Rabz’ Radio Show November 2022: Movie Soundtracks

The use of music in movies generally takes two forms – building or essaying the mood of a particular scene, (“the score”) or the use of a particular song (or theme) to emphasise a scene’s context.

I’ve only got about four movie soundtracks in my collection that I’m aware of – they include:

Betty Bleu (1986)

Full Metal Jacket (1987)

Colors (1988)

Pulp Fiction (1994)

Bought those soundtracks mainly because they included songs I loved by artists who weren’t in the collection, or the whole soundtrack stood on its merits. Whoever curated the Full Metal Jacket soundtrack for example, did very well indeed.

Other classic soundtracks I love include Animal House and Quadrophenia, both featuring the Kingsmen’s “Louie Louie”, which legend would have it, was the subject of a long running (31 months) FBI investigation due to allegations the lyrics were allegedly laced with profanity, graphically depicting (that’s enough of that – Dover) culminating in this legendary finding: (FBI Agents were) “unable to interpret any of the wording in the record.”

Something that does get on my goat is the incongruous, completely out of context use of songs in movies – see for example the use of Jr Walker and the Allstars’ “Shotgun” in “Misery”.

Two songs that anyone who’s seen the films will immediately recognise:

Theme from Betty Bleu – Gabriel Yared

Misirlou – Dick Dale

Enjoy, people! Please post freely, especially your favourite songs or music from various films, of which there should be many. Again, I’m barely scratching the surface here. Plenty of space in the comments section, so go for it. You know you want to.

140 thoughts on “Rabz’ Radio Show November 2022: Movie Soundtracks”

  1. This one is current. I watched Top Gun: Maverick on one of the flights to Europe and then this song was being used by Irish TV channel RTE One in advertisements for a new chat show that started when we were in Ireland, so the song will always remind me of Ireland.


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  2. Maurice Jarre too.

    The soundtrack to Witness sounds a bit dated now because it is no synth laden but still effective dramatically, particulary the barn raising scene.

    And Chariots of Fire by Vangelis from the same period.


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  3. I think these might be some of the first instances of using pop songs in music soundtracks (other than musicals & films that were vehicles for pop stars like Elvis & The Beatles):

    Moon River in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

    Mrs. Robinson from The Graduate (1967).

    Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head in Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid (1969)


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  4. The first soundtrack album I bought was for The Big Chill.

    Yes…great songs, mostly soul.

    And they complement the script and acting, rather than dominating them, which I find missing in more recent use of pop music in films, where the music dominates. Classical screen composers always knew not to do that.

    Which reminds me of Bernard Herrmann’s great score for Taxi Driver, which arguably broke that rule


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  5. I think I’ll go with Francis Ford Coppola. The Patton theme by Jerry Goldsmith and Ride of the Valkyries in Apocalyse Now. I won’t link as the best vids are a bit chunky for this time of the evening!

    So instead I’ll put up this one, which is a song from one movie applied perfectly to a later remake.

    Tribute to the Joker and Heath Ledger


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  6. “American Graffiti”?

    Carefully-selected 50s / early 60s music.

    “Crossroads”?.

    “The Mission’ (Ennio Morricone); a non-pop soundrack of impressive presence.


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  7. The Big Chill

    Loathsome characters – unrepentant hypocrites as exemplified in the scene where the Kevni Kline character defends his new found respect for “the pigs”. Lovely sly reference to his company on the passing truck though, “Running Dogue”.

    And yes, “Jeremiah was a bullfrog“, as opposed to a cane toad.


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  8. Especially Star Wars. Have I mentioned Star Wars?

    John Williams, Crazy (see above). A wonderful film composer.

    Also did Jaws & Saving Private Ryan, among many others.


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  9. Great post Rabz !

    In regards to Full Metal Jacket . . . Kubrick’s attention to music was an aspect of what many referred to as his “perfectionism” and extreme attention to minute details.

    In his last six films, Kubrick usually chose music from existing sources, especially classical compositions. He preferred selecting recorded music over having it composed for a film, believing that no hired composer could do as well as the public domain classical composers. He also felt that building scenes from great music often created the “most memorable scenes” in the best films.

    Surprise, surprise as a cinema aficionado I have a very large digital library of film soundtracks, of which some of my favourites are:

    2001: A Space Odyssey – A mix of classical and avant-garde.
    Blade Runner – Vangelis
    Enigma – John Barry
    Gladiator – Hans Zimmer
    Inception – Hans Zimmer
    Jaws – John Williams
    Lawrence Of Arabia– Maurice Jarre
    Once Upon A Time In The West – maestro Ennio Morricone
    Psycho – Bernard Herrmann
    Schindler’s List – John Williams
    The Big Country – Jerome Moross
    The Dollars Trilogy – Ennio Morricone
    The Godfather – Nino Rota
    The Ipcress File – John Barry
    The Ninth Gate – Wojciech Kilar
    The Usual Suspects – John Ottman
    Vertigo – Bernard Herrmann
    Where Eagles Dare – Ron Goodwin
    Zulu – John Barry


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  10. Rabz says:
    November 5, 2022 at 7:51 pm
    The Big Chill
    Loathsome characters – unrepentant hypocrites as exemplified in the scene where the Kevni Kline character defends his new found respect for “the pigs”. Lovely sly reference to his company on the passing truck though, “Running Dogue”.

    I agree, not much to like in the film except the music.


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  11. Yes, the Big Chill was one of those movies where I really wanted to like the characters…maybe a couple of characters…maybe one.

    No wonder their “best mate” topped himself. Dramatic, but understandable.


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  12. calli – the only character I had any sympathy for was the one played by William Hurt.

    “He looks like one of our grate American drug dealers, I tells ya”


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  13. Li’l known factlet: The dead wally in The Big Chill was “played”* by Kevni Costner, whose scenes all ended up on the cutting room floor – except for the tan rayon flares being tucked into the coffin in the early scenes.

    *In quite possibly his most “beautifullee yakted” role.


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  14. Last of the Mohicans soundtrack by Trevor Jones.

    Plus most movie scenes with helicopters and good music. For example Gary Owen from We Were Soldiers when the Hueys set off.


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  15. Wicked opening prologue from an underrated fillum-
    The Anvil of Crom
    Arguably ripped off for Total Recall and Terminator 2. I remember front row small town cinemar for Total Recall, which we were underage by a good margin, watching the firey titles bleed and the music rain down on the audience…
    If we’re talking OST FMCGs, the cassette soundtrack to 1969 went round and round in dual deck for years, rounded out by a Pretenders version of Bacharach n David’s Windows of the World, which I thought was a bum note at the time, bookending some ripper gritty swamp 60’s choons.


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  16. Bruce of Newcastle says:
    November 5, 2022 at 8:30 pm
    Here it is.
    Has to be THE disaster flick. Was awesome on the big screen.

    I saw The Poseidon Adventure in the cinema and it was quite “breathless” at times. That movie was in the middle of a run of disaster movies started off by Airport, followed by several more Airports and through to The Towering Inferno. I must admit, I love disaster movies.


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  17. Mustn’t forget the old Looney Tunes cartoons, great use of classical music, my favourite is the Three Little Pigs with Brahms’ Hungarian Rhapsody.

    And that reminds me … Fantasia, Amadeus and Hanging at Picnic Rock .


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  18. Who is the Burt Bacharach of the 21st century?

    jupes – thankfully, a lot of the twenty first century is ahead of us.

    Pity we won’t be here to witness it … 😕


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  19. In 1960 at The Forum theatre in George St, Sydney I saw Porgy and Bess and was blown away. Unforgettable.
    I therefore put forward here
    Porgy And Bess Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1959)
    Tracklist
    Overture
    Summertime
    A Woman Is A Sometime Thing
    The Wake:
    Gone, Gone, Gone
    Porgy’s Prayer

    My Man’s Gone Now
    I Got Plenty O’ Nuttin’
    Bess, You Is My Woman Now
    Morning
    Catfish Row
    I Can’t Sit Down
    It Ain’t Necessarily So
    I Ain’t Got No Shame
    What You Want With Bess?
    Street Cries:
    Strawberry Woman
    Crab Man

    I Loves You, Porgy
    A Red-Headed Woman
    Clara, Clara
    There’s A Boat That’s Leavin’ Soon For New York
    Oh, Where’s My Bess?
    I’m On My Way



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  20. You just have to love the scenes where Cliff is driving around Hollyweird like a Japanese dentist.

    I loved the whole movie. Best Tarantino movie and best movie of the last five years in my humble opinion.


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  21. From Wiki:
    Bacharach composed and arranged the soundtrack of the 1967 film Casino Royale, which included “The Look of Love”, performed by Dusty Springfield, and the title song, an instrumental Top 40 single for Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass.


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  22. Best Tarantino movie and best movie of the last five years in my ‘umble o’pinion

    OK, Pancho – so you presumably noticed that Cliff was partial to White Levi’s Jackets?

    All this garbage about those cultural garments being favoured by men who aren’t into women is just bollocks.

    Not having it, etc. There are few garments on this planet cooler than White Levi’s Jackets, with the possible exception of White Leather adidas boxing boots.

    Goils love them and want to wear them, which is just not allowed.

    If that makes me some rampant flamer spook, then so be it. 😕


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  23. I think most of mine are scene scores.
    Just about anything Morricone. The mission is a tearjerker, and all the westerns (in particular “Once Upon a Time” and Jills Theme)
    Malena is another.

    The English Patient with the Hungarian folk tunes was great – but I was hooked on Hector Zazou’s ‘new Corsican polyphony’ when younger, so that may have influenced my thoughts a little.

    Zimmer’s Interstellar is full of great stuff. Docking Scene

    An exception to the above is Guardians of the Galaxy – it even uses a walkman for a plot device.


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  24. GreyRangasays:
    November 5, 2022 at 9:46 pm
    BoN I love Miss Peregrine. Well Eva Green. I wanted her to come home with me but she didn’t want to and my wife wouldn’t have let me keep her.

    she was a bit rough in The Salvation.


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  25. Have I mentioned Star Wars?

    A modern opera.

    The bad guy has a theme, so does the good guy.

    There’s capes, swords and damsels in distress; court jesters (C3PO, R2D2).

    What’s not to love?


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  26. court jesters C3PO, R2D2

    LOL – I’d never thought of them in that role (until now). Lucas described them as “impartial observers” of the mighty events they inadvertently blundered into.


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  27. Paperback Writer

    Sacré bleu – they were the best. Note the almost imperceptible growl on the guitars, the harmonies, the haircuts (which will never be bested) the clarity of the recording and the pure pop they’re purveying.

    Thankfully, all recorded on film.

    Magnifique.


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  28. How can you have a movie music thread and no one mentions Vanishing Point?

    Because we’ve been waiting for you to blunder on here and trumpet it, Squire.

    Arks – I am familiar with the legend of Vanishing Point, both the film and the album.

    FFS, I’ve been posting on this blogue about my love of the album for many moons, squire.

    You know this – stop being a curmudgeon for the sake of it.


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  29. You know this – stop being a curmudgeon for the sake of it.

    ..
    A Dodge Challenger, an anti hero with a butt load of amphetamines, an anti authoritarian cross country car chase and sunburnt titties on a Honda.
    Hang your head in shame for forgetting to remember it until now.


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  30. Check out the new German movie version of All Quiet on the Western Front. Some great, sinister music by a German composer who goes by the name Hauschka. It’s on Netflix now.


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  31. I’m a little disappointed in Cat pedants. The Birds didn’t have a musical soundtrack. I expect better. Not very often does one not get picked up on minor details. Lift your collective game please.


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  32. I don’t reckon a soundtrack made up of songs should be referred to as a soundtrack. First and foremost it’s a marketing angle. I mean, a Vietnam movie is really just a two-hour or so advertisement for the merch CD. Sure, some movies make good use of songs – Tarantino’s songs selections are often excellent – but in the main it has become a cynical ploy.
    A soundtrack to me is a Morricone, Schifrin, Barry, Williams, various Newmans, Steiner, etc accompaniment to or enhancement of the action on the screen, not a Greatest Hits of the 80s CD.


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  33. The panorama of the magnificent seven, the urban hopscotch of Scott Joplin s music in the sting.
    With ya Tony Taylor.
    Really enjoyed the analysis from Roger of John Williams music.
    Does any one remember Blow Out” the uk film from the late 60s


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  34. Watched Back To The Future with the kid last night.
    It too featured a Sony Walkman as a plot device, but you don’t see me getting all David Stratton hoity toity about the observation. All in all it was kinda lost in a subconscious sea of flashing promo spots, inc Pepsi, JC Penny, GMC.
    …Waffle time….
    I’ve got no qualms about a movie producing an OST as an FMCG. Any amount of frinstance Spielberg films have an ostentatios lyric pop soundtrack, both to hook you in to the illusion (I reckon it fills up the viewer’s internal monologue which would otherwise be constantly verballising with “sheesh girls were skinny back then”, and to jog the memory outside the cinema when digesting the story sometimes for decades afterwards.
    It’s a first world wank to say “it’s the job of film maker’s art to always produce a highly polished symphonic soundtrack for figurative purposes foremost”. I bristle at all of those “it’s a cartoonist’s job to constantly belittle the ruling faction of the time… it’s an artist’s job to publicly self-abuse their way through a lifelong mental breakdown…”
    No it’s flippin not anyone’s job to fill my expectations or act as a cypher it some static cultural stand-off. It’s a cartoonist’s job to earn a living, they usually do it by winning eyeballs, syndication, publication, and over their time they sharpen their craft and keep their wits about them too. It’s a (visual) artist’s job to earn a living, in the good ol’ days they usually did by winning commissions and market sales, now it’s been corrupted by the Ministry of Art which commands marquee merde-heaps on a market-failure model.
    And it’s a film-maker’s job to earn a living.
    Again, the Ministry of Art has corrupted the cultural conversation, particularly in a one-horse town like Australia where an entirely subsidized production line feeds into a loss-making main street cinema festival parade and a largely predictable awards system.
    Think of any film which was feted as the new golden age of Australians Want To See Their Stories Reflected Back At Them On The Big Screen And This Actorx-Filmakerx-Soundtrack Is Taking It All The Way To Venice.
    Priscilla- unwatchable high camp, will only be re-screened for Pride Month- soundtrack was kinda successful from a nostalgia ticket
    Samson And Delilah- critical masterpiece, reality unwatchable misery, will not be re-screened evah- soundtrack of buzzing flies iirc
    The Proposal- wannabe western, cardboard sets and scenery-eating overacting- will not be re-screened- a solid year-long pre-release campaign of how the soundtrack was being scored by Warren Eliss and Nick Cave omg omg they’re so alternative- in reality, the sountrack was an embarrasingly jarring parade of racket which switched on and off again like an air horn, an absolute failure of illusion-wrecking wank even before Cave muttered some cod-biblical crap lyrics while a dusty horseman galloped a dusty horse over some dusty dust. If anyone bought the soundtrack, they’d have to be a Cave-Ellis completeist. Will not be re-screened.
    Somersault- watchable only for the floorshow- again pre-emptively promoted for the amaaaaazing dahling soundtrack by Decoder Ring, in reality a bad flop of bloopy beeps, again so jarringly on-and-off again that it makes you wonder how the film-maker harvested so much Ministry of Art film commission money when it would seem they skipped the classes where they practice being smooth on the audio track sliders… oh, it’s cos They was a She. Will only be re-screened by boys with their fingers on the pause button.

    Good films transcend their medium. Look at Star Wars. All the things the critics adore, like a good story, good craft, good tech, and an acclaimed Wagnerian soundtrack which has a life beyond its genesis (remember the Dutch trumpeter giving the batflu gendarmerie a bit of Vader’s leitmotif?)-
    and all the things the punters love, like furry toys and a widely distributed OST which got played so much it wore out the grooves, and nudged the fans back into re-watching the film.
    Celebrating good soundtracks is of a piece with celebrating good actors. Yeah, you might have seen the face in dozens of features and heard the tune a thousand times, but if the illusion is woven, why whinge about it being “commercial” or “mercantile”?
    Or, “ooh ew it’s not True Art, it’s a just marketing ploy”. Fuck that Ministry Of Art lordy lordy condescention, that’s what gives kudos to producers like Warwick Thornton, miserable mavens of failure.
    We should be celebrating films, no matter where they come from or go to, which are popular with the teenage consumers of tickets, jaffas, toys and records. In a lot of ways, they’re the best of capitalism and commercialism, and crowning glory of the film-makers art.


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  35. remember the Dutch trumpeter giving the batflu gendarmerie a bit of Vader’s leitmotif?

    err, no, Squire – care to link a film clip of this legendary galactic event?


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  36. Look at Star Wars

    The best theme (and scenes) in Star Wars were when poor li’l Leia had to fight her way out of the Jabba’s slimy clutches, while clad in a post futurist bikini before shortly rescuing the man she loved.

    Magnificent stuff. 🙂


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  37. Along with Jon Snow* and Ygritte, Han and Leia is one of the greatest love stories in human history.

    Feel free to nominate some others, Cats.

    *Knowing nothing as he is.


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  38. True Grit (2010) – Full soundtrack (Carter Burwell)

    Immediately reminds me of the music in Ken Burns’ The Civil War series.
    I haven’t watched the new version of True Grit, only the John Wayne one.


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