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Favorite Theme Music

SO BORED. I started making a list in my head and I thought some of my friends might want to chime in. These are some of my favorite film and TV musical themes.

I'm not saying they're the best (though some of them are undisputably pretty damn good), just my favorites. I wasn't thinking of "songs" exactly, so I didn't pick a lot of vocals, just musical themes. And I'm sure I've forgotten a lot, so please add your favorites.

The Natural
Little Women
Meet Joe Black
Out of Africa
The Exorcist
Somewhere in Time
Platoon (Barber’s Adagio)
My Neighbor Totoro
Chariots of Fire
Born Free
The Horse Whisperer
O Brother Where Art Thou
Romeo and Juliet
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

Band of Brothers
How the West Was Won
Battlestar Galactica
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
The X Files
The Waltons

My favorite film composer is Thomas Newman, and apparently my favorite TV composer is Derek Wadsworth. I looked up one of the items on my list and discovered that he'd composed three of them!


( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 3rd, 2007 12:57 am (UTC)
I really liked the score and soundtrack to the remake of The Thomas Crown Affair....it's probably my favorite right at the moment. I also like the music to Next Stop Wonderland, which is mostly Bossa Nova.

This is a good list Mary....I can't think of any others off the top of my head right now.
Jun. 3rd, 2007 01:44 am (UTC)
Hey, a. I was looking something up earlier and I think I saw that the TCA score was by Michel Legrand, who did Umbrellas of Cherbourg and others.
Jun. 3rd, 2007 12:58 am (UTC)
Hi Mary. Great topic. :-)

"The Natural" and "Chariots of Fire" are outstanding choices. Man, with "The Natural," I get chills just thinking how the music enhances about the scene where Hobbs hits the cover off the ball. And of course, the ending. "Enhances" might be selling it short, don't you think? :-)

The "Taxi" theme gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling. And the themes for BSG, X-Files, and (I've learned recently) Firefly do a great job of setting the mood.

MOVIES: "Star Wars," "The Godfather."

TV: "The Sopranos," "Rescue Me," "Six Feet Under."

And I'm sure I've forgotten a lot
Me, too. Someone's going to make me say "Oh, yeah! How could I forget that one?" :-)

Jun. 3rd, 2007 01:47 am (UTC)
I remember loving the Star Wars theme at the time...

I've never seen Rescue Me --- maybe I should watch once just for the theme music.
Jun. 3rd, 2007 01:55 am (UTC)
I've never seen Rescue Me --- maybe I should watch once just for the theme music.
It is a really good show. (Heh-heh-heh.) But yeah, you could tune in as it starts, hear the theme, out in 5 minutes. ;-)

It's "Come On, Come On" by the Von Bondies. Goodman from the SF Chronicle says it's like a shot of adrenalin every week. I don't disagree. :-)
Jun. 3rd, 2007 05:43 pm (UTC)
I thought of some more this morning. (I also saw a cute little red-haired girl, about 3 or 4, who reminded me of Little M. :-) )

I think there may be some distinction in judging between movie and TV themes. Try this one out: A great movie theme is one that you recognize immediately, or where you cannot separate the music from your recollection of the movie.

A great TV theme, because you hear it every week, has to perfectly capture the essence of the show. A negative example among TV themes is Law and Order. This deadly serious (no pun intended) show has a theme song that, while instantly recognizable, doesn't at all match the show's tone.

Given all that:

MOVIES: Psycho, Patton, Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

TV: WKRP in Cincinnati, NYPD Blue, Homicide: Life on the Street, Arrested Development.
Jun. 4th, 2007 01:19 am (UTC)
I think you make a good point about the distinction, and what makes a theme effective. Good point about L&O.

(My list was totally music-only --- I didn't consider the fit with the piece or the effectiveness of it or anything, just how much I liked the music.)

So by your definition, I think the theme to Cheers is one of the best and actually I'd say MASH was one of the worst! Only because it had a certain sadness to it (which fit the movie) and, though the TV show touched on dark themes, it was ultimately a comedy, complete with laugh-track. But, now that I think about it, what's funny about the TV theme is that it sort of tries to put a cherry on top right at the end. :-) So maybe they were aware of this problem.
Jun. 3rd, 2007 06:40 pm (UTC)
Great topic! I am pretty crap at actually remembering stuff like this, though. I'm impressed at your list, off the top of your head!

One TV theme that I adore is for Once and Again. Yep, it's Snuffy, but there's something wonderfully haunting about using the female voices. And, the way they float in and out--I can almost 'hear' each of the characters within it. It's a great match for the series, and beautiful on its own as well.

A movie score that comes to mind is the one for The Legend of 1900. It's Ennio Morricone...how can you go wrong, right? (And of course, The Mission is simply legendary, for a very good reason.)

Ooh...The Last of the Mohicans always gets me, too.
Jun. 4th, 2007 01:15 am (UTC)
I hear about The Mission from time to time, and I really should see it. I've heard it's a great score....
Jun. 5th, 2007 02:14 pm (UTC)
I've never seen the movie, but the score is.....there's just no words. I'm sure you've heard the most popular part of the theme before (a lot of skaters use it), and it just soars.

The Mission soundtrack. Gabriel's Oboe is the piece heard most often.
Jun. 3rd, 2007 08:05 pm (UTC)
Hmmm, film would be Henry V (the Ken Brannagh version), Master and Commander, and The Magnificent Seven. On TV I loved the Northern Exposure theme, Maverick, and Veronica Mars.

Oh, and Buffy.

Jun. 4th, 2007 01:14 am (UTC)
I vaguely remember liking the Henry V music --- I should check that out.
Jun. 5th, 2007 10:13 pm (UTC)
When I give you the Amy Winehouse I can give you the Henry V, too.
Jun. 6th, 2007 12:32 am (UTC)
Lynda, I really like that "tried to make me go to rehab" song. Suddenly the English countryside is teeming with thin white girls who sound like Aretha Franklin or Etta James ...

Appearance-wise, is she not Sarah Silverman with tattoos? :-)
Jun. 7th, 2007 02:50 pm (UTC)
I love Master & Commander and Last of the Mohicans. Shawshank Redemption is really outstanding, too.

As for television, I love the theme for Barney Miller.
Jun. 7th, 2007 03:12 pm (UTC)
That is a great song, Aunt Deen. It suggests that the song came before the TV show, that the musicians' first priority was to make a great piece of music.

Not much time these days to build from lazy bass to hot trumpet. Sigh.
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 9th, 2010 04:05 pm (UTC)
Ooh, thanks! I'll go check that out!

I like your username.
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )