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Hans Zimmer's best soundtracks


Compiled by Jack Foley

HANS Zimmer is recognised as one of Hollywood’s most innovative musical talents, having first enjoyed success in the world of pop music with the iconic song, Video Killed the Radio Star, which became a worldwide hit and helped usher in a new era of global entertainment as the first music video to be aired on MTV.

Zimmer entered the world of film music in London and soon began work on several successful solo projects, including the critically acclaimed A World Apart, and during these years Zimmer pioneered the use of combining old and new musical technologies.

Today, this work has earned him the reputation of being the father of integrating the electronic musical world with traditional orchestral arrangements – and any film bearing his name is a film worth watching.

Zimmer scored the Ron Howard film Rush which is released on Blu-ray and DVD on January 27, 2014 from StudioCanal.

Blending the tension of the race scenes with his orchestral genius, Zimmer manages to enhance an already-fantastic story to cinematic proportions. Merging the score alongside classics ’70s artists Steve Winwood, Thin Lizzy and David Bowie, the score helps make Rush a real piece of the time.

Here are some more films in which Zimmer’s presence as composer is felt and never forgotten…

Rain Man (1988)
The soundtrack that arguably put Zimmer on the map. The road score, which is a recurring theme throughout, had a really addictive, even catchy quality about it – combining both a seriousness and a gravitas befitting the film’s subject matter. It was a perfect accompaniment to the Tom Cruise-Dustin Hoffman Oscar winner.

Thelma and Louise (1991)
Although featuring a soundtrack filled with well-known recorded songs, Hans Zimmer scored several pieces of music which find themselves repeated throughout the film – effective, if only to remind us of these characters and their situation. Telling the story of Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon’s fugitives on the run for murdering a rapist in cold blood, Zimmer’s music helps rein the audience in and to remind us of the inescapable dread surrounding Thelma and Louise.

True Romance (1993)
The perfect soundtrack juxtaposition… Zimmer’s central score was impossibly sweet, romantic even. Yet set against the context of Tony Scott’s hyper-violent movie, based on a script by Quentin Tarantino, it managed to dazzle and toy with your emotions. It’s another extremely catchy listen, too… and joyful too. Yet returned to at several points throughout, even after some of the film’s more extreme moments, it showcases Zimmer’s uncanny ability to deliver the unexpected in brilliant fashion.

Gladiator (2000)
Zimmer’s Oscar-winning score has remained one of the most enduring qualities bestowed upon Ridley Scott’s beloved epic; perfectly tracking the journey of Russell Crowe’s lead character Maximus Decimus Meridius, the score has recently been played to a live audience at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

The Last Samurai (2003)
Doing extensive research on Japanese music was required for Zimmer’s undertaking of the score for Tom Cruise film The Last Samurai. The more he studied however, the less he felt he knew. Realising he had no choice but to go to Japan to learn the craft first-hand, he was greeted with shock by the Japanese people he met who all asked him how he had come to know so much about Japanese music. The score went on to win him an Oscar.

Pirates of the Caribbean (2003)
It’s easy to forget that the first Pirates of the Caribbean film wasn’t just a hit but a critical smash. Many elements were to thank for this, not least Johnny Depp’s performance as Captain Jack Sparrow. But the hi-jinks the characters find themselves in throughout would not have been the same without the recognisable signature tune that oversees the franchise. Another Zimmer success!

The Dark Knight Trilogy (2005-2012)
It would be difficult to try and recall scenes from Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy without playing the music in your head; for all the praise heaped upon Nolan for re-establishing Bruce Wayne and the Batman universe, an integral part of the process was always going to be the soundtrack, and nothing represents these films better than the two-note signature tune that is very much a character of the trilogy.

Madagascar (2005)
It is important to point out that Hans Zimmer has also had plenty of experience scoring animated adventures – including his award-winning score for The Lion King! But it was Madagascar in 2005 that truly sticks in the memory. With plenty of characters to love, it appears that Zimmer set himself the task of ensuring each character had their own motif so as to enhance the scene in which they appear in. If that was the plan, it was carried off with huge success!


Inception (2010)
Inception is remembered for a lot of things, and its soundtrack is definitely one of them. Pulsating, catchy and tense as hell, Zimmer’s score has become damn near iconic. Blasting its way through the film, this was the score Inception needed to push its way into Hollywood and to embed itself as a fixture as the modern classic it is.

Man of Steel (2013)
You can evidently tell it was director Christopher Nolan – here on producing duties – who insisted Hans Zimmer provide the music for Zack Snyder’s attempt to humanise a superhero (this time Superman.) The result? Let’s just say it’s not the breathtaking visuals or intense acting face of Henry Cavill who will make you believe a man can fly, but Zimmer’s ever-effective score. Krypton has never been more real.

Rush is released on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital on January 27, 2014 from StudioCanal.