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Music in

1900 - 2000


Music in Films

Elmer Bernstein


Bernstein - film music - I
Elmer Bernstein - II

The Magnificent Seven
Akira Kurosawa
Seven Samurai

Elmer Bernstein, American film composer (born April 4, 1922, New York, N.Y.—died Aug. 18, 2004, Ojai, Calif.), created the scores for more than 200 motion pictures during a career that spanned half a century and produced some of Hollywood’s most memorable film music, fashioning its style to reflect the mood and action of its film; his scores were often widely acknowledged as more notable than the movies themselves. Although he garnered 14 Academy Award nominations—including those for the scores of The Man with the Golden Arm (1955), The Magnificent Seven (1960), To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), Trading Places (1983), and Far from Heaven (2002)—he won only once, for Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967), considered one of his lesser efforts. Bernstein was headed for a career as a concert pianist, but during his World War II army service, he composed scores for military radio broadcasts. In 1950 he began writing music for films, and in 1952, with his score for Sudden Fear, he demonstrated the drama and originality that would distinguish his works.


Although his support for left-wing causes hindered his career somewhat during the early 1950s, Bernstein continued to get work, and in the mid-’50s he established his reputation with the groundbreaking jazz-infused score for The Man with the Golden Arm and proved his versatility with the stirring music for The Ten Commandments (1956). Later notable scores included those for Sweet Smell of Success (1957), Some Came Running (1958), Walk on the Wild Side (1962), Animal House (1978), Airplane! (1980), Ghostbusters (1984), and My Left Foot (1989), and he also composed works for symphony orchestras and scores for television programs and the documentary The Making of the President 1960 (1963).

1955 The Man with the Golden Arm 
1956 The Ten Commandments
1960 The Magnificent Seven  (1) 
(Akira Kurosawa - Seven Samurai - 1954)

1961 Summer and Smoke
1962 To Kill a Mockingbird
1962 Walk on the Wild Side
1966 Return of the Magnificent Seven
1967 Thoroughly Modern Millie 
1969 True Grit
1969 Guns of the Magnificent Seven 
1972 The Magnificent Seven Ride   (4)
1978 Animal House
1980 Airplane!
1983 Trading Places
1984 Ghostbusters
1993 The Age of Innocence
2002 Far from Heaven 


Elmer Bernstein - Film Scores


The Man with the Golden Arm

The Man with the Golden Arm is a 1955 American drama film with elements of film noir, based on the novel of the same name by Nelson Algren, which tells the story of a drug addict who gets clean while in prison, but struggles to stay that way in the outside world. Although the addictive drug is never identified in the film, according to the American Film Institute "most contemporary and modern sources assume that it is heroin", in contrast to Algren's book which named the drug as morphine.[3] The film stars Frank Sinatra, Eleanor Parker, Kim Novak, Arnold Stang and Darren McGavin. It was adapted for the screen by Walter Newman, Lewis Meltzer and Ben Hecht (uncredited), and directed by Otto Preminger. The film's initial release sparked controversy due to its serious, in-depth treatment of the then-taboo subject of drug addiction.

It was nominated for three Academy Awards: Sinatra for Best Actor in a Leading Role, Joseph C. Wright and Darrell Silvera for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White and Elmer Bernstein for Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture. Sinatra was also nominated for best actor awards by the BAFTAs and The New York Film Critics. The film is in the public domain.

The Man with the Golden Arm (1955) 

The Man With The Golden Arm - Soundtrack Suite - Elmer Bernstein


The Ten Commandments

The Ten Commandments is a 1956 American epic religious drama film produced, directed, and narrated by Cecil B. DeMille, shot in VistaVision (color by Technicolor), and released by Paramount Pictures. The film is based on Prince of Egypt by Dorothy Clarke Wilson, Pillar of Fire by J.H. Ingraham, On Eagle's Wings by A.E. Southon, and the Book of Exodus. The Ten Commandments dramatizes the biblical story of the life of Moses, an adopted Egyptian prince who becomes the deliverer of his real brethren, the enslaved Hebrews, and therefore leads the Exodus to Mount Sinai, where he receives, from God, the Ten Commandments. The film stars Charlton Heston in the lead role, Yul Brynner as Rameses, Anne Baxter as Nefretiri, Edward G. Robinson as Dathan, Yvonne De Carlo as Sephora, Debra Paget as Lilia, and John Derek as Joshua; and features Sir Cedric Hardwicke as Sethi, Nina Foch as Bithiah, Martha Scott as Yoshebel, Judith Anderson as Memnet, and Vincent Price as Baka, among others.

Filmed on location in Egypt, Mount Sinai and the Sinai Peninsula, the film was DeMille's last and most successful work.[9] It is a partial remake of his 1923 silent film of the same title, and features one of the largest sets ever created for a film.[9] The film was released to cinemas in the United States on November 8, 1956 and, at the time of its release, was the most expensive film ever made.

In 1957, the film was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, winning the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects (John P. Fulton, A.S.C.).[10] Charlton Heston was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture (Drama) for his role as Moses. Yul Brynner won the National Board of Review Award for Best Actor for his role as Rameses and his other roles in Anastasia and The King and I. It is also one of the most financially successful films ever made, grossing approximately $122.7 million at the box office during its initial release; it was the most successful film of 1956 and the second-highest-grossing film of the decade. According to Guinness World Records, in terms of theatrical exhibition it is the seventh most successful film of all-time when the box office gross is adjusted for inflation.

In 1999, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". In June 2008, the American Film Institute revealed its "Ten Top Ten"—the best ten films in ten American film genres—after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. The film was listed as the tenth best film in the epic genre. Network television has aired the film in prime time during the Passover/Easter season every year since 1973.

Elmer Bernstein - The Ten Commandments 1956 Official Sound Track 

The Ten Commandments - Soundtrack Suite - Elmer Bernstein

Let My People Go - (1/10) 

 Baby Moses Sent Down the River (2/10)

Moses Turns Water Into Blood (3/10)

You Will Be My Wife (4/10)

Moses Meets His Real Mother (5/10)

Moses Parts the Sea - (6/10)

Moses Presents the Ten Commandments (7/10)

Moses is Arrested (8/10) 

Moses is Banished (9/10)

The Burning Bush (10/106)


Summer and Smoke

Summer and Smoke is a 1961 American drama film directed by Peter Glenville, and starring Laurence Harvey and Geraldine Page, with Rita Moreno, Una Merkel, John McIntire, Thomas Gomez, Pamela Tiffin, Malcolm Atterbury, Lee Patrick, and Earl Holliman. Based on the Tennessee Williams play of the same name, it was adapted by James Poe and Meade Roberts. The story follows a young reserved girl who meets a doctor who lives on the wild side. They become friends, but the beliefs they hold create difficulties for the relationship.

Elmer Bernstein - Summer and Smoke - 1961

Summer And Smoke - Trailer

Summer and Smoke (1961) part 1/2

Summer and Smoke (1961) part 2/2


To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird is a 1962 American drama film directed by Robert Mulligan. The screenplay by Horton Foote is based on Harper Lee's 1960 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name. It stars Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch and Mary Badham as Scout. To Kill a Mockingbird marked the film debuts of Robert Duvall, William Windom, and Alice Ghostley.

The film received overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics and was a box-office success, earning more than six times its budget. The film won three Academy Awards, including Best Actor for Peck, and was nominated for eight, including Best Picture.

In 1995, the film was listed in the National Film Registry. In 2003, the American Film Institute named Atticus Finch the greatest movie hero of the 20th century. In 2007 the film ranked twenty-fifth on the AFI's 10th anniversary list of the greatest American movies of all time. In 2005, the British Film Institute included it in their list of the 50 films you should see by the age of 14. The film was restored and released on Blu-ray and DVD in 2012 as part of the 100th anniversary of Universal Pictures.


To Kill A Mockingbird - 1962 - triler

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)


Walk on the Wild Side

Walk on the Wild Side is a 1962 American drama film directed by Edward Dmytryk, adapted from the 1956 novel A Walk on the Wild Side by American author Nelson Algren. The film has a star-studded cast, including Laurence Harvey, Capucine, Jane Fonda, Anne Baxter, and Barbara Stanwyck, and was scripted by John Fante.

It was not well received at the time; Bosley Crowther of The New York Times described it as a "lurid, tawdry, and sleazy melodrama". While it passed its censors, it was an adult film noir with quite explicit overtones and subject matter. It walks its audience through the lives and relationships between adults (mostly women) engaged in the "business" of commercial prostitution at a stylish New Orleans brothel. The "boss" is a beautiful, stylish Madam (Stanwyck) whose combination of toughness and, a motherly intimate tenderness toward her "girls'" real lives is as disturbing as it is entertaining to watch.

Walk on the Wild Side - Trailer 

Walk on the Wild Side - 1962

Elmer Bernstein - Walk On The Wild Side


Thoroughly Modern Millie 

Thoroughly Modern Millie is a 1967 American musical-romantic comedy film directed by George Roy Hill and starring Julie Andrews. The screenplay by Richard Morris, based on the 1956 British musical Chrysanthemum, focuses on a naive young woman who finds herself in the midst of a series of madcap adventures when she sets her sights on marrying her wealthy boss. The film also stars Mary Tyler Moore, James Fox, John Gavin, Carol Channing, and Beatrice Lillie.

The soundtrack interpolates new tunes by Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn with standard songs from the 1910s and 1920s, including "Baby Face" (although this was not published until 1926) and "Jazz Baby." For use of the latter, the producers had to acquire the rights from General Mills, which had used the melody with various lyrics to promote Wheaties for more than forty years.




True Grit 

True Grit is a 1969 American western film directed by Henry Hathaway and starring Kim Darby as Mattie Ross and John Wayne as U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn. It is the first film adaptation of Charles Portis' 1968 novel of the same name. The screenplay was written by Marguerite Roberts. Wayne won his only Academy Award for his performance in the film and reprised his role for the 1975 sequel Rooster Cogburn.

Historians believe Cogburn was based on Deputy U.S. Marshal Heck Thomas, who brought in some of the toughest outlaws. The cast also features Glen Campbell, Robert Duvall, Dennis Hopper, Jeff Corey and Strother Martin. The title song, sung by Campbell, was also Oscar-nominated.

True Grit was adapted again in 2010, starring Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, and Hailee Steinfeld.

True Grit - Soundtrack Suite - Elmer Bernstein

True Grit (1969) 

True Grit (1969) 

True Grit (1969)

True Grit (1969) 


Animal House

National Lampoon's Animal House is a 1978 American comedy film directed by John Landis and written by Harold Ramis, Douglas Kenney and Chris Miller. It stars John Belushi, Tim Matheson, John Vernon, Verna Bloom, Thomas Hulce, Stephen Furst, and Donald Sutherland. The film is about a misfit group of fraternity members who challenge the authority of the dean of Faber College.

The film was produced by Matty Simmons of National Lampoon and Ivan Reitman for Universal Pictures. It was inspired by stories written by Miller and published in National Lampoon. The stories were based on Ramis's experience in the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity at Washington University in St. Louis, Miller's Alpha Delta Phi experiences at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, and producer Reitman's at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.

Of the younger lead actors, only the 28-year-old Belushi was an established star, but even he had not yet appeared in a film, having gained fame mainly from his television appearances on Saturday Night Live, which was starting its third season in autumn 1977. Several of the actors who were cast as college students, including Hulce, Karen Allen, and Kevin Bacon, were just beginning their film careers, although Matheson had appeared as one of the vigilante cops in the second Dirty Harry film, Magnum Force and had voiced the title character in Jonny Quest.

Upon its initial release, Animal House received generally mixed reviews from critics, but Time and Roger Ebert proclaimed it one of the year's best. Filmed for only $2.8 million, it is one of the most profitable movies in history, garnering an estimated gross of more than $142 million in the form of theatrical rentals and home video, not including merchandising.

The film, along with 1977's The Kentucky Fried Movie, also directed by Landis, was largely responsible for defining and launching the gross out film genre, which became one of Hollywood's staples. As of 2017, it was considered by many fans and critics as one of the greatest comedy films ever made. In 2001, the United States Library of Congress deemed Animal House "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry. It was No. 1 on Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies". It was No. 36 on AFI's "100 Years... 100 Laughs" list of the 100 best American comedies. In 2008, Empire magazine selected it as one of "The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time."

Animal House (1978) - trailer

Animal House - 1978 - Elmer Bernstein



Airplane! (alternatively titled Flying High!) is a 1980 American satirical disaster film written and directed by David and Jerry Zucker and Jim Abrahams, and produced by Jon Davison. It stars Robert Hays and Julie Hagerty and features Leslie Nielsen, Robert Stack, Lloyd Bridges, Peter Graves, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Lorna Patterson. The film is a parody of the disaster film genre, particularly the 1957 Paramount film Zero Hour!, from which it borrows the plot and the central characters, as well as many elements from Airport 1975 and other films in the Airport film series. The film is known for its use of surreal humor and its fast-paced slapstick comedy, including visual and verbal puns, gags, and obscure humor.

Airplane! was a critical and financial success, grossing over $83 million in North America against a budget of $3.5 million, being released by Paramount Pictures. The film's creators received the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Adapted Comedy, and nominations for the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and for the BAFTA Award for Best Screenplay.

In the years since its release, the film's reputation has grown substantially. The film was ranked sixth on Bravo's 100 Funniest Movies. In a 2007 survey by Channel 4 in the United Kingdom, it was judged the second greatest comedy film of all time, after Monty Python's Life of Brian. In 2008, it was selected by Empire magazine as one of The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time and in 2012 was voted number one in The 50 Funniest Comedies Ever poll. In 2010, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

Airplane! - Soundtrack - Elmer Bernstein

Airplane! - Love Theme - Elmer Bernstein

Airplane (1980) Movie Trailer

Airplane (1980) 

Airplane (1980) 

Airplane (1980) 

Airplane (1980) 


Trading Places

Trading Places is a 1983 American comedy film directed by John Landis and starring Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy. It tells the story of an upper-class commodities broker and a homeless street hustler whose lives cross paths when they are unknowingly made part of an elaborate bet. Ralph Bellamy, Don Ameche, Denholm Elliott, and Jamie Lee Curtis also star. The storyline is often called a modern take on Mark Twain's classic 19th-century novel The Prince and the Pauper.

The film was written by Timothy Harris and Herschel Weingrod and was produced by Aaron Russo. It was released to theaters in North America on June 8, 1983, where it was distributed by Paramount Pictures. The film earned over $90 million during its theatrical run in the United States, finishing as the fourth highest earning film of the year and the second highest earning R-rated film of 1983.

Denholm Elliott and Jamie Lee Curtis won the awards for Best Actor in a Supporting Role and Best Actress in a Supporting Role, respectively, at the 37th British Academy Film Awards. The film was nominated for several additional awards including Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy at the 41st Golden Globe Awards.

Trading Places - Soundtrack Suite - Elmer Bernstein

Trading Places - 1983 - Trailer



Ghostbusters is a 1984 American supernatural comedy film directed and produced by Ivan Reitman and written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. It stars Bill Murray, Aykroyd and Ramis as eccentric parapsychologists who start a ghost-catching business in New York City. Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis co-star as a client and her neighbor, and Ernie Hudson as the Ghostbusters' first recruit.

Aykroyd conceived Ghostbusters as a project for himself and fellow Saturday Night Live alumnus John Belushi, with the "Ghostmashers" travelling through time and space. He and Ramis rewrote the script following Belushi's death and after Reitman deemed Aykroyd's initial vision financially impractical.

Ghostbusters was released in the United States on June 8, 1984. It received mainly positive reviews and grossed $242 million in the United States and more than $295 million worldwide, making it the highest grossing comedy film of its time. At the 57th Academy Awards, it was nominated for Best Visual Effects and Best Original Song (for the theme song). The American Film Institute ranked Ghostbusters 28th in its AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs list of film comedies. In 2015, the United States Library of Congress selected the film for preservation in the National Film Registry, finding it "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

Ghostbusters launched a media franchise, which includes a 1989 sequel, Ghostbusters II, two animated television series, The Real Ghostbusters and Extreme Ghostbusters, several video games, and a 2016 reboot film.

GHOSTBUSTERS (1984 score by Elmer Bernstein)

Trading Places - 1983 - Trailer


The Age of Innocence

The Age of Innocence is a 1993 American historical romantic drama film directed by Martin Scorsese. The screenplay, an adaptation of the 1920 novel of the same name by Edith Wharton, was written by Scorsese and Jay Cocks. The film stars Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer, Winona Ryder, and Miriam Margolyes, and was released by Columbia Pictures.

The Age of Innocence was released theatrically on September 19, 1993 by Columbia Pictures. It received critical acclaim, winning the Academy Award for Best Costume Design, and being nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Winona Ryder), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score and Best Art Direction. But was a box office failure grossing $32.3 million against a $34 million budget. Scorsese dedicated the film to his father, Luciano Charles Scorsese, who had died the month before the film was released. Luciano and his wife, Catherine Scorsese, had a small cameo appearance in the film.

Orchestral Score  from Martin Scorsese's film "The Age of Innocence" (1993)
Music Composed & Conducted by Elmer Bernstein

[0:00] - The Age of Innocence
[4:39] - Mrs. Mingott
[6:22] - Dangerous Conversation
[8:38] - Slighted
[9:38] - Van Der Luydens
[11:57] - First Visit
[14:28] - Roses Montage
[15:50] - Ellen's Letter
[17:58] - Archer's Books
[20:07] - Mrs Mingott's Help
[23:58] - Archer Pleads
[25:49] - Passage Of Time
[28:35] - Archery
[30:05] - Ellen At The Shore
[32:21] - Blenker Farm
[35:02] - Boston Common
[35:57] - Parker House
[37:16] - Pick Up Ellen
[39:31] - Conversation With Letterblair
[42:06] - Archer Leaves
[43:12] - Farewell Dinner
[45:18] - Ellen Leaves
[48:02] - In Paris
[49:16] - Ellen's House
[50:06] - Madame Olenska
[52:26] - End Credits

The Age Of Innocence - Trailer - (1993) 


Far from Heaven

Far from Heaven is a 2002 American period drama film written and directed by Todd Haynes and starring Julianne Moore, Dennis Quaid, Dennis Haysbert, and Patricia Clarkson. It premiered at the Venice Film Festival, where Moore won the Volpi Cup for Best Actress and cinematographer Edward Lachman won a prize for Outstanding Individual Contribution.

The film tells the story of Cathy Whitaker, a 1950s housewife, living in wealthy suburban Connecticut as she sees her seemingly perfect life begin to fall apart. Haynes pays homage to the films of Douglas Sirk (especially 1955's All That Heaven Allows and 1959's Imitation of Life) and explores race, gender roles, sexual orientation and class in the context of 1950s America.

Elmer Bernstein scores "Far From Heaven"

Far From Heaven - Opening Scene 

Far From Heaven - Final Scene 

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