Sign in to follow this  
Richard Kimble

AFI's 25 Greatest Movie Scores of All-Time

17 posts in this topic

AFI's 100 Years of Film Scores

My choices in bold:

1. Star Wars (1977) - John Williams
2. Gone With the Wind (1939) - Max Steiner
3. Lawrence of Arabia (1962) - Maurice Jarre
4. Psycho (1960) - Bernard Herrmann (my choice for #1)
5. The Godfather (1972) - Nina Rota
6. Jaws (1975) - John Williams
7. Laura (1944) - David Raksin
8. The Magnificent Seven (1960) - Elmer Bernstein
9. Chinatown (1974) - Jerry Goldsmith
10. High Noon (1952) - Dimitri Tiomkin
11. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) - Erich Wolfgang Korngold
12. Vertigo (1958) - Bernard Herrmann

13. King Kong (1933) - Max Steiner
14. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) - John Williams
15. Out of Africa (1985) - John Barry
16. Sunset Blvd. (1950) - Franz Waxman
17. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) - Elmer Bernstein
18. Planet of the Apes (1968) - Jerry Goldsmith
19. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) - Alex North
20. The Pink Panther (1964) - Henry Mancini
21. Ben-Hur (1959) - Miklos Rozsa
22. On the Waterfront (1954) - Leonard Bernstein
23. The Mission (1986) - Ennio Morricone
24. On Golden Pond (1981) - Dave Grusin
25. How the West Was Won (1962) - Alfred Newman

---

These people allegedly know their stuff? Most of these are listed b/c the films themselves are popular. I can't believe Mancini's Touch of Evil was left off. Or Jerome Moross' The Big Country.

But the big shocker is Ernest Gold's Exodus, which not only beat out Herrmann's Psycho for the Oscar but was also a big pop hit. Has it been forgotten already?

I also would have included:

E. Bernstein, Hud

E. Bernstein, The Man With The Golden Arm

Rosza, Double Indemnity

Korngold, King's Row

Delerue, The Day Of The Dolphin

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I certainly agree with you, Richard, about the sad omission of Jerome Moross's magnificent score for THE BIG COUNTRY. And I'm surprised that Bernard Herrman's VERTIGO was not in the top ten. Still, it did place highly.

 

Here is another score fully deserving to be ranked among the top 25, for my money:

 

THE SEA HAWK, by Erich Wolfgang Korngold

 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Delerue, The Day Of The Dolphin

 

Delerue pretty much has only the one Baroque-imitation shtick to most of his scores, but his Oscar for tweaking Vivaldi in A Little Romance (1979) is probably the one they're going to carve on his inscription (even if we've long forgotten the movie by now):

 

I remember the surprise of that being nominated the same year as Lalo Schifirin's The Amityville Horror (1979) even if that one was pretty well agreed to be an effective plagiarism of Christopher Komeda's Rosemary's Baby (1968) score.

But then, if John Carpenter's iconically minimalist Halloween (1978) can't make the top 25 because "we already have Bernard Hermann", well...

 

As for Pink Panther and How the West Was Won, they're pretty much going on ONE popular 60's instrumental hit, which is...pretty much the only qualification Exodus would get in on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Silly Me--I always thought that Erich Wolfgang Korngold's Robin Hood set the standard for all movie scores. Me thinks it should be a little higher up.

 

On my DVD there's a special feature where you can just watch the movie with the score--there's no dialogue. I haven't seen that feature on any other DVD. It's an example of how revered this score is. It also gives you a chance to see just how good silent movies were.

 

The other scores that also set standards would be Max Steiner's

Gone With the Wind, Franz Waxman's Sunset Boulevard and Bernard Hermann's Citizen Kane.

 

Some of the most unique scores that I've heard would be Bernard Herrmann's Psycho, Miklós Rózsa's Spellbound and Anton Karas' The Third Man.

 

Forgetting standards, two of the most beloved scores would have to be Henry Mancini's Breakfast at Tiffany's featuring Moon River and the esoteric and oddly diverse score for Midnight Cowboy.

 

I think Vertigo is Alfred Hitchcock's greatest achievement. So it would stand to reason that that it would have a perfect score by Bernard Herrmann.

 

Herrmann's score doesn't just enhance the film, but actually becomes a character of dramatic proportions in this movie.

 

When I think of this film, the first thing I think of is not the breathtaking locale, the simply gorgeous 1950s Technicolor restoration of the cinematography, or the two big movie stars--NO!

 

The first thing that comes to my mind to identify Hitchcock's Masterpiece is Bernard Herrmann's passionate habanera, depicting the life of Carlotta.

I think I play that score more than I watch the movie.

 

BTW-- There's nothing wrong with Bernard Herrmann's score for

North by Northwest either. LOL

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

AFI's 100 Years of Film Scores

 

My choices in bold:

 

1. Star Wars (1977) - John Williams

2. Gone With the Wind (1939) - Max Steiner

3. Lawrence of Arabia (1962) - Maurice Jarre

4. Psycho (1960) - Bernard Herrmann (my choice for #1)

5. The Godfather (1972) - Nina Rota

6. Jaws (1975) - John Williams

7. Laura (1944) - David Raksin

8. The Magnificent Seven (1960) - Elmer Bernstein

9. Chinatown (1974) - Jerry Goldsmith

10. High Noon (1952) - Dimitri Tiomkin

11. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) - Erich Wolfgang Korngold

12. Vertigo (1958) - Bernard Herrmann

13. King Kong (1933) - Max Steiner

14. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) - John Williams

15. Out of Africa (1985) - John Barry

16. Sunset Blvd. (1950) - Franz Waxman

17. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) - Elmer Bernstein

18. Planet of the Apes (1968) - Jerry Goldsmith

19. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) - Alex North

20. The Pink Panther (1964) - Henry Mancini

21. Ben-Hur (1959) - Miklos Rozsa

22. On the Waterfront (1954) - Leonard Bernstein

23. The Mission (1986) - Ennio Morricone

24. On Golden Pond (1981) - Dave Grusin

25. How the West Was Won (1962) - Alfred Newman

 

---

 

These people allegedly know their stuff? Most of these are listed b/c the films themselves are popular. I can't believe Mancini's Touch of Evil was left off. Or Jerome Moross' The Big Country.

 

But the big shocker is Ernest Gold's Exodus, which not only beat out Herrmann's Psycho for the Oscar but was also a big pop hit. Has it been forgotten already?

 

I also would have included:

 

E. Bernstein, Hud

 

E. Bernstein, The Man With The Golden Arm

 

Rosza, Double Indemnity

 

Korngold, King's Row

 

Delerue, The Day Of The Dolphin

a totally worthless elitist list....

 

where's Jerry Goldsmith's Star Trek: The Motion Picture? that shoulda one best score for 1979. it's magnificence is awesome. it is long overdue to be reprised by some great orchestra as the sound quality of the original has always been lacking.

 

some list. AFI can go shove an ewok up their collective behind. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Herrmann's score doesn't just enhance the film, but actually becomes a character of dramatic proportions in this movie.

 

That's how I feel about Psycho

 

And look who agrees with me:

 

"I saw a rough cut of Psycho and I thought, it's OK.

 

And then I saw it with the music..." -- Joseph Stefano, screenwriter of Psycho

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Two more rousing musical scores by the great Max Steiner that should also be considered, both of them 1948 releases:

 

ADVENTURES OF DON JUAN

 

 

TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE

 

 

 

P.S.: I've always thought that with all the wonderful scores his films had from Max Steiner and Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Errol Flynn films had more outstanding musical accompaniment than any other star of the studio era.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know. I know that if i hear John Williams' famous flying theme from ET, I start crying uncontrollably remembering how i was a blubbering wreck for the last 40 minutes of that film.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I find lists such as these to be almost useless, even though they spur some interesting discussions (well, maybe that makes them useful). There is no explanation as to how the scores were picked nor who picked them. There were 250 scores nominated (by whom?), and many of the scores that posters here wish were included in the top 25 were included in the 250. Also, the list is from 2005, while other lists on the AFI website are from different years. So what does "100 Years" of anything mean?

 

Statistical nightmare.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

....These people allegedly know their stuff? Most of these are listed b/c the films themselves are popular. I can't believe Mancini's Touch of Evil was left off. Or Jerome Moross' The Big Country.

 

But the big shocker is Ernest Gold's Exodus, which not only beat out Herrmann's Psycho for the Oscar but was also a big pop hit. Has it been forgotten already?

 

I also would have included:

 

E. Bernstein, Hud

 

E. Bernstein, The Man With The Golden Arm

 

Rosza, Double Indemnity

 

Korngold, King's Row

 

Delerue, The Day Of The Dolphin

 

Exactly my take on this sort of thing too, Doc. 

 

But with this being said, I'd say Elmer Bernstein's The Great Escape score should have also ranked within there somewhere, and along with some you mentioned such as Moross' The Big Country, especially.

 

(...and I may be alone in this, but ever since I was a kid of about 12, and the first time I ever watched Ivanhoe on our family's Zenith television set, I found that film's score composed by Miklos Rozsa was as stirring as any I've heard since)

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

AFI's 100 Years of Film Scores

 

My choices in bold:

 

1. Star Wars (1977) - John Williams

2. Gone With the Wind (1939) - Max Steiner

3. Lawrence of Arabia (1962) - Maurice Jarre

4. Psycho (1960) - Bernard Herrmann (my choice for #1)

5. The Godfather (1972) - Nina Rota

6. Jaws (1975) - John Williams

7. Laura (1944) - David Raksin

8. The Magnificent Seven (1960) - Elmer Bernstein

9. Chinatown (1974) - Jerry Goldsmith

10. High Noon (1952) - Dimitri Tiomkin

11. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) - Erich Wolfgang Korngold

12. Vertigo (1958) - Bernard Herrmann

13. King Kong (1933) - Max Steiner

14. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) - John Williams

15. Out of Africa (1985) - John Barry

16. Sunset Blvd. (1950) - Franz Waxman

17. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) - Elmer Bernstein

18. Planet of the Apes (1968) - Jerry Goldsmith

19. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) - Alex North

20. The Pink Panther (1964) - Henry Mancini

21. Ben-Hur (1959) - Miklos Rozsa

22. On the Waterfront (1954) - Leonard Bernstein

23. The Mission (1986) - Ennio Morricone

24. On Golden Pond (1981) - Dave Grusin

25. How the West Was Won (1962) - Alfred Newman

 

---

 

These people allegedly know their stuff? Most of these are listed b/c the films themselves are popular. I can't believe Mancini's Touch of Evil was left off. Or Jerome Moross' The Big Country.

 

But the big shocker is Ernest Gold's Exodus, which not only beat out Herrmann's Psycho for the Oscar but was also a big pop hit. Has it been forgotten already?

 

I also would have included:

 

E. Bernstein, Hud

 

E. Bernstein, The Man With The Golden Arm

 

Rosza, Double Indemnity

 

Korngold, King's Row

 

Delerue, The Day Of The Dolphin

 

Korngold's Kings Row got first place!  In influence that is.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the most beautiful, and underrated, scores is Elmer Bernstein's "Hawaii" (1966), which would be high on my list of best film scores.

 

I also agree that Jerome Moross' "The Big Country" ranks among the finest.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some I might have added and possibly preferred over some others( but I won't go into that) are--

 

THE WIZARD OF OZ('39)--Herbert Stothart

 

THE HUSTLER('61)--Kenyon Hopkins

 

PAPILLON('73)--Jerry Goldsmith

 

OF MICE AND MEN('39)--Aaron Copeland

 

OCEAN'S ELEVEN('01)--David Holmes

 

THE BLACK STALLION('79)--Carmine Coppola 

 

ROCKY('76)--Bill Conti

 

THE ODD COUPLE('68)--Neal Hefti

 

 

 

Sepiatone

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I suggest going to Youtube and listen to one of the many "Soundtrack Suites" of movie music scores. Most are 15 minute versions of favorite scores. You can start with these scores in miniature; Robin Hood, A Summer Place and Love Is A Many Splendored Thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

New Members:

Register Here

Learn more about the new message boards:

FAQ

Having problems?

Contact Us