10 Best Movies for Surround Sound

Zacharia S
Zacharia S

30 May 2023

6 min read

10 Best Movies for Surround Sound

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Christopher Nolan once said, “I like films where the music and the sound design, at times, are almost indistinguishable.” His movies have always been known for their sound, sound effects, and fantastic storytelling.

The “talkies” first started in the early 1920s. This was the latest rage and Hollywood was quick to adapt. We’ve come a long way in terms of sound design and film. With music, audio and sound design geniuses giving the best they can to the movies they’re working on.

We’re here to list 10 movies with the best surround sound. These are going to give your surround sound system a true test. And without further ado let’s get started!

Contents

10 Best Surround Sound Movies

  1. Baby Driver
  2. Dune
  3. Mad Max: Fury Road
  4. Whiplash
  5. Inception
  6. Black Panther
  7. Interstellar
  8. Dunkirk
  9. Arrival
  10. Ford vs. Ferrari

There are a lot of movies for surround sound that should be listed here either because of the ambient sound in the film or the musical score. Right now, we’re sticking to the most popular that have also been acknowledged by experts and professionals. These movies have also been recognized by award councils.

“Sound and sound design has always been very important to my approach to film because it is a more subversive and allusive aspect of the medium.”

Larry Fessenden

1. Baby Driver (2017)

From the start, you notice that Baby Driver is unique when it comes to its music and sound.

An example of musical genius in this movie would be; in the movie, every single time ‘Baby’ went into a store, He has Hocus Pocus playing in his earphone, and the music in the store is synchronized with it. The thrift store has a rap song that is tempo-matched to the Hocus Pocus song. What’s playing in Baby’s earbuds is identical to all of the other music in the movie.

Baby Driver also has something called diegetic sounds. Diegetic sounds are extremely important in movies. These are noises made by things that appear on-screen.

‘Baby’ provided the cue, and the sound was mixed accordingly. When he only has one earbud in, the music can only be heard on that side of the theatre or surround sound system, and we can also hear his tinnitus when he isn’t listening to music. The tinnitus also modulates depending on Baby’s stress levels.

You can see how much importance the producers of Baby Driver have given music, sound, and audio. This is why it ranks no.1 in our list of movies with the best surround sound.

Synopsis:

Baby is a young man who is partially hearing impaired. He’s indebted to a crime boss named Don. Don makes him pay off his debt by making him a getaway driver.

Baby has an inane talent for making crazy moves if he’s got the right track playing through his earbuds. The movie follows him on an insane sure-to-fail heist that takes all of Baby’s talents and skills to get out.

2. Dune (2021)

Dune blends the musical compositions of Hans Zimmer and the sound design created by Mark Magini, Theo Green, and their team. This blend is a unique soundtrack that is extremely dynamic and expressive.

There were plenty of tough decisions that arose when mixing the sounds for Dune. They had to find a cocktail of audio that worked to incorporate everything that was happening on-screen in a compelling sense while also not overpowering the scene.

Dolby Atmos surround space (which we know is a key ingredient in movies with the best surround sound) was used to bring out the details in particularly chaotic scenes. Checking out the audio in the Ornithopter Ride scene would give you an impressive sense of the work that went into the audio scape. One of the best things to note about this movie is that this is the second time this team has worked together.

Ron Bartlett the sound mixer who worked on Dune believes that it’s imperative that they deliver a clean mix. This helps the audience see the director’s intentions through sound and film.

Synopsis:

The main character of Dune, Paul Atreides (played by Timothee Chalamet), sets out on an adventure to conquer the planet Arrakis with the help of his family. The desert planet is significant because it has melange, a rare spice. The story will depict the Atreides family and the instability in Arrakis. A movie guaranteed to give you a great surround sound experience.

3. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

In this post-apocalyptic movie, Mad Max: Fury Road, sound editors Mark Mangini and Scott Hecker stated that each of the monster rigs had its distinct animalistic personality. This was done to make it seem like each war rig was alive.

Mad Max will truly test your surround sound system. There are quite a few unique selling points when it comes to sound editing and sound mixing. A key USP would be; the editor’s choice to use the sound of animals dying. An example of this is when you see the harpoon hitting a rig. You hear the sound of a whale dying. This invokes a real emotional response in the audience.

Synopsis:

The oppressive Immortan Joe holds apocalyptic survivors captive inside the desert fortress of the Citadel years after civilization has collapsed. When the five wives of the ruler make a daring escape under the leadership of the warrior Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), she forms a partnership with the reclusive former prisoner Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy). They attempt to evade the brutal warlord and his goons in a deadly high-speed chase through the Wasteland while armored in the enormous, armored truck known as the War Rig.

4. Whiplash (2014)

Whiplash is a brilliant movie that focuses on music, and jazz especially. The audio and sound in the movie are transcendent. Certain scenes and quieter moments make watchers get goosebumps. To record a polished jazz tune is hard enough, to manage to record a polished movie is remarkable.

The Oscar-nominated sound crew behind “Whiplash,” which included production sound mixer Thomas Curley, and re-recording mixers Craig Mann, and Ben Wilkins, had a difficult task on their hands. Making sure to get accurate sounds when you’re using instruments that people are familiar with is truly a daunting task.

Get ready for a musical symphony of sound on your home system and surround speakers, if you choose to watch Whiplash. It’s definitely worth it’s ranking on the list, maybe even higher.

Synopsis:

Young jazz drummer Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller) is driven to succeed at his prestigious music institution. Andrew is discovered by Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), a professor infamous for his scary teaching techniques, who adds the aspiring drummer to the premier jazz group, forever altering the young man’s life. But when his merciless teacher pushes him to the limit of his talent and his sanity, Andrew’s drive to reach perfection gradually turns into an addiction.

5. Inception (2010)

Designing sound and audio for a film that delves into the bizarre and surreal is challenging. The sound producers who worked on Inception sure had their work cut out for them.

They have to create a sound that is relatable to a piece of machinery that doesn’t even exist. Think of trying to make a machine that sounds like it has the power to move an entire city on its axis. In terms of action, there isn’t much but it does capture the attention of the audience.

There is a part in the movie where everyone is inside the second level of the dream, it is pouring rain, and as they get into a car, a train suddenly collides with the automobile and makes loud noises similar to a metal-on-metal smashing sound. The purpose of this sound effect was to surprise and keep the audience on their toes. It also continues to have the same desired effect in your home theatre with immersive surround sound. This makes Inception earn its spot in our list of movies with the best surround sound.

Synopsis:

In the movie, Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a robber who possesses the extraordinary talent of penetrating people’s dreams and stealing their secrets from the subconscious. In the realm of corporate espionage, his talent has made him a sought-after commodity, but it has also lost him everything he values.

Cobb is allowed to redeem himself when he is given the seemingly hard duty of instilling a notion in the minds of others. It would be the ideal crime if he were to succeed, but a dangerous foe is watching Cobb’s every move.

6. Black Panther (2018)

Skywalker Sound was responsible for the beautiful sound mixes in Black Panther. An audio favorite for most who enjoy the audio aspect of films was the Black Panther’s suit’s kinetic energy dispersal and Klaw’s sound emitter.

Both components featured a robust sublayer that reverberated well around the theatre and produced waves of sound that were forceful, warm, and attractively textured. Every time vibranium was used or even just mentioned in the movie, it had the same pleasing sound texture that stood out in the mix, and I always found my ears pulled to it.

Synopsis:

T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) returns to Wakanda, an African country, after the passing of his father to assume the throne in his due place. T’Challa’s resolve as king and as Black Panther is put to the test when he is lured into a struggle that threatens the future of Wakanda and the entire globe when a formidable opponent reappears out of nowhere.

The young king must gather his supporters and unleash Black Panther’s full strength to fight his enemies and ensure the safety of his people when faced with deceit and peril.

7. Interstellar (2014)

The familiar sounds of space are seamlessly incorporated by Richard King and his colleagues at Warner Bros. Studios.

The phony synth noises, digitalized whooshes, and moans that I would expect from a science fiction movie weren’t present. Simply put, the sound design looked sincere.

Instead of concentrating on what space “sounded like,” they tried to create a more realistic atmosphere by concentrating on the effects that space has on the locations that the characters are in. The movie’s ending places you in a situation that can’t be depicted by sound, but they still do a great job of it.

Never was the sound or the dialogue excessively shrill or loud in the mix, and occasionally a tiny absence of it was soothing to the ear.

Synopsis:

The Earth will in the future, become uninhabitable due to a widespread crop blight and a second Dust Bowl. NASA physicist Professor Brand (Michael Caine) is developing strategies to save humanity by transferring Earth’s inhabitants via a wormhole to a new planet.

But first, Brand needs to send Matthew McConaughey’s character Cooper, a former NASA pilot, and a team of scientists through the wormhole and across the galaxy to determine which of the three planets might serve as humanity’s future home.

8. Dunkirk (2017)

Hans Zimmer composed the music for Dunkirk, which moves very quickly from beginning to end. And a large part of that is due to the way Zimmer makes advantage of an auditory illusion brought on by Shepard’s tones.

The sound is made up of multiple tones piled on top of one another, each separated by an octave and bearing Roger Shepard’s name. The higher treble tone fades off as the lowest bass tone begins to emerge. The sequence loops back once the bass and treble have fully faded in and out, respectively. This powerful soundtrack can deceive your brain into believing that the sound is continually ascending in pitch since at least two tones may always be heard rising in pitch at the same time.

Synopsis:

Germany made a push into France in May 1940, trapping Allied forces on the beaches of Dunkirk. The troops were carefully and meticulously removed from the beach using every available naval and civilian vessel under air and ground protection from British and French forces. 330,000 French, British, Belgian, and Dutchmen were successfully evacuated after this valiant campaign.

9. Arrival (2016)

Sound engineers Dave Whitehead and Michelle Child used many noises, such as birds, camels, pigs, and a Maori flute, to produce the voices of the heptapod aliens. It was possible to create the sound of the egg-shaped heptapod spaceship by fusing recordings of shifting ice and pebbles.

Synopsis:

When enormous spaceships crash land in 12 different locations around the planet, linguistics professor Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is in charge of an elite team of investigators.

Banks and her crew are in a race against time to figure out how to connect with the extraterrestrial visitors as the world teeters on the brink of nuclear Armageddon. She risks her life and maybe the survival of all humanity in an attempt to solve the enigma.

10. Ford vs. Ferrari (2019)

You only need to listen to “Ford v. Ferrari” to realize why it was nominated for Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing at the Academy Awards.

Supervising sound editor Donald Sylvester, re-recording mixer and sound designer David Giammarco, and re-recording mixer Paul Massey are three important members of the film’s nominated sound team who spoke with IndieWire. As a result, IndieWire can share two videos that show their work in action.

Something noteworthy in the movie is the attention they’ve given to the small sounds!

During his big race, We can only hear him in the car, his breathing, and his gloves on the shifter while the music is booming sonically. It’s a pretty dramatic moment, and I believe Jim [Mangold] is delivering a tale while we’re trying to support it with sound.

Synopsis:

To create a ground-breaking vehicle for the Ford Motor Co., American automotive designer Carroll Shelby and daring British race car driver Ken Miles battle corporate influence, the laws of physics, and their inner demons. They want to compete against Enzo Ferrari’s race cars in 1966 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France.

Conclusion

Focusing on the audio of the movie is something that a lot of people need to start taking seriously. It’s not just visual effects that make a movie. Audio is an integral part of the film. Concentrating on the audio will enrich your movie experience. The sound design team is always the unsung hero of a good film.

Use our post-production services on Postudio to create your film. And maybe, someday, you’ll find your movie listed on our page.

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