10 inspirational film scores to get you through the workday

Has classical music lost its appeal as your favorite music? While there are plenty of films that feel like a soundtrack in our day and age, film scores are the perfect substitute when you still need that symphonic sound to maintain focus throughout the workday. History-making movie moments wouldn’t be as compelling without the scores behind them.


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Movie lovers galore have been imagining what the score of our lives would sound like. Unless you’re a music composer, you’ll have to settle for a well-crafted collection of a movie favorite. From hard-hitting Oscar-winning composers to legendary franchises, these film scores have that extra charm to get us through a workday.

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Pirates of the Caribbean Movies (2003-2007)

curse-of-the-caribbean-curse-of-the-black-pearl-of-the-dead-mans-chest-at-the-end-of-the-world-movie-cover

Although two different composers wrote the scores for these films, Pirates of the Caribbean is one of the best scores out there to rival other iconic tunes. Kalus Badelt composed The Curse Of The Black Pearl, which became the basis for the original trilogy (the remaining films are arguably a black mark on the franchise). A close colleague of the master Hans ZimmerBadelt wouldn’t work Dead Man’s Chest or At the end of the world when Zimmer took over the reins. However, the two did collaborate on the now legendary track “He’s a Pirate.”

From the quirky “Jack Sparrow” arrangements to the escalating “The Kraken” to the majestic finale “What Shall We Die For” when the colors are hoisted, the first three films are sublime but have the power to draw you in , while you get the job done. And if they’re not keeping you on track, they can inspire you to stream the three original films once you’ve finished.

“The Dark Knight” (2008)

the-dark-knight-feature
Image via Warner Bros.

A collaboration between Zimmer and James Newton Howard, The dark knight is a superb standalone audio experience. Another brooding soundtrack from DC, this collection will serve as a motivating soundtrack for your day. The sound is sprinkled with electric instruments like the electric cello, giving several tracks a heavy metal ambience.

As if fans didn’t need another reason to love The dark knight, the score adds its name to the list. Despite its excellence, the score was not nominated for an Oscar (neither Batman begins). If you’ve got a mile-long to-do list, this score is just what you need to roll through your headphones. While you might not be a masked vigilante chasing a clown through Gotham, the sounds of The dark knight will drive you through your day.

‘Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron’ (2002)

Spirit Stallion of the Cimarron CD cover

One of the greatest non-Disney animated films of all time, Ghost: Stallion of the Cimarron delivered one of the best soundtracks of the early 2000s. While the album is not entirely a score, it does contain epic ballads by Bryan Adamsthis music collection is the perfect embodiment of the animated story in audio form.

Featuring a variety of instrumentals in addition to Adams’ verse, the songs on this soundtrack provide a pleasing mix of sounds to get you through the shift. From desk job to off-roader position, you’ll be transported to the West before he’s “won” side-by-side with the spirited titular character.

‘La La Land’ (2016)

Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling dance at night.

For the jazz enthusiast or the big city dreamer, la la countryThe Oscar-winning film music from will give your shift an upbeat background. Compiled by Justin Hurwitz, this series of tracks contains jazz compositions in addition to a symphonic sound. The soft nature of the main themes soars into rich, sonorous orchestral ballads. la la country thrives on the ideas of ambition and creativity with a score to match.

Reserved for a carefree, sunny day, tuning out to the varied tunes on this score will provide you with a concentrated serotonin boost. The sound of Hurwitz’ compositions transforms your workplace into an LA jazz club, a classic movie theater or the famous LA Griffith Observatory.

“The Hunger Games” (2012)

A teenager on a screen giving a signal

Yes, we’re still sobbing from “Rue’s Farewell,” but this score still gets us through the day, albeit grossly underrated. Another part of James Newton Howard well done, the music of The hunger Games is filled with raw vulnerability (“Healing Katniss”) and intensity and determination (“Horn of Plenty”). Newton Howard manages to capture District 12’s rustic working class essence through his slow-paced strings.

Perhaps symbolic of a return to the office or a holiday retail shift, work can feel like the Hunger Games. Tracks like “Reaping Day” or “Learning the Skills” feel a lot like getting through a tough day. This score serves as the perfect backdrop for your workday (if you’re not being forced into a dystopian death game).

‘Joker’ (2019)

Joaquin Phoenix in The Joker

First woman to win since 1997 Hildur Guðnadóttir took home the 2020 Oscar for Best Original Score for her compositions joker. Her win contributed to the film’s two overall wins of its eleven nominations. While she is not the first woman to win the award, she is the first woman to win for a dramatic score.

The deep brooding tones of the string orchestra paired with foreboding drums provide a fitting atmosphere for a rainy day at work. Although we hope your work day isn’t symbolic of Arthur Fleck’s (Joaquin Phoenix), the score is subtle enough to drown out the background but not distracting enough to distract you from your focus. A quick 36 minute stream, joker is a fitting soundscape to get you through the last bit of your day.

Harry Potter Movies (2001-2011)

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Image from Warner Bros.

With eight movies worth of music to stream Harry Potter during your workday or workweek will surely bring a magical energy to your everyday life. Composed by the legend John Williamsthe wizarding world of JK Rowlings The seven-volume series is brought to life on screen through his musical craftsmanship.

The recognizable main themes have allowed the franchise to establish itself as one of the most iconic musical scores in film history. For an adventurous focus when you’re stuck at your desk, these compositions guide you through the grounds of Hogwarts as you complete your chores.

‘Moonlight’ (2016)

Alex Hibbert in

Purposeful and constructive, the compositions behind it barry jenkins moonlight will overwhelm your focus and make you forget you are even streaming a movie score. composer Nicholas Britell implements a striking mix of horns and strings to increase the intensity and tone of each theme. Britell would receive an Oscar nomination for Best Original Score, but the gold statue went to Justin Hurwitz and home la la country.

From sad to hopeful, the sound of moonlight represents new beginnings on the journey to yourself. During the 9-to-5, this score keeps your mind engaged with your work or study, only rousing you for brief moments before refocusing.

Avengers: Endgame (2019)

Avengers Endgame Tony Stark

Almost two hours alone in the music, Avengers: Endgame used music to highlight one of the most iconic moments in movie history (you know the scene). The track I’m looking for is called “Portals” and it’s brilliantly composed Alan Silvestri. Have you finished the final report or are you preparing for the big sales pitch? Assemble your Avengers and lay out this score to solidify your productivity.

With beautiful, hopeful orchestral sound (like all Marvel movies imply), Avengers: Endgame is something else given the cultural and cinematic heaviness of the film. No matter which MCU character you prefer, villain or hero, this score will have you snapping your fingers to end a productive day at work.

“Star Wars” franchise

Rey watches Tatooine's twin suns setting with BB-8

It doesn’t get more iconic than that war of stars. Among his many revered works, John Williams created a musical phenomenon when he brought this franchise to life. He directed all nine episodes, creating a seamless mix between the original three, the prequels, and the new episodes. His work laid the groundwork for spin-off films and prequel TV series.

No matter which episodes you love (or all nine), the music beyond a galaxy far, far away will transport you there as you tap the clock. Whether you’re having an epic start to the day or need a pep talk before an important presentation, war of stars is never a bad choice to block out the working world around you.

READ MORE: Match Made in Heaven: 10 Best-of-Day Film Composers Who Collaborated on a Score

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