Danny Elfman The Best Filmtracks
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"If there's one thing I really love... it's sad music."

Danny Elfman in 1996, regarding Black Beauty

Danny Elfman is a composer who did not even have plans of becoming one, yet films with his music received 4 Oscars Nominations (Good Will Hunting, Men in Black, Big Fish, Milk), 3 Golden Globe Nominations (Alice in Wonderland, Big Fish, The Nightmare Before Christmas), and 2 Bafta Nominations (Alice in Wonderland, Chicago). Born in Los Angeles in 1953, Danny Elfman originally was dreaming of becoming a cinematographer or director, but the destiny turned his life upside-down. His musical career began from his new wave band  Oingo Boingo where he was a singer and songwriter. However, his first acquaintance with the music for films came a bit later. Below you will find the best and the most valuable films which either were positively accessed by the viewers and critics or played an important role in Elfman’s career.

I Never Promised You a Rose Garden (1977)

Danny’s career began when Anthony Page, the film director, invited Oingo Boingo for a cameo from The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo. This was Elfman’s first appearance in the extras and first experience in giving his music to a filmmaker.

Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985)

Pee-wee Herman was directed by Tim Burton, who would then hire Danny Elfman for cooperation many more times. However, exactly in 1985 the long-lasting friendship and some kind of mental began. The composer loved sad and rich melodies while Burton’s surreal vision of the film world required such a composer. As a result, the amazing Pee-wee's Big Adventure for the joy of children and adults, owing to the clever and yet child-like humous of Pee-wee's and the whimsical and silly melodies that enhanced the story.

Beetlejuice (1988)

This is one of the most recognizable sountracks written by Danny Elfman. In fact, anyone who grew up in the 1980s can hum it without any hesitation. The dark comedy as it gives Elfman his two favourite components: fun and dark-scary notes.

Batman (1989)

As well as Beetlejuice, Batman theme is one of the most iconic of Elfman's orchestral scores. This is a serious and dramatic theme that gets right into your head and heart from the first notes. Just as the rest of Batman films, this one started the new page in the story of Batman and Joker.

Edward Scissorhands (1990)

The various moods and minds, the thoughts and dread of Edward Scissorhands were perfectly depicted in Elfman’s theme for the film. The music here is lyrical and at the same time it makes blood still; it has childish notes with sad strings and the cold choir in the background. This decent film, so much beloved by the audience could not have gotten a better score.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

The song This Is Halloween is arguably the most famous soundtracks Elfman has ever written. The orchestral core with the sticky words “This is Halloween, this is Halloween” gets into the subcortex of every film viewer and listener and stays there forever. The impeccable anarchistic singing of Marilyn Manson, who recreated the song for the new release of the film, only reminded the viewers about the talented composer who first wrote this masterpiece song.

Chicago (2002)

If you love jazz, then Chicago’s soundtrack by Elfman would definitely stay in your playlist for long. The classy brass instruments that unite together, in what might seem to be cacophony from the first glance, to develop amazing jazzy sound enhanced by the bass, piano, and drums. The music on itself already sets the mood of the film and coupled with the organic play of Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renée Zellweger, Queen Latifah, Taye Diggs, and Cliff Saunders adds amazing mood and memory for the film.

Big Fish (2003)

Yet another cooperation with Tim Burton. The sweet and sentimental film about the imaginary and the real life required the same dreamy and light sountrack to take the viewer into the parallel reality. The film that seems to be a love story, in fact, has a lot of context like generation reckoning. So Elfman developed the music with tender love-related tones as well as bittersweet life-lesson tunes.

Alice in Wonderland (2010)

Being not just a fairytale, Alice in Wonderland was developed into an amazing film by Tim Burton’s vision and Danny Elfman’s extraordinary musical taste. The darkness and harshness of some characters was intertwined with the whimsical and naive Alice. The fortes and pianos change one another throughout the film following every step Alice makes. Elfman made his best effort to develop a separate theme for every mischievous character Alice meets in the film. As a result, Golden Globe nomination and eternal love of the audience.

Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)

Another classy story well-known to the audience from childhood is about Oz the Great and Powerful. Here Elfman made the theme sound magically with the waves of good and kindness and the instant changes to forte and darker sides of the main character. The great play of James Franco as Oz helped the film to win six nominations in different categories and become a once-and-for-all screen version of the great tale according to Red Rock Entertainment.


Of course, Danny Elfman did not finish his career in 2013, he continues to work in many films including The Simpsons (all the full features), The Grinch, Justice League, The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, The Girl on the Train, Big Eyes, and many-many more. Whenever you feel happy, sad, frustrated, depressed, dreamy, or simply need to relax, Danny Elfman has any music to match your mood.

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