Your favourite film soundtracks for Sound of Cinema season

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We asked you for the soundtracks that made movies magical, to coincide with the BBC's Sound of Cinema season led by BBC Four and Radio 3.

From the menacing Star Wars theme tune to the unforgettable songs in Grease, you voted for what stirred and inspired you - and here are your top picks:

Planet of the Apes (Jerry Goldsmith) Why? Because it's so modern for its time - the use of wild and unique instruments really adds to that primal instinct of fight or flight. The rhythm and 'chaos' is so unnerving! I wouldn't say it was a pleasant soundtrack to listen to (unlike sweeping romantic violin scores) but it certainly made the film so edgy for its time.

Fiona Fung, production management assistant, CBBC

Gladiator, in particular Now We Are Free. The music is hauntingly beautiful and transports you in a mental time-machine to the days when men fought for their lives for entertainment: 'Father to a murdered son. Husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance. In this life, or the next.'

Angelique Halliburton, web producer, College of Journalism

I'd vote for Django Unchained (Luis Bacalov/Riz Ortolani/Morricone) as I thought the music enhanced the film but didn't distract, and it seemed so perfectly selected.

Mel Adams, staff scheduler, BBC Sport

Ultimately it has to be the Star Wars main theme. So powerful, evocative and grabs your attention instantly; within seconds you know you're going to be embroiled in some spectacular adventure. The opening brass sends me back to my childhood; I watched my VHS copies so much the tape must have been almost transparent.

Paul Moxham, station sound producer, BBC Radio Devon

West Side Story! Bernstein's music is incredible, and so energising - and it's one of the few musicals I think works really well as a film. It was also of course a big break for lyricist Stephen Sondheim, who I don't think gets the credit he deserves for his part in writing it.

David Hopkins, communications officer, BBC National Orchestra of Wales

John Williams' opening score for Star Wars is mesmerising; it grabs you immediately, and goes straight in with a huge operatic sound. The brass section blows you away to a galaxy far, far away… The theme encompasses a subtle hint of the militaristic threat the Empire represents, yet the melody promises adventure and hope - and that is just the opening score. Instantly recognisable, insanely popular, and yet still commanding total respect, there is only one contender. You can't underestimate the power of The Force.

Colin Warhurst, technologist, Vision

West Side Story: Romeo and Juliet in 1950s New York. Passion, romance, Latin rhythms and a sweeping score with melodies that will stay with you forever, from America to Maria, Somewhere and Tonight. A real classic.

Tracey McEvoy, head of internal communications, BBC Worldwide press office

John Williams John Williams has composed some of film's most memorable scores

Star Wars - John Williams. You could probably write the list from his compositions alone - Indiana Jones, ET, Jurassic Park and Harry Potter. The music can stand alone but it was specially composed for the film. It brings pathos, drama and excitement. It's an essential part of the trilogy, reflecting the action perfectly, with variations of the theme being heard throughout. You could do without the Ewoks but not without the music.

Katharine Longworth, researcher, religions and ethics and director of BBC North staff choir

I'm going with Grease, simply because from that very first string chord in the opening titles you know what's coming - 'Grease is the word, it's the word that you heard!' Everybody knows at least one song from that movie.

Charlie Speirs, researcher, Songs of Praise

It's impossible to imagine Chariots of Fire without THAT music - 'dum dum dum derr dum dum, dum dum dum derr dum...' It's a great film, made whole by a beautiful original score. The subject and the music suit one another perfectly. If you've ever run along a beach, that music has to come into your head. And the clincher? Mr Bean giving us his version at the opening ceremony for London 2012.

Marek Pruszewicz, deputy editor, Newsnight

I particularly love Morricone and Steiner, but the one film soundtrack I adore - and can sing all the way through (though no one would want to listen to me do this!) - is Mary Poppins. It's a brilliant Sherman score, always fresh, full of character and amazing melodies.

Edwina Wolstencroft, editor, Radio 3

The music for Halloween (1978) may not be beautiful or moving, but the sheer simplicity and boldness of director John Carpenter's self-composed score had a huge impact on me when I first encountered it as a teenager. Insistent and hypnotic, it transforms a low-budget slasher flick into a classic portrayal of relentless menace. It taught me that horror cinema could also be great cinema.

John Das, Sound of Cinema producer

  • The BBC wants to find the nation's favourite film soundtrack. Voting closes on midnight on Friday September 20, with the winner announced the following Friday during a live broadcast on Radio 3. The track will also be played live by the BBC Concert Orchestra.


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