Top 10 Film Composers of all time

To further explore a list I made in Bricker’s thread on the top 10 classical composers of all time, I wondered if the board members here had a list of top 10 FILM composers? Here is the one I made:

1: Jerry Goldsmith
2: John Williams (it could easily be the other way around with him and J.G.)
3: Bernard Herrmann
4: Henry Mancini
5: Erich Von Korngold
6: Miklos Rosza
7. Enrico Morricone
8. Danny Elfman
9. Hans Zimmer
10. Camille Saint-Saens (though I suppose that’s more of a "lifetime achievement award for pioneering the genre)

Thoughts? Omissions? Additions?

James Horner should definitely be on that list.

If you saw my post in the other thread, I deliberately omitted him, admittedly because of my own intense dislike for his work. Ditto for Michael Giacchino. :smiley:

But yeah, I can see that.

Elmer Bernstein, Marvin Hamlisch and (more recently) Howard Shore are all in the top ten movie composers in my opinion.

Also, Angelo Badalamenti, who did all of David Lynch’s scored music including most of the Twin Peaks soundtrack. He would be number ONE on my list.

Basil Poledouris might have some claim to being on the list.

I think you mean Ennio Morricone.

I’d include at least one member of the Newman family, probably Randy rather than Thomas.

And I also like Alan Silvestri.

Carter Burwell.

Best wishes,

John Williams immeaditly came to mind and he as probably written the most memorable movie scores of all time. Danny Elfman is probably my favorite though so I would put him higher on my list then you have him. After that I start to lose track of who wrote what so I couldn’t do a full list but those are my favorites.

Rachel Portman and Howard Shore

Agreed on both. I think my original list was too classical-centric, but such is my nature.

And apologies on the misspelled Ennio; I’m terrible with these eye-talian names. :wink:

Cool thread! I have a BFA in Film Scoring.

I love too many of them. My top has to go to Bernard Hermann. Henry Mancini was great at getting multi-track recording paid for the right way (if you played on two tracks, you got two paychecks). Michael Giocchino is one of my newer favorites, Elliot Goldenthal, etc.

As far as John Williams is concerned, his motifs are great, but his orchestrator John Neufield (?), does his magic. You ever notice that The “Indy” theme is “Tiny Bubbles” in reverse? It’s okay, John. You may have had a long night before that deadline. :smiley:

I would have to add the following names:
Max Steiner
Franz Waxman
Alfred Newman
Nino Rota

Submitted for consideration:

Carl Stalling

Do we have to limit this to those who composed for feature-length films? The golden-era Warner Brothers cartoons wouldn’t be the same without the music. The technical precision to match the music and the action at such a breakneck pace was amazing. If there’s a reason to exclude him, it’s that he borrowed so heavily from other works, especially Raymond Scott. (On the other hand, I could defend him by saying he invented sampling.)

This Slate piecemakes the case that the best film-composer of them all is Toru Takemitsu. I have only seen one of his films: Kurosawa’s Ran which does indeed have a wonderful score.

Here is the waltzmentioned in the piece and as it says it does sweep you off your feet.

I never knew he composed film music, but I do love his orchestral works.

My list was exclusively Hollywood, but if I included foreign films, I suppose Zbigniew Preisner deserves at least an HM.

The recently deceased John Barry would top my list.

Maurice Jarre did some great work (Lawrence of Arabia, how can you see someone walking through the desert without thinking of that tune?)

Bernard Herrmann has got to be my favorite, all of his work with Hitchcock.

John Williams has written so many great themes.

Michael Giacchino has done great work on the Pixar films.

But Marvin Hamlisch? The only thing I associate him with is The Spy Who Loved Me, which has the worst score of any Bond film. Synth for the lose.

Waxman, Bernstein, and Rota have already been mentioned, but Georges Delerue I’d add without hesitation.

And Sergei Prokofiev was a far more important pioneer than Saint-Saens, as far as classical crossovers go.

Many good names in this thread. Hard to make a Top 10 when there should be a Top 100.

But one name stands out to me…John Williams. Not an innovator, just a copier of obsolete styles (semi-classical, forgettable). This is in extreme contrast to Henry Mancini, who broke ground with jazz and jazz influences in a medium where it was rarely used.

Randy Newman (although I’d classify him as a songwriter, not a composer) used an old genre, but he brought new and clever angles to it. IMHO, John Williams just retreaded the field and collected an obscenely large paycheck. (And I speak as one who received part of his paycheck from Williams’ coattails.)

Might I add Patrick Doyle? Henry V is one of my favorite soundtracks EVER.