Though there are certainly many movies with outstanding scores (not “soundtracks”), three that always come to mind are the “Dollars Trilogy” directed by Sergio Leone and scored by the brilliant Italian composer Ennio Morricone. In one segment that comes to mind, Morricone, composer and arranger of more than 500 movie and television scores, wrote and arranged a musical piece so perfectly matched to the visual that one can hardly imagine one without the other. The music alone is so rich, so well conceived and executed that it has been covered live in concert, complete with film excerpt, by the band Metallica, used as a concert closer by the Ramones and recorded by cellist Yo-Yo Ma and orchestra leader Hugo Montenegro.
The music in mind comes near the end of The Good, The Bad and the Ugly when the long-searched-for-gold is close at hand. Blondie (Clint Eastwood), who harasses Tuco (Eli Wallach) through the entire film, begins firing cannon shots at him as he rides on a horse. Tuco is thrown from the horse and rolls into a headstone marking the cemetery which holds the gold. Tuco’s subsequent search is the visual accompanying Morricone’s “The Ecstasy of Gold.” Enjoy.