passion (Music from The Last Temptation of Christ)

Seconding this. It's not even a direct recording of the soundtrack - Peter Gabriel likes to tinker a lot (when it comes to changing finished works, he's sometimes worse than George Lucas, except he doesn't release stuff until he's for-serious done), so the record is actually "the soundtrack plus about six more months of Peter Gabriel playing around". I actually got the soundtrack before seeing the movie, and ended up not wanting to see the movie for years afterward because I didn't want to replace the pictures it spurred in my head with anything from the movie.

Also, Thomas Newman is my go-to for soundtracks for some reason - I really dug American Beauty and Road to Perdition.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:31 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

My three favorite are:
* Ennio Morricone - The Mission soundtrack
* Peter Gabriel - Passion (Music from The Last Temptation of Christ)
* Michael Nyman - The Piano soundtrack

All fantastic!
posted by bleucube at 5:34 AM on June 28, 2012

Mark Knopfler's soundtrack for Local Hero is lovely.
posted by impluvium at 5:42 AM on June 28, 2012

I can listen to the Gattacca soundtrack (composed by Michael Nyman) over and over and over again and I am NOT a fan of just instrumentals. It flows really beautifully from one song to the next and it's an excellent example of musical motifs being repeated in different songs to great effect.

For non-orchestra based, I second the Romeo and Juliet soundtrack, and I also recommend Garden State.
posted by like_neon at 5:51 AM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

I actually think h00py was looking for the "orchestral-score" type of soundtrack as opposed to the "pop songs that happened to be in the movie" type.

But for the record, if anyone else is looking for the "collection of pop songs" type, Treme and Northern Exposure are two good TV examples of the field.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:53 AM on June 28, 2012

My three favourite soundtracks of the moment:

Valkyrie (especially They'll Remember You; I have goosebumps just thinking about it)

The Oscar-winning Inception (Frans Zimmer)

Enigma (a John Barry score)
posted by londonmark at 5:54 AM on June 28, 2012

(Sorry, Valkyrie is by John Ottman)
posted by londonmark at 5:55 AM on June 28, 2012

I love Jon Brion's score for Punch Drunk Love.
posted by Chenko at 6:02 AM on June 28, 2012

Maybe it's the era of when I heard it but I liked Jurassic Park. And the full extended version of the Amadeus soundtrack.
posted by tilde at 6:13 AM on June 28, 2012 [3 favorites]

1. seconding Ennio Morricone - The mission

also i am a sucker for Danny Elfman... especially the Beetlejuice soundtrack.
posted by chasles at 6:15 AM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

Such good stuff listed here, I am going vintage here and say 2001 Space Odyssey.
posted by Yellow at 6:23 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Godfather and Lawrence of Arabia, of course.
posted by Perodicticus potto at 6:35 AM on June 28, 2012

nthing The Mission (Ennio Morricone) and The Last of the Mohicans (Randy Edelman).

I think the Titanic score (James Horner) is amazing, as is Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story (also Randy Edelman).

Also: the soundtrack to Pretty in Pink.
posted by yawper at 6:35 AM on June 28, 2012

Like chasles, I'm also a sucker for Danny Elfman, but my favorite is Sleepy Hollow. I also really like the Zorro score by James Horner.
posted by OrangeDisk at 6:36 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

I love so many of these. I will add The Illusionist by Philip Glass. When I heard it, I knew I would love the movie.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 6:40 AM on June 28, 2012

Copland's music for The Red Pony and Gershwin's music for An American in Paris (assuming you like Copland and Gershwin).
posted by ubiquity at 6:51 AM on June 28, 2012

The soundtrack to Arrested Development is great - not just the songs written for the show but incidental music.

I love Vince Guaraldi's work for the various Charlie Brown specials. Rain Rain Go Away is beautiful.

And as far as collections of pop songs go, I owned the Good Will Hunting soundtrack and the Kids soundtrack (which I think may actually have been mostly composed for the film) years before seeing the actual films.
posted by mippy at 6:52 AM on June 28, 2012

The Graduate features 14 songs by Simon and Garfunkel. You probably know most of the songs, but it's amazing to think that all of them were in that movie.

Stand By Me includes 10 great pop songs from the 1950s, including songs by Buddy Holly, the Del Vikings, and the Bobbettes.
posted by alms at 6:59 AM on June 28, 2012

Christophe Beck's downtempo score for Confidence (the 2003 heist movie with Dustin Hoffman) is a hidden gem. I put this on at a party a couple months back and people were begging me to know what it was.
posted by abcde at 7:00 AM on June 28, 2012 [3 favorites]

The soundtrack to π is a pretty good collection of electronic music from that era.
posted by mkb at 7:02 AM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

Anything by Bernard Herrmann. My favorites are The Day the Earth Stood Still and Taxi Driver.
posted by univac at 7:03 AM on June 28, 2012

The soundtrack for Ghost Dog is one of my favourite albums in its own right.
posted by nomis at 7:04 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

Seconding Titanic by James Horner, also The Truman Show by Burkhard Dallwitz and Phillip Glass.
posted by datarose at 7:04 AM on June 28, 2012

Run Lola Run, most definitely
posted by Lucinda at 7:06 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Lord of the Rings, if only because of the Hardanger fiddle.
posted by rjs at 7:09 AM on June 28, 2012

Having a little different tone to them than most orchestral scores, I really dig the Donnie Darko soundtrack and Trent Reznor's score to The Social Network. As a curated collection, the Coens' O Brother Were Art Thou is fantastic.
posted by JJtheJetPlane at 7:10 AM on June 28, 2012

Sorry, didn't see that you already mentioned LotR. Instead, try O Brother Where Art Thou.
posted by rjs at 7:10 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

posted by JJtheJetPlane at 7:11 AM on June 28, 2012

Phillip Glass' reworking of the score for Dracula is fantastic. He's done a lot of soundtrack work.

John Adam's - Io Sono L'amore (I am Love)
posted by hydrophonic at 7:14 AM on June 28, 2012

The Art Ensemble of Chicago - Les Stances a Sophie, if you're interested in the avant-garde.
posted by hydrophonic at 7:20 AM on June 28, 2012

Seconding Jonny Greenwood and Bernard Herrmann. I also like Nick Cave and Warren Ellis's soundtrack for The Proposition.
posted by pepper bird at 7:27 AM on June 28, 2012

Nthing The Royal Tenenbaums; also Koyaanisqatsi (yet another Phillip Glass), The Virgin Suicides, Lost Highway, Slumdog Millionaire, and Fight Club.
posted by désoeuvrée at 7:27 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Grizzly Man soundtrack by Richard Thompson is excellent.
posted by metagnathous at 7:33 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

I thought "The Big Lebowski" Soundtrack was a good one, slightly eclectic but a good collection of songs, though the omission of Sons of the Pioneers' "Tumbling Tumbleweeds" was not a good one.

Also, I'd note that "UHF"'s soundtrack was in every respect a typical "Weird" Al Yankovic album. It does feature some comedy bits from the movie, e.g. "Spatula City" and "Ghandi II"
posted by Sunburnt at 7:34 AM on June 28, 2012

Not the style you mentioned, but I really like the Forrest Gump soundtrack. Lots of good songs from different time periods.
posted by Neekee at 7:37 AM on June 28, 2012

I love the Conan the Barbarian soundtrack.
posted by apricot at 7:40 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

Not a movie, but the Morrowind soundtrack by Jeremy Soule is pretty gorgeous. It was nominated for the Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition award of the Academy of Interactive Arts & Science.
posted by Bourbonesque at 7:42 AM on June 28, 2012

I really enjoy Pink Floyd's soundtrack to More. I've never actually even seen the movie.
posted by boba at 7:52 AM on June 28, 2012

Vertigo by Bernard Herrmann
posted by mdrew at 8:07 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

Any of the new Battlestar Galactica albums are fantastic, Bear McCreary is a great composer, and those albums are filled with amazing melodies which stand up on their own. The Season 4 album has a ton of more traditional string writing, but the other seasons are a little less conventional (lots of taiko drums and other ethnic instruments played with more of a western approach). The Season 3 album would be my recommendation for where to start. If you're looking for something more mellow, his score to Caprica is also good, but much softer (and more traditional).

The Lord of the Rings scores are great, lots of different motifs which develop over the course of the music.

Star Wars is also a good listen. I know everyone knows several of the bigger parts, but the rest of the music (the stuff you don't remember) is also just as good, if not as bombastic.
posted by markblasco at 8:09 AM on June 28, 2012

Anything by Bernard Herrmann. My favorite Fahrenheit 451.

Other, more recent favorites include The Hudsucker Proxy, Blade Runner and The Truman Show/Powaqqatsi.
posted by Rash at 8:26 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

"Tree of Life" and "We Bought a Zoo" stand out to me.
posted by jbickers at 8:28 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

We got this far without a single blaxploitation soundtrack? I'm no expert but I'd recommend all these. They all fit your question as the soundtracks are almost all much more memorable than the movies. Here's a good starting point if you want a compilation.

My favorite soundtrack is the blaxploitation-influenced Harder They Come. This is also probably the best primer for reggae music that's not Bob Marley (the title track has been covered by Bruce Springsteen among many others).

Of course that Trainspotting soundtrack is great, as is 24 Hour Party People (also both great primers for pre-Britpop British indie music. The latter is kind of cheating since the movie is about a real record label).

And of course blatantly cheating is four of the five Beatles soundtracks (Yellow Submarine mixes kind of dull orchestral music with the very good Beatles music so it just doesn't work.) Flying from Magical Mystery Tour is one of my favorite Beatles tracks that hasn't been played to death.

Also, I'll just add Quincy Jones' In the Heat of the Night soundtrack as it too is fantastic interesting jazz stuff with a delightfully weird country song by Glenn Campbell and Jones.
posted by Luminiferous Ether at 8:32 AM on June 28, 2012

a few of my favorites:

John Williams (he borrows from the greatest composers and influenced countless others) Star Wars, Close Encouters, Jaws, Schindler's List

John Barry , Somewhere in Time and Dances With Wolves are my favorites

Duke Ellington provided a killer (!)soundtrack for Anatomy of a Murder
posted by mefireader at 8:41 AM on June 28, 2012

One of my all time favs is Tangerine Dream's soundtrack to one of the best films of the the Seventies; William Friedkin's Sorcerer. Their music in Risky Business is pretty good too but Sorcerer was probably their best work. I'm also very fond of Ryuichi Sakamoto's soundtrack to Merry Christmas, Mister Lawrence. And I have listened to Vangelis' Blade Runner soundtrack more times than I'd care to admit.
posted by Toekneesan at 8:48 AM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

These two have permanent spots on phone:
  • Noir OST 1 - don't let the fact that it comes from anime put you off; this is an amazing collection of music. Some samples: Romance, Canta per Me, Les Soldats.
  • Great Expectations (1998) - I originally bought this because it was the only way (at the time) to get a copy of Life in Mono, but found the album to be a perfect trip through all the feelings & heartache one goes through when you like someone who doesn't seem to like you as well as you do them.

posted by homodachi at 8:49 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

A few of my favorites:

When Harry Met Sally
Sense and Sensibility (Emma Thompson version)
Something's Gotta Give (great for dinner parties!)
Garden State (liked the soundtrack more than the movie)
posted by cecic at 8:52 AM on June 28, 2012

Star Wars, and particularly The Empire Strikes Back... It's an excellent mix of memorable themes (Darth Vader's was introduced here; the Han/Leia theme is my favorite), and score (The Asteroid Field in particular).

For soundtracks, it's hard to beat the American Graffiti double set, despite or because of the fact that it's basically a 50s/60s greatest hits compilation.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 10:08 AM on June 28, 2012

Pan's Labyrinth Soundtrack by Javier Navarrete
posted by astapasta24 at 10:12 AM on June 28, 2012

Bourbonesque mentioned Morrowind - the soundtracks to Guild Wars and Oblivion are also wonderful.

Film soundtracks I've enjoyed (aside from nthing Tron, The Piano, The Mission, Passion and Last of the Mohicans):
Monsoon Wedding
posted by noxetlux at 10:48 AM on June 28, 2012

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Velvet Goldmine
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:51 AM on June 28, 2012

Peter Gabriel (and Daniel Lanois), Birdy (1985). Try to get the 2002 remastered version.
posted by bonehead at 11:16 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

Crimson Wing (soundtrack by The Cinematic Orchestra)

Some videogame soundtracks:
posted by juv3nal at 11:37 AM on June 28, 2012

If you like jazz, the Glengarry Glen Ross soundtrack is a good one. The music from the film features Wayne Shorter, and there's a great uptempo version of Blue Skies with Al Jarreau that is one of my all-time favorite tracks on any album. (The track's on YouTube if you want to check it out.)
posted by crLLC at 11:48 AM on June 28, 2012

Blue Collar.

Also a great and sadly underrated movie, by the way.
posted by Decani at 12:02 PM on June 28, 2012

Seconding Last of the Mohicans and Conan the Barbarian.

Also, Legends of the Fall, composed by James Horner.
posted by Pistache at 12:17 PM on June 28, 2012

Soundtracks to the entire "Qatsi trilogy" (Koyaanisqatsi, Powaqqatsi, Naqoyqatsi) by Philip Glass. I've been known to listen to all three back-to-back-to-back on road trips.

He also did the soundtrack to The Hours, another one which stands on its own.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:00 PM on June 28, 2012

Music from Bela Tarr's films Satantango / Werckmeister Harmonies / Almanac of Fall / Damnation.
posted by Katine at 1:34 PM on June 28, 2012

Vicky Cristina Barcelona - Beautiful, beautiful Spanish guitar music.
Nthing Amelie
Nthing just about any Wes Anderson movie - specifically The Royal Tennenbaums, and The Life Aquatic
posted by taltalim at 1:51 PM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

bt did a fantastic score for the movie "Monster."
posted by erstwhile at 1:57 PM on June 28, 2012

Wojciech Killar's score for Coppola's Dracula is awesome, dramatic, and definitely tells a story.

Patrick Doyle's score for Kenneth Branaugh's movie Dead Again is pretty excellent, as well.
posted by scarykarrey at 3:41 PM on June 28, 2012

The soundtrack to Alan Parker's The Commitments is an amazing collection of soul covers. The soundtrack to human traffic is a pretty fun compilation of dance tunes and The Big Blue is simply amazing. Sorry, no links from my phone.
posted by juva at 3:51 PM on June 28, 2012

I really liked Mychael Danna's work on the soundtrack for the sweet hereafter - I like his work quite a lot generally. Monsoon Wedding is another great one of his.
posted by smoke at 4:50 PM on June 28, 2012

I love the soundtrack to A Single Man.
posted by pasici at 5:14 PM on June 28, 2012

Cairo Time is mostly piano theme and variation on a couple of themes, but it is beautiful and I listen to it all the time.
posted by kjs4 at 6:41 PM on June 28, 2012

Seconding The Commitments and nthing Amelie.
posted by kjs4 at 6:42 PM on June 28, 2012

Apollo 13, Exodus, Platoon, Boogie Nights, Magnolia
posted by candyland at 7:13 PM on June 28, 2012

Fantastic Mr. Fox is fun and jaunty...
posted by punocchio at 7:45 PM on June 28, 2012

Howards End
Interview with a Vampire

Also, if you like The Piano, the soundtrack to Downton Abbey is very English. The main theme is the not-so-distant cousin of "The Heart Seeks Pleasure First".
posted by NemesisVex at 8:47 PM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

The soundtrack to Pedro Almodovar's All About my Mother (Todo sobre mi madre) is extraordinary.
posted by msali at 8:49 PM on June 28, 2012

Actually, quite a few of these I still haven't seen, but I love the soundtracks. I would consider all of these masterpieces, and I tried to vary the styles as widely as I could:

In the Mood for Love - Shigeru Umebayashi
The Red Violin - John Corigliano
The Motorcycle Diaries - Gustavo Santaolalla
Gohatto - Ryuichi Sakamoto
Paris, Texas - Ry Cooder
Ederlezi - Goran Bregovic
The English Patient - Gabriel Yared
Ragtime - Randy Newman (also, The Natural!)
Master & Commander (Iva Davies, Christopher Gordon, et al.)
Eyes Wide Shut - Jocelyn Pook
Dead Man - Neil Young
Amelie - Yann Tiersen
Blade Runner - Vangelis
Inception - Hans Zimmer
Gattaca - Michael Nyman
Legends of the Fall - James Horner
posted by sidi hamet at 9:39 PM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

rjs: "Sorry, didn't see that you already mentioned LotR. Instead, try O Brother Where Art Thou."

It should be noted that the artists from the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack performed a concert of that material, which was presented as a documentary and concert film called Down from the Mountain which is also available as a soundtrack. A soundtrack to the movie about a soundtrack to a movie. Huh.
posted by mkb at 7:03 AM on June 29, 2012

Folks, I think that h00py is looking more for the kind of soundtrack that's like an orchestra score, rather than the kind of soundtrack that's "a collection of different songs." So "O Brother Where Art Thou" woudln't fit.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:10 AM on June 29, 2012

Response by poster: Actually, Empress, as I said above I'm looking for scores and the kind of curated songs that are featured on many soundtracks, so what people have been recommending (including 'O Brother Where Art Thou, which I love) are entirely appropriate answers.
posted by h00py at 7:20 AM on June 29, 2012

Oh, I'm sorry!

Never mind! [/end Emily Latella mode]
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:22 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Nthing Ennio Morricone, Once Upon a Time in the West and Il Mercenario are both fantastic.

Kubrick's movies tend to have really interesting soundtrack choices, if you can tolerate a little avant-garde.
posted by speicus at 8:04 AM on June 29, 2012

Dogs in Space, but you have to lunge for the record player -- it's been a while -- and turn it off before the Michael Hutchence song at the end comes on.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:31 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

So if you're also looking for curated song collections:

* definitely re-recommending the Northern Exposure soundtracks (there are two) and Treme.
* High Fidelity and Grosse Pointe Blank. Think what you will about John Cusack's acting career; when the guy has a hand in selecting tracks for the soundtracks for his films, he doesn't fuck around.
* Pulp Fiction and Resevoir Dogs. Quentin Tarantino's taste is different from Cusack's, but he similarly knew what he was doing there.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:45 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Bladerunner soundtrack by Vangelis is fantastically atmospheric...

Also, the soundtrack to The Pianist is beautiful.
posted by Rufus T. Firefly at 8:46 AM on June 29, 2012

Oh yes, and Thomas Newman's 'American Beauty' film score is great.
posted by Rufus T. Firefly at 8:51 AM on June 29, 2012

LOTM++ (Trevor Jones & Randy Edelman)

Badalamenti - la cité
Yann Tiersen - amélie but equally lenin
Wim Mertens
Eric Serra (T5E, Léon, LGB)
posted by Akeem at 11:08 AM on June 29, 2012

but you have to lunge for the record player -- and turn it off before the Michael Hutchence song at the end comes on.

So true, for many soundtracks -- one song is included that's nothing like the rest -- in fact, it spoils the whole mood. On Blade Runner, it's "One More Kiss, Dear". On The Truman Show, it's "Twentieth Century Boy". And on John Barry's On Her Majesty's Secret Service (considered the best 007 soundtrack) it's that dreadful "Do You Know Where ChristmasTrees Are Grown."
posted by Rash at 11:42 AM on June 29, 2012

I definitely second Inception. What an amazing soundtrack.

I made a Spotify playlist that has my favorite themes in it. There's over 7 hours of music in there, so I hope you have some spare time.

Some highlights:

* Tron Legacy
* Inception
* Requiem for a Dream
* Legends of the Fall
* Batman Begins/Forever
* The Perfect Storm (yes, really)
* Deep Impact
posted by dep at 12:47 PM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Another one that I'm fond of is Tan Dun's sound track for Hero.
posted by rjs at 1:57 PM on June 29, 2012

Nick Cave and Warren Ellis's soundtrack is on repeat for me in Autumn.

posted by SarahElizaP at 3:45 PM on June 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Braveheart. James Horner consistency writes stellar soundtracks, but this is one of his best.
posted by dephlogisticated at 4:59 PM on June 30, 2012

The Double Life of Veronique
posted by dancestoblue at 10:53 PM on June 30, 2012

The Bullitt soundtrack is quite good, as are most other Lalo Schifrin movies if you're into that kind of thing.
posted by Motronic at 9:05 AM on July 1, 2012

I'm shocked that in 100+ comments no one's mentioned Clint Mansell's The Fountain. One of the most beautiful film soundtracks I've ever heard:

1 - The Last Man
2 - Holy Dread
3 - Tree of Life
4 - Stay With Me
5 - Death is a Disease
6 - Xibalba
7 - First Snow
8 - Finish It
9 - Death is the Road to Awe
10 - Together We Will Live Forever
posted by Rhaomi at 11:25 PM on July 1, 2012

Yeah most of my favourites have been mentioned above with the exception of Joe Hisaishi.

He composed most of Studio Ghibli's soundtracks. This includes the soundtracks to Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Laputa: Castle in the Sky, Howl's Moving Castle and Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea.
posted by Start with Dessert at 10:48 PM on July 3, 2012

Killing Zoe is a hugely underrated soundtrack in my view. Better than the film, for sure.

And the 1940 Disney movie Fantasia has a classic soundtrack, although none of it is original and a lot of it is The Nutcracker Suite. For that matter, The Jungle Book holds up pretty well after 45 years too.

Some fun collections:

Grosse Pointe Blank
Lost in Translation - note: Bill Murray's karaoke tour de force is hidden in the bonus track.

I'd also recommend Out of Sight, but it's probably got too much talking in it.

It's not what you asked for but tangentially relevant: an absolutely brilliant remix of the Bond theme songs is David Arnold's Shaken & Stirred. Where the originals are arguably a bit bloated this is a bit more drum and bass and more enjoyable for it.
posted by MuffinMan at 8:34 AM on July 5, 2012

Late to the party! But:


The Incredibles


Memoirs of a Geisha
Romeo and Juliet (1968, by Nino Rota)
Pan's Labyrinth
posted by rozaine at 3:57 AM on January 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

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