Tuesday conversation: movie soundtracks.

Since there has been so much cynicism lately on the blog, what with the election and all, how about a lighter fare for the Tuesday conversation this week?

Which movie has the best soundtrack?  Which soundtrack has the most nostalgia for you?

Commenters are encouraged to link a youtube clip with a good song from your movie.  Today I’m listening to the soundtrack to First Blood.  For those of you who don’t necessarily like action movies, I actually like the plot of that film.  I also think Stallone killed it in the role of Rambo.

The book First Blood (which I’ve read, and in which Rambo dies in the end) was written as an examination of how veterans were treated after returning from Vietnam and the psychological scars those men had to endure for the sum of their lives.  I think the movie does that sentiment justice.  Interestingly, Al Pacino was wanting to play the role of Rambo and Kirk Douglas wanted to play Col. Trautman.  Both quit because they felt the film should have been more in-keeping with the book.  Douglas wanted Rambo to die, as he did in the novel.

Also, I love Richard Crenna.

For another fun question, despite the Rambo franchise having a reputation for gratuitous body counts, in First Blood only one person died the entire film.  Do you remember which character it was?

My favorite track from the film is called “Homecoming“.  It was composed by the great Jerry Goldsmith, who died in 2004.


About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • http://www.ziztur.com Christopher Stephens

    I honestly don’t think I can pick a favorite song, but I’ve always had a sentimental attachment to The Crow soundtrack.


  • Alicia Kopp

    South Park: Bigger Long and Uncut


    Yes, a handful of songs get nominated every year for an Oscar, but seriously… Performed by Robin Williams?! Hell yeah!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wwjtd JT Eberhard


      Trey Parker is a genius. :)

  • RuQu

    First Blood actually had a message and a plot beyond “kill lots of people.” It’s an objectively good film.

    For my submission, I love the movie “Sunshine,” though most people I’ve talked to have never heard of it.

    It’s a bit of a sci-fi horror, so the fact that this song name lists the death of a character shouldn’t be too much of a spoiler. I highly recommend the movie, though, so if spoilers really bother you, just go watch it.

    My wife loves soundtracks, and she was all over this one. This song in particular (minor spoiler in song name after the link) really captures it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMVik3EFVn4&feature=fvwrel

  • Anonymous

    Gotta go with Forrest Gump!!! I’m big on classic rock music anyways, but the music just fits well with every part of the movie. Top 5 songs from soundtrack would be: Blowin’ In the Wind, All Along the Watchtower, For What It’s Worth, Break On Through, and Go Your Own Way…hard decision on those


    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wwjtd JT Eberhard

      Agreed! Great soundtrack. Great movie!

  • http://www.cognitivedissident.org cognitive dissident

    As a former French hornist, I’ll suggest:

    John Williams “Jurassic Park” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJlmYh27MHg
    Michael Kamen “Robin Hood” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rhF6lMeQq4

    Too bombastic for some, too treacly for others, but…sometimes I’m a sucker for emotional manipulation.

    • http://leftinlowell.com Mr. Lynne

      From a French Horn point of view you should consider Star Trek II (below). ;)

  • http://yeswesam.wordpress.com Sam

    This piece from Mister Holland’s Opus: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86iTl5nD57o&feature=related

    And the opening / closing themes from Serenity: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ud83soZpEj4

  • ajb47

    I’m going classic and obvious with Star Wars (any and all – but especially the first three).

    Then I’m going to bump it up with Batman Begins and Dark Knight because I think Zimmer and Newton-Howard put together some great stuff. Zimmer’s work on the Pirates of the Caribbean movies is also great.

    And I’m going to point out that in the movie, just the deputy who was shooting at Rambo from the helicopter died.

  • Frogmistress

    The original Conan the Barbarian has one of my favorite soundtracks ever.

    • Aegis

      Don’t know if you’re aware of this, but that soundtrack was redone in 2020 – it’s called The Prometheus Edition. It’s got everything improved on it – worth checking out.

      • Aegis

        *2010. Derp.

  • UsingReason

    The Commitments, just a good movie with some great song covers:

    • UsingReason
    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wwjtd JT Eberhard

      Hell yes! Try a Little Tenderneeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeess!

    • http://www.thelosersleague.com The Schwa

      HA! My poor reading comprehension skills caused me to read your response as “Ten Commandments”! I love all those song covers by Moses!

      • UsingReason

        Hehe, fill in the blank:
        Buddy Holly and The Crickets
        Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons
        Moses and The ____________________.

    • Rowan

      I never saw The Commitments, but since the preview for it was at the front of the VHS for Ninja Turtles II that I played a shitton, I feel like I watched it.

  • Charlie

    Lots of good options. I really dig Stallone soundtracks (Over the Top; Rocky IV) but just to be different how about Eddie and the Cruisers?



  • otocump

    Top Gun. Oh and Top Gun.

    Maybe its because being an Air Cadet from ages 12-19 and a CIC officer for a few years after, that movie was required knowledge. Not only required knowledge but a bunch of us kids at the time, between the 4 of us, could do the entire movie line for line. And serenading the entire female barracks with half a squadron (~60 boys) to the tune of ‘Lost that Loving Feeling’ at 7am never got old.

    Nostalgia, aaaahhhh…

    Oh, and Tom Cruise is still insane, but as long as he’s in front of a camera and playing an interesting role I’ll still watch him.

  • http://boldquestions.wordpress.com Ubi Dubium

    OOOHH!!- every so often my chorus does a concert of music from movie soundtracks, so I really get into this.
    The Mission (Ennio Morricone)
    Lord of the Rings (Howard Shore)
    Finding Nemo (Thomas Newman)
    Gone with the Wind
    Anything Randy Newman has done for Pixar
    And of course, obviously, anything by John Williams: Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E. T. , Jaws, Harry Potter, Empire of the Sun, Amistad, Saving Private Ryan.

    (I’m not counting musicals, or soundtracks that are compilations fof music from other sources. This is just scores written specifically as background music for the movie.)

    • http://leftinlowell.com Mr. Lynne

      Ever checked out Shore’s original soundtrack to 2001 (which they didn’t use)?

      • http://leftinlowell.com Mr. Lynne

        My mistake. It wasn’t Howard Shore, it was Alex North that did a soundtrack to 2001 that didn’t get used.

  • UsingReason

    Also Oklahoma and The Blues Brothers:

    The first because I like singing ‘Oh What a Beautiful Morning’ at full volume in my car, that’s right.
    The second because when my kids were about 12-13 they were talking about musicals and I asked them, “What about The Blues Brothers?”. They were some how unaware of it so I made them watch it; a parental failing of mine that I had to fix.

  • Jaketoadie

    Hard to say a specific soundtrack, but I’ve recently thought that Zack Snyder has done a great job on the soundtracks for his movies. Particularly Watchmen and Sucker Punch:

    My favorite being this during the intro scene (couldn’t find a vid of the actual opening)

    Sucker punch:

  • http://www.thelosersleague.com The Schwa

    Don’t 2 people die in Fist Blood?
    1. the deputy that falls out of the helicopter while shooting at Rambo.
    2. the Sheriff, Teasle (Brian Dennehy) at the end. (SPOILER ALERT)

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wwjtd JT Eberhard

      I thought Teasle lived in the end…

      • http://www.thelosersleague.com The Schwa

        Yeah, I just checked imdb and it says Teasle lived. Only Galt, who fell from the choppa, died. My mistake.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wwjtd JT Eberhard

          *arms in the air in triumph*

          *victory dance*

          First thing I’ve been right about all day. w000000t! :P

    • UsingReason

      “Don’t 2 people die in Fist Blood?”
      Fist Blood, and Fist Blood 2: The Fistening.

      Hmm, I’m debating posting anything with the new bestest word in the English language ‘Fistening’ but I will proceed.

  • ibelieveindog

    Anything written by Ennio Morricone.

    And of course, Apocalypse Now. The music works with the colors to make the war surreal.

  • http://leftinlowell.com Mr. Lynne

    Star Trek II

    Love it for its construction and orchestration. This guy was paying attention to Berlioz and Korsakov’s orchestration texts to be sure. Could be a symphony all by itself. In general I love James Horner’s work, but this has been my favorite for a long time.

    Battle of the Mutara Nebula:

    Genesis Countdown:

    Surprise attack:

  • http://improbablejoe.blogspot.com Improbable Joe

    I’m a pathetic John Williams fan, so if I had to choose one it would probably be the Superman soundtrack. It is great and really fits the movie. In fact, it almost creates the atmosphere in which the movie exists. Hard to make Superman work on film without lots of anthem-style score to soften you up to the idea of watching a myth come to life.

  • http://rant5k.blogspot.co.uk/ Grikmeer

    It changes every day but the all time biggies for me are Jurassic Park (John Williams’ greatest work to my mind) and Amélie.

    I like Transformers (both the original animated film and the first Michael Bay travesty) soundtracks and scores, and Pirates of the Caribbean made me love the cello.

  • Parse

    Besides, well, anything by John Williams, I’m a big fan of the Gladiator soundtrack, by Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerard.

  • Katybe

    I watched Labyrinth at an impressionable age, so have to throw out an honourable mention for David Bowie in that.

    Never watched the Mission, but I love the Morricone soundtrack – we used Gabriel’s Oboe for my grandfather’s funeral, and I find it incredibly moving.

  • Rowan

    Cowboy Bebop: The Movie

    Other than that the only other movie soundtrack I really have is from Slumdog Millionaire.

    • Aegis

      HELL YES.

      Yoko Kanno is the best composer. Her work in Turn A Gundam and the Macross series are absolutely beyond compare.

  • Rando

    I’ve always been a fan of the song We Fight For Love, by The Power Station from the movie Commando.

    And as much as it pains me I fell in love with Stan Bush after I heard this song:
    I know it’s not from a movie but Stan Bush has sung songs from many awesome movies Transformers The Animated Movie and Bloodsport.

  • Steph

    I’m going with William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, Volume 1. A close second would be Natural Born Killers.

  • Charlie

    Another is The Big Lebowski. Always nice to get some Acid Kenny Rogers.



  • Capt Dingleberry
  • machintelligence

    Kind of old school here but I like the score from The Good,the Bad, and the Ugly, particularly the Ecstasy of Gold by Ennio Morricone.
    But not entirely old school; I also like Koyaanasquatsi by Phillip Glass, This cut is Pruit-Igoe.

  • SteveC

    I’m going to go with From Dusk Till Dawn ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0116367/ ) since it’s the only sound track I’ve sought out and bought after seeing the movie. That may be the wrong criterion for judging movie soundtracks though. To some extent, a great soundtrack for a movie should be almost subliminal, conveying emotion without drawing too much attention to itself, which, the sound track for From Dusk Till Dawn does not do. But few people go out and buy subliminal soundtracks.
    A couple tracks:

  • V. Riga

    My current favourite is the entire soundtrack of “How to train your dragon” by John Powell
    I love the movie, too

  • fwtbc

    Another vote for Morricone’s “The Ecstasy of Gold”.

    The entire “Requiem for a dream” soundtrack is pretty great, too.


    Hans Zimmer “Nyah” from M:I 2


    Michael Nyman’s works from “The Piano”


    As for movies that have awesome soundtrack CDs, the first few that come to mind are “Pulp Fiction”, “Reservoir Dogs”, “Garden State”, “Grosse Pointe Blank”, “Stand by Me”, and while not a movie, the “Everything Ends” soundtrack from “Six Feet Under” is pretty great. I remember the montage that closed out the series to the song “Breathe Me” by Sia and it was gorgeous, while simultaneously being like a knife being twisted ever so slowly.

  • Chris

    Nah, an earlier-than-Oscar soundtrack by James Horner: “The Rocketeer” FTW!

  • http://boldquestions.wordpress.com Ubi Dubium

    Oh, how could I forget!
    “Voices of Light”, the 1994 score written by Richard Einhorn, for the 1928 silent film “The Passion of Joan of Arc”. I’ve sung this in concert, just amazing.
    Samples here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ax1OC5LDQt0&playnext=1&list=PL6FECE0EF8531EED3&feature=results_main

  • Chris D.

    My favorite soundtrack of all time is “Dances With Wolves”by John Barry.It’s a beautiful soundtrack for a great movie.When my kid was younger,she would go to sleep to it.

  • http://volfield.blogspot.com Dave T

    Joe Hisaishi’s score for Princess Mononoke.

  • Aegis

    Almost anything by either Yoko Kanno (who did more series than movies) or Joe Hisaishi. Particularly the Ponyo and Laputa soundtracks, the latter containing a heartbreaking requiem for an entire civilisation.

  • http://frog-monkey.blogspot.com.au/ Lucy Mayne

    For nostalgic, nothing can beat the Lion King soundtrack for me. Growing up, it was one of only two movies we had on video, the other being 101 Dalmaions, which was nowhere near as good, and wasn’t a musical. I watched it 10′s of times, and my brother many times more.

  • HP

    Morricone’s Danger: Diabolik Imagine that Burt Bacharach and Miles Davis had a love child, and it was adopted and raised by Penderecki and Stockhausen.


    It’s a bit of a cheat; there never was an soundtrack official soundtrack release, because the original masters were destroyed in a fire. But you can get the restored DVD, and there are some home-brewed OSTs out there on the web that people have ripped and edited from different DVD and VHS releases.