We all love movies with great music scores—Star Wars, Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings… There are so many incredible movies with scores to match. Sometimes movies with fantastic music go under the radar, and their music gets forgotten or overlooked as well. Here are a few movies available at the Orem Library that are worth watching just to hear the music!
Return to Oz
Score by David Shire
This movie has a special place of being loved and feared by kids who grew up in the 80s and 90s, and its visuals and special puppetry effects have a wonderful epic quality. The music may not be familiar to many, but the characters all have their own themes which build into a lush finale. This score was extremely difficult to find, but has recently been released on music streaming platforms.
Score by James Newton-Howard
This movie was groundbreaking at the time for incorporating photo-realistic dinosaurs into real-life locations. The soundtrack is also inspiring – many of the pieces are very unique and fun to listen to. Even some of the ominous parts reach a crescendo with powerful and memorable themes.
Score by Joe Hisaishi
Joe Hisaishi has composed the scores for many of Studio Ghibli’s films, and each one is a masterpiece. Spirited Away has a number of standout tracks that are exciting and enjoyable to listen to, even if you’ve never seen the movie. Nostalgia, sadness, triumph, and phantasy are all presented here and sure to evoke strong emotions.
Score by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Evita is a stage musical, adapted for the screen, starring Antonio Banderas and Madonna, and they are phenomenal! The movie version uses a massive orchestra and infuses rock elements as well. There are some moments in the score that will give you chills. This movie and its soundtrack feel like they are from an era of cinema gone by. Hundreds of costumes, thousands of extras in the cast, and a sung-through score feels operatic at times.
Score by Daft Punk
Daft Punk’s debut into film scoring is awesome. They were a perfect fit for the movie Tron: Legacy. Some people even joke that Disney was nice to let Daft Punk shoot such a long and expensive music video. The fusion of electronic music and orchestra is done so well, there are some moments where they blend from one to the other without you even realizing it. This is one movie you need to watch with the biggest screen and best sound system you can get!
Score by Lee Holdridge
This 80s fantasy rom-com starring Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah as a mermaid is a fun throwback to movies of that time. The composer, Lee Holdridge, does a wonderful job at capturing the mystery and beauty of the mermaid’s underwater world with glistening harp and piano with soft strings carrying the melodies. The main theme, “Love Came for Me,” is simple and elegant and is used throughout the score in subtle and creative ways. There’s even a shopping montage with all the 80s glamor you could hope for. This album is another that was difficult to find for many years but is now easily available to stream.
Score by Danny Elfman
Danny Elfamn is a favorite for many film music fans. He has a distinctive style and whimsy to his music, and Edward Scissorhands, being one of his earlier projects, has his personality all over it. The main themes are beautiful and interesting and feel magical and dreamy, while there are quick scherzos with Latin flair in other parts of the score. It’s a soundtrack you’ll probably keep going back to.
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
Score by John Williams
Okay, so this is probably not an “overlooked score, and John Williams is no stranger to any “Best Score” list, but E.T. is a special accomplishment! Williams incorporates little hints of the various themes throughout the entire score, building them slowly and almost secretively until everything comes together in a final 15-minute piece that hits all the high points. This score is truly magical.
Music is so powerful when creating a scene, and these scores definitely raise their films to a higher lever. The Orem Library has all of these movies, and the soundtracks for most of them can be checked out as well! Happy listening!
Written by Brandon, General Reference