30 Most Hauntingly Beautiful Film Soundtracks

Mainly instrumental and in no particular order:

  1. The Last of the Mohicans (1992) – R. Eldelman/T. Jones  – “Promontory”
  2. Schindler’s List (1993) – John Williams – Main Theme
  3. The Village (2004) – James Newton Howard – “The Gravel  Road”
  4. The Piano (1993) – Michael Nyman – “The Heart Asks Pleasure First”
  5. Blood Diamond (2006) – James Newton Howard – “London”
  6. The Man in the Iron Mask (1998) – Nick Glennie-Smith – “Surrounded”
  7. Pearl Harbour (2001) – Hans Zimmer – “Tennessee”
  8. Atonement (2007) – Dario Marianelli – “Briony/Come Back”
  9. Shame (2011) – Harry Escott – “Unravelling”
  10. King Arthur (2004) – Hans Zimmer – Main Theme
  11. Indecent Proposal (1993) – John Barry – Main Theme
  12. The English Patient (1996) – Gabriel Yared – “As Far as Florence”
  13. Far From the Madding Crowd (2015) – Craig Armstrong – Opening
  14. Out of Africa (1985) – John Barry – “I Had a Farm in Africa” (Main Title)
  15. Cousins (1989) – Angelo Badalamenti – Love Theme
  16. Gladiator (2000) – Hans Zimmer/Lisa Gerrard – “Now We are Free”
  17. The Painted Veil (2006) –  Alexandre Desplat – “River Waltz”
  18. The Godfather (1972) – Nino RotaLove Theme
  19. Inception (2010) – Hans Zimmer – “Time”
  20. Brave Heart (1995) – James Horner Main Theme
  21. Gone with the Wind (1939) – Max Steiner  – “Tara Theme”
  22. The Fountain (2006) – Clint Mansell – “Death is the Road to Awe”
  23. Forrest Gump (1994) – Alan Anthony Silvestri – “Forrest Gump Suite”
  24. Titanic (1997) – James Horner“The Portrait”
  25. Requiem for a Dream (2000) – Clint Mansell –  “Lux Aeterna”
  26. Sunshine (2007) – John Murphy/Underworld – “Sunshine (Adagio In D Minor)”
  27. Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007) – AR Rahman – Opening
  28. Pride & Prejudice (2005) – Dario Marianelli – “Dawn/Your Hands Are Cold”
  29. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001) – John Williams – Prologue
  30. Rain Man (1988) – Hans Zimmer – “Leaving Wallbrook – On The Road”

Notable mentions: Hans Zimmer’s “Way of Life” (The Last Samurai); Dario Marianelli’s “Evey Reborn” (V for Vendetta/Interstellar); Jan A.P. Kaczmarek’s Main Theme (Unfaithful); and Thomas Newman’s Main Theme (Revolutionary Road).

Do you have a favourite soundtrack?

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21 thoughts on “30 Most Hauntingly Beautiful Film Soundtracks

  1. Why no Jerry Goldsmith or Danny Elfman? They’ve written many scores with hauntingly beautiful music (such as Legend and Powder for Goldsmith and Edward Scissorhands and Black Beauty for Elfman). Awful lot of names missing from that list.

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  2. Many good selections, but I agree with filmscorehunter about Goldsmith and Elfman. I’d suggest Goldsmith’s main theme for “Chinatown.” However, the more shocking omission for me is Ennio Morricone. “The Mission” or “Cinema Paradiso” are two of the best scores ever.

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    1. Ha, I cannot see what the hype is all about Elfman and Goldsmith – I detect nothing too out-of this-world in their pieces. Please note that this list is the most “beautiful” soundtracks list, not the most “thrilling” ones. But I DO agree with you about Ennio Morricone 100%. My previous draft included both scores for “Cinema Paradiso” and “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”. Thanks for reading.

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  3. Your number 1 is my number 1….the most beautiful soundtrack ever. I have days when I just put on the music and am transported into the movie…but in a unique way that I can’t explain – like I’m there and the music brings it all alive. Just can’t “verbalise” the feeling…sorry. It is just so passionate. I’m exhausted emotionally by the time I get to the Clannad piece at the end…which is so heart-wrenching. Look up Luca Stricagnoli – he does a brilliant rendition of the title theme purely on guitar.
    BUT…you have so many other amazing soundtracks listed. I also enjoy parts of the Robin Hood (the 2010 one) soundtrack.
    In general, there’s something about “Big”, “Epic” music (I guess music in general)! How it has the magic to transform a scene!

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    1. Yeah, I know exactly what you mean. The music is sometimes such an important “emotional” component of the movie – like its soul or heart, defining the movie. Thanks, I will check out Luca Stricagnoli’s cover. I like covers as well. Just recently, I also got to know Yumeji’s Theme extended soundtrack from In the Mood for Love. Just beautiful.

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  4. Besides writing great reviews, you appreciate great music too 🎶😊 I love all your choices. I tried to write a post about movie scores and could not finish. It is still in the draft stage…too many to choose from in such a limited format.

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    1. Thank you, and I do so understand your dilemma. There are so many tracks to choose from, and if I were to revise my list I would probably add at least ten new ones I discovered. I am also will be keeping an eye on your post if you decide to finish it.

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  5. An interesting idea, I like some of the originals and some of the suggestions. My biggest dispute is with the 2015 ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’. The 1967 film and its score by Richard Rodney Bennett are both superior.

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    1. Thomas Newman? What track would you suggest? Excellent, probably, memorable – hardly. That may explain why the man has never won an Oscar. I don’t think he ever will either.

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