January 27th, 2010
02:04 PM ET

Most influential movie soundtracks selected

It's hard to think of certain movies without their soundtracks. "Saturday Night Fever's" John Travolta pounding the pavement to "Stayin' Alive." Janet Leigh getting slashed in the shower to those terrifying strings in "Psycho." Dustin Hoffman looking blank as Simon & Garfunkel plays in "The Graduate."

As a way of celebrating the music that makes the movies, Turner Classic Movies (like CNN, a division of Time Warner) has put together a list of the 15 most influential movie soundtracks.

Along with "Saturday Night Fever," "Psycho" and "The Graduate," the list includes:

– Max Steiner's score for "King Kong";
– Sergei Prokofiev's music for "Alexander Nevsky";
– Bernard Herrmann's score for "The Day the Earth Stood Still";
– the soundtrack of "Blackboard Jungle," which included "Rock Around the Clock";
– Elmer Bernstein's compositions for "The Man With the Golden Arm";
– the Beatles' and George Martin's music for "A Hard Day's Night";
– John Barry's legendary "Goldfinger";
– Ennio Morricone's haunting "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly";
– the classical and modern compositions of "2001: A Space Odyssey";
– Isaac Hayes and J.J. Johnson's music for "Shaft";
– the oldies but goodies that filled "American Graffiti";
– and John Williams' score for "Star Wars."

Film fans will be quick to say, "But what about ... ?" Where's Steiner's sweeping score for "Gone With the Wind"? What about Hermann's music for "North by Northwest"? No "Jaws," or "The Natural," or something by Danny Elfman?

But when you're narrowing a list down to 15, you have to make some exceptions. "Our list celebrates the most memorable and groundbreaking soundtracks, the ones which took the art of film music to new levels and made the most lasting impact on the world of movies," TCM's Robert Osbourne said in a press release about the list.

From that perspective, it's hard to argue. Herrmann's two listed works established the model (which, by now, is cliche) for science fiction and horror movies, respectively. "Goldfinger" wasn't the first appearance of Monty Norman's James Bond theme, but used it creatively - and also inspired dozens of copycats. And Williams' grand work for "Star Wars" has become part of the landscape for swashbuckling blockbusters.

What are some of your favorite scores and soundtracks?

soundoff (263 Responses)
  1. Manchester City jerseys

    Del Bosque surprised by Casillas axing Manchester City jerseys http://soccerjerseys-cheap.webs.com/

    June 4, 2013 at 3:05 am | Report abuse |
  2. Abelenknn

    Все уже знают проект Мавроди МММ с 1994 года.
    Это лохотрон и бич России, очень много людей пострадало в этой пирамиде МММ, но что делать, людям нужны, такие жестокие уроки.
    Хоть и интернет пестрит отзывами о пирамиде ммм но люди идут в такие проекты, что печально.
    Можно подумать что люди глупы, не читают отзывы и глупо считают в бесконечной работе пирамиды ммм
    Но Это только жадность и грамотное манипулирование со стороны Мавроди.
    Я читал обзоры и мнения людей о похожих проектах и нашел мысли вслух о системе МММ и деятельность Мавроди.

    Люди, будьте благоразумны и осторожны, не участвуйте в таких проектах, если и учатсвуете, то относитесь к этому как к азартной игре.

    Спасибо, интересует ваше мнение об этому, модераторов прошу перенести тему куда надо. еслия ошибся, заранее Спасибо.

    Абеленкин Денис.

    May 17, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Besstakovskii

    Здравствуйте читатели marquee.blogs.cnn.com если пишу не там перенесите пожалуйста ((
    Многие из нас пытались заработать в сети, как хорошо сидеть дома и работать за компьютером.
    Ниже это не какие то предложения, а просто ресурс с полезной, бесплатной инфой, конечно, если кому пригодится.
    Предлагаю Вашему внимание Интернет ресурс по заработку в Интернет
    На нашем сайте и форуме можете подобрать нужный вариант по получению пассивного дохода.
    Рекомендации и полезные статьи, которые Вам помогут найти свое призвание в сфере Интернет заработка.
    Может показаться что заработок в сети нереален и это все какие то слухи и домыслы.
    Да есть подводные камни, можно нарваться на мошенника, но соблюдая меры безопасности, Вы можете работать в сети
    Интернет спокойно и с выгодой для себя.
    Заходите читайте, выбирайте приемлемый прект и зарабатывайте.

    Всех Вам благ!

    ПС: Не слышали просто весенний дефолт рубля? а то слухи ходят...

    March 19, 2013 at 3:38 am | Report abuse |
  4. Untomssmopync

    http://enimode.com – короткие платья
    http://enimode.com – бандажные платья

    November 27, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  5. nike fussballschuhe

    I want happened attributable to what you are, however attributable to who actually My organization is when I are away with you.
    nike fussballschuhe http://www.nikeschuheherrende.com/

    November 23, 2012 at 12:26 am | Report abuse |
  6. meespiree

    One-Click Private Domain Registration from YoHOST.ORG – Offshore Registry, Private WHOIS and Anonymous NameServers

    August 8, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  7. 2nc27gcd

    http://promgazarm.ru , , , , ,

    January 16, 2012 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
  8. Anonymous

    -2011 , , , .

    -2011 , . , . , , .

    . 60 % . .

    . , , . . , .

    . , , , , , , .

    November 5, 2011 at 6:30 am | Report abuse |
  9. Sack-net

    I like this this
    In my opinion you commit an error. Write to me in PM, we will communicate.


    July 22, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. texnoliferu

    Всем Hello! На сайте Texno-life узнайте о новинках электроники, гаджетах, виджетах, девайсах.

    June 25, 2011 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
  11. amitsTymnrirm


    March 29, 2011 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
  12. Max

    Wow, do you commenter folks REALLY not understand the concept of "influential?" I'm stunned that so many of you can't understand. Purple Rain? WHAT???? How many scores did that influence? Um, ZERO SCORES, that's how many. Gladiator? How many scores did that influence? ZERO (well, except for influencing Horner's own subsequent scores). The Bodyguard? You know the question and you know the answer: ZERO.

    Were those good scores? Sure (don't remember the score to The Bodyguard though, just that one song). But none of them changed the course of film scoring the way the 15 mentioned in the article did.

    Now, there HAVE been a few good scores mentioned that *could* have and maybe *should* have been on the list– Jaws and The Magnificent Seven, for example. But thinking about it more, I'm not so sure. Portions of their melodies became part of pop culture, definitely, but I'm not so sure they changed the course of scoring. At the very least, they didn't change it as much as the 15 mentioned in the article; probably more like "somewhat altered" rather than "changed."

    January 31, 2010 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Shane McGuire

    They had some pretty good picks but how about a few more. So for the folks that are going to read my section, I was born in 1972. But how do I know about these pieces of music? Thank my parents!

    Here we go:

    Henry Mancini:

    Pink Panther
    A Shot in the Dark
    Baby Elephant Walk: Hatari
    Theme to Peter Gunn
    James Bond 007 Theme

    John Williams:

    Star Wars Theme
    Indiana Jones Theme
    Jurassic Park Theme
    Harry Potter Theme
    Jaws Theme

    Rodgers and Hammerstein:

    Sound of Music
    The Great Escape

    Waylon Jennings:

    Smokey and the Bandit
    Lonesome, Honry and Mean

    Johnny Cash:

    Folsom Prison Blues
    I've Been Everywhere, (Flight of the Phoenix)
    Daddy Sang Bass

    Simple Minds:

    Don't You Forget About Me: The Breakfast Club

    Greg Kihn:

    The Break-Up Song

    Star Trek Themes:

    Nemisis Theme
    First Contact Theme
    Next Generation Theme
    Deep Space 9 Theme
    Voyager Theme

    Other Film Tunes:

    Good, Bad and the Ugly
    For a Few Dollars More
    Fist Full of Dollars
    Fiddler on the Roof
    Wing Commander Theme
    Starship Troopers Theme
    Back to the Future Theme
    Gladiator Theme
    The Patriot, (Mel GIbson)
    Apollo 13 Theme

    The Beatles:

    Yellow Submarine
    Strawberry Fields
    Sgt. Pepper

    C.W McCall:

    The Silverton
    Luis and Clark

    Creedence Clearwater Revival:

    Bad Moon
    Proud Mary
    Green River

    Norman Greenbaum:

    Spirit In The Sky

    I could keep going but I think CNN might just consider it a Play List! HA HA HA!

    January 31, 2010 at 5:04 am | Report abuse |
  14. ross

    What about Hans Zimmer????

    January 29, 2010 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
  15. Twin

    What about Cinema Paradiso? Truffaut's Day for Night? Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind...

    January 28, 2010 at 11:16 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Richard Adam Puckett

    THE BODYGAURD!!!!! Hello!? One of the largest selling soundtracks of all time! Really???!!!

    January 28, 2010 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Jim Southern

    Two of the most hauntingly beautiful soundtracks/scores would be from....

    "Somewhere In Time"
    "Dying Young"

    These are two I play often, and help me cope with riding off into the sunset!

    January 28, 2010 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
  18. jackson

    Where's "Breakfast at Tiffany's"? Not just "Moon River," but whole score really makes that movie.

    January 28, 2010 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
  19. xman


    January 28, 2010 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  20. carole

    I have loced the sound of music since i was a child. The lion king music I was married while it was playing

    January 28, 2010 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Annie

    "GREASE" is the word!

    January 28, 2010 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Liz M

    Almost forgot to mention Reality Bites!

    January 28, 2010 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Liz M

    Oh come on! No Grease? Sound of Music? Deer Hunter? Dazed and Confused? Reservoir Dogs? Top Gun? Pulp fiction? I agree with Saturday Night Fever though. Urban Cowboy was good too. City of Angels....Serendipity....

    And i totally agree on Judgment Night, I bought that on tape and wore that thing out!

    January 28, 2010 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Lou

    It may not be as popular as many of the other mentioned here, but one of the soundtracks that I always loved the best was the theme to "633 Squadron" by the great Ron Goodwin...

    Also the Victory at Sea soundtrack was a true classic...

    January 28, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  25. theddb

    it makes absolutely no sense that jaws is not on here

    January 28, 2010 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Debra

    I hate to see John Williams' name up here for "Star Wars." That soundtrack was lifted in large part from Gustave Holst's "The Planets." Check out the "Jupiter" theme and see if you don't recognize it. The man is only capable of plagiarizing other composers, and also himself (didn't anyone recognize the "Princess Leia" theme – stolen from another composer in the first place – in the first "Harry Potter" movie? Among other themes that I recognized.....

    January 28, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Cameron

    No Superman who doesn't know that score?

    January 28, 2010 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Duane

    Not in the top 15, or even top 25, but..."Harold & Maude". Also the soundtrack from "The Vikings"

    January 28, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  29. MelawendRider

    Any list like this generates controversy. It is wrong to say that this list is THE... "the most memorable and groundbreaking soundtracks". Really? Offer a suggested list. Let the individual listener deside what is the most memorable for himself or herself for we are as unique as

    January 28, 2010 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Debby

    I think a great soundtrack was the Grease Soundtrack. My daughter was 4 at the time and loved it. We still do.

    January 28, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  31. jonathan

    you forgot the best on the list.

    Where's John Murphy's soundtracks, the best out there?

    January 28, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  32. CMM

    I can't believe so few people mentioned FORREST GUMP!! One of the most well put together soundtracks of all time. It overwhelmingly captured each decade the movie traveled through with some of the best songs of all time!

    January 28, 2010 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Sarah

    It`s hard to determine which is the best soundtrack. Stop Getting Ripped off by Cable and Dish Companies. Stop paying monthly fees. Put that money back in your pocket. Go to http://www.WorldWideTVonPC.com

    January 28, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  34. cindy

    I figured John William's score for Star Wars would be somewhere on this list, because it, taken as a whole, is wonderful from beginning to end, evoking the various recognizable scenes of an iconic movie. It's the one that put Williams on the map, so to speak. Everything he's done since has a characteristic John WIlliams sound, from the NBC Nightly News theme, L.A. Olympic Fanfare, to ET, Raiders, and Superman – which is not to say they're not good. Actually, you could argue that his Close Encounters theme is part of the dialogue. I agree that Gone With the Wind, Laurence of Arabia, Dr. Zhivago, Chariots of Fire and Rocky are also worthy of mention, though I think they are known mostly for their memorable main themes. I do wish Ennio Morricone's haunting score for The Mission could have made the list, just a personal fave.

    January 28, 2010 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Crystal

    Purple Rain?
    The Bodyguard?

    January 28, 2010 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  36. Debra R

    If you want influential how about a little Disney movie called Fantasia (not the AI winner)

    January 28, 2010 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
  37. Gary J. Firuta

    [ "Goldfinger" wasn't the first appearance of Monty Norman's James Bond theme, but used it creatively – and also inspired dozens of copycats]

    That is an interesting statement considering that GOLDFINGER is the film that, out of all 22 007 motion pictures, uses the 'James Bond Theme' the least (only for the gunbarrel and never repeated after that).

    Still, it is nice to see a John Barry James Bond score included in the list.

    January 28, 2010 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
  38. JoseF

    The James Bond theme to me is the most recognized soundtrack . Case in point when Connery step back into the role in "Never Say Never Again" I kept thinking somethings missing than it hit me the theme. Also I'll agree about "Purple Rain" great but you know what's missing "The Magnificent 7" now there's a classic. Does "Jesus Christ Superstar "count, great music. Webber never top it.

    January 28, 2010 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
  39. Jimmy

    What about Purple Rain by Prince... the music was the movie.

    Rocky really needs to be on that list...

    Its hard to mix scores with soundtracks. Some movies use other people's songs brilliantly. Some movies use original compositions beautifully. I don't think you can make a list mixing the two types.

    A movie like Forrest Gump (or other timeline and/or period pieces) use not only the sound of the song to bring out emotion but use the words of the song to bring out emotion. Scores or original compositions use sound to tell you the emotion that the director wants you to feel.

    I just don't think its fair to compare a soundtrack like Forrest Gump which has a group of songs far more influential songs in life in general to an original composition that really only relates to that specific movie.

    January 28, 2010 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
  40. Bert Fasul

    ROCKY – once you hear it EVERYONE knows what movie – also, on a lesser note Tubular Bells – The Exorcist theme

    January 28, 2010 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
  41. Sheryl


    January 28, 2010 at 8:35 am | Report abuse |
  42. Bill DeArmond

    No soundtrack with only one song (especially a vocal) can be listed as a "great" score. The music must be an integral part of the entire film. Halloween, To Kill a Mockingbird, Titanic, Glory, Gattaca, and Somewhere in Time must be added to this list.

    January 28, 2010 at 8:27 am | Report abuse |
  43. Endymion351

    I can remember the soundtrack from "ET" being rather influential. The song "Flying" was played on the radio for weeks. I do not recall many other soundtrack scores that can lay claim to that.

    January 28, 2010 at 8:17 am | Report abuse |
  44. SKIP

    What about Last of the Mohicans or the music of Gettysburg?

    January 28, 2010 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
  45. Linda W

    How about Ben Hur, Laura and Chicago

    January 28, 2010 at 8:12 am | Report abuse |
  46. brent

    Morricone? The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly?

    January 28, 2010 at 8:02 am | Report abuse |
  47. barbo

    I'm surprised that Deliverance hasn't been mentioned. Dueling Banjos has become a part of the American psyche. The Hustler also had some of the most atmospheric music I've ever heard in a movie. The movie wouldn't have been half as good without that soundtrack.

    January 28, 2010 at 7:59 am | Report abuse |
  48. makethtmoney

    What about the best selling soundtrack of all time. THE BODYGAURD
    Yea Yea The movie was crap but the soundtrack rocked

    January 28, 2010 at 7:57 am | Report abuse |
  49. John From Orlando

    Spinal Tap – this soundtrack is the only one worthy of turning up to 11.
    Rocky Horror should be included somewhere.

    January 28, 2010 at 7:53 am | Report abuse |
  50. D

    HOw about "Local Hero" by Mark Knopfle?

    January 28, 2010 at 7:51 am | Report abuse |
  51. Hilary

    The soundtrack to the movie "Singles" really brought early '90's grunge music to a mainstream audience.

    January 28, 2010 at 7:31 am | Report abuse |
  52. Amelia

    What about FORREST GUMP????

    January 28, 2010 at 7:27 am | Report abuse |
  53. Alex

    I love seeing everyone's own important soundtrack. They are all worthy choices and for good reasons. I remember the original "Planet of the Apes". The music carried you through this strange new world governed by apes.

    January 28, 2010 at 7:25 am | Report abuse |
  54. Vani

    I agree with the Star Wars soundtrack pick – it's definitely a fantastic score. Anything by John Williams is amazing, but I'm slightly disappointed that they didn't pick the Lord of the Rings soundtrack by Howard Shore – the full trilogy, I mean. That's definitely (in my opinion) one of the best ones out there.

    January 28, 2010 at 7:11 am | Report abuse |
  55. Leslie

    I would say "El Cid" and "Ben Hur" by Miklos Rosza, epic, sweeping soundtracks.

    January 28, 2010 at 7:06 am | Report abuse |
  56. Chacko Jacob

    How come there is no JAWS soundtrack??

    January 28, 2010 at 6:46 am | Report abuse |
  57. ButtonsH

    what about the soundtrack of "Lawrence in Arabia." That is marvelous and well known.

    January 28, 2010 at 6:44 am | Report abuse |
  58. Becky

    2 words....Purple Rain....good job Paul for bringing this to light

    January 28, 2010 at 5:22 am | Report abuse |
  59. shay

    what about war of the worlds!

    January 28, 2010 at 5:04 am | Report abuse |
  60. Roy

    Thought of a couple more after scanning through some of the choices others have made.

    Definitely the soundtrack to 'Purple Rain'

    Another amazing song that wasn't a commercial hit is Annie Lennox
    'Love Song For A Vampire' – from 'Bramstokers Dracula'

    There is so many great songs that came from movies.

    Going back a bit further. Lulu's 'To Sir With Love' from the movie of the same name is another good one.

    January 28, 2010 at 5:03 am | Report abuse |
  61. Roy

    The Lord Of The Rings 'Return Of The King' – Into The West- by Annie Lennox

    The Soundtrack to the movie 'Pretty In Pink' had a pretty solid group
    of songs as well.

    January 28, 2010 at 4:55 am | Report abuse |
  62. GC

    The Pink Panther.

    January 28, 2010 at 4:32 am | Report abuse |
  63. Harley Man

    Number 1 soundtrack of all time---Easy Rider. I have the CD and still listen to it all the time. A masterpiece of great music.

    January 28, 2010 at 4:27 am | Report abuse |
  64. MadSci

    I loved the score for the original Star Wars. I loved it even more when it was playing behind Errol Flynn in "The Adventures of Robin Hood" so c'mon. Everything WIlliams does is derivative, or even copied, so the original music has to have been MORE influential doesn't it?

    January 28, 2010 at 3:49 am | Report abuse |
  65. Daniel

    Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me by Angelo Badalamenti

    January 28, 2010 at 3:40 am | Report abuse |
  66. Barnie

    I'm a big fan of John Williams (Schindler's LIst, E.T. Home Alone, I like soundtrack of The Terminal).

    I also like Zbigniew Preisner (The Secret Garden),
    Hans Zimmer (Gladiator, Pearl Harbor),
    Alan Silvestri (Forrest Gump Polar Express)

    Life is beautiful movie also has nice soundtrack. etc...

    January 28, 2010 at 3:31 am | Report abuse |
  67. Deanie

    I would add Jerome Moross's sweeping score for William Wyler's "The Big Country"—it made a forgettable movie an unforgettable one. Its influence, I believe, is the way Moross's music dramatically underlines the drama (such as it is) with sensitivity as well as vigor. Also highly memorable is Georges Delerue's haunting and evocative score for François Truffaut's "Jules et Jim," part of which Noah Baumbach used to underscore failed relationships in "Mr. Jealousy."

    January 28, 2010 at 2:53 am | Report abuse |
  68. Niki Bryant

    What about FAME/THE BODY GUARD?

    January 28, 2010 at 2:22 am | Report abuse |
  69. mel

    Love everyone's suggestions!!! So much passion. That's what all of these scores/soundtracks have had the power to do!!!! One of my personal favorites that I didn't see (and I read all 169 comments) is Almost Famous. Maybe not as influential, but the music was certainly one of the main characters in the film.

    January 28, 2010 at 1:59 am | Report abuse |
  70. GLC

    Where is Maurice Jarre's epic soundtracks for Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago, and so many others?

    January 28, 2010 at 1:38 am | Report abuse |
  71. Dani

    To Kill a Mockingbird
    Night of the Hunter
    Boogie Nights
    Streets of Fire
    Eddie and the Cruisers

    January 28, 2010 at 1:26 am | Report abuse |
  72. Jpirates

    The soundtracks from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Awsome !

    January 28, 2010 at 1:16 am | Report abuse |
  73. Lindsey

    I want to know who makes these decisions. Who are these 'experts' and what are there qualifications?

    January 28, 2010 at 1:10 am | Report abuse |
  74. Mike

    What about Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard for Gladiator and Hans Zimmer for Crimson Tide? John Williams for Close Encounters of the Third Kind, a score that pushed the boundaries of orchestral sound whilst amazingly using no synthesizers.

    January 28, 2010 at 12:59 am | Report abuse |
  75. Deb

    The solemness and darkness of "Schindler's List" had a haunting and disturbing, yet beautiful soundtrack. Every time I hear it, albeit rarely, it brings the memory of the movie back and still elicits tears of sorrow.

    January 28, 2010 at 12:34 am | Report abuse |
  76. Courtney

    How about Trainspotting? Singles?

    January 28, 2010 at 12:34 am | Report abuse |
  77. D Nelson

    I'm sure a lot of the scores people are mentioning would be on the list of top 50 or top 100 scores, but give it a break. We are talking about the top 15. Out of 100s of thousands upon 100s of thousands of films that have been made over the last century from around the world. 15 scores.
    Star Wars was a much more influential score than anything else Williams has composed. It may not be everyones favorite score, but it made the biggest impact of anything he composed for film. Many of the scores listed are great scores, but they may not have made as big an impact on film scoring as those listed. The list isn't about the most popular or most beautiful scores – it's about influence on the art of motion picturing scoring.

    For those who say that the list refers to Scores, not soundtracks... Well, soundtrack was the term that was typically applied to scores until fairly recently. Those collection of pop songs that get released on CD were referred to as "songs from the motion picture...", and (until about 10-15 years ago) if anyone talked about a films soundtrack, you knew they meant the score. However, this list also includes soundtracks made up of popular songs (like the Simon and Garfunkel soundtrack to The Graduate.

    January 28, 2010 at 12:31 am | Report abuse |
  78. ms.diggs

    What about The Body Guard??

    January 28, 2010 at 12:18 am | Report abuse |
  79. The Mick

    Ben Hur, Miklos Rozsa is at the top!!!!

    January 27, 2010 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  80. Jennifer

    Yes- The Big Chill had such a great soundtrack! I loved the movie for the music just as much as the story! Also, for my money- The Prince of Egypt... utterly stunning soundtrack!

    January 27, 2010 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
  81. enjoyingit

    Moon Struck without a doubt. One of the best from the late 80's.
    Also, don't forget,Love Actually."

    January 27, 2010 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
  82. Bob

    Lists like this are purposefully made to create chatter and controversy amongst fans of music. It doesn't matter who makes the list or who claims to be an expert, there will always be someone to say "But what about THIS?".

    Every time a list like this gets published, the so-called experts are usually idiots with blinders on about all genres of music and always seem to forget about -clear- examples of what would easily be redeemed as influental, popular or for lack of better word, good.

    January 27, 2010 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
  83. Elizabeth

    I am so shocked that JAWS was not on the list!!! The soundtrack itself shared the screen with the shark and made the film a classic that will never be duplicated!!!!! Hello recount!!!!!!

    January 27, 2010 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
  84. Junior

    Where is the #1 all-time selling soundtrack in the U.S. AND worldwide, "The Bodyguard", which also contained the alltime #1 single, "I Will Always Love You"? It also had 3 songs in the top 11 on the Billboard Hot 100, which were "I Will Always Love You," "I Have Nothing," and "I'm Every Woman." It also won Grammys for Album and Record of the Year, won 8 American Music Awards, and 12 Billboard Music Awards. How could such a dominant and influential album not be on this list?

    January 27, 2010 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
  85. sb704

    Basil Poledouris's work on "Conan the Barbarian" was absolutely great.

    January 27, 2010 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
  86. Greg McCain

    Everyone has missed the most influential soundtrack of all time – The Jazz Singer starring Al Jolson which made the talkies a requirement. None of the other film scores can match the impact of this film.

    January 27, 2010 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
  87. sara

    What about Good Morning Vietnam or Forrest Gump? Both of those movies had a great collection of songs

    January 27, 2010 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
  88. G Kelley

    How about Cliff Martinez' "Solaris" soundtrack, or the soundtrack from "The English Patient," or "The Hours" or better yet, " Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amelie Poulain?"
    All of those have incredible atmosphere and theme driven by their soundtrack.

    January 27, 2010 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
  89. Cowbelle

    Anyone ever heard of Randy Newman? Check out the haunting sweetness of his soundtrack to "Avalon".

    January 27, 2010 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  90. OMO

    Hans Zimmers' theme for Backdraft was great!

    January 27, 2010 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
  91. JB

    The Big Chill!

    January 27, 2010 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
  92. Wyntrwitch

    I enjoy the Pirates of the Caribbean 1,2,and 3 soundtracks and my favorite Last of the Mohicans.

    January 27, 2010 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
  93. Barbara T.

    How about the soundtrack from last year's Slumdog Millionaire,
    "Jai Ho" and without a doubt Prince's classic , Purple Rain.

    January 27, 2010 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
  94. Kathy


    (there are a lot more left out – but these two are sooo beautiful). .

    January 27, 2010 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
  95. csi

    Always been partial to Fiddler on the Roof.....definately a top 50 in my book. Kudo's to the Forbidden Planet nom also.

    January 27, 2010 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
  96. T Ocall

    The Judgement Night Soundtrack for a more Contemporary vote. Really the 1s t Mash-up of Rap and Rock-( I know about Aerosmith & RUN DMC) Can you say Cypress Hill & Sonic Youth, Cypress Hill & Pearl Jam, House of Pain with Helmet, Onyz W/ Biohazzard, Living Colour and Run DMC, Faith No More and Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E. This was so far ahead of its time. It is the Predecessor to the Whole Rap/Rock movement and catalyst for future groups like Rage Against the Machine, Deftones, Limp Bizkit(unfortunately), KORN etc. It was Responsible for a NEW GENRE of music. How could it be left off any list. It spawned a new Generation to appreciate music outside of of the Usual Realms they were listening too.

    January 27, 2010 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
  97. jakenolan2

    These are not Soundtracks as the misleading headline states. They are film musical scores.

    January 27, 2010 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
  98. Music Guy

    #1 selling soundtrack of the past decade....NOT included. Yeah, right - good list. O Brother, Where Art Thou brains?

    January 27, 2010 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
  99. Tron

    How about the score to the original Superman movie from the 70's, and the Godfather?

    January 27, 2010 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
  100. teodoro

    Gotta throw a shout out for "The Harder They Come", which expanded reggae music outside of Jamaica to our country.

    January 27, 2010 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
  101. 'Mats Fan

    What about Paul Westerburg's 2 songs on the 'singles' soundtrack?
    I remember being 15 hearing those 2 songs, finding out about The Replacements, bought "let it be" and then every Replacements album after that knowing my life would never be the same because I had heard the greatest band of all time. Its still true to this day.

    January 27, 2010 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  102. marie

    WHAT? No Rocky, no ONCE??? Seriously now.

    January 27, 2010 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
  103. Lise

    I have to agree with many above re: Purple Rain, Grease, Jesus Christ Superstar, (especially) The Blues Brothers, and I only saw Heavy Metal listed once, but I have one I DIDN'T see to add in, the movie sucked but the sound track is great: Twister.

    January 27, 2010 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
  104. Jango Davis

    I think the list is perfect. These are the soundtracks that FIRST made their marks on the industry and changed it. It doesn't mean you can hum the tunes. In fact, it doesn't matter whether any of us like them at all. This is about the MOVIE MAKERS and what influences THEM , not us (at least in terms of the soundtracks for their movies).

    January 27, 2010 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
  105. Cindy

    Garden State. Simple and beautiful and worth the mention.

    January 27, 2010 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  106. ludwig

    Thomas Newman- American Beauty (or his similar Shawshank Redemption); often copied. Beautiful.

    January 27, 2010 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
  107. Birdhaus

    Note that this isn't the "best" ... or "most memorable" ... or favorite... the word is INFLUENTIAL – what soundtracks influenced the way we saw music in a movie. You only need one Williams composition ... the big fanfare of the blockbuster. Any of the musical soundtracks listed above – Grease, Rocky Horror, etc – did not influence or impact a change. Any soundtrack that has a re-hash of older tunes – Gump, Dirty dancing, and honestly, American Graffiti – really didn;t change how we saw movie music. I will say, when I saw the word influential and was thinking the idea of soundtrack as a medium for popular music, the one soundtrack I am surprised was missing was Purple Rain. My only guess was that its inclusion – as a soundtrack as popular album – was already covered with "Fever".

    January 27, 2010 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  108. Higgins

    Easy Rider, people, come on!! I believe it was the FIRST film to feature a soundtrack comprised of contemporary songs by all different pop/rock artists. It is the model for every "rock music" soundtrack that followed.

    January 27, 2010 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
  109. Seriously?

    The Mission. The Big Chill. Dances with Wolves. Out of Africa. These were life-changing soundtracks!

    January 27, 2010 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
  110. Mel

    What about Forrest Gump or Dirty Dancing. Everyone thinks of that movie when they hear "I've Had the Time of My Life" and "Hungry Eyes".

    In fact, in the 80's, some of the soundtracks were more memorable than the movies.

    January 27, 2010 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
  111. Hope

    Okay, Blade Runner, Witness and Doctor Zhvigo need to be added. I suggest they go to top 100 soundtracks.

    January 27, 2010 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
  112. Waltham, MA

    Garden State

    January 27, 2010 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
  113. Casey

    "The Girl Can't Help It" – The most influential rock 'n roll soundtrack of all time. It's a vitual who's who of rock in the 50s. Even the Beatles admitted they were heavily influenced by it. Don't know how any Music historian could leave that off.

    January 27, 2010 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  114. mary

    i would have to vote for the soundtrack from "forrest gump". a slice of america as encompassing as the movie itself.

    January 27, 2010 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
  115. Haha

    A collection of singles like American Grafitti is neither a soundtrack nor a score. Same goes for A Hard Day's Night and Saturday Night Fever.

    January 27, 2010 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
  116. vinnie

    I cant believe that super fly is not on this list...it out grossed the movie

    January 27, 2010 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
  117. Maria

    I think the soundtrack from the movie "FM" should have been listed.

    January 27, 2010 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
  118. nimby


    January 27, 2010 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
  119. heidir313

    Okay – lots of great soundtracks were left off the list. Some good ones were included – but you absolutely cannot have a top 15 list without including one of the best ever – "Dances with Wolves"...my other favorites would be "Titanic", "Back to the Future", "Sound of Music", "West Side Story", "The English Patient" and "Last of the Mohicans"...

    January 27, 2010 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  120. rockhard

    Seems one could divide this up into three categories: musicals (e.g., Sound of Music, West Side Story); compilation soundtracks (e.g., American Graffiti) and soundtracks that were conceived specifically to support the picture. If once excludes musicals (and one should – as it's a whole different ballgame), this is a pretty decent list, but for the exclusion of the zither score from The Third Man.

    January 27, 2010 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  121. Ian

    The "Singles" soundtrack was a very important soundtrack to my growing up.

    January 27, 2010 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
  122. Jason Sayles

    I am surprised the #1 soundtrack in the world did not make the list, "The Bodyguard" from 1992.

    January 27, 2010 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  123. marie333

    "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" where art thou?

    January 27, 2010 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
  124. ss

    What? No SOUND OF MUSIC!?

    January 27, 2010 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  125. starchild

    The Godfather – come on!

    January 27, 2010 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  126. cje

    OH, come on, no Henry Mancini, shame on you!

    January 27, 2010 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  127. rc

    Out of Africa, Pans Labyrinth, Vertigo, Charlottes Web ( original animated version-esp theme-so haunting and sad. Re: Charlottes death.) And Xanadu, just kidding.

    January 27, 2010 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  128. manofamillionchords

    Anyone ever heard of The Lion King?

    January 27, 2010 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  129. Allen

    The Godfather, Magnificent Seven, Pink Panther.
    But please, leave Grease off the list.

    January 27, 2010 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  130. peter

    Blade Runner
    Ben Hur
    Bridge on the River Kwai
    The Great Escape
    John Carpenter's The Thing (1982)
    The Right Stuff
    Jesus Christ Superstar (original cast – not really a movie soundtrack)

    January 27, 2010 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  131. liittleboy

    i would have liked to see

    Pulp Fiction
    Slumdog millionaire

    .. on that list.

    January 27, 2010 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  132. Jersey Joe

    The Easy Rider soundtrack

    January 27, 2010 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  133. Joe

    No Purple Rain? No Oh' Brother? Maybe even Grease? A soundtrack should be music written specifically for scenes relevant to a movie. That's why I would not add Top Gun, etc...MOST, not all, of songs on it were to sell the album. However, no Purple Rain? Geez Oh' Brother even won the Grammy for album of the year. What idiots picked this list??? Where's Chariots of Fire?????

    January 27, 2010 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  134. Donna in Hawaii

    Seriously, I STILL see The Blues Brothers silhouette painted at bus stops, in bathrooms -30 years later! -and in Hawaii. Talk about influence. In my deprived youth, No One intrduced me to Calloway, Hooker, but this film made me die hard fans.

    January 27, 2010 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  135. The Dude

    I think the scores for both "Gladiator" & "The Dark Knight" are pretty awesome.

    The "Purple Rain" soundtrack is great too!

    January 27, 2010 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  136. sparky

    Big Chill.

    January 27, 2010 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  137. Rob Kresge

    Oh, come on. How can you not honor Elmer Bernstein's oft-repeated, often imitated, groundbreaking score for the The Magnificent Seven? Among all Westerns, only the theme song from High Noon and the Clint Eastwood spaghetti Western scores even come close to the status of Bernstein's classic. Even commercials have used it and you can get it as a ringtone. How many others on the list can say that?

    January 27, 2010 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  138. Michele

    Peter Gabriel's brilliant music for Last Temptation of Christ?

    The Commitments?

    January 27, 2010 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  139. Mike

    What, no Pink Floyd The Wall? That is the reason that movie was so popular and that soundtrack is still popular with the youth today.

    January 27, 2010 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  140. Donna in Hawaii

    Uh Hello, "The Blues Brothers"

    January 27, 2010 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  141. lane

    Rocky is not on the list? Are you kidding me?

    January 27, 2010 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  142. J

    CHARIOTS OF FIRE!!! Can't believe it was left off.

    January 27, 2010 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  143. Bob Q

    If "influential" is the key word, one worthy of consideration or at least a listen is Franz Waxman's terrific score for the 1954 PRINCE VALIANT starring Robert Wagner as the Viking Prince, Janet Leigh as his love interest, and James Mason as the Black Knight. I read somewhere it may have had an influence on Star Wars and other film themes.

    January 27, 2010 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  144. cm

    goodfellas. shaft.

    January 27, 2010 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  145. Matthew

    Making lists like this is tough. To me 'soundtrack' implies a collection of songs/music that may or may not have been written for the movie. Think "Saturday Night Fever" or "Flashdance". But the bulk of titles on this list I think are more appropriately referred to as 'scores' – which is almost always a collection of music that was written specifically for the scene in which it was used in the film. And as they have different definitions, I think they are unsuited to cross-pollination on the same list.

    Also, while many of the scores/soundtracks listed in the comments are of high quality, I think it's important to differentiate 'good' from 'influential'. That's why, for example, "Star Wars" is on the list and "Raiders of the Lost Ark" is not.

    January 27, 2010 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  146. John

    No Jerry Goldsmith?

    I love John Williams work but all of his "blockbuster" scrores: Star Wars, ET, Jaws, Raiders...are pretty much interchangeable.
    If you want something different from the man, try "The Reivers" from the Steve mcQueen film.

    January 27, 2010 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  147. Michael

    GREASE is the word, is the word, ......

    January 27, 2010 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  148. David_Does_It

    Max is right.

    Titanic, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and the works of Danny Elfman are all quite good. Additionally I like Michael Nyman's work (his Gattaca score is wonderful), as well as James Horner's better themes.

    But those scores/composers didn't CHANGE film. Which is why nothing after Star Wars hits the list; movies have been self-referential and derivative for decades.

    January 27, 2010 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  149. Matt


    January 27, 2010 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  150. Diane


    January 27, 2010 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  151. Chaz

    I second the mention of Urban Cowboy. If I remember correctly, it help kick country music back into the mainstream and spurred (no pun intended) big growth in that particular genre. I also second the posts of soundtrack versus film score...big difference.

    January 27, 2010 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  152. glenn bobrow

    I was glad to see that PAUL put down PURPLE RAIN. The Godfather- there is nothing more powerful with strings that says the story by the compositions.

    January 27, 2010 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  153. Max

    Folks, calm down. This isn't a list of "my favorite scores/soundtracks," it's a list of most influential scores/soundtracks; game changers. For example, Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of the greatest scores ever, but I don't think you can deny that Star Wars was more influential. Raiders wouldn't have been possible without Star Wars (in many many ways).

    The same goes for folks who are upset about The Big Chill, Breakfast Club, and other pop song-based soundtracks. American Grafitti did it before them and IT was the one that got filmmakers interested in the idea. It was hugely influential.

    January 27, 2010 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
  154. emir

    how about
    "elevator to the gallows"-miles davis
    "mission" of course by ennio morricone
    "pat garret and billy the kid"-bob dylan
    "blade runner"-vangelis
    and soundtrack for "in the mood for love"

    January 27, 2010 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
  155. Harry G.W.

    I was just reading these and thought this has become a pretty amussing descussion. As a composer myself, I recognized there are some great great composers out there that deserve recognition, but this has turned into "what my favorite music is" because a lot of these are, as someone stated before me, soundtrack as opposed to Original Motion Picture Soundtrack.

    Lets keep it to OMPS, as that is what the article is related to.

    January 27, 2010 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  156. sarah


    January 27, 2010 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  157. David


    That means all the music that appears in the movie.

    Also "Our list celebrates the most memorable and groundbreaking soundtracks, the ones which took the art of film music to new levels and made the most lasting impact on the world of movies." Have you listened to the rest of the Exorcist soundtrack? It's boring as all get out.

    Top Gun, Breakfast Club, Blues Brothers, [insert any decent musical] – all great soundtracks, none of them groundbreaking. Purple Rain is the only one mentioned above that I do think is worthy of being on the list.

    But nothing on the list since 1978? Really?

    January 27, 2010 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  158. Zed

    What about Pulp Fiction?

    January 27, 2010 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  159. Chente from Texas

    The music from the Lord of the Rings trilogy was a nearly-perfect blending of sound and visuals (it's difficult to visualize the movie without the music). This was most fully realized with "Fellowship of the Ring."

    January 27, 2010 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  160. Jamie

    The following are a few all time greats:
    Korngold: Sea Hawk, Captain Blood
    Max Steiner: Gone with the Wind
    Maurice Jarre: Lawrence of Arabia, Dr. Zhivago
    John Barry: Out of Africa, Dances with Wolves, Born Free, Midnight Cowboy, Somewhere in Time
    Elmer Bernstein: The Magnificent Seven
    Vangelis: Chariots of Fire
    Kamen: Robin Hood Prince of Thieves
    Morricone: Fistful of Dollars, Once upon a Time in the West, The Mission, La Califfa, Sacco and Vanzetti, Untouchables
    John Williams: E.T., Jaws, Close Encounters, Jurassic Park, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Empire Strikes Back, Schindler's List

    January 27, 2010 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  161. Jeff

    Great additions to a list too small. Also worthy of consideration is the music from "The Godfather." Would love to see a list of the top 100 movie quotes.

    January 27, 2010 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  162. Alex

    People are forgetting this is a list of influential soundtracks, not favorite or popular soundtracks. Goodfellas' soundtrack has inspired no one. Ditto Lord of the Rings or Brother Where Art Thou. By comparison, even the more ardent rock and roll history revisionists cannot dispute that Blackboard Jungle sparked the explosion of rock and roll, the impact of which is heard every time you turn on a radio or start up the iPod. The only one I'd say was missing here would be Jaws because in my opinion Williams did Star Wars and Superman and all the others because of the impact of his work on Jaws. I might also suggest Max Steiner's score from Casablanca. Obviously this list doesn't focus on musicals (A Hard Day's Night is listed as much for Martin's score as for the Beatles), so there's no real point in suggesting, say, Singin' in the Rain or the original Broadway Melody from 1929.

    January 27, 2010 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  163. Gary

    No Lalo Shifrin? No John Carpenter? No Henry Mancini? "Everybody's Talking" from Midnight Cowboy? Pulp Fiction soundtrack?

    January 27, 2010 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  164. Jon

    What about the entire original score for Lawrence of Arabia (Maurice Jarre)? It's as grandiose as the movie. Classic.

    January 27, 2010 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  165. Nathan

    What about Superfly? It is the only soundtrack to ever out-gross its movie. Other notables missing are Pulp Fiction and O'Brother Where Art Thou.

    January 27, 2010 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  166. Tracey

    What about The Bodyguard and Purple Rain.....I mean how could
    you even do a list of the most influential soundtracks, and leave
    these two wonderful choices off the list. Who made these choices

    January 27, 2010 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  167. Justin

    When is the last time these guys watched a movie? 1981?

    Some great additions in the comments – but what about 8-Mile?

    January 27, 2010 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  168. MSquared

    Where's Animal House? The Blues Brothers? The Breakfast Club? Purple Rain?

    January 27, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  169. Paul

    one other that was a good idea and forgotten so often – Metropolis the Giorgio Moroder version

    January 27, 2010 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  170. Paul

    Chinatown. Anatomy of a Murder. Vertigo. Out of Africa.

    January 27, 2010 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  171. Gail

    No Goodfellas? Thatis the preeminent movie soundtrack!!!

    January 27, 2010 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  172. Chad

    Howard Shore for the LoTR Trilogy

    I completely agree with the folks who want O Brother Where Art Thou. Phenomenal score.

    January 27, 2010 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  173. Dave

    Being a Blondie fan, I have to vote for "American Gigalo." "Call Me" was the #1 song of 1980, and Giorgio Moroder was a huge producer during that era. Plus, that movie made Richard Gere a household name.

    January 27, 2010 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  174. ghetto

    The Exorcist – hands down – Tubular Bells still gives me the creeps.

    January 27, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  175. Susie

    JAWS is not on the list!! OMG!! And where is "The Bridge on the River Kwai???

    January 27, 2010 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  176. VS

    Grease defined its era, Sparkle, Aretha Franklin Rocks, and Love Jones.

    January 27, 2010 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  177. Joni

    How about any Quentin Tarantino movie soundtrack? Has everyone forgotten about Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, Kill Bill (Vol. 1 and 2) and now Inglorious Bastards?????? I can't hear the song "Stuck in the Middle with You" without picturing Michael Madsen dancing in the warehouse right before cutting off the policeman's ear in Reservoir Dogs. Or the driving beat of Lucy Liu's henchman walking to meet their demise against Uma Thurman in Kill Bill (Vol. 1). He has got to be one of the most prolific in recent years with putting together unbelievable soundtracks.

    January 27, 2010 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  178. Jim

    Who can forget Kenny Loggins??? Caddyshack....Top Gun.....Footloose.

    What about Dirty Dancing??? Breakfast Club??????

    January 27, 2010 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  179. Harry Thomas

    Several good soundtracks listed in the comments. I'd like to add:
    Heavy Metal (Various Artists)
    Passion: The Last Temptation of Christ (Peter Gabriel)
    The Blues Brothers (Various Artists)
    The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Film cast)
    The James Bond Collection (a collection of all the theme songs)
    Raiders of the Lost Ark (John Williams)
    E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (John Williams)
    Jaws (John Williams)
    Harry Potter (John Williams)
    F.M. (Various Artists)
    Themes (Vangelis – a collection of his film music)

    January 27, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  180. Jillian

    Come on now, what happend to JAWS score? Its iconic! And the soundtrack for Garden State wasa amazing too, although not written for the movie.

    January 27, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  181. janer

    Big Chill
    Pulp Fiction
    O Brother Where Art Thou?

    My favorite Altman film "Nashville" has great country music (of which I'm not a fan) that fits perfectly with the stories, some written by the actors.

    Yellow Submarine and or Help! and or Magical Mystery Tour

    Dare I mention "Tommy?"

    January 27, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  182. K

    The Magnificent Seven has a killer Western score!

    January 27, 2010 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  183. James

    Wait- is this the most inspirational SOUNDTRACK list, or most inspirational FILM SCORE? Two very different main stream definitions there. You say "soundtrack", I think songs with vocals. So, with that said, If we're doing Film Scores- Halloween does need to be included. Just playing some of those scores in broad daylight can creep you out. If we're doing Soundtracks- The Bodyguard should be included. Very odd list, very unusual ranking, very much CNN like- just odd lately.

    January 27, 2010 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  184. movie goer

    field of dreams, any musical such as singing in the rain, Close Encounters, this really does tell you that music plays such a big part in the the movie goers experience. Look at how many great movies are listed.

    January 27, 2010 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  185. Dave

    No Superman?? Really??

    January 27, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  186. Barb

    Jurassic Park (the first one)

    January 27, 2010 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  187. Ed

    How about Top Gun?????????

    January 27, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  188. JayKo

    I think the list isn't bad... Though it IS missing quite a few. I think if TCM was trying to pick movies that had soundtracks that really MADE the movie, they should have included the following:

    – Top Gun (didn't it win for best score?)
    – Breakfast Club (end song..c'mon!)
    – Beverly Hills Cop (Axel F was brilliant for it's time)
    – Pink Panther (a classic for mystery/detective movies)
    – Pulp Fiction (just odd songs that totally fit)
    – Reservoir Dogs (same as Pulp)
    – O Brother Where Art Thou? (perfect for the setting)
    – Jaws (pure classic – simple and completely effective)

    Just my opinion.

    January 27, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  189. Judy

    I personally think the Dances with wolves soundtrak was great.

    January 27, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  190. mike

    How about the movie Birdy. Peter Gabriel. Also The Wall. Pink Floyd. Eric Clapton on movie Rush.

    January 27, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  191. G.Money

    What about Purple Rain? Grease? Come on!

    January 27, 2010 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  192. G.Money

    What about Purple Rain? Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band? Come on CNN, who did your research?

    January 27, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  193. Jason

    I really wonder who comes up with these lists. I mean, really. To not include themes for Grease, Chariots of Fire, The Great Escape or even The Magnificent Seven? To list Goldfinger and not much more recognizable themes for Jaws, Simpsons, or the Peanuts dance tune? Wow.

    January 27, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  194. Kim

    A very decent list. I get only picking 1 John Williams score but I would have chosen Jaws rather than Star Wars – it created ALL the emotional response from that movie. And thrilled to see Prokofiev's score from Alexander Nevsky there. I don't think people realize how groundbreaking it was for a composer of his status to do a film score and how many themes from it are still used today. Also Man with the Golden Arm is amazing in its representational character themes. Some others I think I would have had a hard time not including? Erich Wolfgang Korngold's Adventures of Robin Hood 1938 score, Hugo Friedhofer's Best Years of Our Lives 1946 score, the film score selection from Flashdance, and Richard Roger's film score from the documentary Victory at Sea. And I frankly don't remember the Max Steiner score from King Kong - I would have picked Gone WIth the Wind or A Summer Place for a representational Steiner soundtrack.

    January 27, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  195. Snooki


    January 27, 2010 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  196. Tawinkle

    What about Lord of the Rings? Any or all of the Trilogy.

    January 27, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  197. C. Robert Dimitri

    The real problem with this list is the attempt to shoehorn film scores in the same category as what are essentially compilation soundtracks. I understand that the two frequently accomplish the same end and sometimes serve the same purpose in complementing a film, but they are truly apples and oranges.

    January 27, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  198. fred

    the pink panther theme (mancini)

    January 27, 2010 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  199. dave

    I think the soundtrack for "Betty Blue" by Gabriel Yared was amazing!

    January 27, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  200. mikep

    The Superfly soundtrack was GREAT and influential.
    It influnced hustlers and drug dealers.
    It REALLY was a good soundtrack....really !

    January 27, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  201. a weathers

    curtis mayfield – superfly

    January 27, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  202. Alan

    What about the Magnificent 7 or the Great Escape or for n that matter What about the Famous Pink Panther theme .

    January 27, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  203. Daniel

    Andrew. Those movies didn't even have noteworthy soundtracks. You must be joking. I agree with the list except for Vertigo's score by Bernard Herrmann should be on there. There are books written just about that score.

    January 27, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  204. Kevin

    What about Taxi Driver? and if you like hip hop the 8 mile soundtrack is amazing, Eminem won an oscar for that soundtrack.

    January 27, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  205. David W

    Two most haunting scores of all time are Morricone's for The Mission
    and Williams's for Empire of the Sun.
    And not nearly enough mention here for the score to Dr. Zhivago.

    January 27, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  206. kailua67

    How about Dr. Zhivago? Or West Side Story? There really have been too many American musicals and non-musical movies with great soundtracks to narrow the list down to 15. Someone is always going to come up with another movie name that makes you smack yourself in the forehead and say, "Of course! How could I have forgotten that!"

    January 27, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  207. Michael

    Pulp Fiction
    Forest Gump
    Clockwork Orange
    Danny Elfman in General

    January 27, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  208. Michelle

    I think Jaws should have made the list for just the reason that bs listed. The theme is one of the most widely recognized themes out there. Even for people who haven't seen the movie, if you make that sound as they get ready to swim at the beach, they will hesitate and look out at the water, presumably looking for sharks.

    January 27, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  209. Patricia Galipeau

    Surprised that Henry Mancini isn't mentioned in either the list or comments thus far. Breakfast at Tiffany's, Two for the Road, Pink Panther among others.

    January 27, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  210. KCL

    Maybe not the most significant, but to me, the soundtrack to ONCE really moved me and got me interested in a lot of music I'd never heard before. Love Glen and Marketa's music.

    January 27, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  211. cjireys

    How about the Big Chill and Blues Brothers?

    January 27, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  212. Valerie

    Ok, how about Erich Wofgang Korngold (Robin Hood), Leonard Bernstein (On The Waterfront), O Brother, Where Art Thou?, and Zamfir and his Pan pipes in Picnic at Hanging Rock.

    January 27, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  213. Joey Jo Jo

    The Breakfast Club!

    January 27, 2010 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  214. JP

    Requiem for a Dream anyone?

    January 27, 2010 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  215. dennisk

    I like this list. I'm sure we all have favorites we'd like to add (I loved Elfman's score for "Sleepy Hollow"), but I can't find fault with any of the choices. They all work so seamlessly as a part of the storytelling process, it's hard to imagine the films any other way.
    I do think the list intentionally omits musicals (e.g., "West Side Story").

    January 27, 2010 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  216. LmcB

    In terms of soundtracks that are compilations of well chosen music choices as back drop for a movie – Pulp Fiction.

    January 27, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  217. k.t. alexander

    who thinks this crap? really?

    January 27, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  218. luke

    whoops, didnt see that saturday night fever was listed above.....

    January 27, 2010 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  219. luke

    the first 2 i thought of was star wars and then braveheart, which is conspicuously missing in my eyes.

    how about the last of the mohicans? and DEFINITELY saturday night fever.

    January 27, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  220. bs

    Who can hear the "JAWS" theme and not think about the water and not going in. DA DA, DA DA, DA DA DA DA DADA...

    January 27, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  221. Dave

    How can you leave out the original Jurassic Park; Hans Zimmer's Backdraft, Crimson Tide, The Untouchables?>

    January 27, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  222. Jeff

    2 Newman/Redford Classics....The Sting and Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid. The Score/Soundtrack was so well integrated into both of these films.

    January 27, 2010 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  223. Susan

    Where is 'Out of Africa'? Beautiful score...

    January 27, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  224. TB

    Soundtrack: 'Manhattan' (George Gershwin). Great example of marriage between music and film, one enhancing the other.

    Score: 'Taxi Driver' (Hermann)

    I'd also include 'The Exorcist'

    January 27, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  225. Matt Holmes

    No Pulp Fiction?

    January 27, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  226. WW1023

    I have to agree that someone brought up the point of the use of the word "influential." I like the 15 chosen, but I don't think they're the most influential of all time. To not include one pop soundtrack from the 80's is ridiculous. The 80's defined the movie soundtrack. "Pretty In Pink" had one of the best movie soundtracks ever. You've all mentioned some great ones like Grease, Westside Story, Halloween, Dr. Zhivago, and even Beverly Hills Cop! How about Fasttimes at Ridgemont High or Valley Girl? Even Dazed and Confused. Too many to list, but I think their top 15 cannot be considered the most influential.

    January 27, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  227. Hambone

    Anything by John Williams, John Barry, or Hans Zimmer. I see the Johns were picked, but I really think Hans should have a place in there too. How many copies of "The Da Vinci Code" sold for just Track 13, "Chevaliers de Sangreal?" And what would "The Lion King" be without the haunting cry at the beginning of "Circle of Life?"

    January 27, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  228. Dorothea Daniels

    Wow what about Gerry Goldsmith's Medicine Man score or how about Williams score to Kingdom of Heaven it is amazing and so overlooked.

    January 27, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  229. Charlie

    I think I would choose "The Magnificent Seven" over "The Man with the Golden Arm" as an Elmer Bernstein example. One of the best BIG scores ever!

    January 27, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  230. Matt

    Mixing scores and soundtracks is always a bad idea.
    There should be separate lists for each.

    My personal fave score: Michael Nyman's score for The Piano.

    January 27, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  231. bball5369

    pride and prejudice sound trac, the red violin sount trac

    January 27, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  232. sally

    Somewhere over the rainbow

    January 27, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  233. cmwren

    let us not forget the score from poltergiest or jaws or jurassic park. those were great in their own right.

    January 27, 2010 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  234. celticode

    How can Grease be left off the list given it was the #1 selling soundtrack for decades all we ever heard for years? Wonderful work by Franki Avalon and others.

    January 27, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  235. Thor

    The most glaring omission is anything by Hans Zimmer, the most influential film composer for the last 20 years!!

    Also, while ALEXANDER NEVSKY is clearly a landmark score, it isn't particularly influential.

    January 27, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  236. J-Bone

    The soundtrack to The Crow was big to a specific demographic.

    January 27, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  237. Jay Kay

    "Requiem For A Dream" should earn a mention. Portions of it's soundtrack are used in countless trailers as are parts from the score for "Aliens." If that's not memorable and influential then I don't know what is.

    ...And one could add the score from "Sunshine" to that list as well.

    January 27, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  238. Larry

    There was no "score" for American Graffiti, just a bunch of retread oldies.

    If you look at this list, you have to wonder if only a couple of films were made between 1900 and 1950.

    Clear omissions include Korngold, Waxman, Leonard Bernstein, Rozsa and Tiomkin.

    "American Graffiti" but not "West Side Story?" Please....

    January 27, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  239. Cindy La Greca

    Where is the Romeo and Juliet Soundtrack???? It gave life to artists not formely known to fans and sold very well...Twilight and New Moon recently followed this same suit.

    January 27, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  240. chuck

    What, no Grease? or The Sound of Music?

    Although, the list indicates "influential" soundtracks, shouldn't we include Beverly Hills Cop and Back to the Future?

    And another VERY influential soundtrack, Urban Cowboy...

    January 27, 2010 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  241. melissa g

    the third man theme
    dr zhivago.

    hey, if 15 is so hard, why not do 25 or 50?

    January 27, 2010 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  242. Juan

    The Omen

    January 27, 2010 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  243. Pat

    Good catch, Tim, I forgot about Exorcist. It should have won the Oscar like Chariots did. I think it lost to The Stiing.

    January 27, 2010 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  244. mrsgodzilla

    No Rocky? You've got to be kidding me!

    January 27, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  245. Paul

    or even A Clockwork Orange would be worthy

    January 27, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  246. Doug Hohenshell

    What about Dazed and Confused?

    January 27, 2010 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  247. Ron

    Not to mention the chilling theremin through the entire length of Forbidden Planet!

    January 27, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  248. Carolyn

    Oh, but the best is Maurice Jarre's score for LAWRENCE OF ARABIA. Terrific music that evokes the sweep of the Arabian peninsula's deserts and the Bedouin who live there. Wonderful!

    January 27, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  249. Merry

    Where is Danny Elfman? Seriously, his work is some of the most recognizable (Simpsons theme, anyone?) out there because like Hermann and Morricone, he has such a unique style. I definitely think that his Batman theme deserves a place here. That was the first major film to get away from the cartoon campy-ness of the West/Ward series and take it back to its Dark Knight roots. And you get a sense of that straight away in the film, why? Because of Elfman's score over the opening titles.
    and i'm done.

    January 27, 2010 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  250. j

    I'm sorry, but the 3 most influential movie score of all time isn't even listed. 3. The Sound of Music, 2. The Wizard of Oz, 1. Rocky Horror Picture Show

    January 27, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  251. tim

    Pat = Fail on Chariots. The correct answer is Exorcist, with Michael Oldfield's Tubular Bells.

    January 27, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  252. Paul

    Prince – Purple Rain?

    January 27, 2010 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  253. movie_buff

    Glad to see that there are two Herrmann scores on this list–and I agree that "Psycho" set the trend for horror scores and "The Day the Earth Stood Still" for science fiction. But really, what about the score for "Vertigo"?! The music itself carries about 20 minutes of the film while Scotty is trailing Madeline, and Scene D'Amour is arguable the finest, most poignant piece of music ever written for a single film scene.

    Kudos to picking Barry's "Goldfinger" soundtrack!

    January 27, 2010 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  254. Raf

    #16 George Gershwin An American in Paris

    January 27, 2010 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  255. Harry

    All good picks but soundtrack from the Big Chill could rate as one also have to agree with most of the other picks from the other comments

    January 27, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  256. brenda

    um, andrew, a little over-invested are we? i think it's a good list. however, it probably should be broken down into two... original scores and soundtracks. a score is not a soundtrack.

    what about 'that thing you do?' the soundtrack was a character in the movie. i agree too that halloween was great. that music is synonymous with horror, as was the music in jaws! and close encounters! john williams should probably have his own list.

    a new addition to any such list would have to be the music from 'crazy heart.' it's just damn good, and the movie is essentially all about it.

    January 27, 2010 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  257. Pat

    Chariots of Fire...really the first successful electronic score with a main theme that is unforgettable..

    January 27, 2010 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  258. jeff

    What about the soundtrack to Animal House, it brought us "Shout"

    January 27, 2010 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  259. Elizabeth

    I wouldn't take away from this list, but if one could be added, I'd like it to be Leonard Bernstein's music from On the Waterfront. Incredible score.

    January 27, 2010 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  260. Libby

    O Brother, Where Art Thou? Soundtrack brought traditional American folk music to a new (younger) audience.

    January 27, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  261. balddude

    One film soundtrack that was forgotten on the list was the Leonard Bernstein score for ON THE WATERFRONT. Classic film, classic score.

    January 27, 2010 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  262. Brian

    These are fantastic picks, but I have to say the original "Halloween" was nothing without the soundtrack. So simple, yet so terrifying. Less was definitely more here.

    January 27, 2010 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  263. Andrew

    I really wonder who makes these lists. No Raiders of the Lost Ark = no credibility for this list period. In terms of soundtrack sales, no "City of Angels"? In terms of emotion, no "Titanic"? Can you please publish the names, occupations, or at least number of "experts" involved in such things? Sad.

    January 27, 2010 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

About this blog

Our daily cheat-sheet for breaking celebrity news, Hollywood buzz and your pop-culture obsessions.