You love how that orchestra goes higher and louder as the tension builds in an intense action scene. Perhaps you prefer the sensitive violin plucking in a romantic comedy, or maybe you really like how a movie can take a current hit song and use it to create a feeling that brings up certain emotions from within you.
For centuries the movies have used music, not only to serve as a background and ambience element, but to tap into your second most important sense when sitting in front of a screen, your sense of sound.
Who can ever forget that opening scene of 2004’s Closer, when Natalie Portman is walking down the crowded street, with the sound of Damien Rice’s ‘The Blower’s Daughter’ in the background? The perfect song makes for the perfect movie moment.
Many iconic directors sort of started that idea of the composed score that elevates a film and many scenes in particular, in order to fully create a feeling for the audience. Great filmmakers like Hitchcock, who single-handedly crafted the perfect thriller, and Woody Allen, who can encapsulate an entire film with a song, as he does with his opening credits, are responsible for what we expect today- great movie music.
The best of the best:
HitFix.com lists the following as some of the greatest movie music moments…
• The Bodyguard (1992)
Let’s face it, it’s one of the corniest golden oldies out there, but few moments beat that final scene- when Whitney Houston leaps into Kevin Costner’s arms to the tear-jerking strains of ‘I Will Always Love You’.
• Drive (2011)
Despite Gosling’s star power, this film was rather underrated, especially as it was the film that truly jumpstarted Nicolas Winding Refn’s career. What’s the best moment? The re-purposing of an old track from an Italian movie ‘Goodbye Uncle Tom’ as Driver (Ryan Gosling) hunts down Nino (Ron Perlman), leading to a brutal encounter on a beach.
• Easy Rider (1969)
This movie goes hand in hand with motorcycles. Not a single person that has seen this movie will ever feel the same when hearing ‘Born To Be Wild’, ever again.
• Pulp Fiction (1994)
This movie has a rich and meaty soundtrack- it’s like the T-Bone steak of the soundtrack business. You probably don’t have to read further to know what was selected as the best music moment… John Travolta and Uma Thurman remove their shoes, enter the Jack Rabbit Slim’s Twist contest to Chuck Berry’s ‘You Never Can Tell’, and we never look back.
• William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet (1996)
Two words, ‘Kissin’ You’. Soul sister Des’ree takes it to church with the sweetly over-ripe ballad. What’s more is that it frames that iconic moment when Romeo (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Juliet’s (Claire Danes) eyes meet across a fish tank.