As Martin Scorsese once said, “Music and cinema fit together naturally. Because there’s a kind of intrinsic musicality to the way moving images work when they’re put together. It’s been said that cinema and music are very close as art forms, and I think that’s true.” Indeed, the right piece of music — whether it’s an original score or a carefully selected song — can do wonders for a sequence, and today we’re looking at the 35 films that best expressed this notion this year.

From seasoned composers (e.g. Carter Burwell, Clint Mansell, Cliff Martinez, and the Kluges) to accomplished musicians (e.g. Mica Levi and Scott Walker), as well as a smattering of soundtracks (e.g. 20th Century Women and American Honey), each musical example perfectly transported us to the world of the film.

Check out our rundown of the top 35, which includes streams to each soundtrack in full where available, and let us know your favorites in the comments below.

35. Everybody Wants Some!!

34. 10 Cloverfield Lane (Bear McCreary)

33. American Honey

32. Green Room (Brooke Blair and Will Blair)

31. Julieta (Alberto Iglesias)

30. The Edge of Seventeen

29. Swiss Army Man (Andy Hull and Robert McDowell)

28. Paterson (Sqürl)

Note: Embedded score available soon.

27. Pete’s Dragon (Daniel Hart)

25 & 26. The Fits and Last Days in the Desert (Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans)

24. Hail, Caesar! (Carter Burwell)

23. Sing Street

22. High-Rise (Clint Mansell)

21. Kubo and the Two Strings (Dario Marianelli)

20. The Neon Demon (Cliff Martinez)

19. Silence (Kim Allen Kluge and Kathryn Kluge)

Note: Embedded score available soon.

18. Knight of Cups (Hanan Townshend)

17. Hunt For the Wilderpeople (Moniker)

16. Manchester by the Sea (Lesley Barber)

15. A Bigger Splash

14. Morris From America (Keegan DeWitt)

13. Nocturnal Animals (Abel Korzeniowski)

12. Hell or High Water (Nick Cave and Warren Ellis)

11. La La Land (Justin Hurwitz)

10. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (The Lonely Island)

9. Arrival (Jóhann Jóhannsson)

8. Indignation (Jay Wadley)

7. The Witch (Mark Korven)

6. Jackie (Mica Levi)

5. Moonlight (Nicholas Britell)

4. 20th Century Women

3. Midnight Special (David Wingo)

2. The Childhood of a Leader (Scott Walker)

1. The Handmaiden (Jo Yeong-wook)

What was your favorite score this year?

Follow our complete year-end coverage.

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