This has been asked before as general films Films to Study for Excellence in Sound Design, but most of the answers as well as the films recognized in awards are epic action blockbuster films: Star Wars, Inception, Bourne Identity, to 'experimental' ones like Pi, Fight Club, No Country for Old Men, The Sacrifice (tarkovsky), Red Trilogy.

What are drama/slice of life movies or tv shows with inventive and humanistic sound design? In that previous thread, there were mentions of: Tetro Paris, Texas Annie Hall, Husbands and Wives

I'm looking for sound design styles of movies or tv shows that don't have that bombastic or avant-garde delivery.


2 Answers 2


There are many, so maybe I'll add more here later. I do actually think this is a good list to have on the site, so hopefully people will chip in.

Immediatelly though, I think of the films of Michael Heneke such as Hidden, Code Unknown and The White Ribbon. All very subtle and very controlled in their use of sound. Often what is left out is more important than what is put in.

Similarly, Elephant and Last Days, both directed by Gus Van Sant have an interesting approach; very reflective throughout of the characters, but using just diegetic layers of sound.


I think Robert Altman's multi-mic work is gives a really natural but unique/fresh perspective. Check out MASH and Nashville.

Anything from Studio Ghibli is incredibly elegant. The Wind Rises is especially interesting for sound effects with lots of human vocalizations in them. The mix of The Wind Rises is also amazing for storytelling with mixing because of how beautiful, moving, and dynamic it is in a monophonic format.

  • Funny.. I wrote my undergraduate dissertation about Altman's use of sound! Sep 28, 2014 at 17:09
  • I'd love to read it!
    – Evan
    Sep 29, 2014 at 14:57

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.