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The 13th Warrior
Album Cover Art
1999 Varèse (American)
1999 Colosseum (European)
Album 2 Cover Art
2000 Goldsmith Bootleg (sample)
Album 3 Cover Art
2000 Revell Bootleg (sample)
Album 4 Cover Art
Composed, Conducted, and Produced by:

Orchestrated by:
Alexander Courage

Rejected Score by:
Graeme Revell
Labels Icon
Varèse Sarabande
(August 10th, 1999)

Availability Icon
The 1999 album is a regular U.S. release (though Varèse and their European partner, Colosseum, offered different cover art). The bootlegs for both Goldsmith's expanded score and Revell's rejected score began circulating on the secondary market in 2000. The tracks for the Revell bootlegs are somewhat consistent, though the arrangement of the Goldsmith bootlegs can differ substantially. Many variations on the bootlegs' artwork exist.
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   Availability | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you like getting slapped across the face for an hour by some of the most ambitious and uncomplicated action material ever produced in Jerry Goldsmith's career.

Avoid it... if you expect any true sense of ethnic diversity or thematic nuance, in which case you'd be better served by the bootlegs of Graeme Revell's rejected score for the film.
Review Icon
WRITTEN 8/11/99, REVISED 4/20/08
The 13th Warrior: (Graeme Revell/Jerry Goldsmith) Oh boy, what a mess. Perhaps there is no better example of $100 million poured down the drain than The 13th Warrior, a film with so many artistic and production problems that it may have been worth leaving it in the cans. The concept was promising on paper, with veteran action director John McTiernan breathing life into Michael Crichton's 1974 novel "Eaters of the Dead," which was the original title of the film. McTiernan finished the film 18 months before its eventual release; due to poor screenings, Crichton (also a co-producer along with McTiernan) decided to use his muscle to alter the film significantly. McTiernan, known for his tireless detail in crafting his films, walked out on the production. Surprisingly, Crichton himself took the helm of the flailing film and used the remainder of its vast budget to re-shoot and edit parts of the film, as well as replace the entire musical score. Touchstone Pictures finally flushed the film through theatres late in the summer of 1999, with poor reviews and audience indifference both expected and received. The story of the film merged Arabic and Viking elements, taking the real-life 10th century Arab poet Ahmed Ibn Fadlan, an ambassador to the Viking culture, and combining his experiences in the North with elements of the Old English poem Beowulf. The culture-clash produces both humor and respect, and the Arab, played here by Antonio Banderas, eventually finds himself in the honorable position of fighting the (not-so-) mythical beasts that inspired Beowulf alongside his new Viking comrades. The lavish production was an exhibition for extreme gore, with headless corpses sometimes more common than living people, and anyone who has seen McTiernan's Predator can appreciate the director's willingness to glorify graphic carnage. None of this really ultimately matters, however, because The 13th Warrior is so thoroughly disappointing in its final form that no further thought should be given to its few merits. This is, of course, except for the film's music, which has a saga all its own.

That saga began a few years earlier, when the production was still titled Eaters of the Dead. A distinctly multicultural score was the intent, and among the scores used as temp tracks were James Newton Howard's The Postman and Waterworld, James Horner's Braveheart and Apollo 13, Ennio Morricone's The Mission, and, most importantly, Graeme Revell's The Crow and Peter Gabriel's The Last Temptation of Christ. With the film taking on many of the characteristics of Conan the Barbarian, McTiernan reportedly sought the services of Basil Poledouris, with whom he had collaborated on The Hunt for Red October. Poledouris, however, reportedly declined the offer in favor of Les Misérables. Attention then shifted to Graeme Revell, an interesting and adept choice of composer for Eaters of the Dead due to his distinct ability to merge different genres of music into one worldly sound. The original cuts of the film were far longer than the eventual release, and Revell wrote and recorded music for a significant portion of those early edits. He completed his work in February of 1998, recording mostly in London and enlisting a vast array of specialty instruments for the task. These accents include a duduk, pan pipes, shakuhachi flute, uilleann pipes, whistles, ney, and several other exotic wind instruments. Along with a full orchestral ensemble (with diverse percussion section) and a few choice infusions of heavier electronics, these elements create a striking environment that most definitely serves the concepts of both antiquity in general and the two specific cultures. The uilleann pipes are somewhat odd at times, showing the direct influence of Braveheart, though most of the score's personality is better guided by both The Crow and The Last Temptation of Christ. Only one jarring electronic cue stands at odds with the character of the score, with its two minutes seemingly lifted from his own The Negotiator or The Saint. The brass motif performed over the distinctly modern pop rhythm is enjoyable, though completely out of place.

On the whole, however, Revell's score would seem like a good technical match for the story. The use of Lisa Gerrard's voice is somewhat eerie given her eventual popularity with Gladiator. Her timeless performances here, as a layered accent to the orchestra, are frightfully similar in parts to her tones in Gladiator. Deep voices are used to amplify the power of some sequences. The stylistically different choral accompaniment that weaves in and out of Gerrard's contributions, though, have a harsh edge to their enunciation, forming a balance that Gabriel Yared would achieve well in his rejected score for Troy several years later. There are lengthy passages of minimalistic or dissonant material in Revell's Eaters of the Dead, however, that also mirror the weaker portions of Yared's Troy. Revell's work takes quite some time building its themes. The primary idea for the 13 warriors chosen to battle the supernatural beasts is well conveyed by horns in the latter half of the score. Also evident in the middle passages is a secondary romantic motif, highlighted by Gerrard's unfortunately infrequent performances. If you attempt to enjoy Revell's score in film order, it would be easy to dismiss the work based on the first eight or nine cues (clearly the weakest set). According to Revell, Michael Crichton possibly didn't listen to the finished score when he took over the production in 1999. Crichton apparently had his own preconceived notions of how he had wanted the production to progress, and that plan had never involved Revell. The composer eventually stated, "What happened was John McTiernan, the director, who I had been working with not closely, didn't get involved in the music very much, and pretty much removed himself from the movie during post production. Michael Crichton took it over, and I don't think he even listened to my score. When he took it over, I think he just decided his friend Jerry Goldsmith should be the composer and that was the end of that. I never really counted that as a rejection and I don't think there was anything inferior about that score, and I'm quite happy to still own it."

And thus, Revell's work was done. To the surprise of nobody, over an hour of the mastered score was quickly leaked in bootleg form to the soundtrack collecting market; whether or not Revell did this himself is unknown, but if so, he had little to lose. The prospect of a commercial release for this music has always been non-existent, and various versions of the same 27-track bootleg have circulated through the soundtrack collecting marketplace since. There has always been a higher level of respect for the rejected score for Eaters of the Dead than you'd normally see. The score isn't really accessible, but its sound quality is superb and those fans who bother to find it are the same ones more likely to appreciate its finer details. The correct consensus has been that Revell's score would have been adequate, if not strong when placed in the film itself. But that consensus is also quick to add the fact that Jerry Goldsmith's replacement score is even better. While nobody condones Crichton's behavior, his instincts in relation to Goldsmith on this production proved to be correct, and nearly any collector will admit that Goldsmith's work is superior. In response to the replacement work, Crichton wrote, "It's all that I ever hoped for - and just what I expected. It's absolutely terrific: by turns rousing and heroic, ominous and lyrical, defeated and triumphant." One thing clearly made evident by that statement is the obvious fact that Goldsmith wrote a far more accessible and straight-forward Hollywood score for the film. Indeed, while Revell's work is something to appreciate, Goldsmith's is more readily enjoyable. As proved customary throughout the composer's work, the London performers on Goldsmith's hastily written replacement gave him applause at the sessions. The rapid, last minute effort by Goldsmith continued to the recording of some additional percussion music in Los Angeles even closer to the release date. All around, despite the fuzzy feeling that Crichton got with Goldsmith conducting the replacement, the entire production was a nightmare.

Ratings Icon
Average: 3.97 Stars
***** 1,636 5 Stars
**** 1,398 4 Stars
*** 689 3 Stars
** 278 2 Stars
* 169 1 Stars
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An excellent score
Sheridan - June 30, 2006, at 2:15 a.m.
1 comment  (3119 views)
"13th Warrior" in "Kingdom of Heaven"   Expand >>
Karl Morton IV - May 11, 2005, at 12:32 p.m.
2 comments  (9905 views)
Newest: August 8, 2005, at 5:59 p.m. by
13th warrior expanded/bootleg   Expand >>
Estel_MM - April 7, 2005, at 8:47 p.m.
2 comments  (6339 views)
Newest: April 17, 2009, at 2:36 a.m. by
Mark Malmstrøm
What about Graeme Revell's rejected Score?   Expand >>
Joshua - January 22, 2005, at 1:48 a.m.
2 comments  (5864 views)
Newest: January 12, 2006, at 11:29 a.m. by
Justin Boggan
The 13th Warrior
Joni - May 26, 2004, at 2:02 p.m.
1 comment  (2896 views)
A wonderful work of art from Goldsmith
Jouko Yli-Kiikka - May 7, 2004, at 1:05 a.m.
1 comment  (2680 views)

Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
1999 Varèse/Colosseum album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 55:06
• 1. Old Bagdad (2:01)
• 2. Exiled (3:41)
• 3. Semantics (2:38)
• 4. The Great Hall (5:20)
• 5. Eaters of the Dead (3:32)
• 6. Viking Heads (1:29)
• 7. The Sword Maker (2:06)
• 8. The Horns of Hell (3:25)
• 9. The Fire Dragon (4:53)
• 10. Honey (2:36)
• 11. The Cave of Death (3:00)
• 12. Swing Across (1:49)
• 13. Mother Wendol's Cave (4:12)
• 14. Underwater Escape (1:36)
• 15. Valhalla/Viking Victory (10:35)
• 16. A Useful Servant (1:18)
2000 Goldsmith bootlegs Tracks   ▼Total Time: 72:45
2000 Revell bootlegs Tracks   ▼Total Time: 65:02

Notes Icon
The Varèse album's insert contains a note from Michael Crichton and pictures of Goldsmith at the recording sessions (with Crichton hovering closely by his side). The packaging for the bootlegs is typically sparse or non-existent.
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or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from The 13th Warrior are Copyright © 1999, Varèse Sarabande, Bootlegs and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 8/11/99 and last updated 4/20/08.
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