The Best Film Scores of All Time

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  • Marcus Snowden (The Artist Formerly Known as msnowden1)
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    #91653

    What are the best film scores of all time? There are many. Sunset Boulevard, Lawrence of Arabia, There Will Be Blood, etc. Let me start things off:
    1. Lawrence of Arabia
    2. On The Waterfront
    3. There Will Be Blood
    4. The Godfather
    5. Star Wars
    6. Citizen Kane
    7. Sunset Boulevard
    8. The Dark Knight
    9. Psycho
    10. Gone With The Wind

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    Scottferguson
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    #91655

    Ivan the Terrible and Alexander Nevsky, both composed by the brilliant Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev, are frequently cited as the greatest of all time. Both are performed regularly to this day by orchestras along with the classics.

    I’d throw in Bernard Herrman’s for Vertigo and Ennio Morricone’s for Once Upon in the West to join those for me as unsurpassed among the most brilliant in film scoring.

    Ironically, the score for The Godfather was ineligible for an Oscar after it was determined it was almost the same as one Nino Rota wrote for an earlier film. 

    Here’s a link to the opening music for Ivan the Terrible (the score is vast and multi-themed throughout the two Ivan films; the music starts at the 46 second mark):

    #   

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    Stardust
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    #91656

    Is that a Best Films or Most Popular Films list?

    The Village’s should be on all Top 10 best film scores lists.

    Off hand, my top list would include The Godfather’s, and most of Jerry Goldsmith’s (Chinatown, BI, Alien, Poltergeist).

    Oh, and Pan’s Labyrinth’s.

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    Laactingnyc
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    #91657

    The Heiress
    Gone with the Wind
    The Hours
    Beasts of the Southern Wild
    The Master
    Anastasia ( 1956 )
    The Village
    Notes on a Scandal
    Titanic
    Fried Green Tomatoes
    Fargo
    The Piano
    Schindler’s List
    Memoirs of a Geisha
    Gladiator
    Moonstruck
    The Da Vinci Code
    Now, Voyager
    Fiddler on the Roof
    Black Swan (a lot of the score was not by tchaikovsky)
    Inception
    Lincoln
    Atonement

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    CAROL-CHANNING
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    #91658

    E.T.
    The Social Network
    Beasts of the Southern Wild

    and my favorite… RUDY!  RUDY!  RUDY!  RUDY! 

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    babypook
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    #91659

    The score is everything to me. I have two which are my favorites, but there are so many of them, I dont know where to start.

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    KT
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    #91660

    Vertigo is an absolutely incredible score. Unlike many of the so-called “greatest” film scores listed by institutions like the AFI, it is not bombast and intrusive, and in no way elevates average directing work, making the material more effective, audience friendly, or sentimental through manipulation (not that that’s a bad thing—I do think though that John Williams is sometimes MORE important to a Spielberg or Lucas film working OR not working than he is given credit for). Vertigo is an example of absolutely masterful scoring, working well beyond surface-level emotions with the composer suggesting subtext and tapping into the underlying currents of the subconscious and thematic content. Bernard Herrman is perhaps the greatest of all film composers, and I’d argue that Vertigo is his most notable achievement.

    Two things to note:

    – I think thematic scores are always favored in these conversations over impressive atmospheric scores. This is natural, as thematic scores are more memorable and easy to listen to.

    – I’d like to draw your attention to Jerry Goldsmith, who was a tremendous composer and is often overlooked. I don’t think he ever really scored a masterpiece-caliber film (maybe Chinatown, a great main theme) but he was extremely versatile. Check out The Omen, The Wind and the Lion, and the fantastic jazz score to The Russia House.

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    MHS83
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    #91661

    Adventures of Robin Hood – Erich Wolfgang Korngold
    Gone With the Wind – Max Steiner
    High Noon – Dimitri Tiomkin
    Lawrence of Arabia – Maurice Jarre
    Tom Jones – John Addison
    Charade – Henry Mancini
    Z – Mikis Theodorakis
    Taxi Driver – Bernard Herrmann
    Midnight Expresss – Giorgio Moroder
    The Stunt Man – Dominic Frontiere
    Chariots of Fire – Vangelis
    Das Boot – Klaus Doldinger
    Educating Rita – David Hentschel
    Koyaanisqatsi – Philip Glass
    Hoosiers – Jerry Goldsmith
    The Mission – Ennio Morricone
    Henry V – Patrick Doyle
    Ogniem i Mieczem – Krzesimir Debski
    Nicholas Nickleby – Rachel Portman
    Ararat – Mychael Danna
    Goodbye Lenin – Yann Tiersen

    I limited each composer to one credit and there are others that I didn’t mention that I don’t dislike; I just couldn’t think of a specific score to mention.  There are other scores that I have heard and liked but have not seen the film so I can’t judge how it was used and therefore can’t include it.

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    MHS83
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    #91662

    I’d like to draw your attention to Jerry Goldsmith, who was a tremendous composer and is often overlooked. I don’t think he ever really scored a masterpiece-caliber film (maybe Chinatown, a great main theme) but he was extremely versatile. Check out The Omen, The Wind and the Lion, and the fantastic jazz score to The Russia House.

    I remember reading an interview with Jerry Goldsmith, probably in the late 70’s or early 80’s and he recalled losing the 1966 score Oscar to Born Free and the lady in front of him was so happy (“Oh, I love that song!”) and it burned him that people voted with that kind of logic.  When asked how many of his nominations he should have won, he repied, “All.”  Except one:  He acknowledged that John Williams deserved it for Jaws.

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    KT
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    #91663

    Goldsmith had a unique style and its sad he was pressured during his mid-late career to turn in more John Williams-esque work following Star Wars and Superman.

    Yeah the Oscar score category has had some dreadful winners. Williams (with his 40 or so score nominations) has seen vastly inferior work beat him many many many times. Vangelis’ Chariots of Fire over Raiders of the Lost Ark, for instance. And I can’t even tell you what beat Empire Strikes back, which I think is perhaps Williams’ best music (maybe not his best scoring).

    But Oscars aside, VERTIGO is operating at a level very very few other scores reach.

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    allabout oscars
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    #91664

    So many but these stick with me and absolutely
    take my breath away..

    SCHINDLER’S LIST
    VERTIGO
    THE ACCIDENTAL TOURIST
    THE HOURS
    GONE WITH THE WIND
    NOW, VOYAGER
    SUNSET BOULEVARD
    LAWRENCE OF ARABIA
    CINEMA PARADISO
    MALENA
    THE WAY WE WERE

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    ENGLAND
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    #91665

    I have Psycho vs Lawrence of Arabia

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    seabel
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    #91666

    FARGO!!!!!!!!

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    Jaycee
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    #91667

    Amelie is my absolute favorite soundtrack.
    The mission is another favorite.

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    AmberK
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    #91668

    I’m partial to The Lion King, American Beauty, The Mask of Zorro, Much Ado About Nothing, Somewhere in Time, and my most recent favorite is Moonrise Kingdom for those Heroic Weather–Conditions of the Universe themes.

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