The Gladiator score is one of the most popular scores of all time. Though there has been controversy over the plagerism and originality of the score, the popularity of the album has remained strong through the years.
Though the popularity of the score had much to do with the popularity of the film itself, the powerful themes throughout Gladiator are what really make it stand out. Unfortunately some of the most memorable pieces of Hans Zimmer’s work in the score are ones that he has been accused of plagerising. One of those pieces, which he is accused of plagerising from Gustav Holst, is found during the intense parts of “The Battle”. Another piece Zimmer is accused of stealing from Richard Wagner is the ending half of “The Might of Rome”. Whether Hans Zimmer plagerised or not, I am reviewing this soundtrack purely based on whether the music is good or not.
The Gladiator score fits perfectly with Ridley Scott’s story in the film. This is the biggest contributing factor to the success of the score. If this score had been used in a less successful movie, most of its fame would have been lost. Perhaps this is the reason I enjoy the score so much.
The intense music of the battle sequences in “The Battle” and “Barbarian Horde” are a bit too much for me, but other than that I love the score overall. The second half of “The Might of Rome” is one of my favorite pieces of music. When the beautiful choirs enter, I imagine heaven in all its glory.
Though Zimmer receives most of the credit for the soundtrack, the true masterpiece of the score comes from the beautiful vocal performances by Lisa Gerrard. The end of “The Battle”, “Sorrow”, and “Elysium” bring the emotion of the film to life. And of course there is the song “Now We Are Free”, which is one my favorite songs of all time.
There are few scores that really bring a film to life like the Gladiator score. If you love film score music and don’t yet own this score, you need to get it! Even if the only song you enjoy is “Now We Are Free” the soundtrack would not be a wasted buy.