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It’s hard to believe that it’s been 17 years since Danny Elfman wrote his score for Good Will Hunting. Let’s go back to the world of 1996, for a moment — a world where Elfman had yet to secure a single Oscar nomination (if those things matter to you), despite writing some of the most stunning film music of the period (Batman, Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas - all ignored by the Music Branch of the Academy.)

But when it rains, it pours, and Elfman not only snagged his first nomination, but his second. In one fell swoop, Danny was welcomed into the club for Oscar-nominated film composers. For fans who clamoured for Elfman to receive his due critical approval, it felt pretty damned good. Those first two nominations came for Good Will Hunting, in the best Dramatic Score category, and Men In Black for the now defunct Comedy Score category. Ironically, his chances of winning were better for the winking retro-funk of Men In Black, compared to the smaller-scale drama of Good Will Hunting, nominated in the same category as the unbeatable behemoth known as Titanic (a film that swept away the Dramatic Score award.) While Men In Black - and for that matter most of Elfman’s most popular scores - would receive a commercial soundtrack album, his work for Good Will Hunting was represented by two cues on the film’s soundtrack, coupled with Elliott Smith's original songs. The time rest of the score would only be available via a For Your Consideration disc (what could be considered part of the reason Elfman was nominated in the first place.) In the days before digital downloads from studio PR sites, your chances of acquiring such a rare album usually meant trolling auctions on eBay, crashing in at the last second and outbidding some unsuspecting poor sap. It seemed like Good Will Hunting might be relegated to the "respected" pile Elfman canon — a score good enough for Oscar consideration, but not one likely to receive a proper release. Fast-forward 17 years later, however, and an independent soundtrack label based in France has righted that wrong, and reminded us that Good Will Hunting deserves consideration, and most importantly, fills a significant hole on the shelves of serious Elfman collectors everywhere.

The Music Box Records release of Good Will Hunting features several new insights into the score via unreleased tracks (not included on the promo disc). Presented in complete form (in this case just around 45 minutes), Good Will Hunting marked a shift in Danny Elfman’s dramatic scoring. It was around this time in the late '90s that he scored a handful of dramas in a new, pared down approach - heavy on textures and instrumentation outside the standard orchestral sound. While dramatic scores like Sommersby and Black Beauty would represent the composer’s lush, melodic sound in the early 1990s, Good Will Hunting, A Civil Action and A Simple Plan would mark a significant style departure.

Music Box Records presents Elfman's score flawlessly here, perfectly pairedwith Elliott Smith's melancholy songs (including one sweetened with orchestral arrangements by Danny Elfman.) Despite the long wait, Good Will Hunting is finally a part of your Elfman discography. With just 1500 copies in existence, you better not wait another 17 years to order your copy.


  1. Main Title The score opens with Elfman's abstract music forming into a cohesive melody - echoing the onscreen visuals. A location-appropriate pennywhistle evokes the Irish of Boston, while acoustic guitars keep the feeling mellow, contemporary and scaled to the human drama. Elfman's main theme is stated on solo flute and supported with urging string swells. Danny's trademark choir swirls through the entire opening.
  2. Kick Ass Choir A previously unreleased track of nothing but choir "oohs" and "aahs". What's not to like here?
  3. Times Up Elfman wades into the turbluent emotions of Will Hunting with distant choir, insistent piano lines. This is prototypical late '90s Elfman writing. You'll hear much in this style in scores for Extreme Measures, Mission: Impossible and Instinct.
  4. Whose Fault Emotional breakthrough time here in the film, and a hint of a happy ending. Elfman carries a large load here with subdued orchestral might. Instead of bursting into a Hollywood crescendo, the composer — like he often does —  teases and then releases the moment rather than coating it with thick wallpaper.
  5. End Titles Elfman dials in another major moment for the main theme for whistles in the score's longest cue. A composer signature at the time, Danny Elfman deconstructs his material, rebuilds it and then varies it through his end titles.


  • Music Box Records (MBR-043)
  • Limited Edition of 1500 units
  • 1. Main Title (2:44)
  • 2. Genie Mopper (0:37)
  • 3. First Calculation (1:08)
  • 4. Theorem (0:42)
  • 5. Kick Ass Choir (0:59)
  • 6. Mystery Math (2:28)
  • 7. Them Apples (0:57)
  • 8. Jail (1:13)
  • 9. Second Shrink (1:14)
  • 10. Any Port (1:25)
  • 11. Times Up (1:14)
  • 12. Oliver Twist (1:58)
  • 13. Staring Contest (0:49)
  • 14. Secret Weapon (0:57)
  • 15. Retainer (Part A) (0:58)
  • 16. Retainer (Part B) (0:20)
  • 17. Tell You Something (0:48)
  • 18. No Love Me (0:47)
  • 19. Fire Music (1:11)
  • 20. Whose Fault (2:34)
  • 21. End Titles (3:50)
  • 22. Between the Bars (Orchestral) (1:09)
  • performed by Elliott Smith
  • orchestral arrangement by Danny Elfman
  • 23. No Name #3 (3:04)
  • performed by Elliott Smith
  • 24. Say Yes (2:15)
  • performed by Elliott Smith
  • 25. Between the Bars (2:21)
  • performed by Elliott Smith
  • 26. Angeles (2:55)
  • performed by Elliott Smith
  • 27. Miss Misery (3:12)
  • performed by Elliott Smith
  • Total Time : 44:53

Contents Site Updates News Sound and Video Filmography Features Articles 99 Discussion Board Who Is Elfman? Links Send e-mail About This Site
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