Orchestral Bombing

"The music [in the game] is right out of the movie! I don't know which movie, because this level sounds like I'm being attacked by Danny Elfman and Tim Burton."
Noah "The Spoony One" Antwiler, on Demolition Man for the 3DO.

Nothing quite beats an orchestra for a battle, especially an aerial one.

It may involve Ominous Latin Chanting or Autobots, Rock Out!.

Compare Music to Invade Poland to, Fanfare. Contrast with Classical Music Is Boring. If the music is too loud, better hope you have Steel Ear Drums.


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    Anime and Manga 

  • Apocalypse Now has a quite literal example, where "Ride of the Valkyries" is blasted over the speakers of the choppers as Kilgore's forces attack a village controlled by Viet Cong.
  • Dr. Strangelove
  • 633 Squadron, possibly the Trope Maker. Scored by Ron Goodwin.
  • The Dam Busters, with music by Eric Coates.
  • The Battle of Britain has William Walton's Battle in the Air
    • Although Ron Goodwin's main theme and his "Luftwaffe March" from that movie fit the trope much better.
  • Jerry Goldsmith's epic score for the war film,The Blue Max, highlighted with the cue, TheAttack.
  • Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, based on the previous.
    • Ditto for the battle themes in the rest of the series.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe used this, though that was part of the movie's proper score.
  • Happens quite literally in V for Vendetta, where the titular V plays Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture" over London's public address system when he blows up the Old Bailey and the Houses of Parliament.
  • Used during the Earth-Shattering Kaboom at the climax of Damnatus.
  • Used pretty-much constantly in Trinity and Beyond: The Atomic Bomb Movie. With tons of Ominous Latin Chanting. More than justified, since it has pretty much an hour of nuclear explosion footage. I definitely heard Dies Ira, and I think I heard Die Valkyrie.
  • Aliens uses this a lot, particularly in the ambush of the Marines as they enter the hive and Ripley's escape with Newt from the exploding atmosphere processor.
  • Several examples from Starship Troopers, most notably Klendathu Drop, from the scene where the Fleet and the Mobile Infantry launch their first assault on Klendathu.
  • Literally in A Song Is Born, as a rousing rendition of "Flying Home" manages to cause a drum to fall on one of the villains, knocking him out (after "The Anvil Chorus" failed to work).
  • Star Trek examples:
    • Star Trek The Motion Picture gives us the Klingon theme in its opening scene ("Klingon Battle") contributed by Jerry Goldsmith. V'Ger's theme, played on an instrument called the Blaster Beam, also features in the same scene.
    • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan has both the new Trek theme by James Horner, along with Khan's , both of which come to a head in "Suprise Attack" and "Battle in the Mutara Nebula''.
    • Star Trek III: The Search for Spock reprises the theme from the last movie and features the new, percussion-heavy Klingon theme by James Horner, which would return for an Awesome Moment in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Defector".
    • Averted in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home which features no aerial or space battles, and no shots fired in anger. Besides, the music by Leonard Rosenmann was decidedly Lighter and Softer.
    • Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, for all its faults, has the return of Jerry Goldsmith and his Klingon theme, with the screech of a real Bird-of-Prey mixed in, mainly heard in the track "With Out Help".
    • Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country brings Cliff Eidelman, who contributes yet another Klingon theme, which provides the score for "The Battle For Peace", where the crew of the Enterprise frantically try to stop a conspiracy from destroying the last hope for universal peace.
    • Star Trek: First Contact has "Red Alert", where the Federation fleet takes on a Borg Cube headed straight for Earth. Jerry Goldsmith reprises his Klingon theme as Worf's Leitmotif.
    • Generations calls extra attention to the score as the scenes repeatedly shift between barely audible soft music with Picard trying to sneak into Soran's work area on the surfance, and the blaring battle music with the Enterprise battling the Klingons in space, and the resulting crash landing due to damage.

  • This shows up a few times in Honor Harrington:
    • In Honor of the Queen, Honor has Hammerwell's 7th symphony played shipwide during the first battle of Yeltsin.
    • One of the Havenite commanders uses "Ride of the Valkyries" as their general quarters signal.
  • In Small Favor, Hendricks and Gard (who happens to be an honest-to-god Valkyrie) perform a Big Damn Heroes with an attack helicopter to "The Ride of The Valkyries", with Hendricks riding shotgun... with a Mini Gun.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Farscape: The destruction of Scorpius' command carrier featured orchestral music and Ominous Latin Chanting.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series:
    • Whenever there was any kind of fight sequence, whether it was between people or spaceships, it would be accompanied by the most over-the-top, bombastic music imaginable. In fact, they often did this even when there was no fighting happening, like say when an ambassador boards the ship. This was a critical element of the series' Narm Charm and really complemented the acting style. It was sadly missing from most of the later series - compare the scoring to the very same fight scene in "The Trouble With Tribbles" and DS9's "Trials and Tribble-ations" for a perfect example of this.
    • No Original Series score exemplifies this trope quite like the scores for "Amok Time" (by Gerald Fried) and "The Doomsday Machine" (by Sol Kaplan). Cues from both scores would go on to be reused throughout later episodes, with the cue "Ancient Battle" from the former being commonly known as the Star Trek Fight Music. The music from both episodes were even included together on one soundtrack album.
    • Ron Jones was probably the best among the composers for the sequel series at using this in his scores (see "The Best of Both Worlds, Part 2" in particular the track "Intervention", for a perfect example). Too bad he left TNG during the fourth season. The main reason was because Rick Berman hated this trope, and wanted the music to be strictly part of the background of the show, like wallpaper.
  • Mythbusters recently had some fun with this trope in their Top 25 Special showing off their various explosions to the 1812 Overture.
  • Babylon 5 used this in every space battle, to cover the (unique for SF shows at the time) absence of sound in space. The opening and closing themes also count.
  • The Pilot Movie of JAG has this in its final aerial battle scene.

  • Richard Wagner's Prelude to Act III of ''Lohengrin'', has become something of a Standard Snippet for air raids.
  • The 1812 Overture itself! To quote Calvin and Hobbes:
    "Gee, and I thought classical music was boring!"
    • Two words: Cannons firing. That's not a glib comment; that's actually part of the musical instruction. Yes, the piece, when properly performed, actually uses cannons as part of the orchestra. Ya know, since the 1812 Overture was originally written to mark Russia valiantly defending Moscow against Napoleon's seemingly unstoppable horde. Which makes it even more Crowning Music of Awesome.
  • Gustav Holst wrote the Mars, Bringer of War segment of The Planets suite before World War I had started, but it depicts the brutality and scale of its mechanized warfare brilliantly. John Williams certainly had it in mind - see the ship chase at the opening of Star Wars Episode IV.
  • Richard Strauss's "Ein Heldenleben" ("A Hero's Life") has an impressive battle sequence, beginning with a hostile fanfare and leading to leitmotifs dueling amid assorted orchestral fireworks.
  • Symphony No. 1 (In Memoriam Dresden, 1945) is a piece written to represent the firebombing of the German city of Dresden by the Allies in 1945. The first three movements are fairly slow and ominous, but the fourth, aptly entitled "Firestorm", brings out all the stops. Trombones are made to imitate the sound of bomber engines, an air-raid sired blares, drums placed all around the stage are slammed to mimic the impact of the bombs, band members scream in German - it gets intense.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven was probably the first one to use the trope. His Eroica symphony opens with two full orchestral chords, to underline this point (Timpani included).

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    Real Life 
  • During the first BLACK BUCK mission during the Falklands War, one of the crew of the Vulcan wondered where the orchestra was. They did play the theme from Chariots of Fire on the way home.