For many people, a film soundtrack marks their first exposure to some of the world’s great classical compositions. Hollywood directors know that using classical masterworks can create mood, convey emotion and deliver tremendous impact. Here’s a look at some of our favorite examples:
2001: A Space Odyssey
Stanley Kubrick tapped Richard Strauss’ Also sprach Zarathustra to convey the vastness and grandeur of space, and exposed many people to the power and beauty of this piece for the first time.
Later in the film, he used a piece by another Strauss, Johann Strausss’ The Blue Danube, in a memorable scene where the space ship docks. Precision, delicacy and triumph are all communicated by this beautiful score.
Richard Wagner’s “Ritt der Walküren” (“The Ride of the Valkyrie”) creates a terrifying and chilling backdrop for the horrors of war in Francis Ford Coppola’s Academy Award-winning film.
Tom Hanks is transported away from his suffering as an AIDS patient as he listens to Maria Callas sing Giordano’s Mamma Morta from Andrea Chenier. Director Jonathon Demme skillfully draws the audience into the pathos of both the opera heroine’s and Hanks’s plight.
Classical music isn’t featured only in heavy-hitting Oscar fare. In these light-hearted box office smashes, key scenes were built around important classical works.
Ravel’s Bolero became inextricably associated with sex and sensuality in popular culture after being used in this love scene with Bo Derek and Dudley Moore.
Julia Roberts’ character is moved to tears when she hears Verdi’s La Traviata, and sees her own situation reflected in the opera heroine’s struggles.
What are your favorite movies featuring classical music pieces? Let us know on our Facebook page: http://on.fb.me/1FXR6tr