Audiences applaud movies for many things. The visuals. The acting. The dialogue. But one element that is crucial to the success or failure of a film that is often overlooked is the music. Film scores can make or break a film, given that they’re responsible for creating themes that match the action and characters of the movie. Without music, certain scenes and characters wouldn’t be as memorable as they are.
Where would “Titanic” be without the romantic score composed by James Horner? What about the Celtic tones of Howard Shore that accompanied the “Lord of the Rings” and “Hobbit” scores? Then there’s Maurice Jarre’s epic score for “Lawrence of Arabia,” now synonymous with any film set in the desert.
Danny Elfman’s various scores, including the original “Batman” and “Mission: Impossible.” Alan Silvestri’s adventurous melodies for “Back to the Future” and heroic notes for “The Avengers.” The heavy drums and horns of Hans Zimmer’s scores for “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “The Dark Knight” and “Inception.” It’s virtually impossible to think of these films without remembering the memorable scores that ran through them. These scores aren’t just there to provide good music; they’re necessary to convey the themes, tone and story of their respective films.
No composer understands this better than John Williams. In his lifetime, Williams has composed the scores for all six “Star Wars” films, “Jaws,” “Indiana Jones,” “Jurassic Park,” the original “Superman” and the first three “Harry Potter” movies. Iconic melodies such as the Imperial March, Hedwig’s Theme and the shark theme are embedded in the public consciousness. Without these scores, their films wouldn’t have the emotional impact that they do.
A good composer like Williams understands that music should help to tell the story instead of just being there to accompany what happens on screen. Great film scores are the ones that stick with you, and have you humming them as you leave the theater. Music is used to convey many things, but none more so than the story and themes of movies. Quite simply, music and movies were made for each other.