Inception: Music from the Motion Picture

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Inception: Music from the Motion Picture
Inception OST.jpg
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedJuly 13, 2010 (2010-07-13)
GenreFilm score
ProducerHans Zimmer
Lorne Balfe
Christopher Nolan
Alex Gibson
Hans Zimmer chronology
Through the Wormhole
Inception: Music from the Motion Picture

Inception: Music from the Motion Picture is the soundtrack to the 2010 film of the same name directed by Christopher Nolan, released under Reprise Records on July 13, 2010. Hans Zimmer scored the film, marking his third collaboration with Nolan following Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.


According to Zimmer, the soundtrack for Inception is "a very electronic score".[1] Nolan asked Zimmer to compose and finish the score as he was shooting the film. The composer said, "He wanted to unleash my imagination in the best possible way".[2] At one point, while composing the score, Zimmer incorporated a guitar sound reminiscent of Ennio Morricone and was interested in having Johnny Marr, former guitarist in the influential 80s rock band The Smiths, play these parts. Zimmer's reported inspiration was finding a synthesizer track which he had written similar to Marr's guitar style. Nolan agreed with Zimmer's suggestion, and then Zimmer approached Marr, who accepted his offer. Marr spent four 12-hour days working on the score, playing notes written by Zimmer with a 12-string guitar.[3][4]

For inspiration, Zimmer read Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas Hofstadter because it combined "the idea of playfulness in mathematics and playfulness in music".[2] Zimmer did not assemble a temp score but "every now and then they would call and say 'we need a little something here.' But that was OK because much of the music pieces aren't that scene specific. They fall into little categories".[2] While writing the screenplay, Nolan wrote in Édith Piaf's "Non, je ne regrette rien" but almost took it out when he cast Marion Cotillard, who had just completed an Oscar-winning turn as Piaf in the 2007 film La Vie en rose. Zimmer convinced Nolan to keep it in the film and also integrated elements of the song into his score;[3] in particular, the film's iconic brass instrument fanfare resembles a slowed-down version of the song's instrumentation.

The trailers for the film feature specially composed music by Zack Hemsey, which does not appear on the official soundtrack.[5] The soundtrack was nominated for several awards, including an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, a Grammy and a BAFTA.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[6]
Empire4/5 stars
Filmtracks2/5 stars
Killerfilm4/5 stars
ScoreNotes3.5/5 stars
Soundtrack Geek9.14 stars on a 10 point scale

The score received mostly positive reception. Regarding Zimmer's previous collaborations with Nolan, Archie Watt of MovieCues said "it's very obvious to anybody who has heard his previous scores for the director that this score is built firmly on their foundations. The compositions are very simple ones, but here the familiar elements of those previous scores are pulled off in a more energetic and complex way. That’s what puts this score a good distance ahead of them". Whilst praising several elements of the score, his review was largely negative, saying "Despite the fact that certain music on this album is inarguably good, the majority of it is rather dull and mundane".

More enthusiastic were James Southall of Movie Wave, who awarded the score five stars, calling it "Zimmer’s finest work in a number of years", and Jim Lochner of Film Score Click Track, who said "Inception is one thrilling and trippy musical ride", awarding the score four and a half stars out of five.

Track listing[edit]

All music composed by Hans Zimmer.

Inception: Music from the Motion Picture
1."Half Remembered Dream"1:12
2."We Built Our Own World"1:55
3."Dream Is Collapsing"2:28
4."Radical Notion"3:43
5."Old Souls"7:44
8."One Simple Idea"2:28
9."Dream Within a Dream"5:04
10."Waiting for a Train"9:30
Total length:49:13
Bonus tracks
14."Don't Think About Elephants"5:35
Total length:12:39

Official Junkie XL remix[edit]

The renowned Dutch DJ and electronic music producer Tom Holkenborg, better known as Junkie XL, collaborated with Hans Zimmer's Remote Control Productions music studio, to compose a single that worked as tie-in of the Inception soundtrack, for Warner Bros.[7]

The remix of the theme song is simply titled: Inception by Hans Zimmer (Junkie XL Remix).[8][9][10]

Since then Holkenborg has made several other collaborations with Hans Zimmer, like the production of scores for Madagascar 3, The Dark Knight Rises, Man of Steel and Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.[11]


  1. ^ Eisenberg, Mike (June 18, 2010). "Hans Zimmer's 'Inception' Score Will Release On July 13th". Archived from the original on June 25, 2010. Retrieved July 1, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c Cassidy, Kevin (July 13, 2010). "Q&A: Composer Hans Zimmer". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 14, 2010.
  3. ^ a b Martens, Todd (July 20, 2010). "Hans Zimmer and Johnny Marr talk about the sad romance of 'Inception'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 20, 2010.
  4. ^ "Hans Zimmer Live at KCRW on Morning Becomes Eclectic 02.09.11". KCRW. 2011-02-09. Retrieved 2011-11-01.
  5. ^ Jeff Ames (2010-12-30). "Top Film Scores of 2010". Retrieved 2011-01-18.
  6. ^ Inception - Hans Zimmer : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic
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External links[edit]