Best composer of movie music?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by StephenA, Jun 29, 2002.

  1. StephenA

    StephenA Screenwriter

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    I put this here in the movie section, due to it dealing heavily with movies. If it should be moved, go ahead. So on to my question.

    Who do you think is the best composer of movie music? I pick John Williams because I think what he's composed, has made the movies his scores go to even more memorable. Some examples of what I mean:

    Superman
    Star Wars
    Jaws
    Indiana Jones
    Jurassic Park
    E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial
    Close Encounters of the Third Kind

    Because of his compositions to these movies, you can hear the music and automatically pick which movie they go to, without having seen the movie, the compositions are that popular. He also scored other famous and/or important movies in film history:

    Schindler's List
    The Patriot
    Harry Potter
    Saving Private Ryan
    AI: Artificial Intelligence
    Pearl Harbor
    JFK
    Born on the Fourth of July
    Home Alone
    Valley of the Dolls
    Witches of Eastwick
    and others

    With these examples alone, is why I choose John Williams.
     
  2. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    John Williams is obviously top tier. But I give top honors to Bernard Herrmann.
     
  3. Dennis Pagoulatos

    Dennis Pagoulatos Supporting Actor

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    I knew everyone would mention John Williams...

    but how about 2 of my favorites:

    -Jerry Goldsmith

    -Basil Poledouris

    Poledouris' Conan soundtrack is just plain AWESOME, same for his "Robocop" & "Starship Troopers" soundtracks.

    Goldsmith has scored hundreds of films, he's one of the best of all time.
     
  4. Todd Phillips

    Todd Phillips Second Unit

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    My two favorites aside from the usual :
    Ennio Morricone (probably the most prolific...see his listing on IMDB)
    The Good The Bad, The Ugly (possibly the most well known theme ever [​IMG] )
    Once Upon a Time in the West
    The Mission
    The Untouchables
    etc
    John Barry
    Dr. No (or maybe this is the most well known theme [​IMG] )
    Goldfinger (plus more Bonds)
    The Black Hole
    Dances with Wolves
    etc
    Both are not afraid to be creative and bombastic.
    I like the other major ones too (John Williams, Hans Zimmer, James Horner), but they don't stand out as much to me, plus they have disappointed me at times recently.
     
  5. Barry Woodward

    Barry Woodward Second Unit

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    John Williams
    Howard Shore
    Jerry Goldsmith
    Ennio Morricone
     
  6. Bill J

    Bill J Producer

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    I would say John Williams is the all-time best. My second favorite would probably be Hans Zimmer.
     
  7. Todd Phillips

    Todd Phillips Second Unit

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    This is degenerating into a Poll. Give some reasons.
     
  8. Jason Whyte

    Jason Whyte Screenwriter

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    Yes let's not get turn this into a poll like the recent directors thread fiascos. [​IMG]
    Best Film Composer? That's easy...Bernard Hermann. I love each and every one of his scores, but Psycho still destroys me every time I listen to it. Not just the famous strings sequence, but I am still BLOWN AWAY by the sneaky passages following Norman and the thrilling opening music as well.
    This and Taxi Driver would be my favorite scores.
    Jason
     
  9. Travis_S

    Travis_S Supporting Actor

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    Besides John Williams:

    Howard Shore (his soundtrack for LOTR was excellent)
    James Newton Howard (Sixth Sense and especially Unbreakable were awesome)
    Danny Elfman (although he has fallen off a bit lately)
     
  10. Bill Slack

    Bill Slack Supporting Actor

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    Lest us not forget Irving Berlin. Quite a bit different from most of the above composers. He is also the only person to ever present an Oscar to himself (!)

    Williams can be very hit or miss, but has produced some awesome stuff. I really like the Harry Potter score. Don't like the two newest SW scores too much (Ep1 had some good stuff though.)

    I love Zimmer's score to the Rock too. And Horner for Braveheart (despite it's often cited as being derivative, it works very well.)
     
  11. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    Bill,
    Regarding your signature. If I'd known they were giving those away, I would have come. [​IMG]
     
  12. felix_suwarno

    felix_suwarno Screenwriter

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    john williams, harry gregson willams, jerry goldsmith, and hans zimmer.

    i wonder why harry gregson hasnt been mentioned.
     
  13. Todd Phillips

    Todd Phillips Second Unit

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    The only Gregson-Williams score that made an impression on me was the Spy Kids score (which was very good), but it stood out because of it's skillful mixture of styles and motifs (spanish gangster music + spy music) and seemed somewhat derivative. I swear I heard John Barry themes in there (Attack on Fort Knox from Goldfinger).

    Plus, he's only got 10 years of work under his belt. Shouldn't we give him a couple more decades before he's eligible for the title?

    By the way, I've not seen Smilla's Sense of Snow, but I hear the score is good.
     
  14. Chuck C

    Chuck C Cinematographer

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    I was just thinking about stand-out composers today. Here are five that come to mind immidiately:

    John Williams
    Alan Silvestri
    James Horner
    Danny Elfman
    Jerry Goldsmith

    Other good composers:

    Thomas Newman (american beauty, shawshank)
    Eric Serra (luc besson flicks)
    Hans Zimmer
     
  15. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Looks like a poll, smells like a poll. And away it goes . . .

    M.
     
  16. Kristian

    Kristian Supporting Actor

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    John Williams is definitely my favorite. I also like the music of (in no particular order):

    Jerry Goldsmith
    Tan Dun
    Alan Menken
    Hans Zimmer
    Bernard HerrmannDanny Elfman
    Howard Shore
    James Horner
     
  17. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

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    Bernard Herrmann All time best film composer.
    Jerry Goldsmith Best film composer still working today, a Legend.[​IMG]
    John Williams Love his work for Sir Steven and has done some sf themes for Lord Lucas.[​IMG]
    John Barry Britain's best film composer, nobody does Bond better.
    Basil Poledouris Just his score for Conan the Barbarian is enough to put him in my top 10.
    Miklos Rozsa No one does epic historical themes like the maestro, Ben-Hur, El Cid, two of the greatest scores in film history.
     
  18. Rob Tomlin

    Rob Tomlin Producer

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    I completely agree with Bernard Herrmann as the greatest composer ever.
    John Williams is also excellent.
    I am glad someone else mentioned Eric Serra. I wish that he would do more work!
     
  19. Jan H

    Jan H Cinematographer

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    Yes, John Williams and Bernard Herrmann are the obvious choices for something like this, but if you go waaayyy back, you'd find the father of film music and a composer who John Williams apes at every opportunity: Erich Wolfgang von Korngold. Anybody here ever heard of the Adventures of Robin Hood or the Sea Hawk?
     
  20. JeremySt

    JeremySt Screenwriter

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    My pick goes to Jerry Goldsmith. His scores serve the film and augment the mood better than any composer I can think of. His POLTERGEIST score is a work of art.
    John Williams and John Barry are also favorites, but I often feel their works are sometimes too romantic for me. However,I could not imagine Star Wars, Indiana Jones, or Superman with any other music.
    Other notables include Trevor Jones, Howard Shore, Elmer Bernstein, and Hans Zimmer. BTW, what has Elliot Goldenthal done lately? He had a few scores that I loved!
     

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