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Crimson Tide
Album Cover Art
Composed and Produced by:

Orchestrated and Conducted by:
Nick Glennie-Smith
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Hollywood Records
(May 16th, 1995)
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Regular U.S. release. Hollywood Records also released it in a double-CD package with The Rock in 1996.
Winner of a Grammy Award.
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Decorative Nonsense
(inverts site colors)

Availability | Awards | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you seek the vastly superior music that inspired the revolution of the synthetic blockbuster score concept in the late 1990's.

Avoid it... if you're part of the mutiny among score fans that has rejected Hans Zimmer's revolution on a matter of principle, regardless of the strengths of his initially successful re-definition of the genre.
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WRITTEN 9/24/96, REVISED 1/17/08
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iTunes (9.99)

Crimson Tide: (Hans Zimmer) If any man thought that Crimson Tide would make a good date movie, then either he had an extremely rare breed of woman or, more likely, he failed to get laid that night. Submarine thrillers appeal to a very specific subsection of the movie-going public, and narrowing the target even further is the Tony Scott/Jerry Bruckheimer style of machismo that saturates every moment of Crimson Tide. That said, this film is quite entertaining, floated entirely by remarkable performances by Gene Hackman, Denzel Washington, and even Viggo Mortensen. The script poses the unrealistic scenario of an American submarine caught in the uncomfortable position of not knowing if it has been given the order to launch its nuclear weapons, and a mutiny divides the two top officers as they argue about whether or not to launch. Tension between Hackman and Washington's officers address underlying racial prejudices, allowing them to act and, in some cases, overact with conviction. The success of the film is owed in part to the score by Hans Zimmer, who had just come off of his Academy Award win for The Lion King. He had dabbled with the large-scale merging of orchestra, choir, and synthesizer in previous scores, including the popular Disney venture, but the scores that would largely point Zimmer in the right direction for Crimson Tide would be Backdraft and Beyond Rangoon. While Crimson Tide conveys an entirely different personality from those previous (and both very strong) scores, the techniques with which Zimmer executes his aquatic score are related in several ways. When you think about Crimson Tide in retrospect, it's hard to remember (or imagine, for younger listeners) the blockbuster scores in the generation before the Zimmer and Bruckheimer revolution. The masculine, synthetic style of Crimson Tide has been so influential in defining the sound of the countless Media Ventures/Remote Control production house scores that have come since that it's somewhat awkward to realize that all that electronic bravado derives from Crimson Tide, the first and greatest score of their kind.

Indeed, whether you like it or not, Crimson Tide was a revolutionary piece of music. It was the right score for the right film at the right time. Imitations of the same sound, occasionally from Zimmer himself, have proven obnoxious in different concepts. But Crimson Tide is defined by its testosterone, both in the acting performances and the dark technical edge to the pitching sets built for the film, and as such, Zimmer's brooding electronic action is an essential and perfect match. When Crimson Tide won the Grammy award for "best soundtrack of the year" in February of 1996, the new sound was affirmed as boasting a sudden mainstream popularity. A man whose career had been followed affectionately by many of the same soundtrack fans that collected strictly orchestral works (along with the recently found Disney enthusiasts) was suddenly the hero of a whole new breed of film score collector. That Crimson Tide spawned a fresh generation of fans for Zimmer's newest blend is still a good thing, despite the fact that many of these collectors have melded into the worst fanboys of the soundtrack community. Regardless of your opinion about the direction that Crimson Tide sent the industry, it's a remarkably effective score. The combination of synthesizer, orchestra, and choir is much shorter on the orchestral end of the scale this time, with the obvious organic elements mostly limited to solo performances on trumpet and acoustic guitar. There is speculation about the degree to which Zimmer employed an orchestra to provide depth to his synthetic samples, but given that the score's fuller pieces sound largely synthetic anyway, that ratio is likely unimportant. Performances of the title theme do seem to have authentic strings and brass to offer, but the fact that each section plays completely in unison (don't come to this score looking for intelligent use of counterpoint) somewhat cheapens their contribution. The choral ensemble, recorded in London, is heavy on the male end of the spectrum and is typically heard during one of Zimmer's plentiful adaptations of the tradition sea-hymn "Eternal Father Strong to Save." The choral ensemble often performs in the lowest depths of the male voices, establishing another typical sound for a Media Ventures score.

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Average: 4.18 Stars
***** 4,948 5 Stars
**** 1,762 4 Stars
*** 839 3 Stars
** 580 2 Stars
* 453 1 Stars
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Crimson Tide = Electronic Mastery
Rex - January 9, 2010, at 2:15 p.m.
1 comment  (1644 views)
Is the end credits music entirely written by Zimmer?   Expand >>
Nick - February 12, 2008, at 1:27 p.m.
3 comments  (4344 views)
Newest: January 19, 2010, at 9:14 Michael McDaid
This score stirs my loins!
mistico - December 22, 2005, at 5:39 p.m.
1 comment  (2466 views)
red october
Dean - June 25, 2005, at 10:01 a.m.
1 comment  (2368 views)
Quality of CD   Expand >>
Dermie - April 2, 2004, at 2:07 p.m.
2 comments  (3331 views)
Newest: August 1, 2004, at 5:15 Byro
I worship Zimmer but this score is not tha good...3 stars   Expand >>
Cesar - March 9, 2004, at 9:50 a.m.
4 comments  (3949 views)
Newest: January 4, 2005, at 4:35 John

Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
Total Time: 60:17
• 1. Mutany (8:57)
• 2. Alabama (23:50)
• 3. Little Ducks (2:03)
• 4. 1SQ (18:03)
• 5. Roll Tide (7:33)
(track lengths not listed on packaging)

Notes Icon
The insert includes extensive credits but no extra information about the score.
Copyright © 1996-2015, Filmtracks Publications. All rights reserved.
The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from Crimson Tide are Copyright © 1995, Hollywood Records and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 9/24/96 and last updated 1/17/08.
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