Best Songs from “The Hunger Games” Score

Opinion posted April 10, 2023 in

With “The Hunger Games” resurgence and renaissance, it is only fair to highlight the film’s best songs in its score. Composed by James Newton Howard, the first film in the franchise has one of the most memorable scores of the 2010s and arguably the 21st century.

As there are four movies total (which means a lot of songs to cover), this article will focus only on the first movie’s score. In order of appearance, here are the film’s best songs.

“The Hunger Games”

This song is the perfect opening song to the movie. A gentle song that contrasts the dark reality of Panem. The mellow melody and slow tempo truly emphasize the Hunger Games' horrors.

“The Train”

“The Train” perfectly encapsulates the dread and fear instilled in both Katniss and Peeta as they depart from their home of District 12. There is a bittersweetness to the song; Peeta and Katniss are leaving their horrific lives behind, but they are entering a new kind of horror.

“War” (by the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble)

This song serves as Caesar Flickerman’s theme before his show. And let’s be honest, this song is so good. While it’s not listed on the film’s score or composed by James Newton Howard, this song is a staple part of the movie and by far the catchiest song on the album.

“The Countdown”

Starting with a low sound and building, this song portrays the tension and adrenaline that all of the kids in the arena are experiencing as the clock counts down to the beginning of the 74th Hunger Games.

“Rue’s Farewell”

This song becomes a prominent theme throughout the entire “Hunger Games” film series, not just the first one.

It is heard in other songs, like “Tenuous Winners/Returning Home” and later in other movies.

The beginning of the song perfectly captures the grief that Katniss feels for the loss of her friend and ally.

As the song continues, it becomes an anthem for those affected by the Hunger Games. It highlights the loss and tragedy surrounding the games, but has a feeling of hope, reflecting the hope of those who rebel against the Capitol for the sake of a better world.

It is truly one of the most beautiful songs in the entire film series.

“Searching for Peeta”

This song has one of the faster tempos of the album, creating a sense of urgency, reflecting Katniss’ desperation to find Peeta and win the games together. The music builds and builds until Katniss finds Peeta.

In the end, the tempo slows, creating a feeling of relief and hope.

“Tenuous Winners/Returning Home”

This piece perfectly portrays the relief of Katniss and Peeta winning the games. It contains melodies that are present throughout the movie, like those in “The Hunger Games,” “We Could Go Home,” “The Cave” and “Rue’s Farewell.”

This song is a perfect culmination of the entire film, wrapping it up with a sense of doom, knowing that the worst part is not yet over.

Rachel Hord is a third-year majoring in telecommunications. To contact her, email rkh5399@psu.edu.