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Film Music Film Music

The webmaster has been redeveloping an interest in film music, partly because as he gets older, his interest is growing in movies on historical topics and eras. Below is a growing table reflecting such interests.

The entries are brief, but where appropriate will include fictional presentations (such as Game of Thrones, which has a fascinating musical soundtrack). -Ed

Films with impressive music soundtrack

Timeframe

Film title

Starring

Music By (1)

Music By (2)

Other

Timeframe
(& whether fact/adapted/fiction)
Bias here is to non-Hollywood and historical movies

Main Composer

Timeless/modern
Fiction, musical
CatsName actors, various, stage or screenAndrew Lloyd Webber/N/ABased on Old Possum´s Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot.
Timeless
Fact
PowaqqtsiDocumentaryPhilip GlassVarious folk music, world musicAn unusual, original movie with scenes from around the world.
C209AD
Based on known fact
Red CliffTony Leung, Takeshi KaneChinese flute music plus duels on traditional instruments. FascinatingChinese naval battle on a big riverFilm by John Woo, recommended.
1100AD
Fiction, medieval
Game of ThronesPeter Dinklage, Lena HeadeyRamin DjawadiPercussion a featureHaunting musical accompaniments to scenarios.
1492
Adapted
1492: Conquest of ParadiseGerard DepardieuVangelisSynthesizerColumbus sails to the New World.
1750s
Adapted
The MissionJeremy Irons, Robert De NiroEnnio MorriconeHaunting, memorableBrutal colonisation in South America but music is inspiring.
1791
Fiction
AmadeusF. Murray Abraham, Tom HulceWolfgang Amadeus MozartMusic by Salieri Explores conflict between composers Mozart and Antonio Salieri. Classical music.
1824
Adapted
Copying BeethovenEd Harris, Diane KrugerMusic by Ludwig von Beethovenn/aEspecially features Ninth Symphony as it is written and worked on by a fictional copyist.
1860s
Fact
The Civil WarDirected by Ken BurnsCompilationsDocumentary use of folk musicHaunting, memorable. TV mini-series on American Civil War.
1860s
Fiction
The Good, the Bad and the UglyClint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, Lee Van CleefEnnio MorriconeQuirky original musicTends to cult music. Movie has scenes set in American Civil War.
1870s
Fiction
The Magnificent SevenYul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn. Eli Wallach. Elmer BernsteinBernstein also wrote music for Return of the SevenBecame a classic.
1874
Fiction
Blazing SaddlesCleavon Little, Gene Wilder, Madeline KahnMel Brooks and John Morris/N/AWhacky, anti-racist send-up of Western genre with hilarious versions of standard songs such as I get a kick out of you.
1887
Fiction
ShowboatMovie of 1951: Howard Keel, Ava GardnerJerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II (lyrics)Based on same-name novel by Edna FerberVarious versions somewhat sanitized by racist opinions of producers/audiences.
1889
Based on fact
Elvira MadiganMovie of 1967 by Bo Widerberg: Soundtrack features Mozart, Piano Concerto No. 21 in C (K467). Based on life of Danish tight-rope walker Elvira Madigan (1867-1889) who died at hands of her lover via a suicide pact.See her own wikipedia page.
C19th
Fiction
The PianoHolly Hunter, Harvey KeitelMichael NymanN/AMemorable, moody. Movie set in New Zealand.
1900
Dramatic musical
OklahomaGordon Macrea, Shirley JonesMusical about farming life.Oklahoma was declared a US state in 1907 after much theft of land from Native Americans.Rousing music and now classic. Based on 1930s play, Green Grow the Lilacs, by Lynn Riggs.
1900
Fiction
Picnic at Hanging RockRachel Roberts, Helen Morse, Dominic GuardGeorge Zamfir Pan PipesN/AHaunting, unforgettable.
1914-1918
Adapted
Lawrence of ArabiaPeter O´Toole, Alex GuinessMaurice JarreN/ASweeping and memorable on war in Middle East.
1914-1918
Fiction
Doctor ZhivagoOmar Sharif, Julie Christie, Rod SteigerMaurice JarreTheme song, Lara´s ThemeSweeping amid backdrop of Russia/World War One
1920s
Fact
ProhibitionDocumentary by Ken BurnsJazz of the US Prohibition EraN/AEntertaining. See also the HBO TV mini-series by Scorsese, Boardwalk Empire.
1930s, 1940s/1968
Fiction, Comedy/musical
Springtime for Hitler/The ProducersSatirical black humour from Mel BrooksMel Brooks/John MorrisSurprisingly successfulWhacky movie from Mel Brooks of the heydays of Adolf Hitler.
1940s
Fiction
South PacificRossano Brazzi, Mitzi Gaynor, Juanita HallMusic by Rodgers and Hammerstein,. Original 1949 script intended to combat racismRomantic musical now regarded as classic.Set in Pacific theatre, World War II. Adapted from James Michener´s novel, Tales of the South Pacific.
1957
Fiction
West Side StoryNatalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn. Musical/drama now seen as classicLeonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim (Lyrics)Regarded as culturally significant. Won 10 Oscars.
1962-1971
Fiction
A Clockwork OrangeMalcom Macdowell, Patrick McGeeSynthesizer by Walter Carlos (rather pioneering)Classical pieces various as chosen by director Stanley Kubrick, re-interpreted.A movie rendered in stunning style. Based on a same-name novel by Anthony Burgess.
1960s
Fiction
Across the UniverseActors, minorThe BeatlesGeorge MartinImaginative view of impact of Beatles music on young people in USA. Dreamy sequences. Production values high.
1960s
Adapted from fact
Alice´s RestaurantArlo GuthrieBased on same-name satirical song by Arlo GuthrieUS singer/songwriterSardonic hippy has misadventures with US army during period of Vietnam War after being accused of littering.
1960s
Fiction/Adapted
Apocalypse NowMartin Sheen, Marlon BrandoSome original music by Carmine CoppolaPop music of the times: The Rolling Stones, The Doors, Jimi HendrixClassic depiction of Vietnam War.
1965
Fiction (play, movie)
Bran Nue DaeGeoffrey Rush, Magda Szubanski, Ernie DingoCezary Skubiszewski, Kuckles and Jimmy ChiPatchy reviewsRoad trip and misadventure story for Aboriginals with 21 music interludes set in Western Australia.
1967
Fiction/adapted
Full Metal JacketMatthew Modine, Adam BaldwinAbigail Mead/Vivian Kubrick on SynthesizerPop music of the timesBased on 1979 novel The Short-Timers by Gustav Hasford, and work by US journalist Michael Herr.
1990s
Fiction, film, musical
The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the DesertTerence Stamp, Hugo Weaving, Bill HunterEnsembles, variousRelies on music by AbbaRoad movie misadventures of a troupe of drag queens in Australian outback, unexpectedly interesting/funny.
Contemporary
Fiction, 2000
Sea ChangeSigrid Thornton, David Wenham, William McInnesEnsembles, variousPop music renditions, eg, dobroVery original music. Quirky humour. Production values high. Australian TV mini-series.
Forthcoming, 1780s
Fiction
Les MiserablesHugh JackmanMore to come More to comeBased on fiction by French author Victor Hugo.
Future
Fiction
2001: A Space OdysseyKeir Dullea, Gary LockwoodClassical music excerptsMusic written by Alex North was not used. Very original sci-fi movie from Stanley Kubrick/Arthur C. Clarke with trademark Kubrick use of excerpts from classical music.


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