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Best Music (Scores and Soundtracks)

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If there’s one non-human thing I love more than film, it’s probably music. This list is my attempt to recognise the many films I’ve seen that have used music to great effect. 

There’s no auditory cine-filler here. This is music that takes a film by the scruff of its neck and makes it a contender. Or gives an otherwise great film the lift off towards something extraordinary.

Good use of music can give a film its emotional fascia. It can be its heartbeat and drive, its tension and release. Music can be an integral character or an ironic chorus. It can rub our noses in it, or carry us to the divine.

My criteria for…

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  • There Will Be Blood

    1

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey

    2

  • Vertigo

    3

  • The Shining

    4

  • Psycho

    5

  • Punch-Drunk Love

    6

  • Ran

    7

  • Contempt

    8

  • Under the Skin

    9

  • The Double Life of Véronique

    10

  • Three Colors: Blue

    11

  • Wings of Desire

    12

  • Hamlet

    13

  • The Thin Red Line

    14

  • In the Mood for Love

    15

  • Elevator to the Gallows

    16

  • Taxi Driver

    17

  • The Battle of Algiers

    18

  • The Master

    19

  • Ulysses' Gaze

    20

  • North by Northwest

    21

  • Magnolia

    22

  • The Gospel According to St. Matthew

    23

  • Phantom Thread

    24

  • Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

    25

  • Dead Man

    26

  • Histoire(s) du cinéma

    27

  • The Conversation

    28

  • Moonrise Kingdom

    29

  • La Dolce Vita

    30

  • 8½

    31

  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire

    32

  • Suspiria

    33

  • Decasia

    34

  • The 400 Blows

    35

  • GoodFellas

    36

  • Apocalypse Now

    37

  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

    38

  • Paris, Texas

    39

  • Cape Fear

    40

  • Barry Lyndon

    41

  • L'Atalante

    42

  • Manhattan

    43

  • Marketa Lazarová

    44

  • Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters

    45

  • Dracula: Pages from a Virgin's Diary

    46

  • Beau Travail

    47

  • Mauvais Sang

    48

  • The Cabinet of Jan Švankmajer

    49

  • The Killing of a Sacred Deer

    50

  • The Spirit of the Beehive

    51

  • Spencer

    52

  • Weekend

    53

  • Margaret

    54

  • The Ossuary

    55

  • Eyes Wide Shut

    56

  • Underground

    57

  • Alexander Nevsky

    58

  • Mean Streets

    59

  • Monos

    60

  • Do the Right Thing

    61

  • Birth

    62

  • Days of Heaven

    63

  • Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach

    64

  • To Joy

    65

  • Times and Winds

    66

  • You Were Never Really Here

    67

  • The Man Who Sleeps

    68

  • The Lobster

    69

  • The Bridge of Arts

    70

  • A Man Escaped

    71

  • Victoria

    72

  • Rashomon

    73

  • Institute Benjamenta, or This Dream People Call Human Life

    74

  • Three Colors: Red

    75

  • Jules and Jim

    76

  • Andrei Rublev

    77

  • Autumn Sonata

    78

  • Dragon's Return

    79

  • A Clockwork Orange

    80

  • The Favourite

    81

  • Chungking Express

    82

  • Aguirre, the Wrath of God

    83

  • Knife in the Water

    84

  • Paths of Glory

    85

  • Ugetsu

    86

  • Bob le Flambeur

    87

  • Rosemary's Baby

    88

  • Time of the Gypsies

    89

  • The Boys

    90

  • Inherent Vice

    91

  • The Devil's Trap

    92

  • Down by Law

    93

  • The Lovers on the Bridge

    94

  • Last and First Men

    95

  • Z

    96

  • The Exorcist

    97

  • Reservoir Dogs

    98

  • Au Hasard Balthazar

    99

  • The Godfather

    100