5 Movies With Kickass Surround Sound

Whether you’re a hardcore audiophile looking for the ultimate sound experience or a casual movie watcher out to make movie-watching at home more immersive, it’s tough to find the perfect soundtrack to show off your surround sound home theater system.

Sure, you’ll probably want to hear a few big explosions, but to truly get the best out of your home theater, you need a film with a wide and nuanced aural range, not to mention one that takes advantage of the directional effects made possible by a surround speakers.

The good news is we’ve already spent a ton of time searching for that perfect soundtrack for you. From trade shows to dealer events, customer demos to new product testing, this is what we like.

The Dark Knight

If you buy one movie for your surround sound system, let this be it. From the bank heist opener all the way to the end credits, the sounds of The Dark Knight envelop the viewer and integrate seamlessly with the films visuals to create an impeccable home theater experience.

Hans Zimmer’s almost oppressively dark score sets the perfect backdrop for Christopher Nolan’s Gotham, and the film’s dialogue is crystal clear throughout. If it’s pyrotechnics you’re looking for, well, The Dark Knight’s got that too. Particularly impressive is the film’s truck flip scene during one of the Batman’s epic battles with the Joker.

The Dark Knight – Batman vs. Joker Scene (truck flip)

This movie is the real deal. With audio engineering that never draws attention to itself, The Dark Knight is ideal to show off your home theater and have a great movie-watching experience in the process.


Pixar has long had a reputation for producing not only great-looking children’s films, but great sounding ones as well. Wall-E hits the mark in both regards. For those who have followed the company, it should come as no surprise that Pixar, originally part of Lucasfilm, puts a high premium on the quality of sound in its films.

The world of the lonely robot is unbelievably immersive and nuanced, and uses the directional possibilities of the surround sound system to their full potential. In addition to the sound effects in film, the soundtrack and score are top-notch both in terms of suitability for the film and recording quality. The film’s opening song creates a truly beautiful moment.

Wall-E Opening Scene

This is the perfect movie for kids and their audiophile parents to watch together. While it may be the unbelievably detailed CGI visuals many viewers notice first when viewing Wall-E–and they do look great–any true audiophile will immediately struck by the enormous attention to aural detail evidenced by the soundtrack of Wall-E.

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

Russell Crowe’s nautical adventure as Jack Aubrey is one of the best-sounding movies out there, truly taking advantage of the possibilities of surround sound to create an enveloping maritime atmosphere.

From the creaking of the boat’s planks to the subtle sound of the sea’s water against its hull, the level of detail represented in the soundtrack’s quieter moments is only eclipsed by the intensity of its battles, with floor-shaking cannon fire and roaring explosions.

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World – Final epic battle

Master and Commander’s soundtrack is arguably one of the most enveloping you’ll find.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Regardless how you feel about Shia LaBeouf and the Transformers franchise, there’s no denying this movie sounds great. The action scenes in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen are made unbelievably intense by the impeccable sound engineering.

And, despite the power and intensity put forth by the film’s soundtrack as the giant robots smash each other to bits, the films’s soundscape is also impressively nuanced.

While your ears are being bombarded by the sounds of the on-screen destruction, you’ll still be able to pick out individual helicopters, explosions, and firearms within the cacophony.

Transformers Revenge of the Fallen – Shanghai Scene

While it may not go down in history as a cinematic landmark, it’s clear that Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen sounds great. If you’re in the mood to see some great-looking and great-sounding computer-generated action scenes, this movie is where it’s at.

The Hurt Locker

A departure from the rest of the films on the list, Kathryn Bigelow’s Academy Award-winning The Hurt Locker’s more serious and contemporary subject matter is enhanced immeasurably by the film’s startlingly realistic soundtrack.

While the film’s expected wartime sounds are both extremely powerful and extremely detailed–each weapon fired and specific type of explosion has its own unique sonic signature–it’s some of the film’s quieter moments which truly stand out in terms of sound design. The characters’ breathing as they deal with the extreme stresses of the Iraq War is a constant barometer of their internal state, and the chime-like sound of shell casings hitting the rocky ground provides one of the film’s most powerful moments.

"The Hurt Locker" – Official Trailer [HD]

The soundtrack of The Hurt Locker is truly enveloping, and only serves to intensify the impact of an already impactful film. If you’re looking for a surround sound experience with emotional weight, The Hurt Locker is the perfect choice.

If you’re like us, you’ve put a lot of time, sweat and money into your set up. Show it off with any of these films. Agree or disagree? Have suggestions of your own? Leave us a comment.

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16 thoughts on “5 Movies With Kickass Surround Sound”

  1. I bought my la scala’s in 1980. They have been attached to a Yamaha CR-2020 since then. I’ve been through a couple of surround systems settling on a compliment of Klipsch speakers attached yet to another Yamaha. When needing “music”, it’s the ole pair of la scala/Yamaha 20/20 stand alone system, and I’m set and ready for what life has to throw my way.
    Just a simple la scala lover!

    1. Butch the Yamaha is a great receiver but do yourself a favor and try a tube amp some time.
      The first time I listened to dark side of the moon on tubes I head things I missed the first 2K times I listed.
      If your in Chicago land come on over sometime.

      1. ..yea even harmonic distortion.

        do yourself a favor and try to reproduce what was recorded and heard in the studio without adding artifacts.

  2. The Dark Knighat was great, Gravity was as well. Hell I can’t think of a movie or event I didn’t enjoy thanks to my Klipsch set up. I even listen to music that I haven’t in years because I hear things I’ve never heard before!

  3. Rf-82 II Rc-62 Rs-62 12 inch Synergy Sub with Integra 40.3. Transformers Age of Extinction sounds amazing. Where the spacecraft sucked everything up then drops it.

  4. I have been a Klipsch fan since high school when my buddy had a room that his mom made him insulate with 6″ thick Styrofoam and a 6″ thick wood door to keep her from hearing his audio. This was back in the 70’s. I just purchased my Reference speakers and set them in with my Klipsch synergy surround B3 and C3 speakers. I wonder how my neighbors enjoyed my movie!

  5. Hey all, my gear is RF82, RC62, RS 52 x4, HSU VTFMK2 x’s 2, Pioneer Elite VSX92TXH, Pioneer BDP51FD
    I have to agree with The Dark Knight but one of my go to’s is War of the Worlds… When the pod is coming up from under the street and also the lightning storm sound awesome and go down to 18hz and lower!

  6. John Carpenter’s “The Thing” (1982) has tremendous surround sound audio especially given it’s age. In the opening scenes a Norwegian helicopter is chasing the alien-infected dog. You can hear the sound of the helicopter echoing in the mountains as if you were there. It really is spectacular. As I recall back then, it was not clear if surround sound would properly reproduce off Beta/VHS. There was a way you could wire 4 speakers to create the proper sound sound effect. In any event, it is worth listening to the first few minutes.

  7. Nice to see Master and Commander here. The soundtrack blew me away the first time I heard it. It’s 12 years old as I write this, which is amazing to see it hold up against so many movies that have come out since. It’s my go to movie for surround sound as it just draws you in and makes you feel you are there. The description above tells it all.

    1. I will admit that is the first movie I pulled out when I got a new preamp/processor recently. Definitely a good choice.

    1. John Ingram, we’ll be coming out with an updated list at the end of the year as well as a list of the best movies to use with our Dolby Atmos compatible speakers 🙂

  8. I listened(watched)to the furious7 sound track. It’s truly a scintillating awesome experience throughout the movie. Kilpsch speakers are great.

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