Top 20 Movie Composers

by christophershobris | created - 21 Jun 2013 | updated - 03 Jun 2016 | Public

This list is for the geniuses in music for films.

1. John Williams

Music_department | Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace

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 ...

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

2. Hans Zimmer

Composer | Gladiator

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 ...

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.

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 ...

The Land Before Time, Avatar, Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and Titanic, An American Tail

4. Jerry Goldsmith

Music_department | Star Trek: First Contact

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 ...

The Mummy, The Mummy Returns, Mulan, Total Recall (1990)

5. Alan Silvestri

Composer | The Polar Express

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 ...

Back to the Future parts 1,2, and 3.

6. Howard Shore

Music_department | The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Howard Shore is a Canadian composer, born in Toronto. He was born in a Jewish family. He started studying music when 8-years-old, and played as a member of bands by the time he was 13-years-old. He was interested in a professional career in music as a teenager. He studied music at the Berklee ...

The Lord of the Rings franchise, The Hobbit franchise, among many others.

7. Ennio Morricone

Composer | The Hateful Eight

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 ...

8. Maurice Jarre

Composer | Lawrence of Arabia

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, ...

Unfortunately I don't know any of his works.

9. Vangelis

Composer | Alexander

Vangelis is a composer and performer who works almost exclusively with electronic instruments. He is probably most well known for his Chariots of Fire (1981) and Blade Runner (1982) soundtracks or for the tracks used in the Cosmos (1980) television series. He has been involved in many musical ...

10. Randy Newman

Soundtrack | The Princess and the Frog

Randy Newman was born on November 28, 1943 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Randall Stuart Newman. He has been married to Gretchen Preece since 1990. They have two children. He was previously married to Roswitha Schmale.

Toy Story 1,2, and 3, A Bug's Life, Monster's Inc.

11. Alan Menken

Soundtrack | Beauty and the Beast

New York-songwriter and film composer, Alan Menken is best known for his unforgettable music for Disney movies like Calypso music of The Little Mermaid (1989), the tale as old as time of Beauty and the Beast (1991), the Arabian tale Aladdin (1992) or the beloved song Colors of the Wind from ...

Aladdin, The Princess and the Frog, Tarzan, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast.

12. John Powell

Composer | Solo: A Star Wars Story

John Powell was born on September 18, 1963 in London, England. He is a composer, known for Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018), How to Train Your Dragon (2010) and Rio (2011). He was previously married to Melinda Lerner.

How to Train Your Dragon franchise, Rio franchise, Face/Off, Kung Fu Panda franchise, Road to El Dorado, Antz, and Monsters vs. Aliens

13. Thomas Newman

Music_department | WALL·E

Thomas Newman is an American film score composer. He was born in Los Angeles. His father was notable film score composer Alfred Newman (1900-1970). The Newman family is of Russian-Jewish descent, and includes several other well-known musicians. Thomas' mother Martha Louis Montgomery (1920-2005) ...

Finding Nemo

14. Leopold Stokowski

Soundtrack | 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 (1940), in which Stokowski was featured with the Philadelphia Orchestra). He was a pioneer in the ...

15. Danny Elfman

Music_department | The Nightmare Before Christmas

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 ...

16. John Barry

Music_department | Dances with Wolves

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 ...

Born Free

17. Elmer Bernstein

Composer | Far from Heaven

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 ...

18. Leonard Bernstein

Soundtrack | New York Philharmonic Young People's Concerts

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, ...

19. Marco Beltrami

Composer | I, Robot

Marco Beltrami was born on October 7, 1966 in New York City, New York, USA. He is known for his work on I, Robot (2004), World War Z (2013) and Live Free or Die Hard (2007).

20. Alexandre Desplat

Composer | The King's Speech

Alexandre Desplat was born on August 23, 1961 in Paris, Île-de-France, France as Alexandre Michel Gerard Desplat. He is known for his work on The King's Speech (2010), Argo (2012) and The Queen (2006).



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