It is widespread knowledge that I love watching movies. I spend the majority of my time plotting my viewing habits based on my favourite actors/actresses, current releases, and classics I’ve never seen. I also love to watch and review highly acclaimed or box office failures to stir up debates.
Somewhere along the way, I started to fall in love with the musical scores that complimented the story or actions in the film. My passion for movie scores began in 1991 when my mother bought me my first movie soundtrack, Backdraft (more on that later). Since then, I have gone on to watch a few thousand films and collect over a hundred film scores in my CD/iTunes collection.
My favourite composer has to be Hans Zimmer since I have over 20 of his film scores in my current library. Second, would be Michael Giacchino with a respectable eight titles. Steve Jablonsky would come in third, with Carter Burwell in the mix too. Most of these guys stockpile their numbers for being part of a film series I love, Batman, Star Trek, Planet of the Apes, Transformers, and Twilight.
I am terrible at coming up with engaging top ten lists to write about. Since I haven’t seen every movie ever made, nor have I listened to every film score produced, I feel like I have missed out on some key moments in film history. It would be unfair for me to rank the “best” film scores of all-time, so I got a different idea.
This list was initially published on July 19, 2016. For the longest time, I had this page unpublished because I didn’t think it was engaging enough. I wanted to share my love of film scores and not bore people to death with how repetitive the content was. I needed a valid reason behind my ranking and why certain things fell where they did on the list.
For years I have sat here and wondered what the best way would be for me to showcase my thoughts on the subject matter. Then just the other night, it hit me. I can use my iTunes playlist to dictate the structure of my list. I thought that the best way to express my love of film scores would be based on times played. Now, these numbers are not concrete in any way, but it gives you a general idea of what I have listened to over the years.
My film score and movie soundtrack library is pretty vast and includes a lot of titles you know and love and a handful you would scratch your head at. I may piece together a more in-depth song or soundtrack post in the future, but for now, my focus will just bring you the best of the best in my personal library. I hope you enjoy it!
Without further ado, here is my list of Top 10 Movie Scores, based on plays according to iTunes.
Most played track: #5 Return of the Shape
If you didn’t know, I am a massive fan of the Halloween franchise, and The Return of Michael Myers is my favourite entry. John Carpenter turned a dull movie about a babysitter killer into one of Hollywood’s most celebrated horror series. Carpenter created the iconic Michael Myers theme, which is regarded as one of the scariest in film history. As a teenager, I owned the film score of Halloween 5, even though it fails to live up to its predecessor. Thanks to advancements in digital music, I was finally able to secure this particular score, and it has remained my favourite for some time.
Most played track: #4 The Shard
Transformers Revenge of the Fallen was considered the worse entry into the iconic franchise; that was, of course, until The Last Knight. This entry is my favourite installment because of all the historical references that are intertwined with the plot. I love the first three movies and their scores. Over time it has become hard to determine if I like the music associated with the Autobots or the Decepticons since both have unique vibes.
Most played track: #1 Logos / Pranking Natives
For many years, like the majority of my life, I laughed at Star Trek. It wasn’t until 2009 when my best friend introduced me to Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock that I became a fan. When Into Darkness came out in 2013, you can rest assure I was there on opening night. My love of the music in these Star Trek movies only grew with Michael Giacchino’s second entry into the series.
Most played track: #6 Budget Meeting
It is hard to believe that some of our favourite movies have turned so old so fast. I still remember going out of town to catch King Arthur in theatres, and this film still remains my favourite about the legendary king. Personally, I think this is just another masterpiece orchestrated by Hans Zimmer (you’ll see his name a lot below). The score is only seven tracks long, but two of them are over 10 mins long and three clocking in past seven, which really covers a lot of the story and action in the film.
Most played track: #11 Arrival to Earth
I went through a Transformers phase like many people did when the series came to the big screen in 2007. Thanks to massive robots and humans fighting for their lives, this is a non-stop action thriller. Steve Jablonsky’s music compliments the actions and emotions as mankind meets the Transformers for the first time.
Most played track: #8 Like a Dog Chasing Cars
The Dark Knight may be one of the greatest movies of all-time, and it wouldn’t be complete without another one of Hans Zimmer’s masterpieces. Zimmer may be regarded as one of the finest composers of his generation, and his brilliance is on full display in The Dark Knight score. Although these songs don’t rank higher on the list, I can tell you that I listened to this CD non-stop for years before iTunes took over the music industry.
Most played track: #14 It’s Our Fight
By this point in the list, you will see I have a soft spot for Transformers movies and Steve Jablonsky’s music. Even though my favourite actor (Mark Wahlberg) took over the franchise after this film, my love of the story and music ended here. You may have noticed that three Transformers films made it so far, but they fail in comparison to Dark of the Moon. I’ve listened to this particular score almost three times as much as the first two combined. The final 10 tracks are simply amazing and really make you feel like you’re in the middle of the battle between Autobots and Decepticons without actually watching it. My favourite track on this album is one of the top 25 most played songs in my iTunes history.
Most played track: #14-15 Boldly Go / End Credits
As mentioned earlier in the list, Star Trek (2009) turned me into a huge fan. Besides the great performances and intense action sequences, the musical score by Michael Giacchino made me love the film even more. Anytime I listen to the final track, “End Credits,” I get the sudden urge to pop in the movie and “Boldy Go” anywhere with Captain Kirk and the crew of the USS Enterprise. (To this day End Credits is still my ringtone.)
Most played track: #13 Imagine the Fire
After so much anticipation, The Dark Knight Rises came out four years after The Dark Knight and brought an end to the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy. Hans Zimmer came back one more time to bring music to the film, and for reasons I can’t name, I love this score more than any other Batman ones. Unlike the previous movie, this film has so many highs and lows, that the music takes us down the same journey we find our fallen hero on. I know that I have had less time to listen to this CD, but in no time did a majority of these songs end up in my most played songs, where one currently ranks at 17.
Most played track: #7 You Go We Go
I was only nine years old when Backdraft came out in 1991. After viewing the film at our local theatre more than a dozen times, I was able to secure the original movie poster for my bedroom wall. Sadly, I did not appreciate that gift and went on to destroy it after many years of moving it around. One item I did treasure was the movie soundtrack my mom bought me. This film turns 30 next year, and I can proudly say that for the last 30 years, I have listened to Hans Zimmer’s score, and it is just as amazing to me today as it was back then. iTunes will never be able to record how many times I listened to this score because nothing today or tomorrow will ever compare to this iconic film score that means so much to me.
Do you have a favourite movie score (not soundtrack) that you love? Let me know what you think in the comments!