Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Movies Defined by Their Music

Listening to Pachelbel's "Canon in D" I can't help but remember ORDINARY PEOPLE.

What music leads you back to the movie that used it most effectively?

35 comments:

Deb said...

The first thing that came into my head was Martin Scorcese's use of Harry Nilsson's "Jump into the Fire" in "Goodfellas," where the song grows in intensity (it's probably Harry's most purely rock 'n' roll song), the action cross-cuts as Henry Hill and his wife, now drug sellers and users, attempt to evade both the feds and the mafia.

Margot Kinberg said...

Patti - The music/movie connection between The Graduate and the wonderful Simon & Garfunkel score is, to me, such a wonderful "fit."

Anonymous said...

Scorsese and Spike Lee always seem to get it right. The use of Sam Cooke's "A Change is Gonna Come" at the end of MALCOLM X comes to mind immediately.

Yes, THE GRADUATE was another great example.

All the Bee Gees music (starting with "Stayin' Alive") in SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER.

"Shout" in ANIMAL HOUSE.

"Tutti Frutti" at the beginning of AMERICAN HOT WAX.

JEff M.

Olivia V. Ambrogio said...

Speaking of Judd Hirsch movies, I've always liked RUNNING ON EMPTY and its use of James Taylor's "Fire and Rain"; then there's "I Can't Give You Anything But Love (Baby)" in BRINGING UP BABY; and "Jumpin' Jack Flash" in the terrific Whoopi Goldberg movie of the same name. The music in the French film I'VE LOVED YOU SO LONG was used to good effect as well. Then there's the (unfortunately so annoying to me) ABBA-infused music in ADVENTURES OF PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT; and the great 1950s/'60s musical backbone of the original HAIRSPRAY.

George said...

LORD OF THE RINGS (all three movies).

Ed Gorman said...

Bernard Herrman's for"Taxi Driver," Dave Grusin's for "The Yakuza."

Charles Gramlich said...

Once upon a time in the west. In fact, I liked all of the clint Eastwood spaghetti western music scores a lot

Steve Oerkfitz said...

The Morricone scores for Leone's Spaghetti Westerns and The Mission, Bernard Hermann for Taxi Driver. Have always liked the scores for True Romance and Halloween. Martin Scorcese always uses songs well-esp in Goodfellas and Mean Streets.
Olivia-You are the first person to my knowledge to ever refer to Jumpin Jack Flash as a "terrific" movie.

Anita Page said...

The soundtrack to Barry Levinson's "Diner."

pattinase (abbott) said...

Oh, these are great examples and Olivia coming up with I Can'T Give You Anything But" to calm down the leopard, right?
Harry Nilsson doesn't get remembered enough. And with THE GRADUATE it's the whole score that's amazing to me at least.I had the score from SNL once upon a time but played it to death-and especially Staying Alive when he's walking down the street, swinging that paint can.
The music from Taxi Driver sends chills down my spine.
Guess I will have to see LORD OF THE RINGS for the music.
All Morricone scores are excellent, my favorite being the one from THE MISSION.
And of course, the theme from Laura is so evocative.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Diner, yes. Wonderful music.

James Reasoner said...

The theme from JAWS.

Sean Patrick Reardon said...

The Stones "Can't You Hear Me Knocking"= Casino & Blow. (This song is also in The Fighter.

The Stones "Monkey Man" & Tony Bennett's "Rags to Riches" = Goodfellas

Cap'n Bob said...

The Magnificent 7.

Anonymous said...

Beethoven's ODE TO JOY always makes me think of DIE HARD.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I can hum every bar of the music from Magnificent Seven forty years later. Oh, Moon River from Breakfast at Tiffanys.
Jaws you only need two chords, I think.
Ode to Joy reminds me of Ode to Joy because I had heard it so many times on Karl Haas radio show before seeing the movie. Love it.
Rags to Riches was perfect to frame it, wasn't it?

le0pard13 said...

So many great ones listed here in the comments (btw, kudos to Ed for mentioning 'Bernard Herrman's for"Taxi Driver," Dave Grusin's for "The Yakuza."'). My pick would be one song used effectively in two films: Street Life by The Crusaders featuring Randy Crawford. Used in the intro for SHARKY'S MACHINE and a great Pam Grier sequence in JACKIE BROWN.

Richard R. said...

The classical music Disney used in FANTASIA is an excellent example, many people still associate it with that film and not the composer, be it the Dukas, Bach, Mussorgsky or other pieces. There's Korngold's music for THE SEA HAWK. The soundtrack to - and the presence of Wolfman Jack - in AMERICAN GRAFFITI. The STAR WARS music of John Williams, the STAR TREK music of Jerry Goldsmith. The music in BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI and the use of Bolero in TEN.

I certainly agree with THE GRADUATE and the Bee Gees music in SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER, and of course the Morricone scores.

pattinase (abbott) said...

At my college, they showed Bridge almost every week. That music sort of gives me chills now.

Kieran Shea said...

500 Days of Summer, Garden State
Sweet and Lowdown, Harder They Come....

pattinase (abbott) said...

Did 500 Days use the music of She and He. Can't remember.

Dana King said...

Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings and PLATOON.

Yvette said...

I'm with you on The Magnificent Seven, I can still hum some of the music used in specific scenes. I am an Elmer Bernstein aficionado. Loved his music for the openiing titles of Walk On the Wild Side, a horrible movie. But the titles are worth checking out on youtube.

Love John Williams' work for the NBC News, Star Wars, Jurassic Park and Superman. Love the soundtrack for the Beatles two films.

Laura. Of course. And Stella By Starlight from the movie THE UNINVITED. From the first Eddie Murphy movie, can't remember the title - BEVERLY HILLS COP? but remember the great opening song from The Pointer Sisters.

Good stuff.

Richard S. Wheeler said...

Here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNGe7iK1O-4&feature=list_related&playnext=1&list=MLGxdCwVVULXcRwFDizMtsH6lRzUt7N9HM

pattinase (abbott) said...

What a voice. Hard to top that.

Richard S. Wheeler said...

Actually, I prefer more melodic themes, including most anything by the great Max Steiner, such as Tara's Theme from Gone With the Wind, and As Time Goes By, from Casablanca. And also anything by Dimitri Tiompkin, including Do Not Forsake Me, Oh, My Darling, from High Noon, and any of the music from Giant.

pattinase (abbott) said...

NO argument here. Although as I have said on here before, I often don't here a word of the music if I am listening to the words in a movie. I need someone to point it out.

Olivia V. Ambrogio said...

Oooh, ooh, and the songs sung by Marlene Dietrich in FOREIGN AFFAIR--"Black Market" and the one with the phrase "Who wants to buy some illusions/slightly used/just like new"...

pattinase (abbott) said...

You know, I don't think I've ever seen that one, Olivia.

Anders Engwall said...

Anton Karas and his zither in THE THIRD MAN. One single chord is all you need to identify the movie.

As for the use of well known oldies, I think Vera Lynn's "We'll Meet Again" at the end of DR. STRANGELOVE is hard beat.

Mike Dennis said...

"Rock Around The Clock" from THE BLACKBOARD JUNGLE.

Todd Mason said...

Morricone, particualrly for FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE, and Jerome Moross's score for THE BIG COUNTRY perhaps ahead of all other orchestral western scores.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xc807DmtItY

John Lewis's score for ODDS AGAINST TOMORROW; on television, Dave Brubeck's for MR. BROADWAY and Gil Melle's for NIGHT GALLERY. THE SAINT's signature theme...

Such items as Mancini's PETER GUNN theme and Herrmann's PSYCHO score have been plundered for so many things that you barely can keep it straight where they first appeared...even though that remains the joke, in most cases.

"Summertime" is surely similarly divorced from any PORGY AND BESS by now. Best reapplication of an existing pop song as a television theme remains Boa's "Duvet" for SERIAL EXPERIMENTS: LAIN (pity the series wasn't as good as the choice of theme song).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0N5YblvT1c

Charlieopera said...

Una Furtiva Lagrimme (The Elixir of Love), Donizetti ... The Gambler, James Caan (based on Dostoevsky's The Gambler) ... I'm pretty sure it's a record (scratchy sounding and all) of Caurso singing it.

Anders Engwall said...

It's strange that nobody has mentioned John Barry yet, what with all those James Bond themes. And besides, there was the themes for THE IPCRESS FILE and THE PERSUADERS. And others, I guess.

Anonymous said...

THE THIRD MAN is definitely one of my all-time favorites. And I agree with THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN and BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S.

Also loved the use of "You Can't Always Get What You Want" in THE BIG CHILL.

Jeff M.