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What film/s do you think have the best sound effects?

Gary Hughes

What (singular, or your own top ten list of) film/s do you think have the best sound effects (or the most brilliant combo of both sound effects and sound) so far and why ? Please say why, rather than just naming the film.


"A Man Escaped" directed by Robert Bresson in 1956. the entire movie is shot inside a prison cell with no shots of the outside until the actual escape at the end (that's not a spoiler, it's right there in the title...). because of the visual limitation, the movie is told exclusively through sound. footsteps, conversations, ambience, the entire environment was created in audio and is so well done that it immediately convinces the viewer of its reality. anyone who doubts the importance of post-audio should watch this film. the plot ain't half bad either...

Gene Cowherd

Recently I was impressed with "Signs" use of sound. Normally in sci-fi/suspence movies you have alot of non-diegetic sound thats supposed to build suspence or highten tension. Movies in this genre have followed the same formula for too many years. The same sounds and where they appear have been rehashed again and again.

This film evokes emotion through the soundtrack, or lack of it. After seeing it a second time, it seems that M. Night Shyamalan began this movie with a wonderful understanding of the phychology of sound on film. It is not just what we hear that is frightening. It is the way Shyamalan has us listening intensely when there is nothing to be heard. It was refreshing to see movie where visuals and sound have equal parts in creating the suspence.

Jonathan Jackson

Is this for a poll or something anyway off the top of my head in no particaular order.

1) Star Wars... creative, original, innovative.

2) Raging Bull... You feel every punch.

3) Eraserhead... it's wierd and lonely.

4) Delicatesan(sp) funny,scary and twisted.

5) Requiem for a dream... It got under my skin music was intense as well.

6) The intro to "Falling Down"

7) Stigmata... probably the noisest film ever with loudest sound effects mixed with metal musak.

Coll Anderson

I think the cudos on Signs go to Richard King. Great use of the "Corn" recording. Also to Michael. I think that alot of the Lynch films have great LoZ moments that really work in the relm of the subconcious.

As always I love the use of sound design in Docs like Mr. Death. I know it is tooting my own horn but it was so fun to make a film where everything was made. "The Black Stallion" great sounding film.


find the "Signs" thread interesting. All the sound folks I know, including someone who had alot to do with the Lynch films and Black Stalion, realy hated the sound. But pretty much everyone realy disliked the film so maybe that has colored the perception, I may have to look at it again?

On a positive note I loved "Road to Perdition". I would have liked a little more "sound" and a little less music but the music was so good its hard to complain. But the use of quiet to set up loud was great. The film may have more dynamic range than anything I have seen.

I respect you guys so I will take another listen to Sighns.


My own impression of _Road to Perdition_ was that the sound at times was so well worked that it broke my heart when the music slopped in and tried to choose how we would emotionally respond to that movie

Given that an earlier by-way of this thread talked about the absolutely brilliant Bresson film, here's a little quote from his Notes on the Cinematographer:

"Music takes up all the room and gives no increased value to the image to which it is added."

For my money, some of the more INTERESTING film sound is coming out of Asia--films like director Kurosawa's Cure (this is NOT Akira Kurosawa). I think in Japan audiences may be more willing to listen to environmental recordings rather than needing film music all the time.

A film like Cure "hears" its environment in a very different way. I think there are only about two music cues in the entire show and you'd never notice -- you are listening not only to what the environment around the characters is doing, you are experiencing how the sounds are being presented. In one scene -- a suspects is taken up to be presented before a panel of heads of police, it really feels like they contact miked the floors and bodies of the leads (even if the effect was accomplished by a "mistake" with setting up wireless body mics -- heartbeat etc--it is still brilliant.)

The deep hits of the ambience and slightly off-kilter "feel" to the sound of the room is right: something is going horribly wrong right in front of everyone. And if the filmmaker called for a lot of anxious music to by plastered over everything, he would have shown his hand way too early.

Jürg Lempen

Jacques Tati's films, "Playtime" for instance, have incredible foley sound effects, as the whole films are based on different sound levels within very complex scenes with several dozens of actors identified within the scene only through the particular noises they make... (am i making myself clear, here?).

Also, this science-fiction movie from the fifties, "Forbidden Planet", feat. Leslie Nielsen before his "funny guy" period, has very funny electronic sound stuff to offer. You may catch this movie around 2 A.M. on TCM...

Discussion thread "What film/s do you think have the best sound effects?" at CAS webboard August 2002

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