Breakfast at Tiffany's: Music from the Motion Picture

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Breakfast at Tiffany's: Music from the Motion Picture
Soundtrack album by Henry Mancini
Released 1962 (1962)
Recorded Hollywood, California
Genre Soundtrack
Label RCA Victor
Producer Dick Peirce

Breakfast at Tiffany's: Music from the Motion Picture is the soundtrack from the 1961 movie Breakfast at Tiffany's starring Audrey Hepburn. The tracks were re-arranged parts of the film music composed and conducted by Henry Mancini. At the 1962 Academy Awards, Mancini and lyricist Johnny Mercer won Oscars for Best Original Song for "Moon River," while Mancini picked up a second statue for Best Original Score. The album also stayed on Billboard's album charts for over ninety weeks.[2]


Because of his success with title themes, such as the hit theme to the television show Peter Gunn, Henry Mancini was asked by director Blake Edwards to compose the soundtrack to Breakfast at Tiffany’s, a symphony jazz soundtrack. A protégé of jazz legend Glenn Miller, he created the Academy Award winning score for The Glenn Miller Story.[2] After a preview screening of the film an executive from Paramount was convinced that the song “Moon River” was dead weight in the film and it was due to be cut. Upon learning this, Hepburn threw a fit and responded, “Over my dead body.”[3] This response was likely due to the friendly relationship that she had with Mancini. Subsequent to the insistence that the song stay in the film it was not cut and went on to be a hit.


Blake Edwards and Henry Mancini met through Mancini’s wife whom Edwards had known for a number of years. After connecting they decided to collaborate on the television show Peter Gunn, for which Mancini created the title theme. When Edwards learned he would be directing Breakfast at Tiffany’s he chose Mancini as his partner. Both times their partnership scored gold, and went on to work collaborate on four other films together.[4] All the credit for the song “Moon River” cannot be given to Mancini, as Johnny Mercer provided the lyrics for the song. The pair of artists also had a smooth relationship, which resulted in the creation of this song.[3] After Mancini played the melody for Mercer, he offered three different variations of lyrics and the two decided on a final combination. Mancini believed that Hepburn’s recording was the best. He is quoted saying, “Moon River was written for her. No one else has ever understood it so completely. There have been more than a thousand versions of "Moon River", but hers is unquestionably the greatest.”* Mancini held complete adoration and respect for Audrey Hepburn and the feeling was mutual; after watching the film Audrey wrote a letter to Mancini saying, “Your music has lifted us all up and sent us soaring. Everything we cannot say with words or show with action you have expressed for us. You have done this with so much imagination, fun and beauty. You are the hippest of cats - and the most sensitive of composers!”[5]

Album information[edit]

The album includes twelve original compositions that can be enjoyed on their own but also contribute to the mood of scenes and plot line of the film.[citation needed] The title song “Moon River” serves as an identifier and unofficial theme song for the movie. It is featured at the beginning and end of the movie, which adds to the lasting impression that it leaves.[citation needed] It also adds to the personality of the character Holly Golightly, played by Audrey Hepburn. She sings the song in the film and the lyrics add to the strength and humility of her character.[citation needed] It expresses her grief over the loss of her brother and her longing to be secure again. It serves as the expression of Holly Golightly’s sensitive nature and of the loss that she has experienced. Another song that is descriptive of a character in the film is “Mr. Yunioshi". The character is played by Mickey Rooney, and the song represents his kooky and hyper nature.[citation needed] Apart from characterization, several of the songs are made to underscore the mood of the scenes that they are used in. For example, the song “The Big Blow Out” is used in the scene where Holly throws a wild party in her tiny New York apartment. It features a fast pace and bold trumpet solos that mirrors the many crammed and drunken guests, as well as the festive mood of the scene.[citation needed] Not only was this album successful when it was released in 1962, it remains popular today. The soundtrack was re-released in France in 2007, Greece in 2008, the Philippines in 2009, and in the United Kingdom in January 2011.[6]

In 2013, the actual soundtrack cues (including Audrey Hepburn's original version of "Moon River") were issued in a limited edition CD by Intrada Records.

Track listing[edit]

All music composed by Henry Mancini.

  1. "Moon River" (Henry Mancini, Johnny Mercer)
  2. "Something for Cat"
  3. "Sally's Tomato"
  4. "Mr. Yunioshi"
  5. "The Big Blow Out"
  6. "Hub Caps and Tail Lights"
  7. "Breakfast at Tiffany's"
  8. "Latin Golightly"
  9. "Holly"
  10. "Loose Caboose"
  11. "The Big Heist"
  12. "Moon River Cha Cha" (Mancini, Mercer)

Chart positions[edit]

Year Chart Position
1962 Billboard Pop Albums (Billboard 200) (stereo) 1


  1. ^ Liner notes
  2. ^ a b Jeffrey Paul Smith (1998). The Sounds of Commerce: Marketing Popular Film Music. Columbia University Press. p. 288. ISBN 9780231108638. 
  3. ^ a b Frank Kaiser (2004). "My Love Affair With The Hepburn Women". 
  4. ^ Timothy E. Scheurer (Spring 1996). "Henry Mancini: An Appreciation and Appraisal". Journal of Popular Film & Television. 
  5. ^ "Breakfast at Tiffany's - The Music". University of Michigan. Retrieved 2012-08-05. 
  6. ^ Breakfast at Tiffany's: Music from the Motion Picture at the Internet Movie Database
Preceded by
Holiday Sing Along with Mitch by Mitch Miller
Billboard 200 number-one album (stereo)
February 10, 1962 - April 27, 1962
June 30, 1962 - July 6, 1962
Succeeded by
West Side Story (soundtrack)
by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim