John Woo's Musical Odyssey

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Empire’s none-more-300th issue gets several louder with John Woo, the Baron of the Bullet Ballet, sharing his favourite ten tunes. We asked the director of Hard Boiled, Mission: Impossible II, Better Tomorrow to tell us what it really sounds like when doves cry. The answer, it turns out, is Cliff Richard’s ‘The Young Ones’. Yes, prepare yourself for Ear/Off.

"My current gilm The Crossing is about love, peace, living, courage and romance, and it is the culminationof all the songs I’ve listed here. There are lots of songs that I really like, including many popular and old ones which keep popping up in my head all the time. They’ve provided me with a lot of inspiration. I think you can see now why I wanted to shoot a love story..."

(Harold Arlen & E. Y. Harburg/Judy Garland, 1939)

"When I was young my life was very difficult — almost like a living hell. But when I heard Judy Garland sing this in The Wizard Of Oz, I suddenly felt as if I was on the other side of the rainbow, in heaven, in a place full of hope. When I used it in Face/Off, it was to say thanks for showing me that the world is still full of beauty."

(Nacio Herb Brown & Arthur Freed/Gene Kelly, 1952)

"I hum this whenever I’m shooting action. Gene Kelly’s beautiful voice, his graceful movements and sunshine smile help me get into the rhythm of shooting action sequences."

(Michel Legrand & Jacques Demy/Danielle Licari, 1964)

"I learnt the meaning of ‘romantic’ by watching this movie and listening to its theme song. Try playing it during the final gunfight in The Killer, when the doves in the church fly past in slow motion, and you’ll see what an impact it has had on me."

(Cliff Richard & The Shadows, 1962)

"Who still remembers Cliff Richard? I certainly do. In the ’60s he was my idol, and now, when I hear this song, it’s like remembering an old friend. His youth, energy and genuine smile — unforgettable."

(Mikis Theodrakis, 1964)

"At the end of the film Zorba The Greek, Alan Bates says, 'Teach me to dance, will you?' and Anthony Quinn replies, 'Dance? Did you say dance? Come on, my boy!' It was then that I too learnt how to dance like a Greek. And it’s just like the movie teaches us: life can be painful, all we can do is keep dancing on. Keep chasing after your dreams."

(Ennio Morricone, 1988)

"As I get older, I get tears in my eyes each time I hear Ennio Morricone’s theme. Tears not of sadness, but of joy. I remember my favourite filmmakers, my friends in the industry and the art that they create, and I’m thankful for all the blessings in my life."

(George R. Poulton, Ken Darby & Vera Matson/Elvis Presley, 1956)

"Hearing this makes me forget that hate exists in our world. When I hear it, I feel like someone totally in love. In fact, I used this song to win my wife’s heart."

(Johann Strauss II, 1866)

"I used to think of waltzing whenever I heard this, but from the ’60s onward, I would think of 2001: A Space Odyssey and Stanley Kubrick. If I had just a quarter of Mr. Kubrick’s talent, my movies would be better and more beautiful!"

(Bob Thiele & George David Weiss/Louis Armstrong, 1967)

"When Louis Armstrong remarks, 'What a wonderful world,' I really do believe him. I want to drift off to sleep full of love, and share that feeling with everyone else."

(The Beatles, 1965)

"What I like about this song is that it sounds good no matter what lyrics you sing along to. It’s highly addictive, and it’s as if The Beatles are sharing their joy with you."