Soundtracks and their composers

We own quite a few soundtrack CD’s and even old LP’s.

Not counting the ones that are essentially “found music” (with Easy Rider as a prime example) what soundtracks are you most impressed with?

Who is/was your favorite film (or TV) composer?

Which composer’s work can you most easily identify?

I’ve always liked Lalo Schifrin’s scores. Latest thing of his we have is “Tango” but the older things he did for Eastwood are memorable. Cool Hand Luke was one of my favorites of his.

Mancini just for the music. Easily identifiable in one or two bars (measures, not drinking establishments). Maybe the most easily identifiable for me is Herrmann. Taxi Driver would be my favorite of his, but Vertigo is a close second.

Of the older guys, David Raksin. “Laura” may be my all-time favorite melody.

Jerry Goldsmith seemed to have the broadest range of styles, but Elmer Bernstein was also very versatile.

I really like the soundtrack to Ghost Dog.

How 'bout yours?

Favorite soundtracks of the last few years:

Fellowship of the Ring and Two Towers - Howard Shore
Chicken Run - John Powell and Harry-Gregson Williams

Most easily identifiable composer/s:

I’m pretty good at picking out the composer just by listening to the music but I think James Horner and Danny Elfman are about the easiest to identify. Horner’s best score is Glory (Krull is a close second) and Elfman’s score for the original Batman is pretty hard to beat.


Welcome! It’s an honor to see your first post on this thread.

I’ve lost count of my original score CDs (hundreds), but the composers I have the most of are (in order): Goldsmith, Herrmann, Morricone, Waxman, Steiner, Rozsa, and North. E-Bay in particular has been invaluable in this regard.

If I had to list my 10 favorite scores (off the top of my head), they’d probably be:
Bride of Frankenstein (Waxman)
Alexander Nevsky (Prokofiev)
The Ghost & Mrs. Muir (Herrmann)
The Red Shoes (Easdale)
Sweet Smell of Success (Bernstein)
Juliet of the Spirits (Rota)
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (Morricone)
Two English Girls (Delerue)
The Empire Strikes Back (Williams)
Under Fire (Goldsmith)

…though that still leaves out so much. In addition to my favorites, there are a number I usually don’t have much problem guessing: Korngold, Rota, Portman, Elfman, etc.

I’m proud to say Alex North was my great-uncle.


Been lurking for a while. Just had to get in on a soundtrack discussion.


Believe it or not, I keep trying to locate the soundtrack of Streetcar.

Maybe you can clear something up for me, Eve.

Back in my radio drama days there was a Mike Hammer show with Ted De Corsia as Hammer. Even though they used Harlem Nocturne for the Stacy Keach TV version, didn’t Alex’s main theme from Streetcar go with that old radio show?

It must be great to be in that family.


And Eve, that is unbelievably cool. Did you ever meet him? Any juicy anecdotes? Have you seen his Oscar?

Thanks a heap, ArchiveGuy!

I’d have to say John Williams is among the most recognized names for soundtrack composers. I have a few soundtracks from the movies he’s scored, mostly from Spielberg/Lucas movies.

I also like Alan Sylvestri who did the score for Back to the Future and The Abyss, among others.

John Barry wrote some pretty mermorable songs for soundtracks in the 80’s.

In my humble opinion, I believe that the scores of John Williams are the most easily recognized when heard. His score has a certain…I don’t know what…an almost operatic quality.

But right now, my favorite movie composer is Joe Hisaishi. He is a Japanese composer, who, among other things, wrote the score for Princess Mononoke, and many other of Hayao Miyazaki’s films. I can’t recommend him highly enough – check him out!

Michael Nyman is one of my favorites. I LOVE the soundtrack to Ravenous.

Hans Zimmerman is also cool, he did the music to Gladiator. I find some of those tracks to be one of the few things that help me sleep. Conjours up visions of walking through Golden Cornfields in the sunshine. Yummy. :slight_smile:

John Barry is fantastic.
cheers Tree Boy you got me in the mood to chill now… :slight_smile:

Bernard Herrmann, Bernard Herrmann, Bernard Herrmann!!!

For a long time, mostly thanks to his scores for Glory and Sneakers, among others, James Horner was a big favorite of mine. I can readily identify any of his films in short order.

Danny Elfman has a very identifiable style. Even when he changes it somehwat for films like Good Will Hunting or Dolores Claiborne, you can still tell it’s him.

Hans Zimmer is also pretty easy to pick out in most cases, though he recently surprised me with his score for The Ring. Normally Zimmer goes for lots of over-the-top music, scores that really stand out. The Ring, however, was remarkably understated and moody… Zimmer impressed me with that one. Love his music for Gladiator, Mission Impossible 2, and Black Rain.

Howard Shore is something of a chameleon… he never does the same thing twice. Who would have expected that the same guy who wrote the dark, quiet, ambient music for Silence of the Lambs and Seven could also write the classic, noble music for The Lord of the Rings. I’m fast becoming a big fan of his.

I’d have to say that my new favorite composer, though, is Thomas Newman. I started listening to his music with The Shawshank Redemption, and I’ve never been disappointed since. Newman’s best talent is to somehow make each of his scores unique in subtle ways, but still apply his signature style to them. When we recently saw Finding Nemo, within ten minutes I had the score pegged as Thomas Newman’s, even though it was largely unlike most of his other work. I don’t know how he does it, but I love it. I’ll pretty much buy anything he writes, these days.

Best soundtrack ever:

Peter Gabriel’s Passion, the soundtrack for Last Temptation of Christ

I like tholder composers…guys like Waxman and Erich Korngold…they were REAL composers!

Howard shore for the LOTR soundtracks.

Hans Zimmer for the Gladiator soundtrack.

Howard shore for the LOTR soundtracks.

Hans Zimmer for the Gladiator soundtrack.