Top 20 Movie Composers

This list is for the geniuses in music for films.
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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)...
“ E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Star Wars Trilogies, Jaws, Jurassic Park, Superman, Indiana Jones movie series, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Saving Private Ryan, Adventures of Tin-Tin, War Horse ” - christophershobris
 
2.
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)...
“ Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Man of Steel, The Lion King, Madagascar, Madagascar: Escape to Africa, Madagascar: Europe's Most Wanted, Spirit. ” - christophershobris
 
3.
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...
“ The Land Before Time, Avatar, Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and Titanic, An American Tail ” - christophershobris
 
4.
Jerry Goldsmith
Music Department, Total Recall
Born on February 10, 1929, Jerry Goldsmith studied piano with Jakob Gimpel and composition, theory, and counterpoint with Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. He also attended classes in film composition given by Miklós Rózsa at the Univeristy of Southern California. In 1950, he was employed as a clerk typist in the music department at CBS...
“ The Mummy, The Mummy Returns, Mulan, Total Recall (1990) ” - christophershobris
 
5.
Alan Silvestri
Composer, Forrest Gump
In over thirty years as a film composer, Alan Silvestri has blazed an innovative trail with his exciting and melodic scores, winning the applause of Hollywood and movie audiences the world over. Born in Manhattan in 1950, Alan was first drawn to music at an early age. Beginning as a drummer, his love for instruments quickly grew to include the bassoon...
“ Back to the Future parts 1,2, and 3. ” - christophershobris
 
6.
“ The Lord of the Rings franchise, The Hobbit franchise, among many others. ” - christophershobris
 
7.
Ennio Morricone
A classmate of director Sergio Leone with whom he would form one of the great director/composer partnerships (right up there with Eisenstein & Prokofiev, Hitchcock & Herrmann, Fellini & Rota), Ennio Morricone studied at Rome's Santa Cecilia Conservatory, where he specialized in trumpet. His first film scores were relatively undistinguished...
 
8.
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...
“ Unfortunately I don't know any of his works. ” - christophershobris
 
9.
Vangelis
Soundtrack, Collateral
Vangelis is a composer and performer who works almost exclusively with electronic instruments. He is probably most well known for his Chariots of Fire and Blade Runner soundtracks or for the tracks used in the Cosmos television series. He has been involved in many musical collaborations, most famously with Jon Anderson.
 
10.
Randy Newman
Music Department, Toy Story 3
“ Toy Story 1,2, and 3, A Bug's Life, Monster's Inc. ” - christophershobris
 
11.
Alan Menken
Music Department, Beauty and the Beast
Alan Menken born on July 22, 1949 in New Rochelle, New York, USA as Alan Irwin Menken. Composer, Actor and Artist, he is famous to working with the legendary Disney Studios since 1987. begun his career as a Composer in 1971 be composing for New York City Ballet and Jingles. He also works many works in the Cinema including as a Actor...
“ Aladdin, The Princess and the Frog, Tarzan, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast. ” - christophershobris
 
12.
“ How to Train Your Dragon franchise, Rio franchise, Face/Off, Kung Fu Panda franchise, Road to El Dorado, Antz, and Monsters vs. Aliens ” - christophershobris
 
13.
Thomas Newman
Music Department, WALL·E
“ Finding Nemo ” - christophershobris
 
14.
Leopold Stokowski
Self, Fantasia
Flamboyant, latterly white-maned, U.S. conductor known best for his popularization of classical music. (He is also known for teaching 'Mickey Mouse' a few things about music in Walt Disney's Fantasia, in which Stokowski was featured with the Philadelphia Orchestra). He was a pioneer in the use of hi-fi sound and bringing great music to the screen.
 
15.
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...
 
16.
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...
“ Born Free ” - christophershobris
 
17.
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...
 
18.
Leonard Bernstein
Soundtrack, Moonrise Kingdom
Renowned composer ("West Side Story", "Candide", "On The Town"), conductor, arranger, pianist, educator, author, TV/radio host, educated at the Boston Latin School and Harvard University (BA) with Walter Piston. Edward Burlingame Hill and A. Tillman Merritt. He studied piano with Helen Coates, Heinrich Gebhard and Isabelle Vengerova...
 
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