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The 10 Best Movie Soundtracks of All-Time, Ranked

There are many elements to a great film, and one of them is a soundtrack. The music surrounding each scene in a film can make or break the experience for many people. Do the songs uphold certain themes that the movie is trying to convey? Are they representative of what's happening on-screen? Are they good songs?

The film industry has been around for decades. In that time, there have been many excellent soundtracks created for movies. We're ranking the 10 best movie soundtracks you can buy right now. For this list, we are considering entire scores rather than single themes or songs.

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10 GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2

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While the Awesome Mix Vol. 1 in Guardians of the Galaxy was resonant with a lot of people, it was the soundtrack in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 that improved on the formula. The first film featured songs that were fun and upbeat but didn't have much to do with the film's story.

The second film's soundtrack gave the songs much more thematic poignance, going along with the movie's more personal ideas. The songs chosen may not have been as popular as the first one, but there's no denying that they helped to tell the story better rather than provide a fun soundtrack to listen to.

9 JURASSIC PARK

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John Williams did a lot of music for many popular franchises. After his work on Star Wars, he would later do the score for Jurassic Park. This dinosaur film was full of epic shots and tense moments that were further brought to life by Williams' music.

None of Jurassic Park's best moments lacked some great music playing in the background to hit the point home. Everything from the iconic theme to the unnerving instruments is great in this film. It's a shame that the later movies in the franchise never quite reached the heights of the first film in music, structure, or special effects.

8 STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE

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When Star Wars: A New Hope was released, it introduced many iconic themes that people would recognize decades after. That was thanks to John Williams, who put together the iconic fanfare, the Imperial March, and so many more great tracks.

Many of those songs would later be reused in other Star Wars films, which makes this soundtrack the best one of the franchise in our eyes. There was some great music in the later Star Wars movies, but the tone and style can all be traced back to the first film, which has one of the best soundtracks in movie history.

7 BABY DRIVER

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Baby Driver's soundtrack is similar to Guardians of the Galaxy in many ways. It uses a lot of older songs to provide a backdrop to the film's many beats. However, what Edgar Wright did with the music was so far beyond that.

Every time a song is used, the movie itself is shot and edited to go in time with the music. The first sequence alone is a bank robbery set to "Bellbottoms". All the songs are effectively used, leading to some impressive choreography and style. It's a movie that wouldn't work without its soundtrack, which is what makes it so great to listen to.

6 GOODFELLAS

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Martin Scorcese's movie Goodfellas remains one of his best to date. The movie deals with gangs, drugs, and everything else in between. It's a crime movie that isn't afraid to deal with the dark side of life. Going along with every scene is a great soundtrack full of hand-picked songs that compliment every moment they appear in.

It's safe to say that Goodfellas is so great, in part, because of how carefully chosen the songs were. They each match the tone perfectly, having a subtle variation where necessary, and having some sort of greater significance to the film. Scorcese is a great director, and this film is a perfect example.

5 BLADE RUNNER

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It's astounding that Blade Runner didn't become as popular as other movies released in its time. It arguably has one of the best soundtracks in movie history, with every tune being a perfect match with the action on-screen.

The composer for the film didn't stick to any preset themes before recording. As a matter of fact, he utilized much improvisation of music based on whatever was happening on the picture at the time. With this willingness to change tone to match the film, the result was one of the best and most difficult scores to date. It's a masterclass in great music work.

4 O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU?

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O Brother, Where Art Thou? is a movie that fires on all cylinders. It takes place in the Great Depression and involves a group of convicts who go on a wild journey to find a treasure of sorts. With this film based in a stylistic period in history, the soundtrack was designed to match it.

The movie is famous for its stellar use of folk music, which not only matches the period, but the tone, and even the color correction of the film. Bluegrass tunes are also thrown in the film, and the music even becomes a pillar of the story at one point. It is downright impressive how great the songs are.

3 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY

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2001: A Space Odyssey is the kind of movie that may not be understood the first time you watch it. The more time you spend with it, though, the more it makes sense. The movie tries very hard to sell the idea of what space exploration would be like, and its themes of isolation and sophistication are further enhanced by its soundtrack. 2001: A Space Odyssey makes use of classical themes and motifs to narrow down a tone that makes the movie feel all its own.

It's a tone that works and helped shape the iconic identity that the movie has today.

2 THE GODFATHER

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The Godfather is one of cinema's best works. There are so many pieces in that movie that just work, and the soundtrack is part of it. Because the movie deals with crime, gangs, and the works, the music is designed to reflect that.

However, the soundtrack is full of music that communicates jazz and sophistication, pulling inspiration from classic noir films while still having a modern twist. There's a level of intrigue with each new song as it dances around competing ideals. The soundtrack perfectly replicates the conflict we see on-screen, which is why it remains one of the best.

1 THE LORD OF THE RINGS

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Where do we start with this one? Do we begin with the fact that Howard Shore composed all original songs for what's essentially a 9-hour film, each theme more iconic than the last? Or do we address the fact that each track is rooted in recurring themes that appropriately pop up at different moments to affect the tone of a scene?

Everything about the soundtrack in The Lord of the Rings is excellent, which is one of the many reasons that the trilogy remains one of the most beloved in cinema history. Where Peter Jackson had a frame of reference with Tolkien's detailed descriptions, Howard Shore had to match those visuals with music all his own.

NEXT: The 10 Best Video Game Soundtracks

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