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Maybe it’s a lump in the throat or a chill up your spine. Perhaps you feel the hair stand up on the back of your neck or you just get a good case of the shivers. Whichever way it manifests itself, there’s one piece of music that can still get to you, even after hearing the piece again and again and again.

And not just that feeling you got the first few times you heard that THX crescendo.

These are emotional moments, cues that invoke memories of a particularly poignant moment in a movie, or maybe just in your life. Moments that hit you sometimes for no logical reason at all.

For a long time, for me, it was “The Enterprise,” the rapturous cue from Star Trek: The Motion Picture. I’d turn it up good and loud and no matter how many times I heard it, when that bass rumbled at cue’s end, I’d feel it, that emotional rush. There’s something transcendent about that piece, and for a Trekkie nerd like me, that long, loving look at the starship during the film could never go on too long, especially not when accompanied by Goldsmith’s glorious music.

More recently, I keep getting the goosebumps whenever I listen to “All the Strange, Strange Creatures” from the Doctor Who Series 3 soundtrack. Here’s the thing. I didn’t cry at my wedding. I didn’t cry at the birth of my children. But when the Master returned on Doctor Who, I got chills, I got choked up, I started crying like a little girl.  It was like a bolt coming straight from my childhood, a weird nostalgic vision of watching the Jon Pertwee Doctor battle wits with the Roger Delgado Master. And hearing that music reminds me of that moment, that amazing revelation that the Master had indeed survived to fight another day. Oh, by the way, spoiler alert.

Another that always affects me, although not in such a visceral way, is James Newton Howard’s Promised Land. The film, little seen, came out in 1988 and starred Kiefer Sutherland and Meg Ryan. I was living in L.A. at the time and saw the film in a theater on Van Nuys Boulevard, and when it was over, I walked directly across the street to a record store and immediately bought the cassette. There’s something soothing about the music for me. I associate it, I think, with that period of my life, when the world seemed wide open with possibilities and whenever I hear those first notes of "The Plymouth Waltz," I immediately feel just a bit more calm and centered. There’s almost a physical sensation of tension dropping away from me when I listen to the CD. It’s a powerful testament to the amazing ability of music to affect my mood. I think I’ll go turn it on right now.

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Comments (26):Log in or register to post your own comments
For me there is the whole E.T by Williams...the emotions playing out here is I think the only thing that can make me cry (yeah I´m that stonefaced Bronson kind of guy)
The Main theme to Total Recal and Conan are two other themes I feel the beat in my chest and it travels allthe way down my spine through the legs and I have to play these two out as loud as my speakers can :)

Braveheart (The freedom cue) is another great lump in the throat for me and if it wasnt for that music alone, I wouldnt feel like I should jump into the screen and kill those english bastards myself ;)
Goldenthals Adagio theme for Alien 3 is another one that because of that theme makes me feel like I lost a good friend I have been fighting with during two earlier movies and now it ends in this sad way (I can say I was angry at Fincer for a whole year after watching this, but now I see the beauty in it and Goldenthal helped it out alot...

While there are other examples too numerous to list in their entirety, for me the absolute ultimate example of a 'lump in the throat' film music moment is the latter half of "The Final Game" from Goldsmith's Rudy score (commencing at about 3:20 into the cue). By the time it's over, I'm usually sobbing, which is an interesting reaction given that it's such a joyous piece of music.

While ET by Williams is one of those score that give you the Lump in the throat feeling, "You are the Pan" from Williams HOOK is also one of them.

Also that work for me are:

1) 'Finale' from CE3K (Williams)
2) Candle Light" from UNTIL SEPTEMBER(Barry)
3) 'Sorrow' from GHOST & MRS MUIR (Herrmann)
4) 'The Road & Finale' from FAHRENHEIT 451 (Herrmann)
5) 'The Mothers Love'from BEN HUR (Rozsa)
6) All of SOMEWHERE IN TIME (Barry)


"Preparations For Battle" and "Charging Fort Wagner" from Glory always get me, as does Field Of Dreams. Something about 1989, I guess.

Maurice Jarees' GHOST does it for me.

Bruce Wayne begging for his parent's forgiveness at their grave in Mask Of The Phantasm always got me a little choaked up.

The finale of Powder.

The finale of Somewhere In Time.

Several parts of The Thin Red Line.

Walking Distance by Bernard Herrmann.

The Main theme to Total Recall

When the throbbing electronic sequencer kicks in on the main theme I have goosebumps all over. Every time.

well, for me, it's the very short, little moments, or sometimes one passage.

like in the track The Reunion from Papillon, where about halfway there's a gorgeously soaring, but subtle variation on the theme (when McQueen goes after Hoffman).

in Poltergeist, there's that standout track Rebirth, with somewhere in the last part of it, a beautiful trumpet.

more trumpet in The Mummy's last album cue.
and in the instrumental version of It's A Long Road from First Blood.

The Final Conflict has a staggering moment in The Hunt with the main theme at full blast after a few softer 'attempts'. and then again in The Blooding Reel halfway in.

And for me, spinechillingly beautiful, the end title music from Alien.

That piano bit in the "Reunion" track from Papillion is pure gold.

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