Top 10 Best Hans Zimmer Scores

Script written by Julian Mckenzie These films will live on in cinematic history, thanks in part to this man’s musical genius. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 Hans Zimmer movie scores. For this list, we’ll be looking at the musical scores and movie soundtracks that have been composed or produced at least in part by Hans Zimmer. Special thanks to our users gobbleinsomnia98 for submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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These films will live on in cinematic history, thanks in part to this man’s musical genius. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 Hans Zimmer movie scores.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the musical scores and movie soundtracks that have been composed or produced at least in part by Hans Zimmer.

#10: “Sherlock Holmes” (2009)

“Sherlock Holmes” features our favorite London detective attempting to solve a number of murders, but not without Hans Zimmer’s intense, yet fun-sounding soundtrack. The music he composed for the flick has been noted as one of his most experimental yet. It stands out especially because of the unique instruments used, including banjos, violins, a cimbalom, and a broken piano, which gives the film an Eastern European feel. Once these sounds come together, they make for a rousing and entertaining complement to Sherlock Holmes and his adventures.

#9: “The Thin Red Line” (1998)

This film follows a group of U.S soldiers battling through World War II, and their fictional, yet epic story is told with the help of Tibetan bowls, Taiko drums, harps, and a Melanesian choir. Zimmer’s score for “The Thin Red Line” provides a soft, dooming and gloomy atmosphere, and doesn’t have the traditional intensity and power of war films. Despite this, the score transcends the film, aids in bringing out emotions from the soldiers and earned an Oscar nod.

#8: “The Prince of Egypt” (1998)

A silver screen adaptation of Moses leading his followers out of Egypt, plus the genius of Hans Zimmer, equals a motion picture that will leave you awestruck. Zimmer was partly responsible for the arrangement of “The Prince of Egypt” soundtrack, which interweaved music from a roster of star-studded acts, which were written by Stephen Schwartz, and compositions solely produced by Zimmer. Classical instruments, chants and vocals are at play here, and they match the majestic feel and power this movie brings.

#7: “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” (2007)

Captain Sparrow finds himself trapped in Davy Jones’ locker in this third installment of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series, and of course, Hans Zimmer’s music matches the mood. “At World’s End” is set to dark and haunting, yet epic and philharmonic-style music, and is a departure from the lighter, heartier tones of the previous soundtracks in the franchise. Another reason why fans appreciate the “At World’s End” soundtrack is the fact that it also departs from the more synthetic style of the first few soundtracks, and feels more like a thrilling sea adventure.

#6: “The Last Samurai” (2003)

For the soundtrack of “The Last Samurai”, a film that has Tom Cruise battling 19th century samurai warriors in Japan, Zimmer makes use of Japanese instrumentation, including flutes and taiko drums. Zimmer gets points for crafting a soundtrack that stays true to his nature of rousing, intense scores, while also perfectly encapsulating Japanese influences. This is one of Zimmer’s more majestic sounding bodies of work, and is at its best in scenes with high-tension and drama.

#5: “The Dark Knight” (2008)

This superhero film is mostly remembered for the legendary performance that Heath Ledger put on as The Joker, as he terrorized citizens and battled Batman and district attorney Harvey Dent. But one huge reason why “The Dark Knight” as a whole was such an outstanding film was its dark, booming score, complete with electronic and orchestral influences. As a result, the score is a more powerful and ominous soundtrack in comparison with its predecessor “Batman Begins” – which Zimmer also composed, though both are memorable in their own right.

#4: “The Lion King” (1994)

The music for “The Lion King” is a magical ride from the start, accompanying young lion Simba, who is destined to follow in the footsteps of his father Mufasa, and his journey through life. While superstar Elton John and lyricist Tim Rice wrote the songs, Zimmer added a philharmonic touch with African influences, including chants and percussion, to the score. “The Lion King” soundtrack went on to become the best-selling animated film soundtrack in the U.S. while Zimmer won an Oscar, a Golden Globe and 2 Grammy Awards for his work.

#3: “Gladiator” (2000)

The “Gladiator” soundtrack will go down as one of – if not, the best of - Zimmer’s finest in terms epic film scores. As Roman general Maximus seeks to avenge his slaughtered family by fighting in the Colosseum, his story goes hand in hand with the dramatic and pulsating string instruments of the movie’s score. If nothing else, they’re perfect anthems to hear before stepping into the ring. Though the music might sometimes seem over the top, it’s way more powerful and booming than some of Zimmer’s previous work and certainly matches the epic feel needed for a movie like “Gladiator”.

#2: “Inception” (2010)

“Inception” was already a brilliant film because of its acting, cinematography, and its complex, yet intriguing, concept where a man tries to do the impossible and put an idea in another one’s mind. But Zimmer’s score enhanced the sci-fi tenfold. His use of synthesizers, with blaring orchestral sounds, added to death-defying fight scenes and car chases. Then there was music added to the pivotal final shot of Dom’s totem, spinning and making everyone wonder: Is Dom dreaming or is he in reality? It certainly wouldn’t have been the same without it!

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- “Man of Steel” (2013)

- “Pearl Harbor” (2001)

- “12 Years a Slave” (2013)



#1: “Interstellar” (2014)

Our number one selection is the third film on this list to be directed by Christopher Nolan. This adventure follows astronauts who are looking for a new home for humans after discovering a wormhole. Trading in his usual orchestral and rousing sound for an atmospheric, yet emotionally impactful soundtrack, Zimmer’s score for the epic sci-fi evokes power and drama from its slowly building pipe-organ chords. Zimmer was asked to make music without knowing much – if anything - about the movie, and still managed to create one of the most impressive scores he’s ever produced.
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