The movie Dunkirk brought to life the horrific evacuation of the British Army in World War 2. Though many would argue that Hans Zimmer’s constant score added to the drama and suspense. The mixture of the faint electric beat, almost resembling the ticking of a time-bomb and long drawn out strings, create a nail-biting soundtrack.
Perhaps what is the winning formula for Dunkirk’s soundtrack is that Zimmer has expertly mixed Sir Edward Elgar’s Nimrod with his eclectic backing track, to inject a new sound into the classic score. It truly stirs the emotions and introduces, arguably one of the most poignant pieces of music ever written which through time has come to define both of the World Wars.
Video courtesy of WaterTower Music® & Hans Zimmer©
The first of our choices where Hans Zimmer would write a brand new score to a series of movies which already boasted an iconic soundtrack. John Williams wrote one of the most recognisable film scores for Christopher Reeves' Superman movies. When the announcement was made that a new film would be released, it fell to Zimmer to create a soundtrack which would define the famed Superhero.
Zimmer did this effortlessly. The track, ‘What Are You Going to Do When You Are Not Saving the World?’ opens with a cluster of piano notes, setting the tone and texture which runs throughout the movies soundtrack. The track eventually builds into an epic showstopper which completely captures the theme of Superman, whilst adding something new. Zimmer manages to match the iconic sound of John Williams for a whole new generation.
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In what is one of Hans Zimmer’s more ‘out there’ soundtracks, Blade Runner 2049 goes fully electric. Many have described the score as less of a film score but a soundtrack to create atmosphere.
Zimmer doesn’t add any beats, instead drawing out each note until reaching a crescendo. It is a forward thinking soundtrack and fully immerses the listener into the modern world. There is a sense of darkness and a bleak tone that overwhelms the score mirroring the imagery of the film perfectly.
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As one of Hans Zimmer’s more notable soundtracks, The Da Vinci Code was a movie which divided opinion, though its stirring score did not. Celebrated as the outstanding element of the Ron Howard movie, Zimmer uses the tried and tested technique of building the score slowly until reaching a crescendo.
The use of bells and prominent strings create a religious tone that encompasses the theme of the movie. It is truly effective as the soundtrack reaches its finale, allowing the music to tell the story and revelations which emerge. It is one of many masterpieces which Hans Zimmer expertly crafted.
Video courtesy of shadielane® & Hans Zimmer©
Hans Zimmer entered a new realm of movie music with the soundtrack to Interstellar. Combining electronic sound systems with a pipe organ, the score took the epic sci-fi film to new heights. As the music builds, it adds to the gravitas of the movie making the grand set pieces much more epic.
After scoring many of Christopher Nolan’s movies, Interstellar sounds completely different from anything Zimmer had created before, marking a new approach.
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The second war film score in our list, Thin Red Line is one of the less well-known of Hans Zimmer’s film soundtracks, but is just as stunning. Consistently used as the backing track for today’s film trailers, the score builds at a similar pace that has become renowned from Zimmer.
It is the standout element of the movie and in recent years, the composer has added an electronic guitar and drum beat at the crescendo, elevating the epic scope of the soundtrack. This is one of our favourites and it is hard for the score to not stir your emotions.
Video courtesy of AST® & Hans Zimmer©
Recognised as one of the most iconic movie soundtracks in recent years, Pirates of the Caribbean’s lively score was originally written by Klaus Badelt, though for the sequels, Hans Zimmer took over the reins. Taking the exceptional theme tune of the movie, he blended the score into a large and loud adventure.
From Jack Sparrow’s theme in Dead Man’s Chest, to ‘One Day’ from At World’s End, Zimmer manages to evolve the score whilst maintaining the Pirate tones. The soundtrack is arguably one of Zimmer’s most known film scores and for many, his best.
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Ridley Scott’s epic masterpiece won multiple awards in 2000 and has made many cry at the emotional ending. But perhaps the most emotive aspect of the film was Zimmer’s astonishing score.
Zimmer declared that whilst writing the fanfare scores of the movie, he wanted to write a more romantic score to break up the action. He discovered the perfect sound in Lisa Gerrard, who added her soothing vocals to create one of the most beautiful pieces of film music ever written.
The track ‘Now We Are Free’ never fails to produce tears in whoever listens to it, and became the signature score of the blockbuster movie. None have ever been able to recreate the magic of the score, though many have tried.
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Taking on a franchise that already had an iconic soundtrack was never going to be an easy job, though Hans Zimmer not only achieved this but went beyond expectation. His theme tune of drums and the crescendo of a single note has become far more recognisable than Danny Elfman’s score.
It is a true testament to the genius of Zimmer who perfectly mixes the dark gothic tones of Gotham, whilst injecting a more romantic theme. His sharp and edgy theme for the Joker is a perfect tribute to Heath Ledger’s ground-breaking performance. And let’s not forget to mention his deeply moving tribute to the victims of the Aurora shooting. The Dark Knight Trilogy’s soundtrack is a masterclass in how a film score is done.
Video courtesy of xman77c® & Hans Zimmer©
Our No.1 spot couldn’t go to any other film score. To many, Inception’s soundtrack is not only defining of a generation, but made film music cool on the grandest of scales. Resembling the score from The Dark Knight, Zimmer goes all out this time around.
From the fast paced, loud tones of the drums as the plot descends into the dreams of the characters, to the emotional tones of their return, it is a complete success.
Though perhaps for many, there is only one track that pushes Inception to the No.1 spot – ‘Time.’ Consistently used in adverts and documentary shows, the score is an perfect example of film music done right. The genius of Zimmer’s ability to build scope and tone is on display perfectly here and the satisfaction as the orchestra’s volume rises and rises reaching the crescendo is breath-taking. Yet, the quiet simplistic ending of ‘Time’ is where it’s ultimate success lives. The final sequence of the piano notes are met with silence as you can’t help but savour the magnificence of the score.
Video courtesy of Crisyta® & Hans Zimmer©