Top 5 Film Themes

Inspired by listening to Ry Cooder’s “Paris, Texas” soundtrack all day today:

1. The Third Man (Anton Karas)

The film theme that launched a million zithers

2. Amarcord (Nino Rota)

I would argue this as Nino Rota’s finest film theme: a lilting, breezy melody that repeatedly soars to the heavens before slowly gliding back down to earth. Stunning. Rota was the definition of a genius.

3. Taxi Driver (Bernard Herrmann)

The Hitchcock composer’s final theme was for Martin Scorsese’s 1976 film about loneliness, and what a way to bow out: a melancholy, wistful, sleazy saxophone-led number which somehow captures both the glamour and the sense of isolation of 1970s New York.

4. Paris, Texas (Ry Cooder)

Another film about alienation in late 20th century America, but a very different one. Cooder’s haunting slide guitar theme, based on Blind Willie Johnson’s blues classic “Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground” perfectly fits the dusty, weary tone of Wim Wenders’ Palme D’Or-winner.

5. Rocky (Bill Conti)

The stuff alarm clocks should be made of. Rousing, the very definition of anthemic. Is it possible to listen to this without punching the air in delight??

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