The Survivor soundtrack includes music by Louis Jordan, Nat King Cole and Allan Sherman. This info article contains spoilers for Barry Levinson’s 2021 HBO movie. Check out Vague Visages’ Soundtracks of Cinema section for more music guides.
In The Survivor, Ben Foster stars as a Polish Jew named Harry Haft. The Auschwitz concentration camp survivor pursues a boxing career in New York while building a relationship with the open-minded Miriam Wofsoniker (Vicky Krieps). The storyline follows Harry as he tries to move on from the past while raising two children with his wife. Composer Hans Zimmer (Dune) scored the 129-minute HBO film; music supervisor Allan Mason (The Parent Trap) selected the featured needle-drops. Here’s every song in The Survivor.
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- “Mein Shtetele Belz” by Svetlana Kundish/Klezmer Band (00:06:00): Harry visits the Union of Polish Jews. A woman performs on stage in Yiddish. The Survivor soundtrack song continues as Emory (Peter Sarsgaard) watches from the back.
- “Choo Choo Ch’Boogie” by Louis Jordan (00:11:00): Harry enters a boxing gym. He tells Barclay (Paul Bates) that he wants to fight Rocky Marciano (Anthony Molinari). Harry suggests that his trainer can’t actually secure the boxing match.
- “Que Rico El Mambo” aka “Mambo Jambo” by Amerimamabo (00:28:00): Pepe (John Leguizamo) plays a record at a boxing gym. He says that Harry is “too tight.” Pepe correlates salsa dancing with boxing.
- “Avinu Malkeinu” by Erik L.F. Contzius and Kimberly Marshall (00:31:00): The Survivor soundtrack song scores a Yom Kippur sequence. Harry thinks about the past. He remembers being called the “Jew Animal” during a fight at Auschwitz.
- “Powder Your Face with Sunshine (Smile! Smile! Smile!)” by Swing & Sway with Sammy Kaye (00:37:00): Harry visits the Coney Island Boardwalk with Miriam. He talks about the importance of jokes while trying to survive Auschwitz. He says, “For a few minutes you could… smile.”
- “(At the) Woodchopper’s Ball” by Glen Gray and the Casa Loma Orchestra (00:40:00): Pepe talks with Harry at their gym. They discuss the 1949 movie Samson and Delilah. Emory arrives and references the film’s director, Cecil B. DeMille.
- “Along the Navajo Trail” by Dinah Shore with Albert Sack and His Orchestra (00:54:00): Miriam knocks at Harry’s door. The camera frames her from the top of a staircase. The Survivor soundtrack song continues as Harry greets Miriam and receives news about Leah (Dar Zuzovsky).
- “(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66” by Nat King Cole (00:57:00): Harry arrives at a hotel with Barclay. He walks around near their vehicle. Harry watches a man and woman jump into a lake.
- “Begin the Beguine” by Artie Shaw & His Orchestra (01:00:00): Charlie (Danny DeVito) jokes around with Harry. He offers tips before a fight against Rocky Marciano. The music scores an outdoor ring sequence.
- “Hit That Jive Jack” by Four Vagabonds (Uncredited; 01:04:00): Harry and Charlie bond by a lake. The Survivor soundtrack song continues during a transition sequence. Harry speaks with Miriam at the Rhode Island Auditorium.
- “Sally Go ‘Round the Roses” by The Jaynetts (01:33:00): Harry walks outdoors with his son, Alan (Kingston Vernes). He mentors the boy at Brighton Beach Boxing Gym. Harry punches a boxing bag and grunts; he tells Alan not to come home until he is finished with 15 rounds.
- “Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh” by Allan Sherman (01:44:00): Alan plays with a toy tank at home. Harry watches television with his daughter, Helene (Sophie Knapp). He looks at a written Georgia address for Leah.
- “Our Winter Love” by Bill Pursell (01:46:00): Alan sits by a pool with Miriam and Helene. He talks about potential rainfall. The Survivor soundtrack song plays as Harry arrives.
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The Survivor soundtrack also includes:
- “Avinu Malkeinu” by Erik Contzius
- “G.I. Jive” by Louis Jordan
- “Die Schonste Zeit Des Leben” (“For Harry Taft”) by Franz Grothe and Willy Dehmel
- “(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66” by Ben Foster
- “God Bless America (Yiddish Version)” by Svetlana Kundish
Q.V. Hough (@QVHough) is Vague Visages’ founding editor.