Our top documentary soundtracks

With the pending DVD release next week of our music documentary Muscle Shoals, and also out on DVD on the same day, Dark Dayswhich features a soundtrack by DJ Shadow, we thought it was about time to list the Dogwoof teams own favourite soundtracks to documentary feature films. Find our favourites below, and tell us your own over on our Twitter and Facebook pages - we might even send you a copy of the Muscle Shoals soundtrack if you do...

Muscle Shoals

Musle Shoals tells the tale of one small town in Alabama that was the unlikely breeding ground for some of the most creative music in American history. The soundtrack includes songs from the music legends interviewed on the film, with artists like Paul Simon, Aretha Franklin, Etta James and a new track from Alicia Keys included. Our DVD includes tons of musical extras, from a commentary with The Swampers to extra interviews not included in the film.


Dark Days

The story of how Dark Days director Marc Singer got DJ Shadow to soundtrack his cult documentary has now become legend, as Marc set the film to DJ Shadow's music before eventually managing to track the famous DJ down and convince him they should collaborate - make sure you get our double disc DVD for an extra interview with Shadow.


Some Kind of Monster

Some Kind of Monster follows Metallica for the better part of 2001-2003, a time of tension and release for the rock band, as they recorded their album St. Anger, fought bitterly, and sought the counsel of their on-call shrink. The soundtrack features Metallica in raw and intense form, with tracks from their performance at their 2003 concert in Paris, as well as their classic mid-'80s tunes.


Helvetica, Objectified, and Urbanized

El Ten Eleven sountracked all three of Gary Hustwit's design docs, Helvetica, Objectified, and Urbanized. With the docs covering topics of typography, everyday objects and urban design all three, known collectively as The Design Trilogy, have featured music from the post rock duo.


Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars

D.A. Pennebaker's 1973 documentary and concert film features David Bowie and his backing group The Spiders from Mars performing in 1973. David Bowie's final concert as his most famous alter ego, and more of a live recording than a later composed soundtrack, this is Bowie at his best.



Scratch is a documentary about hip-hop DJing, otherwise known as turntablism. The soundtrack includes performances from some of the best DJs in history, all the way from Grand Wizard Theodore ("inventor" of the tweak scratch, who's heard explaining its origins during the intro) through to Young Turks like DJ Faust and DJ Disk. In between lie over 20 years of scientific madness, much of it (overly) informed by the soundtrack's compiler/constructor/producer, Bill Laswell.


The Fog of War

Errol Morris' documentary on Robert S. McNamara, the US Secretary of Defense during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, features a soundtrack from Philip Glass which deepens the horrifying images of war, highlighting the ambiguities of McNamara’s character—and the consequences of his actions. Glass’ music reinforces Morris’ effort to understand the difficult ethical questions about governing and power raised by the film.


Bombay Beach

We couldn't do a soundtrack list without mentiong Dogwoof title Bombay Beach. Alma Har'els documentary portrait of the idiosyncratic residents of California’s Salton Sea is set to specially composed for the film by Zach Condon of the band Beirut, and songs by Bob Dylan.