Best Movie Score Composers

ROTTIE13

The Top TenXW

1John Williams

How can Hans Zimmer be higher than John Williams, Seriously, John Williams: Jaws, Star Wars, Close Encounters, Superman, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Indiana Jones, Home Alone, Jurassic Park, Harry Potter Seriously, people!, John Williams owns Hans Zimmer.

He is a god among film score composers. He has won over 20 Grammy's for his scores as well as 5 Academy Awards with 48 nominations; the second most nominations of any person in the history of the Academy (Walt Disney is number one).

The success of many films has been directly influenced by the master compositions of John Williams. They are the few films which are famous, not just for their visual content and stories but for their music. - Tatatat

John Williams has just produced so much iconic music. His works are not loved because they are popular, they are popular because they are loved! "Fawkes is Reborn" and "Reunion of Friends" are my favorites of his work in Harry Potter, and you have to love the Star Wars and Indiana Jones themes.

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2Hans Zimmer

His music is beautiful. I can see why people would want John Williams in the lead but Hans Zimmer is extraordinary by his music and has different variety. Jaws, Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Superman, all big and flashy but that's it. It's nothing like the true beauty in the childhood soundtracks- The Lion King, Prince of Egypt, etc.

The most amazing soundtracks in the entire world:
The Lion King
Inception
All the Pirates of the Caribbean movies
Prince of Egypt
The Dark Knight

There is no contest.

Definitely beautiful soundtracks. You should add Gladiator to that list; it's one of the best soundtracks ever. - ugh

Yes, there are composers who make the catchy soundtracks. Zimmer, however, makes soundtracks which simply send shivers down your spine - literally, I get the chills. He is a great, for certain. His music is absolutely beautiful.

Inception, Interstellar, Lion King, Dark Knight, I love them all. He is one of the greatest film composers in history. He makes the most exotic and beautiful pieces. - BoltMarksman

V38 Comments
3Ennio Morricone

Simply the best ever. he can do cheerful: Cheyenne's theme, Once Upon A Time In The West; Wacky, Main Theme from My Name is nobody; Dramatic, Man With A Harmonica, Once Upon A Time again, Sad, The Funeral, American Sniper ( even though a lot of credit goes to Nino Rossi For writing the trumpet tune, Downright beautiful, gabriels oboe from the mission and Good Luck Jack from My name is nobody, and of course, totally iconic, Theme from The Good The Bad And the Ugly. John Williams comes a close second for me, but Morricone I feel is simply more sophisticated and original. Hans Zimmer is good, but once you've heard on song you've heard it all. Another really great, but underrated composer is Earle Hagen, for his brilliant work on the Andy Griffith Show, with it's iconic theme, and tender moments. Yeah, I know I'm gonna get some Eye Rolls for that one, but he should at least be on the list.

His scores can be either eclectic and strange, or harmonious and heavenly, or both at the same time. His theme to 'The Red Tent' is simply sublime, the Stereo version of 'The Ecstasy of Gold' is like a religious experience, and his work with Christy is just magnificent. His scores for 'Red Sonja' are the best thing about the movie.
He's had a few speed bumps here and there, but those scores are creative and eclectic.
I think he's one of the best composers of all time, and has worked on an entire range of genres.

Masterful, " The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" is probably one of the most memorable scores to date. - Solidamas

Simply the best one

V14 Comments
4Danny Elfman

I love many of the composers on this list and their themes are on my iPod, but self-taught Oingo Boingo lead singer/writer Danny Elfman... just look at the themes: Batman, MIB, Spider Man, The Simpsons, Tales From The Crypt, Edward Scissorhands, Beetlejuice, Black Beauty, Sommersby, Hulk, Planet of the Apes, Sleepy Hollow, Alice in Wonderland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory...just amazing.

Waltz of Death from Batman and Proposal/Down Rabbit Hole from Alice in Wonderland are just 2 of his highlights. Ennio WISHED he could work with Tim Burton.

Better than Williams. This guy should be #1, he's made songs for Nightmare Before Christmas and he's made some of the Best Opening Themes, like the ones in Batman and Mars Attacks.

Hell yeah! No one is Better then Danny. From my heart and from my hand, why don't people understand, my intention?

V3 Comments
5Howard Shore

Number 14?!?! Howard Shore did the Lord of the Rings, which has the most epic soundtrack ever! He should AT LEAST be in the top ten. - Blubbydubber1

Really he is 2nd in my opinion. Lord of the rings trilogy scores are the greatest scores ever each track has its own life and match the situation. The best film, the best story line and the best musics ever made

He is better than any one. Personally, I don't like John Williams. Every movie is the same. Trumpets, Horns, Pianos. No one compares to Howard Shore! Not even the puny John Williams!

I cannot NOT cry listening to Concerning Hobbit and The Breaking of the Fellowship.

V7 Comments
6James Horner

He has many great soundtracks, like titanic, avatar, and perfect storm, but to me his greatest was braveheart, particularly "the execution" and "end credits! Fantastic work and although the movie wasn't historically accurate, the soundtrack was incredible!

My favorite composer , we can only thanks to him the great sound of the Titanic - MatrixGuy

Titanic, Braveheart, The Perfect Storm, The Land Before Time, Apollo 13, Deep Impact - MatrixGuy

Field of dreams, Dad, Searching for bobby fischer and many more.

V2 Comments
7Jerry Goldsmith

In terms of musical variey and experimentation Jerry Goldsmith is the best.

Jerry Goldsmith. Mwah. Magnificent In Every Aspect. As Are Most On Here. He Deserves To Be Higher On The List. Give Credit Where It's Due!

8Alan Silvestri

Back to the Future
The Avengers
Night at the Museum
This genius has created numerous memorable movie scores. The second best, behind only John Williams (hard to beat Star Wars, Jaws, Indiana Jones, and Superman)

The castaway theme, that is all I have to say

He composed Forrest Gump and Avengers!

V1 Comment
9John Barry

Over his career he has scored the most diverse range of films from the Knack to the whisperers, from Mary queen of Scots to the cotton club. He also used melody like no other composer even within the body of his scores not just the main titles. He achieved this very simply, with few notes but massive amounts of heart and emotion that fit the film perfectly. He may have become a little repetitive in terms of tempo, style and arrangements during the last 15 years of his work but overall he can and could not be bettered. AMAZING

All his Bond-scores beat the most movie music out there.
I think that his other scores are brilliant too, especially "Dances with wolves" and "The Specialist".

He recorded the songs for Once upon a time in the west before Leone started filming it an he was squeezing the throat of the harmonica player while he was playing to get the tone he had in his mind. that's a genius mate

The Bond movies were great because of John Barry, and they would have not been even close to the same without him.

V4 Comments
10James Newton Howard

Hunger games and Maleficent have incredible music making him without a doubt one of the best! - ugh

The Fugitive, Falling Down, The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs, The Village, The Devil's Advocate, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, I Am Legend, Defiance, King Kong... so much awesome osts! This guy is a genius!

The Contenders

11Basil Poledouris

Conan The Barbarian score for 1981 is the best score of all time!

Conan is top score of all time for me

Only because of the Conan OST he should be in top10 at least

12Bernard Herrmann

He wrote some of the best Sword and Sandal scores of all time, The Egyptian, 7th Voyage of Sinbad, Jason and the Argonauts! Not to mention his iconic work on the Hitchcock classics. He deserves to be in the top 10.

Years ahead of his time. Invented countless musical techniques, had a career that started with Citizen Kane and ended with Taxi Driver. He also trained John Williams.

He composed the best Hitchcock's movie : "Psycho" and more like "Vertigo",...

13Clint Mansell

Noah, Requiem for a Dream (Lux Aeterna), The Fountain (The Last Man), Black Swan, etc. are some of the movies with the greatest soundtracks of all time. And they were all made by this guy!

His work is beautiful. Try listening to The fountain "The Last Man". at first, it's almost boring, but once you're at 1:30, it's stunning! "

He is awesome maybe John Williams was once the best but his musics became boring and all are the same but for Clint Mansell he compose sth new and stunning he must be amongst top 10 not the 11th the 11th can be good for John Williams :D (personal idea)

His score for Moon. Breathtaking.

V3 Comments
14Alexandre Desplat

Did you ever listen his music, Harry Potter And the deathly hallows; Girl with a pearl earring; Lust, Caution; Argo; Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close. In his music you can feel the pain, joy, in other words, it will take you into the movie. I think he deserve a chance to be on the top.

Merlins beard! Are you serious? #18? NO! Mr. Desplat is by far second, only to be beaten by the almighty John Williams. He is then followed by Hans Zimmer, and then Nicholas Hooper (where even is he, on this screwed up list? ).

He's good. His best track is the opening theme from Godzilla.

He is the best composer ever

V3 Comments
15John Powell

Personally best composer. Really How To Train Your Dragon was supernatural. Love tracks like Forbidden Friendship, Test Drive Romantic Flight. He has potential to be finest music composer of all time. - divphygamer

How To Train Your Dragon score was legendary! - mohit100

He should be so much higher, Hancock, Xmen Last Stand, HTTYD, The Bournes, the Ice Ages, Jumper he is amazing.

The How to Train Your Dragon score was the best music ever made! - 17nobrien

V1 Comment
16Vangelis

Can do classical, rock, new age, jazz, opera, electronica, pop... Some very atmospheric compositions. Academy award winner don't forget. Chariots of Fire.

He seems a great wealth of emotion.
He once was a member of "Aphrodite's Child" in which "Demis Roussos" joined.
His notable OST are "Chariots of Fire", 'Blade Runner" and ""Conquest of Paradise".

17Nino Rota

La dolce vita
8 1/2
Amarcord
All the best Fellini's masterpieces.
And the Godfather...

From a technical point of view, his technique is probably the best.

Greatest composer of all time is Nino Rota

18Wojciech Kilar
19Maurice Jarre

The "Bartertown" theme in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome nails it. Also the main theme from "Zhivago" -- it is heartbreaking. For those two films alone, he must be in the Top 10. Until hearing "Pirates of the Caribbean", he was my Number One. Now I have him at Number Two.

20Thomas Newman

Thomas Newman should be WAY higher in this list. For me, he is indisputably in the top 10 of all time greatest movie composers.

Every piece he composes is just magic, it makes any movie become so real and each tone is captivating. My personal favorite goes to Road to Chicago by my all time favorite film "Road to Perdition". He is as good as people like Hanz Zimmerman and John Williams, and surpasses Danny Elfman.

Wall-E, The Shawshank Redemption, hello? These are two of the greatest movie scores of all time.

V2 Comments
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List StatsUpdated 3 Dec 2016

1,000 votes
84 listings
9 years, 164 days old

Top Remixes (16)

1. Ennio Morricone
2. John Williams
3. Jerry Goldsmith
BeatlesFan1964
1. James Horner
2. Hans Zimmer
3. John Williams
MatrixGuy
1. Hans Zimmer
2. John Williams
3. John Powell
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