Category Archives: Film Music Fridays

Film Music Fridays: James Horner

james horner soundtrakcs

James Horner is an American film composer most famous for his scores to James Cameron’s Titanic (1997) and Avatar (2009) – the two highest grossing films of all time. Almost uniquely amongst other film composers, Horner is a great advocate of Celtic music and has written several film scores in this style; notably Braveheart and Titanic.

“I’m a fanatic about Irish music. I love its moody, modal and timeless quality. I’m different from some other composers, because I don’t look at this as just a job. I think of music as art.” 


Despite the characteristic musical cliches that many film composers are guilty of, his ability to write some of the most emotional music in in film has brought phenomenal success. The following 20 Great Songs list are in no particular order and feature multiple entries from the big hitters like Avatar, Titanic, and Bicentennial Man, but also some of the lesser known earlier films like The Rocketeer (1991) and Glory (1989).

[If you’re logged into Spotify, scroll down to the bottom of the post for the full embed playlist].

Ten Song Taster

1) Climbing up “Iknimaya – The Path To Heaven” (from Avatar)

2) The Search For Another (from Bicentennial Man)

3) Zorro’s Theme (from The Mask of Zorro)

4) The Portrait (from Titanic)

5) The Gift Of Mortality (from Bicentennial Man)

6) To The Rescue/End Credits (from The Rocketeer)

7) End Credits (from Braveheart)

8) Dance (from Zorro)

9) The Ludlows (from Legends of the Fall)

10) Pandora (from Avatar)

Full Song List

  1. Climbing up “Iknimaya – The Path To Heaven” (from Avatar)
  2. The Search For Another (from Bicentennial Man)
  3. Zorro’s Theme (from The Mask Of Zorro)
  4. The Portrait (from Titanic)
  5. The Gift Of Mortality (from Bicentennial Man)
  6. Glory – End Credits (from Glory)
  7. To The Rescue / End Credits (from The Rocketeer)
  8. End Credits (from Braveheart)
  9. The Ludlows (from Legends of the Fall)
  10. Pandora (from Avatar)
  11. Rose (from Titanic)
  12. Emotions (from Bicentennial Man)
  13. Apollo 13 – Main Title (from Apollo 13)
  14. Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan – End Credits (from Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan)
  15. Wearing Clothes For The First Time (from Bicentennial Man)
  16. A Gift of a Thistle (from Braveheart)
  17. Becoming one of “The People” Becoming one with Neytiri (from Avatar)
  18. Jake’s first flight (from Avatar)
  19. Diego’s Goodbye (from The Mask of Zorro)
  20. Unable To Stay, Unwilling To Leave (from Titanic)

Full Spotify Playlist Link: James Horner


Film Music Fridays: Thomas Newman

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Thomas Newmans’ prolific career has seen him write for some of the most successful films of the last twenty years- even if you’ve never heard of him, you’re likely to already know his music. Shunning the John Williams-esque epic theme approach, he instead subtly captures the emotion of each film with a distinct style: clustering harmonies, striking rhythms, synthesised sounds, delicate solo passages and rich string accompaniment

Like many director-composer collaborations in the movie industry, Newman’s enduring creative partnership with director Sam Mendes has brought considerable success.  First collaborating together on American Beauty in 1999, an impressive list of hits has followed with Road to Perdition (2002), Jarhead (2005), Revolutionary Road (2008), and most recently, Skyfall (2012). Of these films only American Beauty is featured on the playlist as it is the most iconic and the remainder are made up of various great films including Meet Joe Black, The Shawshank Redemption and Finding Nemo. [For the full Spotify Playlist, scroll to the bottom of the post].

Ten Song Taster

1. Dead Already (from American Beauty)

On his inspiration for his American Beauty (1999) score: “Sam [Mendes] wanted things that hammered and thwacked a bit. He was interested in percussion and mallet instruments, so I started working on various ideas that involved xylophones and marimbas.” (IMDb) 

2. Cold Lamb Sandwich (from Meet Joe BlackWatch the scene here

3. Finding Nemo / Nemo Egg (from Finding Nemo)

4. Deviled Eggs (from The Help)

5. The Whistle Stop Cafe (from Fried Green Tomatoes)

6. Little Women (from Little Women)

7. The Letter That Never Came (from Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events)

8. Road To Perdition (from Road To Perdition)

9. The Shawshank Redemption End Titles (from The Shawshank Redemption)

10. That Next Place (from Meet Joe Black)

Spotify Playlist: 20GreatSongs from Thomas Newman (Excluding ‘The Whistle Stop Cafe’: not available on Spotify)

Feel free to post any suggestions for additions to the list below!

Film Music Fridays: Ennio Morricone

With a career that spans over fifty years and hundreds of film scores, Italian composer Ennio Morricone has produced some of the most well-recognised music in the film industry. Most famous for composing the scores to many of Sergio Leone’s westerns, he has also found enormous success composing for Quentin Tarantino and Giuseppe Tornatore’s Cinema Paradiso. Twelve tracks are featured as YouTube videos and the remainder of the playlist can be found in the Spotify Playlist Link below.

Spotify Playlist Link: Ennio Morricone

Ten Song Taster

1. ‘Cinema Paradiso Theme’ (from Cinema Paradiso)

2. ‘Deborah’s Theme’ (from Once Upon A Time in America)

3. ‘The Braying Mule’ (from Django Unchained)

4. ‘Mucchio Selvaggio’ (from My Name Is Nobody)

5. ‘The Ecstasy of Gold’ (from The Good, The Bad & The Ugly)

6. ‘Guns For San Sebastian’ (from Guns For San Sebastian)

7. ‘For A Few Dollars More Theme’ (from For A Few Dollars More)

8. ‘Il Vizietto’ (from La Cage aux Folles)

9. ‘Once Upon A Time In America Theme’ (from Once Upon A Time In America)

10. ‘Once Upon A Time In The West Theme’ (from Once Upon A Time In The West)

[Or if you sign into Spotify you can listen to the whole playlist here]