- Gravity’s sound stands out with its lack of dialogue and immersive music, creating a suspenseful and heart-pumping experience.
- Saving Private Ryan’s use of Dolby’s Digital Surround Sound technology enhances the brutal action and won multiple sound awards.
- Inception’s tension-building music and unique sound effects make it a standout film for surround sound.
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens features iconic soundtracks and sound effects that are enhanced by surround sound systems.
Anybody can watch a movie on television, but those who do so with surround sound are inviting a new level of immersion into their home. There are few things more enjoyable while watching a movie than trying to push a surround sound system to its absolute limits, which brings an opportunity to escape reality, if only for a few hours.
When you typically watch a movie without surround sound, you can close your eyes and know any sound is coming from the built-in TV speakers in front of you. Try and do the same thing again with surround sound and you likely can’t tell where exactly a speaker has been placed.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at the 9 best surround sound movies that will blow you away today.
During the course of Gravity’s 90-minute runtime, you see actress Sandra Bullock hurtling through space in an attempt to rescue herself.
What makes Gravity’s sound truly stand out is that most of the 90 minutes are done without any dialog. Instead, the better part of the movie’s runtime is set to music, which sounds awesome when paired with a surround sound system.
The score of Gravity is just fantastic as it helps the action move along without feeling as if it’s too chaotic as there is plenty of chaos taking place on screen.
Gravity does a fantastic job of helping you feel Bullock’s isolation in her moments of desperation. Everything from the noises emanating from the different computers around her to headset chatter from attempts to help George Clooney early on in the film just gets your heart pumping.
The score by Alfonso Cuaron is a masterclass in sound mixing that builds suspense at all the right moments, while the sound of Bullock’s character breathing while tumbling through space will stay with you long after the movie is over.
Pick up your copy of Gravity on Amazon today.
#2: Saving Private Ryan
Featuring some of the most true-to-life war scenes ever filmed in the history of Hollywood, Saving Private Ryan is an outstanding movie to pair with a surround sound system.
Telling the story of a small group of troops who try to rescue a paratrooper and send him home, Saving Private Ryan was one of the first films to use Dolby’s Digital Surround Sound technology.
Even though it has been 25 years since its release, the frenetic nature of this film just begs for surround sound action. The brutal action that is war emanates through the sounds of the M1 Garand, automatic rifles, crashing waves, screaming characters, and bullets whizzing by every few minutes, and it’s just pure fodder for surround sound speakers.
Sound designer Gary Rydstorm helped put together an experience that won multiple sound awards including an Academy Award for Best Sound and Best Sound Effects Editing in 1999. To remind yourself why this movie’s sound is so great, rewatch the first 20 minutes and you’ll be forever reminded why Saving Private Ryan is one of the best movies ever made.
Watch one of Steven Spielberg’s greatest films, Saving Private Ryan, from Amazon today.
A movie whose ending is still the topic of conversation to this day, Inception is a Christopher Nolan-directed masterpiece.
Winner of the Academy Award in 2010 for both Best Achievement in Sound Editing and Best Achievement in Sound Mixing, Inception is a film designed to make you think not just about what you are seeing on screen, but also about what you are hearing.
The tension that builds from the music in this film is best felt when you see a city tumble on multiple axes — a sound that has no real-world basis from which to compare.
When paired with the cinematography of the film, the music for Inception truly stands out. Adding to the tension that is taking place on screen, being in the middle of a surround sound experience is unlike any other Christopher Nolan movie (sorry Dark Knight!).
It’s also too easy to get caught up in the sounds that emanate from the spinning top, that you feel like you are in the room as a character just waiting to see whether it will keep spinning or not.
Give Inception a watch today by picking up your very own copy from Amazon.
#4: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Watching any Star Wars movie with surround sound is just a surreal experience and after years of being away from theaters, Star Wars: The Force Awakens still just sends chills down your body.
The moment Rey’s Theme hits your surround sound system, you’re going to remember why Star Wars is such a fabulous audio experience. This is even before you get the rush that comes from hearing the ever-familiar Star Wars main title, which is one of the best-known movie soundtracks of all time.
Everything from the snap-hiss of a lightsaber, the scream of a TIE Fighter’s Engines to the many maneuvers the Millenium Falcon undergoes, just sounds fantastic with a surround sound system.
Any music that comes from John Williams is undoubtedly going to be a unique experience and the soundtrack and sound effects of this film are one of the greatest ways to put your surround sound experience to the test. Things get even better if you have Dolby Atmos, which adds to the overall immersive experience that is provided by one of the greatest movie themes ever.
Grab Star Wars: The Force Awakens from Amazon today and May The Force Be With You!
#5: A Quiet Place
The idea of a movie where silence is golden might have you thinking it’s not the best surround sound example but A Quiet Place will have you questioning that.
Unlike other films on this list where you fully anticipate loud explosions, huge reveals, and big orchestras, A Quiet Place goes down an entirely different road. What makes this movie so great for working with surround sound is that the softest noise can have you immediately trying to decipher which speaker the noise came out of.
This is a true test of your 3D soundstage in your home because you’ll love the way you need to look closely at how sounds are playing as the characters are inside a home during the daytime or overnight. Dolby Atmos plays particularly well with this film and the ultimate result is that you feel like you are in the movie itself, which is exactly what the filmmakers hoped you would feel.
Every creak, every footstep, every small breath from the characters are just something you feel with this film and it’s amazing when used with surround sound.
If you dare, pick up A Quiet Place from Amazon today.
#6: Baby Driver
- DVD and Blu-ray
- AC-3, Widescreen
- Dubbed, Subtitled
- Ansel Elgort, Jamie Foxx, Flea, Eric Fellner, Lily James, Kevin Spacey, Sky Ferreira, Nira Park, Lanny Joon, Eiza González, Jon Hamm, Jon Bernthal, Tim Bevan
For many movies, you can feel how the soundtrack was added later in order to make you feel big moments, but this isn’t the case with Baby Driver.
Instead, this is a movie that makes you believe it’s a film that was developed in order to bring a soundtrack to life. Every moment of Baby Driver is alive and the way it hits surround sound, especially with Dolby Atmos, is nothing short of outstanding.
The opening scene, in particular, is where Baby Driver shines brightest with your home theater system. As the John Spencer Blues Explosion song, Bellbottoms, comes to life, you can’t really enjoy this movie unless you feel as if you are immersed in the movie and part of the bank robbery and following car chase.
Between tires screeching, characters yelling, and the soundtrack bumping, the music just envelopes you and almost penetrates your soul. The soundtrack is just that good. By using diegetic sounds and paired with a surround sound system, you can hear the music from just one speaker in the same way Baby is only hearing the music out of one earbud.
Get your motor running by picking up your very own copy of Baby Driver today from Amazon.
#7: Black Panther
- DVD or Blu-ray
- 2 hours and 14 minutes runtime
- Michael B. Jordan, Winston Duke, Forest Whitaker, Chadwick Boseman, Andy Serkis, Isaach De Bankole, John Kani, David S. Lee, Florence Kasumba, Angela Bassett, Daniel Kaluuya, Nabiyah Be, Ryan Coogler, Letitia Wright, Connie Chiume, Martin Freeman, Joe Robert Cole, Sterling K. Brown, Dorothy Steel
As a film that completely destroyed box office expectations, Black Panther is also going to deliver similarly powerful results on a surround sound system.
As incredible a movie as Black Panther is for its world-building and excellent story, the real hidden treasure of this movie is its sound. The film incorporates a hip-hop-style soundtrack that was produced by Kendrick Lamar and everything about the way Black Panther sounds is just right.
Where a surround sound system really shines is the way the casino fight scene with its kicks, punches, jumps, and leaps just totally immerses you in the action.
If you think this scene is the real audio highlight of the film, you may have to rewind a bit as the scenes in Wakanda all but demand you use a Dolby Atmos system to hear the drums and sounds in the best possible way.
Unsurprisingly, Black Panther scored an Academy Award nomination for Best Sound Editing, Best Original Score (which it won), and Best Sound Mixing.
Relive Chadwick Boseman’s best-known role by picking up Black Panther from Amazon today.
For a movie that is essentially all about sounds rather than dialog, WALL-E does a fantastic job of using surround sound so you feel as if the movie is happening all around you.
Arguably the best scene to test your surround sound system is when WALL-E exits the human ship that has left Earth and attempts to make its way back with a fire extinguisher. The level of ambient sounds allows you to close your eyes and easily pick out which of your surround sound speakers the audio is coming from.
Hearing the sprays from the extinguisher or the subtle clicks of WALL-E’s mechanical body is something that is going to make the rear channels of your surround sound system so worthwhile. Even when you finally get to the part where humans finally start to appear and speak, the surround sound experience is elevated by the noise of the activity taking place on the ship.
What makes this movie so great is the way in which the audio helps propel the film along without any human characters and still has you fully engrossed in its story.
Make sure and pick up a copy of WALL-E from Amazon today. Just have a box of Kleenex standing by!
#9: Ford v Ferrari
There are a large number of driving movies that can really put your surround sound system to the test, but none do it as well as Ford v Ferrari.
Even with the movie itself showing an excellent 98% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, the real highlight of this story is the sound. Every noise that comes out of the Ford GT 40 as it’s racing around a track is heart-pounding through even the most introductory surround sound system.
The sound of the vehicle just leads to a sonic masterpiece of how to showcase all of the power this engine puts out in real life but does so with sound and music since you can’t drive the car yourself. There is a reason why this movie was nominated for two Academy Awards for Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing.
During the big race toward the end of the movie, being able to hear Christian Bale’s character breathing, the way his gloves sound when he touches the shifter or the vibrating of the windshield just takes your breath away.
Drive away with your chance to watch Ford v Ferrari by picking up a copy on Amazon today.
If you’re the owner of a surround sound system and you want to make the absolute most out of this home theater experience, these 9 movies are the films to try first.
Things are even better if you have Dolby Atmos built into your system, but even without this feature, the sonic experience that emanates as these movies play will remind you why it’s okay to skip the theater and watch from the comfort of your own sofa.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Vadim Ovchinnikov/Shutterstock.com.