The Last Castle (Soundtrack) by Jerry Goldsmith Available at



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The Last Castle (Soundtrack) by Jerry Goldsmith

For Such a Time as This
Review by Christopher Coleman


The Last Castle (Soundtrack) by Jerry Goldsmith

The Last Castle

The Last Castle (Soundtrack) by Jerry Goldsmith

Category  |   Score

Originality 8
Music Selection 7
Composition 7
CD Length 7
Track Order 7
Performance 8
Final Score 7/10


Real Audio Clips




Jerry Goldsmith
Jerry Goldsmith


Quick Quotes

Is The Last Castle for you?  Well, if we're talking about the film, I can't help but think there are going to be plenty of people split on this one.  I thought it was well directed and acted, but the glaring script and plot problems make this one a tough cookie to swallow.  But if we're talking about the album, then that would be a definite "yes".  With a strong theme and some exciting action cues, this album most certainly makes up for the humdrum score that Goldsmith delivered in Along Came A Spider." ***

Dan Goldwasser -  SoundtrackNet Reviews The Last Castle



Composed and Conducted by Jerry Goldsmith
Album Produced by Jerry Goldsmith
Orchestrations by Mark McKenzie
Performed by Malcolm McNab (Trumpet)
Released by Decca Records October 16, 2001

Jerry Goldsmith's score for The Last Castle resonates with an eerie appropriateness in the current climate of the United States.  His score for this Rob Lurie film, succeeds on two fronts.  First, it is a high-quality score that could be said to outdo the film itself.  Second, it succeeds in capturing and putting into music, the post-September 11, 2001-mood of the US and much of the world. 

The Last Castle represents some of Goldsmith's most engaging music in a few years.  Despite interesting closing tracks or even a strong, title theme, many of Goldsmith's more recent works such as:  Star Trek:  Insurrection, The Haunting, Along Came a Spider, have, overall, left fans cold and disappointed .  Nevertheless, most Jerry Goldsmith projects remain highly anticipated by the majority of film music enthusiasts and so The Last Castle has received its share pre-release buzz.  The strongly heroic and militaristic character of The Last Castle makes it an entertaining listen from beginning to end - with only the exceptions of two blues tracks.

As Goldsmith has successfully done in many films before, Patton, First Blood, and Rambo, come immediately to mind, he relies on solo trumpet, timpani, and even some subtle synthesized elements, circa the 1980s.  The backbone of the entire score is formed by a lonely trumpet performance of a twenty-four note theme (see liner notes excerpt below).  One factor that could contribute to this theme resonating so strongly for many, is that it plays almost a like variation of Copland's famous trumpet theme - Theme for the Common Man.  While it shouldn't be categorized as any sort of rip-off, it does sound as though Copland's theme was at least inspirational for Goldsmith.  In any event, from its introduction, right on through the balance of the score, it is this main theme that makes The Last Castle a stand-out effort. 

Not to be forgotten are the "supporting" elements of The Last Castle's score.  Goldsmith doesn't plod through this score allowing the title theme to completely carry it...although the somber theme could certainly handle the load.  Instead, he builds a solid and consistent score with determined timpanis and snare-rolls.  In this effort, Goldsmith is able to successfully build anticipation and suspense without going over-the-top and into the realms of Schmaltz.  See track 6, Full Alert, track 7, Military Justice or track 10, Taking Command as a classic examples Goldsmith's patented military suspense music.

As well as Goldsmith's score might work in The Last Castle, it is near perfect match for the current mood in the United States of America.  At the request of director, Rob Lurie, the title theme was retitled, "September 11, 2001" and added to the release as a tribute to those who lost their lives on that date. In particular, Lurie reportedly had in mind those who died at The Pentagon, as he has maintained friendships with individuals that work there. Tragic, heroic, determined - each of these could be used to describe   the events set into motion in September as well as The Last Castle.

What prison-film would be complete without at least one blues cut?  Well, two blues tracks make their way on to the disc.   Chiseled in Stone (13) is performed on screen by one of the prisoners and Get Behind the Mule is a Tom Waits composition performed by John Hammond.  While representing one element of the film, unfortunately, neither flows well with Goldsmith's score and detract from the overall experience outside of the film's confines.

While Goldsmith fans, and most film music fans in general, will delight in this score, the film's audiences may not fair as well.  Coming from the creative team that brought Mission to Mars to the big screen, one's expectations need to be kept well in check before viewing this film.  Prison flicks are no strangers to box office success, but early reviews do not show The Last Castle in the same lucrative or critically successful light as a Cool Hand Luke, Papillion, The Green Mile or Shawshank Redemption.

The Last Castle turns out to be an exceptional score from Goldsmith.  Whether the film is a success or not, the score is one to take note of in 2001.  While there a number of themes that have been accurately used to help convey the thought and emotion of that tragic day in September of 2001, The Last Castle almost seems to have been crafted for such a time as this.  Without the terrorist acts of September, The Last Castle would still be considered a good score from Goldsmith, but since the tragedy is real, Goldsmith's score is ironically elevated even further.  Next to Trevor Jones' score for Thirteen Days, The Last Castle stands as some of the most inspirational music to come out in the last 12 months.

From the Liner Notes:

"A few days after I delivered the film to Jerry, he called me:  'I have theme,' he told me.  'I hope you like it...He sat me down, politely lectured me on the lack of detail and sophistication that I would now hear coming out his computer, and played for men the primary musical phrase that would become General Irwin's them:

Twenty-Four notes.  All in C minor.

Twenty-four notes that have haunted me ever since.

Twenty-four notes that left me in tears.

Twenty-four notes that are a gift to soldiers; to sailors; to Americans.

Twenty-four notes that, I think will help to cement Jerry Goldsmith as the maestro of our time."

Track Listing and Ratings


Title Time


1 The Castle 1:32  ****
2 Irwin Arrives 2:18  ****
3 The Rock Pile 5:03  ****
4 Get Behind the Mule - John Hammond 5:54  **
5 Let's Go Ladies 2:40  ****
6 Full Alert 2:54  ****
7 Military Justice 2:22  ****
8 The Count Down 2:20  ****
9 Hold Them 1:52  ****
10 Taking Command 3:36  ****
11 The Flag 5:54  ****
12 September 11, 2001 - Theme from the Last Castle 2:46  ****
  13 Chiseled in Stone - Dean Hall 3:48  **  

Total Running Time


The Last Castle (Soundtrack) by Jerry Goldsmith

*The Experience-O-Meter displays the track to track listening experience of this soundtrack based on the 5-Star rating given to each track.  It provides a visual depiction of the ebbs and flows of the CD's presentation of the soundtrack.


Referenced Reviews
Thirteen Days
  |  Along Came a Spider



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