The Best Soulful Movie Scores to Listen to Right Now

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


From “Coco” to “The Lion King”, these are the best soulful movie scores to listen to right now.

La Haine

Released in 1995, La Haine is a French black-and-white drama film about the social unrest in the banlieues of Paris at the height of the First Intifada. The film follows three young friends as they struggle to find their place in a society that has forgotten them. While La Haine may not be an overtly “soulful” movie, its soundtrack is one of the most moving and atmospheric scores ever composed. Featuring a mix of French hip-hop, North African chaabi, and jazz, the music perfectly captures the feeling of aimlessness and hopelessness that permeates the lives of the film’s protagonists.

The Shawshank Redemption

The Shawshank Redemption is a 1994 American drama film written and directed by Frank Darabont, based on the Stephen King novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption. It tells the story of banker Andy Dufresne, who is sentenced to life in Shawshank State Penitentiary for the murders of his wife and her lover, despite his claims of innocence. Over the following two decades, he befriends a fellow inmate, Red.

The Godfather

The Godfather is a 1972 American crime film directed by Francis Ford Coppola and produced by Albert S. Ruddy, based on Mario Puzo’s best-selling novel of the same name. It stars Marlon Brando and Al Pacino as the leaders of a fictional New York crime family. The story spans the years 1945 to 1955 and chronicles the family under the patriarch Vito Corleone (Brando), focusing on the transformation of Michael Corleone (Pacino) from reluctant family outsider to ruthless Mafia boss.

Considered to be one of the greatest films in world cinema,[5][6] The Godfather is widely acknowledged as one of the most influential, especially in the gangster genre.[7][8][9] It was selected for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in 1990, being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and is ranked the second-greatest American film ever made (behind Citizen Kane) by the American Film Institute.[10] Its cast has been ranked as having given “the greatest performances in film history”.[11]

The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight is a 2008 superhero film directed by Christopher Nolan, based on the DC Comics character Batman. The movie’s score was composed by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard, and features several climactic chases and battles.

The Silence of the Lambs

The Silence of the Lambs is a 1991 American horror suspense film directed by Jonathan Demme and based on Thomas Harris’ novel of the same name. The movie picked up five major awards at the 64th Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actress for Jodie Foster, and Best Actor for Anthony Hopkins. It also won Best Adapted Screenplay.

The film’s score was composed by Howard Shore and features a mix of psychological thriller suspense with calm, beautiful piano interludes.

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