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Soundtrack review: From Russia with love (John Barry – 1964)

Composer of the month Franchises James Bond franchise John Barry month

Soundtrack review: From Russia with love (John Barry – 1964)



“From Russia with love” is the second James Bond film and the first to feature John Barry as composer. Let’s get comfortable and start a journey through one of the best movie franchises when it comes to music. I love Bond music. I always get excited when a new score comes out. Even when the movies stunk, the music was still brilliant; the sound was still fresh and alive. “From Russia with love” is where the sound settles in that comfortable, melodic and slightly jazzy place we all know and love.

The main theme of this score is one of the most recognizable. It’s wide and melodic and it has a note of heaviness that sets it apart from other Bond themes. “From Russia” with love emphasizes action over romance. We get powerful cues like “Death of Grant” alongside romantic pieces like “Bond meets Tania”. This score also introduces the “secondary Bond theme”: “007” is a sharp action motif that appears in quite a few of the movies.

The appeal of this score comes more from the fact that it’s the first one from the 11 that John Barry wrote. The composer shows traces of the brilliance that will come starting from the next one, while still trying to find the right sound. Though enjoyable, of course (I always listen with pleasure to “Gypsy camp” or “James Bond with bongos”) it’s one of the Bond scores I listen to the least. The main theme, sung by the special voice of Matt Monroe, finds its way most often in my playlists.

Cue rating: 72 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 16 / 37

Album excellence: 45%


Opening Titles

Tania meets Klebb

Bond meets Tania


Gypsy Camp

Death of Grant

From Russia with Love

James Bond with Bongos

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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