Gladiator: a soundtrack fit for a hero... like you

6 soundtracks to defeat your essay crisis


Josephine recommends…


Every essay is a battle, every library a battlefield. You need a soundtrack that casts you as the hero, battered, bloody and unwilling to accept defeat. The dramatic opening of ‘Now We Are Free’ signals the beginning of your finest hour; it reminds you that the end is in sight and that ultimately your fate is in your hands. This is your story; be victorious.

How to Train your Dragon

Transform the stubborn stasis of your essay writing experience into a thrilling dragon-riding adventure. With the fearless force of this music resonating through your headphones, every demoralising setback and fleeting triumph is not a test of academic survival, but one of tenacious bravery. Let Toothless carry the burden as your soar towards your conclusion with triumphant certitude.

Credit: Kevin Gill

Anna recommends…

Blue Planet II

Not strictly a film soundtrack, but surely it counts if it’s by Hans Zimmer? If you didn’t get enough of the series you can relive its most epic moments in audible form. ‘Surfing Dolphins’ is a personal favourite for fuelling an aggressive typing marathon. Turn yourself into a humpback whale and swim gracefully through those last 500 words. Radiohead fans can also look up the theme song ‘(Ocean) Bloom’, a thalassic reinvigoration of their single from King of Limbs. This is absolutely classic Hans Zimmer, but it never gets old.


The film may have been disappointingly average and long-forgotten, but the soundtrack is an orchestral journey of heroic proportions. If you only have time for one track, make it ‘Jake’s First Flight’. Full of infectious drum beats and soaring strings, its so motivational that every time I listen to it I immediately want to Naruto-run across Christ Church meadow.

Credit: JordyMeow

Jonathan recommends…

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

There is a special kind of heroism to surviving an essay crisis, and with this as your soundtrack you will not forget it. Begin with the naïve, folk-like strains of ‘Concerning Hobbits’, only for the tension to mount as you realise the epic journey that lies ahead of you. Let ‘The Bridge of Khazad-Dhum’ push you towards that minimum word-count; reach ‘Lothlorien’ as the sheer exhaustion renders your subject impossible to understand – or, perhaps, more clear than ever before. As your student loan debt weighs you down more than the One Ring itself, let Howard Shore sweep you away to a world where armed orcs are more concerning than sadistic tutors. How relaxing!


The rare soundtrack that seamlessly combines faux-French romance with the flawless evocation of a small rodent running. Michael Giacchino’s score is almost aggressively delightful, built around an original song – ‘Le Festin’, sung in French by Camille – so drenched in romanticised ideas about Parisian music that it goes full circles from parody back to unironic pleasure. Listening to this music you can’t help but forget that you currently in a dark library, hunched over a laptop, downing unhealthy amounts of the coffee you snuck in. And when you actually need to get some work done, well, half the music here is “busy” music to accompany scenes of a bustling gourmet kitchen: whether your essay is a light soufflé or burnt toast, there’s always something here that fits.

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