Back to IndieWire

Watch: How Can Music Shape a War Film?

Watch: How Can Music Shape a War Film?

Just as war is inexplicable, music is inexplicable. We can describe both: one is violent, savage, sometimes needless, uneven; the other operates by relationships between sounds that simply work, remaining in our memory for reasons we can’t pinpoint. It makes sense, then, that music would be important to war films. It’s hard to forget, for instance, the sound of Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkryies” blasting from the helicopters in Apocalypse Now. The tension in the “I don’t know but I been told” marching song in Full Metal Jacket is palpable, especially given what lies ahead of the singing trainees. And the whistling melody from The Bridge Over the River Kwai is a classic–which I once whistled with a small group during summer camp as a child, not realizing the full significance of the tune. This video essay by Ian Magor uses these and other scenes to show us how music can affect the way we
perceive war in movies–and can “allow us to rediscover our humanity.”

This Article is related to: News and tagged , , , , ,