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Most brilliantly scored moments in film music


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I last month saw "Patton" for the first time--it was great. I loved it, and the music was utterly fantastic! Today is my 16th birthday, and I got the FSM Patton/Flight of the Phoenix release and Fellowship of the Ring: The Complete Recordings. One of my favorite moments is in the "Attack" cue, when Patton announces that he is going to Berlin, the troops cheer, and that awesome passage bursts forth in all its glory, crashing into the shot of the German officer going over the casualties. I literally cheered and started laughing at the moment. It was an amazing, thrilling moment, with a magical combination of visuals (Patton pumping his fist for instance), dialogue, and music. Goldsmith was a genius.

Does anyone else love that part? What are some other brilliantly scored moments?

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* In ROTS, the edit from Aayla Secura's death to Yoda dropping his cane. That D minor chord is without a doubt the most emotionally powerful single chord I've heard in my life. * In AOTC, the transit

Let me get in here early:

ET - flying against the backdrop of the Moon (THE best moment in film scoring history ever?)

I also particularly like the very first rendition of the Family theme in HP:PS, when they are on that rock out at sea. Utterly unique, brilliantly orchestrated, emotional, innocent; perfect for the scene.

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Some of my favorites (we are talking about moments, right, so short ones):

I have a few ones in Star Wars alone:

Binary Sunset

Throne Room

Escape from Cloud City

Finale from ESB

Dark Side Beckons

Anakin's leaving home

Finale from AotC

And some other that come to mind:

'Dr. Grant, Dr. Satler, welcome to Jurassic Park'

Beginning of Batman

The feather scene in Forrest Gump

Letters from Hogwarts in Harry Potter and PS

Arriving at Minas Tirith from RotK

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The last 15 minutes of E.T. are what I would call the most brilliant scoring ever. The end of Apollo 13 always gets me musically too. Ice Dance in Edward Scissorhands, The opening of The Matrix, The King of Pride Rock from Lion King, anything Jurassic Park was brilliantly scored.

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Well, The following come to mind, in no special order:

'Radek's Death'(Air Force One), 'Map Room:Dawn'(Raiders), 'Binary Sunset'(SW), 'Hyperspace'(ESB), 'The Big Jump' (Total Recall), 'The Hunt' (The Final conflict), 'The Hunt' (Planet of The Apes), 'Immolition'(SL), 'Jewish Town'(SL), 'The Journey to The Island'(JP), 'H-1 Racer Plane' (The Aviator), 'The White Tree' (RoTK), 'Sanctuary!' (Hunchback of Notre Dame), 'Nuclear Scam' (Hunt for Red October), 'The Ecstasy of Gold' (The Good The Bad and The Ugly), 'Leave No Man Behind' (Black Hawk Down), 'King of Pride Rock' (Lion King), 'The Battle' (Gladiator), 'Freedom & The Execution' (Braveheart), 'Re-Entry & Splashdown' ()Apollo 13, 'The Final Game' (Rudy), 'Changes' (Sum of All Fears), 'The Hand of Fate Pts. 1&2' (Signs), 'Dawn Raid on Fort Knox' (Goldfinger), 'St. Crispin's Day & The Battle Of Agincourt' (Henry V), 'The Escape' (A Little Princess), 'Kissing in The Rain' (Great Expectations), 'Sue's Dream' (Carrie), 'Road To Chicago' & 'Meet Maguire' (Road to Perdition), 'Grand Central' (Carlito's Way), 'Cadillac Of The Skies' (Empire fo The Sun), 'Becoming a Geisha' (Memoirs of A Geisha), 'Prologue' & 'The Motorcade' (JFK).

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That's a difficult list to skim.

Anyway, a couple I immediately thought of were "Ice Dance" from Edward Scissorhands and the finale from E.T.. Some others I think that are really inspired or just amazing in the film are "Setting the Trap" from Home Alone, "Aunt Marge's Waltz" and "Buckbeak's Flight" from PoA, the helicoptor ride in Jurassic Park, the car driving scenes in Psycho, "The Hand(s) of Fate" from Signs, "Binary Sunset," "TIE Fighter Attack," and "The Throne Room" from Star Wars, "The Asteroid Field" from ESB, and Lucius and Ivy running to the cellar from The Village.

Ray Barnsbury

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"Requiem" from Godzilla vs. Destroyah, Ifukube - this cue is perhaps the composer's most complex and emotionally stirring. Godzilla's theme is embedded within the cue, but it's done quite slowly and it's also what Ifukube does around the theme that makes it all the more interesting, much like Williams did with "Anakin's Theme".

"The Great Shark Chase" from Jaws, Williams - quite surreal compared to what you'd get if this scene was scored today, I believe Alexcremers once said.

"Tales of a Jedi Knight" from Star Wars, Williams - it's a spine-tingling cue, it's one that isn't spoken of as much as it should be, but it gets to me every time. In the wake of The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and the prequels, the first score seems to get a bit of a brush over.

"The Flying Sequence" from Superman: The Movie, Williams - probably one of the most sweeping and purely romantic cues I've ever heard. A delight in the film (yes, even with Margot Kidder's narration), and lovely on its own. Sometimes, I think it speaks of Superman even more than the Main Title March.

"The Motorcade" from JFK, Williams - even if Williams might have composed this before he saw a frame of film, it still embodies the death of an American President in its frightening detail.

"Broken Vows" and "The Fall" from The Omen, Goldsmith - the "Ave Satani" theme is good on its own in the opening track, but when applied in the context of the film, it enhances the otherwise mundane images to levels that evoke fear of what it unseen.

"The Enterprise" from Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Goldsmith, - many have listed this as a wonderfully scored moment, and it's no wonder why. Goldsmith captures the beauty and spirit of the grand old starship from the point of view of Captain Kirk beautifully (is the shuttle joining the ship supposed to be some sort of phallic image?)

"Escape from Suburbia" from Poltergeist, Goldsmith - underrated action cue for the climax of the film that is rich with tension. It's actually my favourite track on the album.

"Nightmare at 20,000 feet" from Twilight Zone: The Movie, Goldsmith - the entire score for the film is great, but this is the better remembered segment. The music is completely crazy! The scenes involved wouldn't have the same tension without it.

"The Ice Dance" from Edward Scissorhands, Elfman - since this film, I don't think Elfman has quite achieved the same innocent sweetness, purity and sweetness of this track. It's a perfect match for the images on screen.

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For me, one of the greatest scoring moments would have to be Gandalf's fall in Fellowship. Music goes from huge action and chior to quiet, emotional and beautiful almost instantly. Gets me every time. Even better on the Complete Recordings!

While I'm on the LOTR subject, Charge of the Rohirrim from ROTK is also way up there with the best.

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Tons of bits from The Fury, including the vision scenes, Gillian's Escape and the "staircase at night" scene.

Buckbeak's Flight from POA.

High Wire Stunts from JP.

Binary Sunset from SW.

The entire exploration of the planet plus The Hunt from Planet of the Apes.

The Enterprise and the flyover sequences from STTMP.

The Lighting of the Beacons from ROTK.

The overture from Doyle's Much Ado About Nothing.

The sea battle and cross-bearing parts from Rozsa's Ben-Hur.

The duel from Once Upon a Time in the West.

Marian - listing some that come to his mind.

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* In ROTS, the edit from Aayla Secura's death to Yoda dropping his cane. That D minor chord is without a doubt the most emotionally powerful single chord I've heard in my life.

* In AOTC, the transition from the Force theme to DOTF as Anakin takes off on his speeder. While the scene in the movie could have been executed a bit better, the sheer nostalgic power of the sounds and images got my heart pumping the first time I saw the film and the first time I heard that moment on the soundtrack.

* As someone already mentioned, the finale of AOTC. It was so great to hear the Imperial march again, although it would have been more appropriate in ROTS.

* "Journey to the Island" from Jurassic Park. That entire track is exquisite.

* The unused statement of Luke's theme from ROTS; it would have played right as Anakin says "General Grievous...you're shorter than I expected." Not a terribly profound moment, but a humorous one, musically. I wouldn't have minded hearing that scene with the music.

* Both statements of the Force theme from "Attack of the Sand People" and "Tales of a Jedi Knight." These two statements are incredibly powerful. I get a real sense of the weight of Obi-Wan's memories...memories of the Old Republic, the Jedi Order, old friends...and the music works just as well as a stand-alone. The former cue worked very well in the original TPM teaser, too..."every saga has a beginning"...ooh, chills...reminds me of the TPM that could have been...:|

* The music surrounding the scene in ANH when the Falcon takes off from Mos Eisley. That major chord, followed by the high horn notes...gets me every time.

* Okay, it's not technically a film score moment...but you can also hear it in Disney's Fantasia 2000, so I'll include it. The finale to Stravinsky's "The Firebird" is pure brilliance. The build-up into the shimmering violin tremolos and triangle rolls is heartstopping. Then you've got the ascending and descending brass chords that build into one last subito-piano-crescendo major chord. That is music.

* "The Asteroid Field." Just pure fun. It's not generic "action music." This cue really does a remarkable job of conveying the chaotic, organic nature of the asteroid field and the chase through it.

* "Overture from The Haunted Mansion." This is some of Mark Mancina's best writing--especially the version used in the film. The transition into the F minor section with the chanting choir, low brass, and violins...ooh, fun stuff. The transition into the huge organ statement of "Grim Grinning Ghosts" is just great, too.

* The transition from the first cue of the Battle of Yavin to the second one. (This is where the fanfare version of the Force theme starts. Start listening at 1:06 in "The Battle of Yavin. Brilliant.)

* "Light of the Force." The version of the Force theme that was actually used in the film is so bittersweet, and the symbolism of the on-screen moment is affecting...especially in light of the events of ROTS. Maestro Williams uses a Dsus chord before the second section of the melody and it works perfectly. (He does the same thing near the end of "Lando's Palace," which also sits near the top of my list of favorite moments.)

I also like a lot of the continuous transitions between cues in ROTS. There are a lot of these, typically building into a loud tutti chord on the downbeat of the next cue. (Examples: "Revisiting Padme" into "Grievous Travels to Palpatine," "Going to Utapau" into "Riding the Lizard," and "Rev. Yoda to Exile" into "Revenge of the Sith.") These particularly affected me when I first saw the DVD release of the movie; I'd been listening to and enjoying the second cue of each of these pairs, but the first of each was unreleased. Hearing the transition was just viscerally fun.

I'm seeing a lot Star Wars here... ;)

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All of Vertigo, most of all the tower scenes.

Vertigo truly is a brilliant score. Hermann's dream music has set the standard to dream sequence music, but beyond that, the score captures the emotions of the film so well; the strings in Scene D'Amour is perhaps the most beautifully haunting piece of film music I've ever heard, and it accompanies the scene to perfection.

Come to think of it, there are so many Hitchcock films with the "classic" film music moments. He is one of the few directors who made music such a large character in his films, and the Herrmann years were the pinnacle of that.

Ted, who can't wait to see Scene D'Amour performed live in a week at the Williams concert

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Come to think of it, there are so many Hitchcock films with the "classic" film music moments. He is one of the few directors who made music such a large character in his films, and the Herrmann years were the pinnacle of that.

I agree; one of the great things about this board is that everyone appreciates much more than just the works of JW!

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Come to think of it, there are so many Hitchcock films with the "classic" film music moments. He is one of the few directors who made music such a large character in his films, and the Herrmann years were the pinnacle of that.

I agree; one of the great things about this board is that everyone appreciates much more than just the works of JW!

At least until Patrick Doyle arrived on the scene. :|

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I have to say.. The moment where Kong falls off the empire state building ... JNH's music so gracefully and sadly complimented that moment. It was so beautiful and sadening, and absolutely perfectly scored.

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That's a difficult list to skim.

Anyway, a couple I immediately thought of were "Ice Dance" from Edward Scissorhands and the finale from E.T..  Some others I think that are really inspired or just amazing in the film are "Setting the Trap" from Home Alone, "Aunt Marge's Waltz" and "Buckbeak's Flight" from PoA, the helicoptor ride in Jurassic Park, the car driving scenes in Psycho, "The Hand(s) of Fate" from Signs, "Binary Sunset," "TIE Fighter Attack," and "The Throne Room" from Star Wars, "The Asteroid Field" from ESB, and Lucius and Ivy running to the cellar from The Village.  

Ray Barnsbury

Unless I misunderstood the topic completely I have to disagree on Aunt Marge's Waltz, while it is indeed a great piece of music I've always felt it doesn't fit the scene at all, but that's just my opinion.

Anyway, adding something to the list, I'd say when they rescue Carol Ann in Poltergeist it's a brilliant moment, then again the whole score is terrific.

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I have mixed feelings about the use of Aunt Marge's Waltz in PoA. Like you said, Diego, it's a fun piece. In the film, it certainly doesn't "feel" like Harry Potter. But it does lend a humorous edge to a scene that would have been more sinister otherwise.

Just the other day, I was noticing the way "Buckbeak's Flight" transitions from section to section perfectly in sync with the on-screen edits. One shot that works especially well with the music is the one looking up toward Buckbeak swooping around Hogwarts' spires. The music is breathtaking (about 2:42 on the OST).

Two moments I didn't mention before were the "percussion breaks" in "The Chess Game" (HP:SS) and "Landspeeder Search" (ANH). Even before I became a percussionist, I couldn't get enough of the latter. (This was before Harry Potter. :|) These both add some nice variety to their respective scores. They work well because they use a variety of sonically intriguing instruments, including special effects from non-percussion instruments. String glissandos, blaring horns, low brass hits, muted trumpets, etc. And the xylophone in "The Chess Game" works well for much the same reason it works so well in ESB's Battle of Hoth cues.

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While there are so many scenes throughout the history of cinema, here is my "short" list; in no particular order:

King Kong (1933) - Arrival Of Kong

Psycho (1960) - Shower Scene

Planet Of The Apes (1968) - The Hunt

Jaws (1975) - Barrel Chase

The Omen (1976) - Demise Of Mrs. Baylock

The Final Conflict (1980) - The Hunt

The Empire Strikes Back (1980) - Vader On The Executor

The Great Escape (1962) - Opening Credits

Goldfinger (1964) - Raid On Fort Knox

Islands In The Stream (1977) - "Marlin Sequence"

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I actually think that when Ray (WOTW)comes out of the house and sees the plane propeller there, with the epilogue music, is quite something!

Others would include, Map Room:Dawn from Raiders

The very end of last Crusade where the knight waves goodbye.

Obivoulsy the last 10 minutes of ET

Beginning of Catch Me if You Can

ROTK, Lighting the Torches

Two Towers, Gandalf and the Rohirrim riding down the hill at end.

"It's a 20 footer" Matt Hooper from Jaws

Ending of Vertigo.

OH yea!!!! And when Rumsfeld comes out of his house with "War Machine" playing in the Burbs!

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I have to say.. The moment where Kong falls off the empire state building ... JNH's music so gracefully and sadly complimented that moment. It was so beautiful and sadening, and absolutely perfectly scored.

That is good, yes, but I prefer Steiner's scoring of that scene.

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I agree with the person who said Ivey and Lucius running to the basement in The Village.

Also a great moment scored in film is Private Ryan, at the point where the invasion is done and Capt Miller says "Quite a view".

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Shower sequence from Psycho

The Cyclops' first apperance in 7th Voyage Of Sinbad.

Carbon Freeze sequence from TESB, back in 1980 20/20 ran a clip of it without music, what a difference.

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The last confrontation between Luke and Vader in ROTJ. With the male chorus. Everything from there until Vader finally dies. Wonderful scoring.

The other Williams scoring that really struck me was the scene in ROTS where Anakin first sees Padme again in the shadows. That scene could have played out a lot differently (never minding the acting) than it did. I love the forboding music that is under the dialogue there.

Another great scoring moment is in Conan the Barbarian. The whole "orgy" scene.

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I totally agree about descent into mystery, but batman has few more:

finale - simply heroic

charge of the batmobile - from 1:00 to the end although it´s hard to hear because of all those explosions

ROTJ - final duel - I can´t believe nobody mentioned this one (StrongBad992648 did actually mention it while i was writing this) :devil:

terminator - love scene - Brad Fidel has transformed main theme into very beautiful love theme

alien 3 - adagio - I dont know why this score gets so crappy reviews

alien 3 - lento - the "funeral" part

the fellowship of the ring - a journey in the dark - from 2:05 to 3:18

Aliens - bishop´s countdown - quite legentary

Unbeakable - the orange man

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The Entire first 40 Minutes of Empire Strikes Back

The Raiders Desert Chase

Final 20 minutes of Temple Of Doom

Final 15 minutes of E.T.

The Girl in the Red Coat in Schindler's List

Once Upon A Time In The West's Final 5 minutes (Chills!) :D

Death Of Vader/Anakin in Jedi

The Horse's Head in The Godfather

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I just watched Tombstone on television today, and caught it right at the OK Corral preparation when the three brothers and Holliday march down the road, passing the burning house and whatnot...

The music is minimal, and barely present, but it was done perfectly. It's eerie.

Tim

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I have to mention one that's always gotten me: the first Enterprise flyover in Nemesis. It's almost impossible to get that theme wrong, but Goldsmith gives it the perfect orchestration, and the fact that it's the first full statement of the theme since Trek V, and so the first full one in a TNG film, makes it so special for me. And it was just the kickoff to a hell of a score, IMO.

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alien 3 - adagio - I dont know why this score gets so crappy reviews

alien 3 - lento - the "funeral" part

Alien3 is probably in my top 20 favorite score of all time. The last 20 minutes of music in the film is simple perfection.

I'd also like to add Patrick Doyle's opening and closing pieces from Carlito's Way. Totally heartwrenching. :D

Justin

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When I think Geisha I think Going to School and Becoming a Geisha. Brush on Silk imo was a little dodgy at the beginning (its use in the film itself I mean) as it seemed a little out of place but became magic by the time the brush touched the kimono and I love the smash cut to Chiyo walking slowly up the stairs (lovely lighting too)

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