Greatest film scores


A rough top-few list of film composers

I have finally caved in to the demands of cultural education and taken out a supersize-me subscription to Love Film for one month. I have already watched several films this week to supplement my study of modern novels with contemporary greats like Menjou. Simply by virtue of seeing them more promoted I can see myself being sucked into recent releases too (that is, post sixties). Unfortunately, many recent films do not have truly great scores, and this somewhat limits my use of the time I budget on films (‘life is too short to drink bad wine’). So, having seen perhaps only a quarter of the films I really want to see (or want to have seen), here is a limited selection of top-notch scoring. Note that I am excluding musicals or musical films, as well as songs; the intention is to pick out films painted with large blocks of genuinely good music.

  1. Korngold (The Sea Hawk, Robin Hood, …)

  2. John Williams (Jurassic Park, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, …)

  3. Bernstein

  4. Stravinsky, possibly, I suppose

  5. Walton (Henry V)

  6. Miklós Rózsa (debatable, I know: Ben-Hur, El Cid, …)

  7. Maurice Jarre (also debatable, but I find it effective: Doctor Zhivago, Lawrence of Arabia)

  8. Howard Shore just perhaps makes it

  9. 2001: A Space Odyssey (as a bonus: not a film score, but the music is indeed good and the overall effect unrivalled)

I keep wanting to add good films with effective sound to the list, but then take them off again. In general, it mostly seems to be that you need to get an opera if you want a serious musical drama.