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The Most Iconic Original Movie Scores of All Time

Original movie scores instantly make a good film ten times better than it already is. So what are the components of a great soundtrack? According to experts, the score should be able to flow with the imagery well and make the overall viewing experience more moving. Sometimes, the scores would even mean more to audiences than the film itself.

Explore Talent is listing down the best original movie scores of all time. The soundtracks you will find on this list have garnered several accolades and have gone on to become timeless classics. Read and listen to them below.

Greatest Original Movie Scores of All Time

Original Movie Scores

1. Requiem for a Dream (2000), Clint Mansell

It may be hard to believe, but Requiem for a Dream‘s soundtrack was only the second score composed by Clint Mansell. His first composition was actually for another Darren Aronofsky project entitled Pi. But it was Requiem of the Dream‘s “Summer Overture” that launched him to fame. The score rose to become one of the most iconic pieces of music in the last decade. At first, the song starts out innocent and somewhat haunting and later rises to become intense and tragic. It served as the perfect background music for the drug-abuse drama.

2. Amelie (2001), Yann Tiersen

The film Amelie sure is one of the most critically acclaimed French movies of all time. It tells the story of titular character Amelie, a waitress who is timid yet curious and creative at the same time. The score by Yann Tiersen captures Amelie’s personality in a charming piano piece. It transports viewers to the cobblestone streets of Montmartre while giving them a look into Amelie’s quaint and simple life.

 3. Inception (2010), Hans Zimmer

Hans Zimmer has been composing original movie scores for years. He has composed a total of 150, to be exact. A few notable projects include the Crimson Tide, Pirates of the Caribbean, and The Dark Knight trilogy, which was directed by frequent collaborator Christopher Nolan. And in 2010, the pair teamed up again for the 2010 mind-bending adventure Inception. The score, aptly entitled “Time,” was without a doubt the best sound work ever done by Zimmer in his entire career.

4. Jaws (1975), John Williams

Jaws was a breakthrough movie, so it was important that they made a soundtrack that made the viewing experience as memorable as possible. When director Steven Spielberg tapped John Williams to compose the score, the result was nothing short of amazing. The orchestra plays soft yet tension-filled sounds at first, perfectly mimicking a shark circling its prey. Almost out of nowhere, there’s a fast-paced sound that gets louder and louder, intensifying the whole scene.

5. Star Wars (1977), John Williams

Even those who have yet to see a single Star Wars film recognize this iconic musical theme. To no surprise, the score was actually composed by the legendary John Williams. Aside from the main theme, he also composed the “Imperial March” as well as the heartbreaking tune titled “Across the Stars” for the Star Wars prequels. It is no doubt that Williams is one of the greatest composers of all time as his works shed a whole new light on how crucial the right musical score is when making any project.