: (updated 2008-06-06)
While attending the Centre of Arts in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, Arnold became friends with director Danny Cannon. The two made their respective major film debuts with The Young Americans. The following year he scored Stargate and Last of the Dogmen, with excerpts from the former ranking third in the most commonly-used soundtrack cues for film trailers.
Arnold would then go on to compose music for Stargate director Roland Emmerich's next two movies Independence Day and Godzilla, as well as four movies for director John Singleton. In addition, he has also scored various comedies, dramas, and nineteenth-century period pieces, as well as providing music for several British television shows including the 2000 remake of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) and Little Britain. During film production, his compositions are conducted by Nicholas Dodd.
Arnold was a Bond fan from an early age and also a fan of Bond composer John Barry. In 1997, Arnold produced Shaken and Stirred: The David Arnold James Bond Project, an album featuring new versions of the themes from various James Bond films. The album featured a variety of contemporary artists including Jarvis Cocker, Chrissie Hynde, Propellerheads and Iggy Pop; a version of You Only Live Twice by Björk was recorded but not included on the album. John Barry, the composer of many of the themes on the album, was complimentary about Arnold's interpretation of his work; 'He was very faithful to the melodic and harmonic content, but he's added a whole other rhythmic freshness and some interesting casting in terms of the artists chosen to do the songs. I think it's a terrific album. I'm very flattered.' Barry contacted Barbara Broccoli, producer of the then-upcoming Tomorrow Never Dies, to recommend Arnold as the film's composer.
He has scored the three subsequent films; The World Is Not Enough, Die Another Day and Casino Royale, and is set to return for Quantum of Solace.