10 Best Action Movie Soundtracks

Sunday, March 6 by Lee Grayson

The ten best action movie soundtracks include some classic films. The soundtrack is key to creating the atmosphere for the character, helps to move the plot along and alerts the audience to plot points, including an element of fear, anxiety or humor. Some films borrow popular tunes of the time in a mixture of pop culture, while other films have original soundtracks 

  1. "The Empire Strikes Back." Musician John Williams is an Academy Award winning composer who has worked on numerous films in the "Star Wars" saga, but this 1980 film really shows the match in his musical compositions and the script. The soundtrack also sets the mood for closing of the series starring the famous acting team of Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford. The soundtrack even has some humable moments. 
  2. "First Blood." Jerry Goldsmith provides the action movie soundtrack for this film starring Sylvester Stallone, Brian Dennehy and Richard Crenna. The soundtrack adds to the feeling of justice that the main character portrays as he takes on the local police force for injustices. 
  3. "Cape Fear." This film soundtrack is for the Martin Scorsese-directed remake released in 1991, not the original film score for the movie released in 1962. The core of the soundtrack is the same as the original film and features the music of  Bernard Herrmann.  Elmer Bernstein added transitions and incorporated part of Herrmann's unused score from "Torn Curtain" to fill out the new music requirements. 
  4. "Seven." Howard Shore does the composition honors for this brutal action film starring Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman. The soundtrack does an excellent job in building up the feeling of terror and despair that the detective duo feel in hunting down a serial killer. 
  5. "Blade Runner." This film follows the action adventures of a bounty hunter out to find escaped android. Vangelis adds the perfect soundtrack in this noir detective story meets science fiction. Harrison Ford stars as the bounty hunter. 
  6. "The Terminator: Part 2." Film composer Brad Fiedel takes on the soundtrack duties for this android turned California governor film. The score builds and falls in all the necessary places to allow lead actor Arnold Schwarzenegger to scare the tar out of any audience, including home viewers watching the DVD version of the movie. 
  7. "The Negotiator." Graeme Revell's soundtrack adds the tension to hel drive this action movie plot about a man accused of something he didn't do. The soundtrack is especially masterful in the closing moments of the film. 
  8. "Die Hard." The late Michael Kamen put together the soundtrack for this movie starring Bonnie Bedelia, Alan Rickman and Bruce Willis. The music allows Willis' character room to run amuck in giving back to a group of terrorists who have grabbed hostages. The plot and the music keep the viewers attention.
  9. "Runaway Train." Composer Trevor Jones single-handedly brings the audience back from a quiet moment into a high pitched element of dread with his score for this 1985 film. Rebecca De Mornay, Eric Roberts and John Voight show the fear and terror of attempting to stop a runaway train, but the music brings the terror up close and personal to the audience. 
  10. "Total Recall." Another nod on the list of the best action movie soundtracks for Jerry Goldsmith's scoring for this film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. The soundtrack sets the perfect tone for Arnold's growing fear that things are not what they should be with his life and friends.