10 Best Movies I’ve Ever Heard

DEC
December 2842, 2009
2009
Categories: Blog, Movies, Resources

blog_sound

The other day I was all excited to watch The Soloist on Blu-ray because Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx are two exceptional actors, and I was told the sound and music was outstanding.  Unfortunately, when I pressed play on my Blu-ray player the disc just wouldn’t spin.  Strangely enough it worked fine in my desktop so I threw on my headphones and decided to watch the movie in my desk chair.  Normally, being a web designer and all, I don’t like to sit at my desk any longer than I need to, but in this case I made the exception.  Was I in for a treat.  The movie was pretty good, probably not for everyone, but I stumbled upon an unbelievable listening experience.  Back in film school, my audio teacher told us that some movies are heightened by listening through a great pair of cans, but I really never understood till now.

Music and sound are the icing on the cake of any film.  Most people think that the movies are a visual art medium, but sound is just as important part of the entire package.  Good sound adds a layer of texture and emotion which makes a scene, or entire film great.  (Cake?  Icing?  Layer?  I’m getting hungry).  So I thought I’d compile a list of movies that has great sound if you listen through your headphones.  After all, I’ve been a sound technician and film student in my past!

DISCLAIMER — When I mean headphones I don’t mean earbuds from your ipod.  You might as well shove a carrot in your ear.

DISCLAIMER — Most of these movies are available in Blu-ray.  If you’re still watching in DVD make sure you listen in DTS or Dolby Digital if you can.

DISCLAIMER — This is not a surround sound audio list!  Most of these movies sound amazing in 5.1 or 6.1, but since you have headphones on, it’ll only be in stereo.  So this list is to showcase film making excellence in 2.0 sound.   (Sorry, I’ll stop with the disclaimers now)

THE SOLOIST

The clarity of the cello solos are riveting.  This scene below, starts with a cello solo, adds in birds and the city, then focus back to Jamie Foxx on the cello.  It’s just a gorgeous scene.  Clearly, the director Joe Wright spent a lot of time in the sound room recording and mixing this film.

The Soloist

GLADIATOR

I believe this movie is one of the best sounding DTS films ever made.  Right from beginning sequence of the battle with the barbarians, right to the end, this film embodies great sound.

Gladiator

PAN’S LABYRINTH

Guillermo del Toro needed to create a fairy tale feeling so all the audio was hyper-augmented to give it a surreal feeling.  But the amazing part is that the heightened sound doesn’t take anything away from the film.
Pan's Labyrinth

ONCE

I admit I almost shed a tear watching this film…. almost.  You know the scene.  You know the song.  This movie does an amazing job of connecting the characters and their emotions using music.

Once

BAND OF BROTHERS

Ok, ok, this is not a movie, it’s a T.V. series (go ahead, call the blogging police).  I originally going to add Saving Private Ryan because of the first 20 minutes, but Band of Brother is just the same, but 20 times longer, and a better watch.  Make sure you watch Episode 7 “The Breaking Point” as Easy Company storms Bastogne.

Band Of Brothers

THE INCREDIBLES

This Pixar gem has the right mixture of music, sound effects and voice acting.  The movie style moves from comic book hero, to family comedy, to retro 70′s, to explosive action film, to James Bond adventure – and all along the sound mix helps carry the film through each transitions.  A little aside, I believe this one of the first Pixar movies that casts the actors to fit the characters, not the other way around.  The end result is one of the best voice acting in animation to date.

The Incredibles

LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY

The closest to perfection in movie making as it get, at least in modern movies.  It’s hard to single out the sound because the entire package is so good.  But I guess that’s what I’ve been trying to say all this time!

Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King

MOULIN ROUGE

Generally musicals require great sound, and there’s a lot of great musicals.  Sound of Music comes to mind but at the time of writing, I don’t think a remastered version is available that deserves recognition.  Moulin Rouge has a good generational appeal, and well, it the best film choice to help with my Google ranking ;)  All seriousness aside, Baz Luhrmann created a film that gives the viewer sensory overload and he achieves this through color, motion, and sound.

Moulin Rouge

MASTER AND COMMANDER

For a scruffy mumbler, it looks like Russell Crowe seems to have made my list twice!  Now that I think about it, so does the cello.  Aside from the classical music, and the explosive sound effects (of cannon fire), the sound designer discreetly layered in some great background sound  like bird chirps, boat creaks, and ropes pulling.

Master And Commander

THE MISSION

I leave this one last because it’s not mainstream, it’s not recent and you most likely never heard of this movie.  Also, since this movie isn’t in wide release, it’s not in Blu-ray or DTS for that matter.  But I’ve included The Mission because the movie made such a great impression on me in the theaters when I saw it in 1986.  I’ve seen it a bunch of times on VHS and DVD since then and still love it to this day (Robert De Niro like you’ve never seen him).  If it ever comes out in Blu-ray, I guarantee, this film will sound flipping amazing!

The Mission

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Thanks for those that have helped me wit this list.  Some other honorable mentions that didn’t make this list is: Top Gun, Amadeus, Rent, Spiderman 3, Jurassic Park, Blade 2, Chicago, Braveheart, Desperado.

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2 Responses to “10 Best Movies I’ve Ever Heard”

  1. Maria Celina says:

    I definitely agree in the the inclusion of “Band of Brothers”, “Once”, and “The Soloist”. The solos in the latter were mind-blowing, which beautifully complimented with the acting of Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx.

    Watching movies involves more than just the sense of sight, but also hearing and even touch (if the sound can reverberate to that degree). A lot tend to focus on what is seen, because it’s the common association with movies. Thanks for bringing in an interesting perspective regarding hearing movies.

  2. Somi says:

    Watching movies without good sound is like eating plain rice with no sides. I suppose if that’s all you’ve had, you don’t know what you’re missing.

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