It’s not surprising that the collaborations between film directors and composers has resulted in some of the greatest films across all genres and from all corners of the globe. Emotive, powerful and versatile, music is the perfect compliment and boundless inspiration for any writer, director or artist’s creative vision.
Music has a strange and powerful way of permeating our subconscious and attaching itself irrevocably to our memories and experiences in this world. It goes without saying that the ultimate accompaniment to any film experience then is music.Think of some of the great films that have benefited from this special kind of creative marriage; La Dolce Vita, Once Upon a Time in America, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Doctor Zhivago, Blue Velvet, Batman, Leon, True Romance, Rushmore, Interview with a Vampire, Spirited Away, to name a few. For me, those films have become unforgettable in my mind because of the way the score interacts with the film and narrative. It doesn’t always happen that films are made better by their score, but that’s a story for another time. Let’s take a look at some of the best partnerships in film to date.
Nino Rota and Federico Fellini – Fellini’s film from The White Sheik to Federico Fellini’s Orchestra Rehearsals, (including La Dolce Vita, 81/2, Roma)
Ennio Morricone and Sergio Leone – Leone’s films from his first, A Fistful of Dollars, to his last, Once Upon a Time in America
Henri Mancini and Blake Edwards – The Pink Panther Films, The Party, Gunn, The Great Race, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Victor/Victoria
Maurice Jarre and David Lean – Doctor Zhivago, A Passage to India, Lawrence of Arabia, Ryan’s Daughter
Elmer Bernstein and Martin Scorsese – Cape Fear, The Age of Innocence, Bringing out the Dead
Angelo Badalamenti and David Lynch – Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart, Twin Peaks (TV and film), Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive
Danny Elfman and Tim Burton – The Nightmare Before Christmas, Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, Planet of the Apes, Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, Batman, Batman Returns, Ed Wood,
Eric Serra and Luc Besson – Le Dernier Combat, Subway, Le Grand Bleu (The Big Blue), Nikita, Atlantis, Leon (aka The Professional), The Fifth Element, Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc and Arthur and the Minimoys.
Elliot Goldenthal and Neil Jordan – Interview with a Vampire, The Butcher Boy, In Dreams, The Good Thief
Joe Hisaishi and Hayao Miyazaki – Spirited Away, Castle in the Sky, Porco Rosso, Howl’s Moving Castle, Princess Mononoke
Hanz Zimmer and the Scott brothers – Black Rain, Thelma and Louise, Gladiator, True Romance, Crimson Tide, Hannibal
Mark Mothersbaugh and Wes Anderson – Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou