127 Hours: Music from the Motion Picture

127 Hours: Music from the Motion Picture
Soundtrack album by
Released2 November 2010[1]
RecordedK. M. Musiq Studios, Los Angeles
AIR Studios, London
Miloko Studios, London
Hear No Evil Recording Studio, London
Panchathan Record Inn and AM Studios, Chennai
Nirvana Studios, Mumbai
GenrePost-industrial, experimental, ambient
ProducerA. R. Rahman,
Gretchen Anderson
Danny Boyle film soundtrack chronology
Slumdog Millionaire
127 Hours: Music from the Motion Picture
A. R. Rahman chronology
Jhootha Hi Sahi
127 Hours
Singles from 127 Hours: Music from the Motion Picture
  1. "If I Rise"
    Released: 2 November 2010

127 Hours: Music from the Motion Picture is the soundtrack to Danny Boyle's 2010 film of the same name. It was composed by Academy Award Winner A. R. Rahman, Boyle's previous collaborator on Slumdog Millionaire. The score, centred on guitar, was recorded mainly in London and was completed in three weeks.[2] The soundtrack was released digitally on 2 November and physically on 22 November, by Interscope Records.[3] The score is briefly orchestral and the song's main theme, "If I Rise" features Rahman playing the Harpejji.[4]

The soundtrack album includes original score and the theme song composed by Rahman, the tracks "Never Hear Surf Music Again" by Free Blood, "Lovely Day" by Bill Withers, Frédéric Chopin's Nocturne No.2 in E flat, Op.9 No.2, "Ça plane pour moi" by Plastic Bertrand, "If You Love Me" by Esther Phillips, and "Festival" by Sigur Rós.[5] The original theme song of the film, "If I Rise", is written by A. R. Rahman (music), Dido and Rollo Armstrong (lyrics) and performed by Dido along with Rahman. It was featured in the climax scene of the film.[6]

The film's subject Aron Ralston's favourite band, Phish, is mentioned in the film. During production, Boyle asked Ralston how Phish lyrics could be included in the film. Ralston sings lines from the Phish song "Sleeping Monkey" when swimming in one of the early scenes of the movie.[7] But the soundtrack album did not feature this song. Another song "The Funeral" from Band of Horses is not in the soundtrack album, but is used in the end of the trailer.


Rahman collaborated with Danny Boyle for the second time. Their previous association, Slumdog Millionaire was a great critical and commercial success to Rahman, who was described by Time magazine as India's most prominent movie songwriter, in 2005.[8] After the scripting finished, Boyle handed over the script to Rahman, who says when he first got the script and the screenplay, even before the shoot, some kind of sounds came into his mind and he put some stuff down and sent it to Boyle when he was cutting the movie.[2] Rahman wanted the score to feel very much like something the cinematic Ralston might be listening to, a mix of heavily layered acoustic and electric guitars, brightened with digital effects.[9] About the selection of guitar as the major instrument, Rahman says:

"My thing was to have one instrument, one instrument that was very close to this character. He was single, he was very confident and young. So I thought the guitar would be perfect."[9]

Rahman says that he was able to complete the score within a short period of three to four weeks.[2] After completing the score, when asked about the scoring experience and challenges, Rahman said:

"The idea was not to make the music sad or self-pitying at all. The idea was to go to Aron's frame of mind where he was happy and confident. Aron has this energy and charm about him, which inspired the movie. The music could have easily gone into a dark zone where you feel uncomfortable sitting in the movie. Danny loves stuff which drives and has a love for surreal, futuristic sounding things."[10]

"At first, it felt a little bit too harsh, but I went to the computer and went for something mative rather than harsh. It was a very difficult scene. I had to see it more than 40 times. We started pulling things out of the score. We wanted to make it more human."[9]


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[11]
ChartAttack4/5 stars[12]
Empire5/5 stars
Film Music MagazineA
Filmtracks3/5 stars
Gordon and the Whale3/5 stars
Los Angeles Times3.5/5 stars
Music Aloud8.75/10
Movie Music UK3.5/5 stars
Movie Wave3.5/5 stars
ScoreNotes7/10 stars

The soundtrack received generally favourable critical reviews. Philip French of The Observer commented that "The music is subtly varied; the soundtrack makes admirable use of silence and natural sound."[13]

Sarah Kurchak of ChartAttack reviewed the music saying "There's something about the way Danny Boyle uses popular music in his films that's really exciting for anyone who genuinely cares about the medium. Plenty of directors are good with a score, and he's no slouch in that department, but the use of songs is a different beast. In both score and songs, Boyle seems to have an inherent ability to understand the moods and emotions music can inspire in people and uses it to augment his storytelling."[12]

The soundtrack was rated five out of five in the review by Danny Graydon of Empire magazine. His review reads: "Following their Oscar-winning collaboration on Slumdog Millionaire, A. R. Rahman provides Danny Boyle’s tale of a mountaineer in dire straits with an affecting core of slow-burn, reflective cues that ultimately penetrate in a big way, supported by a typically eclectic array of exterior tracks from the likes of Free Blood, Bill Withers and, most effectively, Sigur Rós. Rahman’s nine cues are anchored on acoustic guitar and generate a suitably mative tone, augmented by ethnic pipes (Acid Darbari) and ethereal vocals (R. I. P.). Rahman’s collaboration with singer Dido, If I Rise, closes proceedings with a cathartic and quietly optimistic tone which almost prompts a tear."[14]

Margaret Wappler, in the review published in Los Angeles Times, said that "In his last movie, Slumdog Millionaire, director Danny Boyle showed a sophisticated sense of how music and image can intertwine and intensify each other. With his latest, 127 Hours, he proves his skill again, reenlisting composer A.R. Rahman, who won two Academy Awards for his racing, kinetic score to Boyle's violent fairy tale set in Mumbai, India."[15]

Daniel Schweiger of Film Music Magazine said that "Danny Boyle and A.R. Rahman are going for a far more interior moment of transcendence, one that tells us the often-awful fight for life is more than worth it- especially in this haunting fever dream that take a filmmaker and musician to new heights while pondering their way out of a man's darkest hours."[16]

The review published by Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks commented that "Whether or not you can stomach this film or its equally challenging album, the music serves as even more evidence that the diversity of Rahman's talents can compete favourably in an otherwise arguably stale film scoring environment in the United States."[17]

Jonathan Broxton of Movie Music UK gave a favourable review and called the score an "unconventional one". He also praised Rahman for his ability to score in multiple genres.[18]

Director Shekhar Kapur, after a special screening of the movie, commented through Twitter that "Rahman's score adds depth to Danny Boyle's deft and energetic direction in 127 hours. Rahman certainly deserves another Oscar for 127 hours, Danny Boyle and Rahman are proving to be a great combination."[19]

Aron Ralston, on whom the movie is based, praised Rahman for the music and posted a hand-written note on Facebook and Twitter, which reads:

"For A.R, Thank you for bringing your amazing music to my story – if only I had your soundtrack in the canyon, I could've lasted another 127 hours. Best Wishes, A.R. (Aron Ralston)."[20]

Awards and nominations[]

Track listing[]

1."Never Hear Surf Music Again"John PughFree Blood5:52
2."Horseshoe Canyon"A. R. RahmanA. R. Rahman3:01
3."Liberation Begins"A. R. RahmanA. R. Rahman2:14
4."Touch of the Sun"A. R. RahmanA. R. Rahman4:39
5."Lovely Day"Bill Withers, Skip ScarboroughBill Withers4:16
6."Nocturne No.2 in E flat, Op.9 No.2"Frédéric ChopinVladimir Ashkenazy4:01
7."Ça plane pour moi"Francis Jean Deprijck, Yves Maurice LacomblezPlastic Bertrand3:00
8."Liberation in a Dream"A. R. RahmanA. R. Rahman4:06
9."If You Love Me (Really Love Me)"Marguerite Monnot, Édith Piaf (Original French lyrics), Geoffrey Parsons (English adaptation)Esther Phillips3:27
10."Acid Darbari"A. R. RahmanA. R. Rahman4:21
11."R.I.P."A. R. RahmanA. R. Rahman5:11
12."Liberation"A. R. RahmanA. R. Rahman3:11
13."Festival"Jon Thor Birgisson, Orri Páll Dýrason, Georg Hólm, Kjartan SveinssonSigur Rós9:26
14."If I Rise"A. R. Rahman, Dido & Rollo ArmstrongDido, A. R. Rahman, Chorus[a]4:38
Total length:1:01:23
  1. ^ Chorus by The Gleehive Children's Choir, Mumbai (Jervis Dias, Kristen Fernandes, Alisha Pais, Jessica Dmello, Sherize Alveyn, Evania Cerejo, Jememia Fernandes, and Aidan D'silva) and recorded at Octavious Studio, Mumbai.[33]



  1. ^ Shankaran Malini (29 December 2010). "Rahman's music enthralls for 127 hours". Express News Service. The New Indian Express. Retrieved 17 January 2011.
  2. ^ a b c Roberts, Sheila. "Composer A.R. Rahman Interview 127 Hours". Collider. Archived from the original on 30 October 2010. Retrieved 28 October 2010.
  3. ^ "127 Hours: Music From The Motion Picture Soundtrack Album to Be Released Digitally on November 2nd and in Physical Format on November 22 on Interscope, Featuring New Original Music by Oscar-Winning Film Composer A.R. Rahman"
  4. ^ Burlingame, Jon (11 February 2011). "Eye on the Oscars: Music". Variety. p. A3.
  5. ^ Grimm, Becca. "Sigur Rós, Bill Withers, Many More Featured on 127 Hours Soundtrack". Paste Magazine. Archived from the original on 1 November 2010. Retrieved 29 October 2010.
  6. ^ "Best Song and Score is not cool enough for Reznor and Ross". AwardsDaily. Retrieved 22 December 2010.
  7. ^ Aron Ralston's insight helping form Boyle's ‘127 Hours' Archived 18 September 2010 at the Wayback Machine. The Washington Post. 9 November 2009.
  8. ^ Corliss, Richard. (1 January 2005). That Old Feeling: Isn't It Rahmantic? Archived 4 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine Time magazine. Retrieved on 25 May 2008.
  9. ^ a b c Todd Martens (7 December 2010). "'127 Hours' and other films take experimental turns in music". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 17 January 2011.
  10. ^ Jim Castagnera. "Movie review – 127 Hours". The History Place. Retrieved 6 December 2010.
  11. ^ James Christopher Monger. "127 Hours: Music from the Motion Picture". allmusic. Retrieved 22 September 2010.
  12. ^ a b Sarah Kurchak (22 September 2010). "ChartAttack". Chartattack. Archived from the original on 24 September 2010. Retrieved 17 January 2011.
  13. ^ Philip French (9 January 2011). "127 Hours – review". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 28 January 2011. Retrieved 17 January 2011.
  14. ^ Danny Graydon (17 January 2011). "Review of 127 Hours". Empire. Retrieved 18 January 2011.
  15. ^ Margaret Wappler (4 January 2011). "Soundtrack review: A.R. Rahman's '127 Hours'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 5 January 2011.
  16. ^ Daniel Schweiger (1 November 2010). "CD Review: 127 Hours – Original Soundtrack". Film Music Magazine. Archived from the original on 30 December 2010. Retrieved 16 January 2011.
  17. ^ "Editorial Review: 127 Hours". Filmtracks. 18 November 2010. Retrieved 16 January 2011.
  18. ^ Jonathan Broxton (7 November 2010). "127 HOURS – A.R. Rahman". Movie Music UK. Archived from the original on 6 February 2011. Retrieved 17 January 2011.
  19. ^ "AR Rahman deserves Oscar for '127 Hours': Shekhar Kapur". Filmydum.com. 29 October 2010. Archived from the original on 31 October 2010. Retrieved 17 January 2011.
  20. ^ "Aron Ralston praises Rahman". The Times of India. 10 December 2010. Retrieved 17 January 2011.
  21. ^ a b "List of Academy Award nominations". Chicago Sun-Times. 25 January 2011. Retrieved 25 January 2011.
  22. ^ "2010 EDA Awards Nominees". Alliance of Women Film Journalists. 21 December 2010. Retrieved 17 January 2011.
  23. ^ "Rahman gets BAFTA nomination for 127 Hours". Hindustan Times. 18 January 2011. Archived from the original on 19 January 2011. Retrieved 18 January 2011.
  24. ^ Susan King (14 January 2011). "'The Social Network' wins Critics' Choice Movie Award for best film". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 15 January 2011.
  25. ^ "Central Ohio Film Critics Association Awards Nominees". awardsdaily.com. 3 January 2011. Retrieved 17 January 2011.
  26. ^ "Denver Film Critics Society 2011 Award Winners". Denver Film Critics Society. 28 January 2011. Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2011.
  27. ^ "A. R. Rahman loses out on Golden Globe". The Hindu. 17 January 2011. Retrieved 17 January 2011.
  28. ^ a b "Precursor: Houston Film Critics Society Nominations". Cinema Sight. 12 December 2010. Archived from the original on 8 July 2011. Retrieved 17 January 2011.
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  30. ^ "2010 Awards". San Diego Film Critics Society. 17 December 2010. Archived from the original on 12 July 2013. Retrieved 17 January 2011.
  31. ^ a b "15th Satellite Awards to be held December 19, 2010 in Los Angeles". Satellite Awards. 1 December 2010. Archived from the original on 11 November 2011. Retrieved 17 January 2011.
  32. ^ "2010 WAFCA Winners". WAFCA. 6 December 2010. Retrieved 17 January 2011.
  33. ^ Collin Rodriguez (27 February 2011). "Mumbai choir voice of Oscar-nominated song". The Hindustan Times. Archived from the original on 11 July 2011. Retrieved 28 February 2011.

External links[]