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Soundtrack review: Born free (John Barry – 1966)

Composer of the month John Barry month

Soundtrack review: Born free (John Barry – 1966)



I don’t think there’s another composer who wrote such constantly beautiful music as John Barry. Whenever I play one of his scores I am mesmerized from the first few notes and the sensation doesn’t go away until the end. When his gorgeous and gentle orchestrations start I am swept away into a fantasy land where everything is bright and calm, where everything flows and everyone is happy and this never fails. There is a unique joy and innocence in his compositions.

The movie is “Born free” and John Barry won two Academy Awards for it (best original score and best original song). It’s a movie about a real life couple who raised a lion to adulthood before releasing her in the wilderness of Kenya. The main theme is beautiful and easily recognizable. John Barry wrote a few variations of it. I am amazed by how the orchestra sounds on “Elsa at play”. The instruments actually play with each other, near each other and I don’t need to see the images to know what’s going on. The theme itself is playful and inviting.

While not among my favorite John Barry scores, “Born free” is still a landmark in his career and a must listen score, especially because of that main theme.

Cue rating: 78 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 9 / 39

Album excellence: 22%


Main Title – Born Free

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Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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