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Best composer of movie soundtracks?

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Showing 1-25 of 93 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 29 Aug 2008 15:33:51 BDT
L. A. Ward says:
I love the music of Vangelis as well as the gleaming soundscapes (apologies) of Cliff Martinez, who works with Steven Soderbergh. But who am I missing?

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Sep 2008 14:46:33 BDT
Elecctromat says:
Check out Mark Isham (Crash, Reservation Road) and Carter Burwell (Fur)...

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Sep 2008 21:06:07 BDT
Try Eleni Karaindrou (Weeping Meadow and Suspended Step), Gabriel Yared (The English Patient) and anything by Ennio Moricone - my favourite is a simple, poignant, but short Mandolin theme of his in Malèna - music which I never found on CD, although the score was nominated for an Oscar.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Sep 2008 09:25:04 BDT
There's only one name to mention here - VANGELIS

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Sep 2008 17:21:26 BDT
Last edited by the author on 13 Sep 2008 17:23:01 BDT
J. Hobbs says:
As a slightly more mature (i.e. old git) soundtrack fan, i would recomment anything by the master, Bernard Herrmann. Try On Dangerous Ground, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Vertigo, Taxi Driver, Jason and the Argonauts, Psycho (obviously), The Wrong Man, North by Northwest, Fanrenheit 451, and his near perfect score for Brian De Palma's Sisters. These tend to work best with the images they were scored for, so for pure listening pleasure I'd plump for Morricone's A Fistful of Dynamite.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Sep 2008 08:34:49 BDT
T. M. Howsam says:
Williams, williams and more Williams
Though his much touted scores for the two trilogys in the star wars franchise (Empire IS BY FAR still the best) and the Indiana Jones movies John Williams has more Iconic main titles than any other composer in the history of Motion picture music that are instantly recognisable as a Williams theme. For me there is only one. Williams.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Sep 2008 18:18:30 BDT
Ms. Jenner says:
i agree totally john williams is the greatest film composer ever apart from the classics star wars et harry potter etc he has done much more check his chilling soundtrack to the fury and the wonderful minority report

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Sep 2008 00:32:50 BDT
PaulR says:
You might want to try Craig Armstrong - I think hes won an Oscar at some stage, but I may be wrong.

Hes done music for many films and some of his albums are very cinematic in their feel - check them out here :

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Sep 2008 09:51:56 BDT
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In reply to an earlier post on 22 Sep 2008 23:55:06 BDT
Nobody's mentioned Hans Zimmer???

There are several film composers I enjoy, but relatively few whose scores actually stand up as real quality music in their own right. Zimmer's do. See Gladiator, The Lion King, The Last Samurai and The Power of One to name a few.

I find John Williams gets boring very fast. Sure, his themes are catchy and I get tingles at the Star Wars titles like anyone, but his scores are all much the same and rely far too much on brass for my liking. Each of Zimmer's soundtracks has its own very distinctive flavour and many are very moving just to listen to.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Sep 2008 14:36:55 BDT
You are wrong - Williams is a GOD. Although Patrick Doyle isn't bad.
No other composer can affect you emotionally as well as Williams - that's what Soundtracks are meant to be like.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Sep 2008 17:23:59 BDT
Me says:
John Barry wrote some of the most amazing soundtracks. one of his great strengths was no to clutter a film with endless music. take the awesome score for Zulu. Exciting, atmospheric, utterly beautiful, yet in a two hour movie the score lasts about 20 mins. With Barry 'less' is 'more'.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Oct 2008 22:16:51 BDT
Last edited by the author on 5 Oct 2008 22:27:58 BDT
Adam Jackson says:
The late Basil Poledouris for my favourite,Conan The Barbarian!
Hans Zimmer - Gladiator is brilliant.
Michael Kamen (RIP) Die Hard - and FANTASTIC work on Metallica's S&M!
Jerry Goldsmith for The Omen, First Blood etc....
John Williams: Revenge Of The Sith and the underrrated CE3K..
Howard Shore: Lord Of The Rings and The Cell
Bill Conti for Rocky series
John Barry for On Her Majesty's Secret Service
Hermann for Jason & Argonauts and Bernstein for the terror of Cape Fear!!!
Oh, and Holst, Wagner, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev and Mussorgsky for for the inspiration!!!!

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Oct 2008 13:28:04 BDT
oodles says:
James Newton Howard is a particular favourite, his work with Zimmer on the new Dark Knight soundtrack was excellent.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Oct 2008 17:02:10 BDT
Hi Adam, You talk like a man who really appreciates good music. I agree with most of your suggestions but would single out the great Jerry Goldsmith for his work on LEGEND, forget the painful UK release using krautrock. The sweet and evocative score by Goldsmith is a masterpiece that stands tall without the film.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Oct 2008 13:04:28 BDT
Last edited by the author on 14 Oct 2008 13:16:07 BDT
ric_mac says:
< No other composer can affect you emotionally as well as Williams >

I have to say that it's Ennio Morricone that hits me hardest emotionally: Nuovo Cinema Paradiso; Once Upon A Time In America; The Mission...

Purely from a musical perspective Duke Ellington's score for Anatomy Of A Murder is a cracker, as is much work by Quincy Jones (The Pawnbroker; In The Heat Of The Night).

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Oct 2008 13:15:39 BDT
Last edited by the author on 14 Nov 2008 15:02:20 GMT
ric_mac says:
Also worthy of mention: Roy Budd* (Get Carter); Maurice Jarre (Building The Barn is unforgettable from Witness); Popol Vuh (their music for many Werner Herzog films, including Fitzcarraldo and Aguirre, Wrath Of God).

* You're quite right Mr Tabrett: It is Roy and not Harold. Harold B *is* a composer and musician, but he is not responsible for 'Get Carter'.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Oct 2008 11:12:45 BDT
Thomas Newman all the way. His scores are so instantly recognisable and stunning. American Beauty, Shawshank Redemption, Meet Joe Black, Road To Perdition, Pay It Forward, The Green Mile... Amazing!

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Oct 2008 11:28:28 BDT
Also Philip Glass for Notes On A Scandal, Candyman, The Hours and his score for the 1931 version of Dracula

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Oct 2008 11:55:49 BDT
Chris says:
although not (as far as I know) films - the television music of Barrington Pheloung, mainly known for Inspector Morse, but also did a powerful sound track for the TV film, Truly, madly, deeply.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Oct 2008 14:30:56 BDT
Last edited by the author on 24 Oct 2008 14:40:25 BDT
My nominee: Elmer Bernstein. He wrote one of the top Biblical epic scores (The Ten Commandments) and then virtually defined the sound of American westerns with "The Magnificent Seven" (becoming the "go to" composer in westerns for years after). He brought jazz into film scoring with "The Man With the Golden Arm" and "Walk on the Wild Side." Want more? How about another epic -- "Hawaii" ? Then there were war films like "The Great Escape" and "Bridge at Remagen." And a score from a child's point of view for "To Kill a Mockingbird." That doesn't even mention the string of comedies ("Ghostbusters," "Meatballs," etc.)

All told, a 51-year career with 14 Oscar nominations (winning for "Thoroughly Modern Millie"), two Emmy nominations (winning for "The Making of the President 1960"), two Golden Globes (wins for "Hawaii" and "To Kill a Mockingbird"), and even a pair of Tony nominations for Broadway musicals. He had Oscar nominations in each of six decades, from "The Man With the Golden Arm" in 1955 to "From From Heaven" in 2002.

There are many great film composers, but for me Elmer Bernstein is at the top of the list.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Oct 2008 19:46:51 BDT
A. Laming says:
For me it can only be John Williams

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Oct 2008 00:00:27 BDT
C. Caseman says:
I like Phillip Glass's contribution to "Notes on a Scandal". Some people dislike his minimalist syle and call it repetative, but I find that his music is similar, yes, but there are ofter little flourishes that distinguish it from other pieces. This makes him even more enjoyable to listen to because of the fact that you are enjoying a comforting piece with something new!

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Nov 2008 09:56:35 GMT
N. C. Riley says:
Mark Mothersbaugh, his work on Wes Anderson films is fantastic, also Barry Adamson gets little credit.

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Nov 2008 22:18:28 GMT
Ian says:
Of recent times it has to be Jon Brion
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Participants:  82
Total posts:  93
Initial post:  29 Aug 2008
Latest post:  6 Dec 2012

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