Looking for something to watch? Look no further.
The LSO's history of recording film music stretches all the way back as far as 1935. A lot has changed since then, but we like to think the LSO is still 'the perfect film orchestra' that Muir Mathieson described over 80 years ago!
Each week, we will be recommending one great film from the hundreds that we have recorded music for. Only one question remains… What are you in the mood for?
Something in space… Where no one can hear you scream!
Is James Cameron’s Aliens one of those rare sequels that actually surpasses its predecessor? We certainly think so – not least because of James Horner’s fascinatingly claustrophobic score. Horner’s jarring, experimental soundscapes build the tension and terror, and the crashing percussion in battle scenes heighten the nail-biting drama as Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley faces off against the Alien Queen and her gruesome brood!
Aliens is available to stream on Now TV, and to rent or buy on Amazon Prime, YouTube, Apple TV and other major platforms.
Anthony Hopkins stars as C S ‘Jack’ Lewis in this 1993 film, which tells the tale of an unlikely relationship between the author, Oxford professor and noted Christian scholar, and Jewish-American poet Joy Gresham (Debra Winger). Unapologetic and straight-talking, Joy is a woman completely at odds with the world Jack knows, yet a friendship soon develops as each introduces the other to new ways of seeing the world. Richard Attenborough directs this deeply moving portrait of the author behind the much-loved Chronicles of Narnia stories, with an Ivor Novello award-winning score by George Fenton.
Shadowlands is available to stream on Amazon and Now TV.
As You Like It
It’s the classic story: girl meets boy, girl gets banished, girl poses as a young man… this week we recommended Kenneth Branagh’s As You Like It (2007) – a love story with many a twist and turn! Taking one of Shakespeare’s most well-loved comedies, Branagh along with Patrick Doyle’s LSO-recorded score add a modern twist. Starring Bryce Dallas Howard as Rosalind and David Oyewolo as Orlando, this film is a wonderful way to get a dose of the Bard this weekend.
As You Like It is available to rent on YouTube
Through the voices of fictitious characters Maud (Carey Mulligan) and Edith (Helena Bonham Carter), director Sarah Gavron’s a (2015) tells the very real story of the struggle for women’s suffrage in inter-war Britain. Andre Desplat’s score is every bit as epic and inspirational as the actions of the women who inspired this film and is a perfect accompaniment to this powerful historical drama.
Suffragette is available to stream on Google Play and other major platforms.
The Land Before Time
Taking us way back to when dinosaurs roamed the earth, Don Bluth’s The Land Before Time is a tale of adventure and friendship that will delight the whole family. When orphaned ‘longneck’ Littlefoot sets out to find the Great Valley, a legendary oasis for dinosaurs, little does he know of the friends he will make along the way or the obstacles they will face together! James Horner’s score – featuring a theme song performed by Diana Ross – is every bit as thrilling and inspiring as you would expect for this story of Jurassic proportions.
The Land Before Time is available to stream on Netflix, or to buy or rent on other major platforms.
With pumpkins, glass slippers and the chiming of midnight, this is a tale that truly needs no introduction. Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella (2015) takes us to a land far, far away for the original rags-to-riches story. In this live-action remake featuring Lily James, Richard Madden and Cate Blanchett, Patrick Doyle’s score rouses the romanticism, nostalgia and sentimentality of a Disney classic, whilst still leaving behind a modern touch.
Cinderella is available to stream on Amazon Prime and Disney+.
Coco Before Chanel
What are the first words that come to your mind when you hear the name ‘Chanel’? Elegance? Glamour? Anne Fontaine’s très chic 2009 biopic takes us back to the legendary fashion designer Coco Chanel’s surprisingly humble beginnings, in the poorhouses and orphanages of rural France. Through the course of the film, we see her rise through the cabaret scene, and finally into the echelons of high society as one of the most recognisable names in haute couture, masterfully played by Audrey Tatou (best known for her role as Amélie). Alexandre Desplat’s light and charming score propels the narrative with fittingly elegant flourishes.
Coco Before Chanel is available to buy or rent on YouTube, Google Play, Amazon Prime and other major platforms.
The Tree of Life
The Tree of Life (2010) is an American epic film, which explores the very meaning of life through the lens of a Texan family in the 1950’s. Earning three Oscar nominations and winning the Palme d’Or prize at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, this is a movie to transport you through time and space, and to bring you face-to-face with wider philosophical themes. The unique combination of Brad Pitt’s and Jessica Chastain’s powerful yet nuanced performances and Desplat’s moving LSO-recorded score is sure to strike a chord.
The Tree of Life is available to buy or rent on Amazon Prime, YouTube and other major platforms.
The Long Run
The Long Run (2001) is an uplifting tale of a failed track coach (Oscar-nominee Armin Mueller-Stahl) and a talented runner (Nthati Moshesh), who take on the famously gruelling Comrades Marathon; an 89-kilometer run through the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa. Using the full force of the breath-taking South African landscape, and the musical contributions of the LSO, conductor Trevor Jones and South African musical groups, this is a film to be watched and loved by all.
The Long Run is available to purchase on DVD on Amazon.
The tragic death of Diana, Princess of Wales on 31 August 1997 provoked an outpouring of grief from the public for ‘the People’s Princess’. Almost a decade later, Stephen Frears BAFTA Award-winning biographical drama went behind closed doors, revealing the conflict between the Royal Family and the government over whether Diana’s death was a private or public affair, a matter compounded by the media.
With a star-studded cast featuring Helen Mirren (the Queen) and Michael Sheen (Tony Blair), a BAFTA-nominated LSO-recorded score from Alexandre Desplat, and an engrossing and emotional story based on true events, whatever draws you in, we’re sure you won’t be disappointed.
The Queen is available to buy or rent on Amazon, YouTube and other major platforms.
Il Ragazzo Invisibile (The Invisible Boy)
Michele is a shy thirteen year old boy, unpopular at school, and in love with Stella. After wearing a costume for a Halloween party, he finds out that he's invisible. Il ragazzo invisibile (The Invisible Boy) is a delightful spin on the superhero movie, and a great introduction into foreign films for young teens. Ezio Bosso’s magical score is a thrilling adventure all of its own.
Il ragazzo invisibile is available to watch on Amazon Prime, YouTube and Google Play.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Once it gets to the fourth instalment of JK Rowling’s much-loved magical series, we all know not to expect an uneventful year at Hogwarts. Things take a darker turn in the Goblet of Fire, as Harry finds himself the unsuspecting fourth competitor in the Triwizard Tournament, a series of challenges that see him face dragons, mermaids and the threat of something far worse than anyone could have dared to imagine (and we don’t mean teenage mood swings!).
This LSO-recorded soundtrack was the first in the Harry Potter franchise not to be scored by John Williams. Instead Patrick Doyle took the reins, composing a host of new themes to represent the Triwizard Tournament and Lord Voldemort, as well as an ominous twist on the familiar ‘Hedwig’s Theme’ that sets the scene perfectly.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is available to stream on NowTV, or to buy or rent on other major platforms.
This week, we venture into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), for the universe-crossing, action-packed blockbuster, Thor (2011), featuring Chris Hemsworth as the muscular Nordic god of thunder and Natalie Portman as the brilliant scientist who steals his heart.
Taking the Nordic myth and sprinkling Hollywood magic onto it, director Kenneth Branagh presents a sprawling story of justice, brotherhood (and of course, a little romance!). Patrick Doyle’s score, recorded by the LSO, is a harmonious combination of moving and mystical, providing the perfect backdrop to introduce the world to this core MCU character and future Avenger.
Thor is available to stream on Disney+ and NowTV and to buy on other major platforms.
May 4 is just around the corner, and we all know what that means… Star Wars Day! Whether you are having a full Star Wars marathon, or just catching up with some of your favourite moments ('I love you', 'I know' anyone?!), let John Williams’ legendary score, first recorded with the LSO in 1977, transport you to a galaxy far, far away…
Star Wars Episodes I–VII, are available to stream on Disney+, and Episodes I–VI are available to stream on NowTV and to buy on all other major platforms.
Star Wars Episode IX will be available to stream on Disney+ from Monday 4 May.
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
When inventor and scientist Wayn Szalinski (Rick Moranis) discovers his children (and the neighbours’) have accidentally been blasted by his homemade shrink gun, what other way is there to break the news to his wife than with the plain and simple admission: ‘Honey, I shrunk the kids’? Cue an hour or so of hijinks and hazards as the children try and find their way home across the backyard – a long and perilous journey when you’re just 6mm tall!
James Horner’s soundtrack (plus some famously ‘borrowed’ excerpts from Nino Rota and Raymond Scott) is energetic and boisterous, yet at the same time tender and touching when it is called to be; the perfect accompaniment to this light-hearted family favourite!
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids is available to stream on Disney+
Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Combining live-action and animation, the film is set in Hollywood in 1947, where cartoon characters and people co-exist. A gumshoe detective meets a femme fatale, and wackiness ensues! Alan Silvestri’s jazz-flecked score follows the zany adventures of the ‘Toons’ with an upbeat score heavily influenced by Carl Stalling, the original composer for Looney Tunes. The performances of the music themes written for Jessica Rabbit were entirely improvised by the LSO.
Robert Zemeckis’ film was ground-breaking in its technical achievements, plus the novelty of seeing actors rubbing shoulders with classic Warner Bros. Toons — think Chinatown meets Looney Tunes. It was influential in renewing interest in the Golden Age of animation, and spearheading the Disney Renaissance.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit? is available to buy or stream on NowTV, Sky, iTunes, Amazon and other platforms.
The Danish Girl
‘I love you because you are the only person who made sense of me.’
Freedom, love and courage is the name of the game in Tom Hooper’s stunning film, The Danish Girl. Loosely based on the life of artists Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener, Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander tell the heart-wrenching but ultimately liberating story of a woman seeking to live her most authentic life. Desplat’s LSO-recorded score, delicate yet rousing, perfectly complements Hooper’s trademark cinematography, and guides us through the emotional highs and lows of The Danish Girl.
The Danish Girl is available to buy or rent on major platforms including Amazon Prime, YouTube and Sky Go.
> Watch a clip here
The Imitation Game
When the LSO isn't performing concerts in the Barbican or touring abroad, they can no doubt be found recording at Abbey Road studios, and the summer of 2014 was no exception when they recorded the soundtrack to Oscar-winning composer Alexandre Desplat's The Imitation Game.
Whilst WWII movies usually portray Americans swooping in to save the day in physical battles all over the world, this film shines a light on the imperative underground work of mathematician Alan Turing. Estimated to have reduced the length of the war by approximately six years, Turing's work was of paramount importance to the war effort. The trials and tribulations faced along the way, including in his personal life, make this a fascinating story to behold, all whilst being guided along by Desplat's sublime score. Creating moments of tension, lightness and fragility, the story of this film would not have been conveyed as eloquently without its beautiful soundtrack. Listen out for the arpeggios (broken up chords) played on the piano – these are representative of Turing's thinking and of the workings of the Enigma machine!
The Imitation Game is available to stream on Amazon Prime and to buy on other major online platforms.
> Watch a clip here
‘Motherless, ruthless and nanny-less. There is only one solution for children like these. And it will not be pretty!’ Seven of the naughtiest children imaginable get their comeuppance in the surreal Nanny McPhee, as Emma Thompson’s frighteningly ugly ‘government nanny’ arrives to dish out some magical punishments. A bit like Mary Poppins – but much more bizarre (don’t miss the part where Celia Imrie chows down on a worm sandwich and indulges in some frogspawn tea). The lurid colours of the cinematography are reflected in Patrick Doyle’s playful score, matching the mischievous antics of the children. Standout moments from the soundtrack include the excellently-titled ‘They’ve Eaten the Baby!’, which you can listen to on Apple Music!
Nanny McPhee is available to stream on Now TV and to buy on other major online platforms.
> Watch a clip here
Something to lift the spirits…
Witchcraft! Archery! Spooky forests and animal transformations! All the hallmarks of a classic fairytale are here in Disney/Pixar’s Brave, but with a contemporary twist.
The blockbuster broke new ground back in 2012 – It was Pixar’s first feature film with a lead female heroine (and the first to be scored outside of Los Angeles). Set in medieval highland Scotland, princess and archer Merida faces off against elemental forces when her rebellious spirit brings chaos to the kingdom. ‘The movie captured the essence of the soul of Scotland,’ said soundtrack composer Patrick Doyle. ‘I was keen to make it current and I suppose ‘cool’ – and to honour the Celtic tradition that I’m intrinsically part of.’ With lullabies, laments, and music that draws from quintessentially Scottish folk sounds, Doyle’s score is bold and brave-hearted when needed, and tender in its most uplifting moments.
You can stream or buy Brave on all major online platforms.
> Watch a clip here
Something to make your jaw drop…
If you’re looking for an uplifting story of triumph through adversity, Angelina Jolie’s directorial debut Unbroken has to be it.
A story so extraordinary it must be true, the 2014 film tells the real-life tale of a soldier who miraculously survives a crash when his plane is shot down over the ocean. Stranded for months in shark-infested waters, things seem like they can’t possibly get any more challenging, but they’re about to! The LSO recorded Alexandre Desplat’s stirring and melodic score, one of many times the Orchestra has worked with the multi-Oscar-winning composer. Rich, resonant and warm, Desplat’s score is sure to leave you feeling misty-eyed in this jaw-dropping tale of survival.
Unbroken is available to stream on Netflix and to buy on other major online platforms.
> Watch a clip here
A benchmark in the canon of note-perfect nun films (Sister Act anyone?), the 1947 classic Black Narcissus is frequently ranked among the 100 greatest movies ever made. The LSO recorded Brian Easdale’s unnerving score shortly after World War II, with music that perfectly captures a ferocious wind howling through a mountain monastery, driving its sisters to violence and despair. Seventy years later, Black Narcissus still had the power to shock and captivate - the iconic climax where two nuns fight it out on a cliff edge is not easily forgotten…
Black Narcissuss is available to stream via Amazon.
> Watch a clip here