Everyone is into top quality visuals and sounds lately. In fact, why shouldn’t we be? If you are a cinephile, then there is a high chance that you have already got a hefty, top-notch home cinema theatre or surround sound setup at home (if you haven’t yet, we are certain you have been strongly thinking about it!). But are you sure your surround sound system is “the best” out there? Well, if you’re not, we recommend testing it with the best surround sound movies on the market.
Primarily, the concept of surround sound systems is used in movie theatres and is now being widely incorporated into home cinema systems. Frankly speaking, it doesn’t matter whether you are a sucker for good sound quality or you love a good movie – surround sound movies and surround sound systems in a home cinema system can really change the game drastically.
Now, what exactly is surround sound? To sum it up in a few words, surround sound systems refer to sound that seems to be coming from all around you – it is as if it surrounds you, like the term hints at. Usually, when you watch movies or listen to music via speakers, you will know where exactly the speakers are situated. However, with surround sound systems, it is as if you are engulfed by the sound around you – as if the action in the movie is actually taking place in your surroundings.
Now that we have cleared the air on what surround sound and surround sound systems are, it is time to dive deep into the best surround sound movies.
How to Test a Surround Sound System
In our opinion, there’s no better way to test your surround sound setup than watching some of the best known film scenes which have been frequently used by audiophiles and cinephiles all across the globe. Even the best surround sound systems on the market need testing.
While most of us know how to set up a surround sound system, we often get stuck when it comes to testing the surround sound systems’ sound quality and features.
Therefore, it doesn’t matter whether you have a 5.1 or a 7.1 surround sound system, or perhaps you have a Dolby Atmos surround sound system, the most fool-proof and simple way of testing your surround sound system out is by playing some of the following scenes from movies:
1. The Bombing Raid Scene from Unbroken (Year of Premier: 2014)
This particular scene from Unbroken is one that you absolutely must watch, in order to test your surround sound speakers. In fact, you can even hear the propellers as if they were rotating right above you. Our team of experts felt as if they were really there, in battle, with their hearts skipping a beat each time the enemy’s weapons swerved past them
2. The Opening Scene (Chapter 1) from Baby Driver (Year of Premier: 2017)
This opening scene from Baby Driver greets you with a humming, ringing noise which honestly sounds like it’s hitting you from every direction, especially when you are using your surround sound system. This scene rolls in with the iconic John Spencer Blues Explosion song, titled ‘ Bellbottoms’. If you have heard this song before, then you are fully aware of how good it is. And with a surround sound home cinema system? You are going to want to watch the scene on loop!
3. The Ferry Scene from Spider-Man: Homecoming (Year of Premier: 2017)
Calling all Marvel fans out there! We all know that Marvel movies are packed with action and amazing background scores and surround sound. The ferry scene from Spider-Man: Homecoming involves the action-packed face-off between Spider-Man and the Vulture is really going to make you realize the great sound effects in this movie.
4. WALL-E Gets Thrown Into Space From WALL-E (Year of Premier: 2008)
WALL-E is without a doubt, a cinematic masterpiece. With very little verbal communication in the first half of the movie, this animated space movie relies heavily on its soundtrack and sound effects. This particular scene from WALL-E, however, is easily one of the best scenes to test your surround sound system. In fact, even though it is a fictional, animated movie, it is safe to say that it is easily one of the best space movies out there!
With this scene, in particular, you should try watching it with your eyes closed. WALL-E is thrown into space, while his friend Eve, comes rushing right behind him. With the bolts, jerks and clicks of WALL-E’s robotic movement, and the soft spraying of the extinguisher he propels into space on, this scene is one of the best ones to check ambient sounds.
5. Chapter 7 From Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Year of Premier: 2009)
When you think of space and sci-fi as well as movies that are not only a visual treat but also an audio treat, one of the first movies that comes to mind is none other than the space movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens. This particular scene from Star Wars sounds magnificent.
While there are a fair amount of loud noises in this movie, this particular scene, however, proves that you don’t need loud noises in order to truly appreciate and call a movie one of the best surround sound movies. In this scene from Star Wars, Rey’s character is introduced in complete silence. Since it’s a space and sci-fi film, there’s quite a bit of swaying and swooshing you can hear, as Rey senses the change in atmosphere of the planet she called home.
Best Blu Ray Movies for Surround Sound
They say that your home cinema gear and surround sound system is only considered ‘good’ if the movie you are watching is, which, to be fair, we do agree with. To make the most out of your surround sound system, you have got to watch a movie which not only sounds magnificent but is also an audio treat. Here are some of the best Blu Ray movies to watch on your surround sound system, with perfect audio engineering:
1. The Dark Knight (Year of Premier: 2008)
The Dark Knight is undoubtedly a classic, and we are sure that anyone who considers themselves to be a hardcore audiophile will agree. Right from the opening scene, this movie sets the bar, especially with all the on screen action. It is definitely one of the best Blu Ray movies out there. As a matter of fact, the Joker’s crazed, deranged and psychotic laughter also leaves a different kind of impact, when you hear it on your surround sound setup. The audio engineering of The Dark Knight’s background score is surely one to amaze.
2. Casino Royale (Year of Premier: 2006)
Let us begin by saying the background score and soundtrack of Casino Royale is truly remarkable. With the precise sound effects hitting you from all the right places, this movie is a must watch on your surround sound setup. You will even feel the blow of each punch, in the oh-so-famous fighting scene. This movie has sound effects showcasing pinpoint accuracy.
3. Bohemian Rhapsody (Year of Premier: 2018)
We all know how well Bohemian Rhapsody did when it got released all the way back in 2018. With an impressive sense of music and sound, this movie will sound like an audiophile’s heaven, especially with a mighty powerful system and the distorted guitar riffs. The finale of this movie is what’s going to really get you in awe of the audio masterpiece that Bohemian Rhapsody is.
4. Black Panther (Year of Premier: 2018)
Another great movie which released in 2018, and another one of Marvel’s beautiful creations, is Black Panther. Although it has a different take on the whole superhero genre of films, it also sticks true to it. With a whole lot of on screen action, wonderful sound engineering and great ambient sounds, Black Panther is going to be a delight to watch when you have your Dolby Atmos linked up (or any other surround sound system for your home cinema system, for that matter).
5. Avatar (Year of Premier: 2009)
Avatar is the holy grail when it comes to 3D cinema. After all, it was one of the most expensive films made, and did take quite a bit of effort. But, sure enough, the efforts didn’t go to waste. Not only is it a highly visually appealing film, but it is also music to the ears – literally! The sound designer of Avatar didn’t fail to impress our experts with the wonderful audio engineering and sound mixing. With a huge surround effect, this film will fill your entire room with the most delicate sounds, but also won’t miss out on the action sequences which include the machine gun fire.
Best Dolby Atmos Movies to Test Surround Sound Setup
Dolby Atmos is a well-known name in the surround sound world. It has ruled both commercial cinema setups as well as home cinema setups. Here are some of the best Dolby Atmos movies to test surround sound setup:
1. The Avengers: Infinity War (Year of Premier: 2018)
That’s right – yet another Marvel movie that tops our list of the best surround sound movies to watch to test your home cinema system. With loud noises, soaring music and excellent sound effects editing, this movie marks the beginning of the final battle with Thanos. The Dolby Atmos soundtrack is remarkably great, especially with surround channels .
2. La La Land (Year of Premier: 2016)
La La Land reminds you of the true essence of Hollywood. Right from the opening scene to the end, it has some of the best and funniest moments, which your home cinema system will help you make the most of. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone definitely stole the show with this film. Kudos to the sound designer of La La Land because the movie soundtrack is definitely an audio treat, especially on the Dolby Atmos!
3. Saving Private Ryan (Year of Premier: 1998)
Directed by none other than the well known Steven Spielberg, this movie is definitely on our list of some of the best movies with a compelling sense of sound. With multiple point blank shots, machine gun fire and iconic bullet time sequences, Saving Private Ryan will sound magnificent with your Dolby Atmos.
4. Mad Max: Fury Road (Year of Premier: 2015)
If you want to truly enjoy and admire the beauty of surround sound and a great surround sound system, one of the best surround sound movies to watch is, of course, Mad Max: Fury Road. Right from the opening scene, this movie has a lot to offer. Having said that, however, there are chances that your surround channels may not entirely pick up the sound effects – at least, that is what our team of experts noticed, when testing this movie out on a lower surround sound system.
Nonetheless, with Mad Max: Fury Road’s soaring music and soundtrack filled with electronic beats, it is no surprise that the movie has won not only the Best Sound Editing award, but along with that, Mad Max: Fury Road was also the recipient of the Best Sound Mixing Award. Both of these awards were given at the 2016 Academy Award. Needless to say, Mad Max: Fury Road is a movie you have got to watch.
5. Inception (Year of Premier: 2010)
Christopher Nolan is known for his confusing, thought-provoking and well-plotted storylines. Along with a touch of wonderful and precise sound engineering, Inception is a must-watch for all of the home cinema system owners out there, especially if you have the Dolby Atmos. As a matter of fact, we were intrigued to learn that the sound effects used in this Nolan creation have been copied and used in various other movies.
Inception is another academy award-winning film. Just like Mad Max: Fury Road, it has received the Best Sound Editing award, as well as the Best Sound Mixing award. Along with these awards, Inception also won the Best Sound award at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. But that’s not the end of it – this Chritopher Nolan masterpiece also received the Sound Effect award at the Motion Picture Sound Editors.
Best Surround Sound Movies on Netflix
You can find some of the best movies to test surround sound on Netflix. Here’s a quick list you can explore:
1. Godzilla vs Kong (Year of Premier: 2021)
None of us are new to the world of Godzilla and that of King Kong. With the previous movies of these two beasts being hits all around the world, you can expect the same from Godzilla vs Kong too. You are going to feel their wrath and hear their roars in your entire room. Don’t jump out of your seat if you hear a low growl from your rear speakers! Even with all the panic, screaming and squealing in the crowd scenes, the sound engineering has been made to such perfection that you only focus on what is important – Godzilla and Kong.
2. Wonder Woman 1984 (Year of Premier: 2020)
Wonder Woman 1984 is yet another movie that showcases pin point accuracy, especially in terms of its audio engineering and sound design. The first scene is both an audio & visual treat, and it will get you hooked to the movie almost instantly. With a lot of machine gun fire, point blank shots and quite a few crowd scenes, your entire room is going to be filled with Wonder Woman’s super powers. It is one of the best movies to show off your surround speakers and surround channels.
3. Interstellar (Year of Premier: 2014)
Yet another iconic space movie to add to our list of the best surround sound movies to watch is of course, Interstellar. While this movie was a little confusing to some (in fact, we think it is safe to say that this movie confused all of us at some point or the other), there is no denying the fact that it has got some of the best sound effects and the best sound editing there is.
With a strong focus on ambient sounds as well, Interstellar really sets the atmosphere. Right from the opening scene to the closing scene, this movie is an audio treat, especially with the space atmosphere having a rather big and arresting presence!
4. Swiss Army Man (Year of Premier: 2016)
For all the Daniel Radcliffe fans out there, this movie is for you. This movie is filled with some of the best and funniest moments that you can make the most out of using the Dolby Atmos, or any other surround sound home cinema system for that matter. There is no point denying the wonderful sound editing in this movie – our team of experts was entirely in awe! Swiss Army Man is definitely a movie you have got to watch yourself, in order to truly appreciate it.
5. Bird Box (Year of Premier: 2018)
Netflix Original Bird Box is a sci-fi film with a big dash of horror in it. It revolves around a mother, portrayed by the talented Sandra Bullock, who fights for survival, while rescuing her children, against something that is taking the lives of many, many others. From the group of people that survive, they realise that the only way to stay alive is to blindfold themselves and not glance at whatever it is that is killing everyone else. Now, with everyone being blindfolded, you can understand the importance of relying on excellent and precise sound effects.
Does Netflix Have 7.1 Surround Sound?
While Netflix provides surround sound in the settings of 3.1, 5.1 and 7.1, not all the movies and shows on Netflix support some of these settings. You may not be aware of this, but in the past, although Netflix could provide a vast range of movies and video quality settings, they were not able to cater to good quality audio. Later on, with the introduction of 5.1 Dolby Digital Plus, Netflix took it on board. Yet, having said that, not all of the shows and movies on Netflix are enabled to support these surround sound settings.
So, how are you meant to know if the movie you are watching has 7.1 surround sound? Well, much to our disappointment, there is no list on Netflix that lets you know which movies or shows have surround sound available. However, as per the help page on Netflix, any movie or television show which has surround sound enabled will have the Dolby Digital icon sitting right next to its name when you search for it.
Surround Sound Movies With Best Sound Mixing
Check out these surround sound movies with best sound mixing to test your new surround sound system:
1. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (Year of Premier: 2009)
Whether you were a fan of the entire Transformers franchise or not, you are going to have to admit that Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is one of the best surround sound movies with the best sound mixing. Your entire room will be filled with soaring music and a fair amount of electronic beats when you watch this movie on your new home cinema gear. With the big and arresting presence of the robots, which are quite often immersed in intense on screen action scenes, it is safe to say that these mighty transformers need nothing less than a mighty powerful surround sound system!
2. Gravity (Year of Premier: 2013)
It would be absolutely insane to not list three-time Oscar winning Gravity as one of the best surround sound movies with the best sound mixing. It is yet another wonderful, thought-provoking space movie that just gets you hooked to the screen. With a beautiful play of soft and loud noises, Gravity really knows how to hold you down (pun intended? Definitely!). With precise sound effect and great sound mixing, Gravity is one of the few movies that surely and certainly steals the show.
3. American Sniper (Year of Premier: 2014)
Under the direction of none other than Clint Eastwood, American Sniper is a movie with some of the best sound mixing there is. After all, it has won the Best Sounding Editing and the Best Sound Mixing nomination at the Academy Awards. No doubt that this movie is going to sound beyond amazing on your Dolby Atmos!
4. Pacific Rim (Year of Premier: 2013)
Pacific Rim reminded us strongly of the entire Transformers franchise. Nonetheless, Pacific Rim is a highly enjoyable film, and is definitely a sight for the eyes, and it is rather clear of the immense amount of effort that has gone into the production and direction of the film. Much to our surprise, we found out the Jager cockpit was in fact an actual set – there was no use of CGI in creating it! And if you thought the visual appeal of Pacific Rim was mind blowing, wait till you hear the film’s sound effects. Absolutely impressive.
5. TRON: Legacy (Year of Premier: 2012)
The sound designer of TRON: Legacy clearly took their job very, very seriously. The movie is not only really fun to watch, but the sound effects are wonderful too. Our experts strongly believe that it is one of the best surround sound moves with the best sound mixing. TRON: Legacy has huge sound effects, showcasing pinpoint accuracy. The film also has a great background score, which we were hooked to. All in all, this movie is a must-watch, especially if you want to show off your home cinema system!
Surround Sound Movies With Best Sound Editing
These movies comprise the best surround sound editing. Check them to test your surround sound setup:
1. Jurassic Park (Year of Premier: 1993)
To begin with, we think it is only fair if we start off by saying that Jurassic Park has a phenomenal background score. Add to it some of the most impressive sound edits and sound effects, and bam! Jurassic Park proves to be an iconic audio masterpiece, even today. It is a film with a fair share of both audio & visual drama, which needs no introduction nor description.
2. Fight Club (Year of Premier: 1999)
Even today, Fight Club remains to be a cinematic piece of art. With quite a bit of twists (especially in the plot!) and turns, the sound of this movie hits you from all angles – quite literally! With multiple Fight Club scenes, soaring music, a whole lot of on screen action and many, many punches, your entire room is going to be filled with the sounds of loud noises and low blows. Although we think that after watching the movie once, it loses its element of surprise, it still remains a film we will go back to time and time again.
3. Star Trek: Into Darkness (Year of Premier: 2013)
ow could we have a list of the best surround sound movies with the best sound editing and leave out Star Trek? This iconic sci-fi movie doesn’t need any introduction – that’s just as much information as we are going to give you on Star Trek! You have got to watch it for its sound effects, for its top-notch editing and its impressive sense of direction.
4. Oblivion (Year of Premier: 2013)
Tom Cruise starrer Oblivion is a movie with a fantastic background score and movie soundtrack. While we were expecting a little more out of this film, we must admit that it is a movie that will have you admiring your cinema system each time you watch it. There is no denying the fact that it is quite a visually appealing film, but along with that, the sound effects are impressive too.
5. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (Year of Premier: 2003)
When it comes to discussing sound effects, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World has to be a part of the discussion. With precise sound effects, we believe that this movie has mastered surround sound, especially with the top notch audio engineering and sound effects editing. Your entire room is going to feel like the sea, and you are definitely going to hear the waves crash against your rear speakers.
And there you go! Here is our comprehensive and fully detailed guide on the best surround sound movies that you need to check out. For a surround sound movie to be considered ‘good’ it must have excellent audio engineering as well as excellent sound editing and sound mixing. Of course, in order to truly make the most of a good surround sound movie, you need to ensure that your home cinema system and surround speakers live up to the standards!
If you have any questions, doubts or queries, feel free to drop a comment in our comments section below, and our experts will get back to you with an answer in no time. If there are any products you have in mind that you would like for us to review and compare, do write to us.