Ten Greatest Movie Composers

A list detailing the ten greatest Music Composers in Cinema history. Strictly movie scores.
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1.
John Williams
As one of the best known, awarded, and financially successful composers in US history, John Williams is as easy to recall as John Philip Sousa, Aaron Copland or Leonard Bernstein, illustrating why he is "America's composer" time and again. With a massive list of awards that includes over 41 Oscar nominations (five wins)...
“ Composer of scores for the Star Wars saga, Jaws, Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones saga, etc.

Widely considered the greatest Film Composer of all-time, he has worked extensively with Directors Steven Spielberg and George Lucas.

He has written scores for Superman, Jurassic Park, E.T., Schindler's List, Harry Potter franchise, Jaws, Star Wars franchise, Indiana Jones franchise and the Olympics theme and several other NBC programs. ” - scottborek
 
2.
Maurice Jarre
Unlike many musicians who started to learn music while still in their childhood, Maurice Jarre was already late in his teens when he discovered music and decided to make a career in that field. Against his father's will, he enrolled at Conservatoire de Paris where he studied percussions, composition and harmonies...
“ Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago, Topaz, Dead Poets Society, etc.

Famous for his scores on Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago. His scores contributed to the films successes. Most famous for the Lawrence theme. ” - scottborek
 
3.
John Barry
Music Department, Juke Box Jury
John Barry was born in York, England in 1933, and was the youngest of three children. His father, Jack, owned several local cinemas and by the age of fourteen, Barry was capable of running the projection box on his own - in particular, The Rialto in York. As he was brought up in a cinematic environment...
“ James Bond , Out of Africa, Dances with Wolves, etc.

The man behind the Bond scores, also famous as a multi-Oscar-winning composer for numerous films. ” - scottborek
 
4.
James Horner
Music Department, Titanic
James Horner began studying piano at the age of five, and trained at the Royal College of Music in London, England, before moving to California in the 1970s. After receiving a bachelor's degree in music at USC, he would go on to earn his master's degree at UCLA and teach music theory there. He later completed his Ph.D...
“ Titanic, Star Trek, Avatar, Troy, A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13, Braveheart, Field of Dreams, Zorro films.

He is noted for composing for the two highest grossing films of all-time and producing the best-selling orchestral soundtrack (Titanic). A 2-time Oscar winning, 10-time nominated Composer.

He composed themes for several movie companies and CBS. He created the music for Universal, Lionsgate and Icon Productions logos. ” - scottborek
 
5.
Elmer Bernstein
Music Department, Cape Fear
Elmer Bernstein was educated at the Walden School and New York University. He served in the US Army Air Corps in World War II. A prolific and respected film music composer, he was a protégé of Aaron Copland, who studied music with Roger Sessions and Stefan Wolpe. Bernstein worked in various artistic endeavors...
“ The Great Escape, The Ten Commandments, Ghostbusters, To Kill A Mockingbird, The Magnificent Seven, Thoroughly Modern Millie, etc.

Iconic old school composer. Composed music for some of the greatest movies of all-time and one of the most prolific Composers for Oscar Nominations. ” - scottborek
 
6.
Danny Elfman
Music Department, Corpse Bride
As Danny Elfman was growing up in the Los Angeles area, he was largely unaware of his talent for composing. It wasn't until the early 1970s that Danny and his older brother Richard Elfman started a musical troupe while in Paris; the group "Mystic Knights of Oingo-Boingo" was created for Richard's directorial debut...
“ Batman, Spider-man, Mission: Impossible, Men in Black, etc.

One of the most famous Cinema and television Composers of all-time, he wrote scores for famous Superheroes Batman and Spider-man. He is known for his collaboration with Director Tim Burton. He also created the Simpsons, television show, theme song. ” - scottborek
 
7.
Hans Zimmer
German-born composer Hans Zimmer is recognized as one of Hollywood's most innovative musical talents. He featured in the music video for The Buggles' single "Video Killed the Radio Star", which became a worldwide hit and helped usher in a new era of global entertainment as the first music video to be aired on MTV (August 1, 1981)...
“ The Dark Knight, Batman Begins, Pirates of the Caribbean, Inception, Lion King, Sherlock Holmes, Gladiator, etc. ” - scottborek
 
8.
James Newton Howard
James Newton Howard attended the University of Southern California's music school, but dropped out to tour with Elton John, and eventually compose music for film and television. He started with Head Office in 1985. He has been nominated for eight Academy Awards. He currently is a songwriter, record producer, conductor, keyboardist, and film composer.
“ The Fugitive, Junior, The Village, King Kong, Batman Beings, The Dark Knight, Michael Clayton, I am Legend, Defiance

Famed collaborator of Hans Zimmer, he has produced several Oscar Nominated Scores. He is also known for composing the E.R. television series score. ” - scottborek
 
9.
Nino Rota
Composer, The Godfather
Born in Milan in 1911 into a family of musicians, Nino Rota was first a student of Orefice and Pizzetti. Then, still a child, he moved to Rome where he completed his studies at the Conservatory of Santa Cecilia in 1929 with Alfredo Casella. In the meantime, he had become an 'enfant prodige', famous both as a composer and as an orchestra conductor...
“ The Godfather, La Dolce Vita, La Strada, etc.

A famed foreign-film composer. He is famed in the United States for his Godfather I & II scores. He composed extensively for Italian filmmakers Frederico Fellini and Luchino Visconti. ” - scottborek
 
10.
“ Lord of the Rings trilogy, Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia, the Aviator.

Won multiple Oscars. Best known for his Lord of the Rings scores that won two Oscars and a Grammy. ” - scottborek