He wrote a score they couldn't refuse
April 30, 2009 8:51 PM   Subscribe

One Hundred Years, One Hundred Scores. The Hollywood Reporter and a jury of film music experts select the 100 greatest film scores of all time. One of the jury is Dan Goldwasser, editor of Soundtrack.net, which publishers interviews with composers, reviews of soundtracks and keeps a valuable list of trailer music - for when a new trailer uses old film music and you can't quite remember where it's from. posted by crossoverman (60 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
I very much agree with the list in the third link. A quick read through doesn't show much I'd change, honestly.

I wonder- someone with more patience, count how many out of the top 100 each listed composer has?
posted by strixus at 9:09 PM on April 30, 2009


Morrcione's score for Once Upon a Time in America, listed in the high 30's here, is a favorite for me.

There's a scene where the DeNiro character is seen leaving for the platform in the '30s, and he comes back one moment later in the '70's. As he walks back into the terminal,a faint muzack version of the Beatles "Yesterday" floats in the background. Just breathtaking.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:10 PM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


And the list of AFI's 250 nominees.

My favorites not on any of these lists: Klute; Risky Business; and Legends of the Fall.
posted by marsha56 at 9:15 PM on April 30, 2009


Risky Business

A bold choice, but you're right. An excellent score.

That third link indeed seems pretty solid. I'd rank Superman a little higher.
posted by Bookhouse at 9:25 PM on April 30, 2009


Needs more Schifrin.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:37 PM on April 30, 2009


I was glad to see Conan the Barbarian on the list of nominees. Definitely one of the best scores ever.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 9:38 PM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I very much agree with the list in the third link. A quick read through doesn't show much I'd change, honestly.

Forbidden Planet is a huge omission. Whether one likes it or not, it's by far the most original film score ever.

I'd also include Black Orpheus, but that's more a matter of taste.
posted by doubtfulpalace at 9:43 PM on April 30, 2009


I wonder- someone with more patience, count how many out of the top 100 each listed composer has?

List of composers with 2 or more on the Hollywood Reporter Top 100 list

John Williams - 8
Bernard Hermann - 7
Jerry Goldsmith - 6
Leonard Bernstein - 5
John Barry - 5
Eninio Morricone - 4
Erich Wolfgang Korngold - 4
Nino Rota - 3
Max Steiner - 3
Henry Mancini - 3
Danny Elfmann - 3
Hans Zimmer - 3
Maurice Jarre - 2
Vangelis - 2
Thomas Newman - 2
Miklos Rosza - 2
Alex North - 2
Alan Silvestri - 2
Randy Newman - 2
James Horner - 2
Howard Shore - 2
Leonard Rosenman - 2
posted by crossoverman at 9:44 PM on April 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


A bold choice, but you're right. An excellent score.

Tangerine Dream mm mm

A Man and a Woman (la. . . da. . . da . . . da-da-da-da da-da-da-da) might be overlooked here.
posted by mrt at 9:57 PM on April 30, 2009


You Only Live Twice should be on the list. Also, Jungle Fever, Mo' Better Blues, Bamboozled, and Do The Right Thing all have great scores. Bruce Hornsby does a beautiful tune at the end of Bamboozled.
posted by Flex1970 at 10:04 PM on April 30, 2009


I was thinking about two soundtracks I happen to own and wondering if they would make it. I was pleased that "Shaft" was there, and surprised and disappointed that "Rocky" was not.
posted by evilcolonel at 10:12 PM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'd probably rate The Pink Panther higher than 26. Really, that theme not only defined Clouseau, but evoked the 1960s cocktail of lounge jazz culture and suave sophistication blended with insouciance and farce that so perfectly captured the culture and theme of the films. Plus, it's an awesome jazz number in its own right.
posted by darkstar at 10:13 PM on April 30, 2009


A great post! Some favorite soundtracks that I think are of great quality -- which surprisingly didn't make the list: John Barry's popular score to Somewhere in Time, Oliver Stone's JFK, (John Williams), Michael Nyman's score to The Piano, and Duke Ellington's music for Anatomy of a Murder.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 10:24 PM on April 30, 2009


It's a pretty good list, but it missed a few of my favorites: Trevor Jones' Last of the Mohicans, Hanz Zimmer's Crimson Tide, Patrick Doyle's Henry V, and I can definitely jump on the bandwagon with Risky Business.
posted by JohnYaYa at 10:24 PM on April 30, 2009


for when a new trailer uses old film music and you can't quite remember where it's from.

9 times out of 10 it' s Lux Aeterna from Requiem for a Dream.
posted by Artw at 10:35 PM on April 30, 2009


As for list quibbling: It's pretty heavily skewed towards the Jerry Goldsmith/John Williams school of strings heavy filmy film music, which is to be expected I suppose but a bit boring. Nice to see a few more interesting artists in there I guess.
posted by Artw at 10:37 PM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Were scores from documentaries excluded? I'd've thought there would be more from Philip Glass (other than The Hours, in the 250 nominees. Also, clearly opinions may vary, but I'm sorry that Copland's The Red Pony didn't make the Hollywood Reporter 100.
posted by Guy Smiley at 10:40 PM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


9 times out of 10 it' s Lux Aeterna from Requiem for a Dream.

Interestingly, the Frequently Used Trailer music page mostly lists Requiem for a Tower, a re-orchestrated version of Lux Aeterna used exclusively for the trailer for Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Not the original.
posted by crossoverman at 10:47 PM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Jon Brion was robbed.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 10:49 PM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


No Gattaca?
posted by washburn at 11:15 PM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I would add the score for Ravenous.
posted by brundlefly at 11:16 PM on April 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm sad that Requiem for a Dream didn't make the list. It's one of the few soundtracks I can stand listening to by itself, along with the Godfather.
posted by archagon at 11:30 PM on April 30, 2009


It's one of the few soundtracks I can stand listening to by itself, along with the Godfather.

I can't imagine listening to the Godfather score by itself. I'd just be thinking about the movie the whole time.

Now, the Blade Runner score ...
posted by Bookhouse at 11:49 PM on April 30, 2009


Two things.

1) Close Encounters of the Third Kind is the best thing John Williams ever did.

2) Where's Passion? Back in the day, we used to have a saying. "You know why Peter Gabriel called it Passion? Because he couldn't call it Play This While You're Fucking."
posted by vibrotronica at 12:49 AM on May 1, 2009


No 2001? For shame.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:54 AM on May 1, 2009


No 2001? For shame.

As good as it is, none of the music in 2001 was composed for the film. Unless you mean Alex North's score which didn't end up in the film?
posted by the duck by the oboe at 1:04 AM on May 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Sorry, but no Ghostbusters?! It may have been but a popcorn film, but there are plenty of those in the list, and if there ever was a film that was saved by its soundtrack (and Bill Murray), then that one...
posted by Skeptic at 3:05 AM on May 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, The Thomas Crown Affair and Bullit. Too much John Williams (especially considering how he shamelessly recycled themes: Star Wars and Superman should count as a single soundtrack, really.)
posted by Skeptic at 3:12 AM on May 1, 2009


Generally in agreement with the rankings, although The Conversation should be a tad higher. I used to doodle its score during college lectures.
posted by MimeticHaHa at 3:22 AM on May 1, 2009


Too bad they couldn't have stretched the category a little to include Victory At Sea.


And yes, too much John Williams.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:26 AM on May 1, 2009


Star Wars and Superman should count as a single soundtrack, really.

Hell, Star Wars is Holst's Planets... but I'm not sure that really diminishes the accomplishment over six three films.
posted by crossoverman at 3:27 AM on May 1, 2009


Less than a half dozen from the last decade; have there been no good scores? Or does it take a while to absorb a good score and appreciate it beyond the recent memories of the flickering images and enjoy the sensations and emotions they evoke?

Some of the best score composers I can think of in recent years;

Dario Marianelli's score for V For Vendetta
Hans Zimmer for Batman Begins and subsequently The Dark Knight for revisiting character themes and the Black Hawk Down soundtrack for being uncompromisingly hoo-rah meets tribal.
Something by David Holmes... not sure what, maybe if there was just an Ocean's 11-13 album with the chatter taken out
Eric Serra if he could do something that wasn't one stand out piece and a score full of filler afterwards

I do have a guilty pleasure for the Broken Arrow soundtrack; so good they recycled it for Scream 2
posted by Molesome at 3:30 AM on May 1, 2009


I really like John Powell's score for Face/Off. Howard Shore's Lord of the Rings work is incredible. As someone else mentioned, Jon Brion's work with Paul Thomas Anderson is wonderful, too. And Carter Burwell's work with the Coens continues to be a stand-out, even his extremely minimalist score for No Country for Old Men.

Hans Zimmer's greatest work is from the 90s - his most recent high point, the Batman Begins/Dark Knight duology with James Newton Howard, whose last great non-Batman score might be for The Village (even though the film sucked).
posted by crossoverman at 4:08 AM on May 1, 2009


I'm actually okay with the predominance of Jerry Goldsmith and John Williams on the list. But:

--no Philip Glass? Koyannisqatsi? Kundun?

--Hans Zimmer's best score IMO was for The Thin Red Line: he's never topped that.

--I would have liked to see Wendy Carlos's score for Tron on there.

--And I would have preferred to see Howard Shore's score for Naked Lunch instead of The Lord of the Rings, but I'm in a minority there.
posted by Prospero at 4:29 AM on May 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh--and James Horner's best scores (and also the least derivative of others, or of earlier work) were for Star Trek II and Star Trek III.
posted by Prospero at 4:31 AM on May 1, 2009


Is there a list like this for the music that's run over the credits? Like that for "Two Much" or "Va Savoir"?
posted by RichardS at 5:14 AM on May 1, 2009


While I think of it, where are the scores for Fight Club and Run Lola Run?
posted by the duck by the oboe at 5:16 AM on May 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Taxi Driver, 42? Once Upon a Time in America, 58? I am disappointed. I was actually just thinking of doing an Ennio Morricone post, cause everyone needs to hear Once Upon a Time in America at least once. What amazing music.

Top post crossoverman.
posted by atmosphere at 5:25 AM on May 1, 2009


The valuable list of trailer music link is great. Say, when does that new Wolverine movie come out?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:06 AM on May 1, 2009


Need more Mark Mothersbaugh.
(Yes, I am biased.)
posted by SansPoint at 6:08 AM on May 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Huh. So apparently, I've grown up and am living in the golden age of movie scoring. Can't wait to brag about it to my grandchildren 40 years from now. Likewise, I need to call up my 80+ year old relatives and ask them how they possibly suffered through all those decades of mediocre scores.

I just find it incredible that the majority of composers with the highest instances are the ones participating now or in the last twenty years or so. Did movie scoring really change that much in recent times over the 100 plus years of movie making, or is there a modern bias at play?
posted by Atreides at 6:32 AM on May 1, 2009


No 2001 or Clockwork Orange? Or my personal favorite Kubrick score, Eyes Wide Shut? And not to nitpick, but the Blade Runner score deserves to be much higher.

Justifiably absent is the Exorcist.
posted by Pastabagel at 6:33 AM on May 1, 2009


I would have liked to see a Phillip Glass nod, for The Hours or Truman Show if not Koyaanisqatsi. Some of the John Williams scores on the list underwhelm me as retreading of old idioms.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:43 AM on May 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


I thought this was supposed to be a list of American films only until I got to the Fellini stuff. I think it probably should be an exclusively American list, as the compilers seem just about totally unaware of movies from any other country. Weak, weak, weak. (And don't get me started on the rankings, either.)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:47 AM on May 1, 2009


for when a new trailer uses old film music and you can't quite remember where it's from.

The first bit is the Kronos Quartet doing Requiem for a Dream, and then it goes into "Valhalla" from The Thirteenth Warrior. You're welcome.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:10 AM on May 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


when a new trailer uses old film music and you can't quite remember where it's from

The Coen Brother's always use Carter Burwell for their original music, but sometimes they've done trailers using music he wrote for other pictures of theirs.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:12 AM on May 1, 2009


Justifiably absent is the Exorcist.

The hell you say!
posted by malocchio at 7:36 AM on May 1, 2009


Not half as awesome as Exorcist II. Funky time!
posted by Artw at 7:40 AM on May 1, 2009


No Lord of the Rings? Fuck that.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:47 AM on May 1, 2009


Also, Yann Thiersen's score/soundtrack for Amelie should have rated somewhere in that list.
posted by malocchio at 7:51 AM on May 1, 2009


Also missing: Point Blank and Paris, Texas
posted by Joe Beese at 7:55 AM on May 1, 2009


Four I think should be on the list:
1) Saturday Night Fever
2) Pirates of the Carribean (Black Pearl)
3) Aguirre, the Wrath of God
4) Powaqqatsi (Glass--some of the same music made it into the Truman Show)
posted by pushing paper and bottoming chairs at 8:00 AM on May 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Bizarre, this is exactly the same as my list of 100 greatest film scores of all time.
posted by hellbient at 8:15 AM on May 1, 2009


Joe Beese, Lord of the Rings by shore is listed. If you are talking about the Bakshi film with Leonard Rosenman's score, then no. That score is quite good, though Rosenman used the bridge in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

Star Wars and Superman are definitely not the same score. Same style, but then again, listen to a Korngold compilation and you'll say the same thing. Superman and the Raiders March are far more similar to each other than Star Wars. The list also emphasizes the score as a whole, not just the main theme. One of the more enjoyable tracks on Superman is the March of the Villains (Lex Luthor's theme) and Empire Strikes Back stands out as the best of William's Star Wars scores (even if it is rated lower than the first film), with tracks such as the Battle in the Snow and the Asteroid Field.

I'm disappointed not to see Krull, my favorite James Horner score.

Funny aside: I worked for a few months with Dan Goldwasser sitting behind me back in 2001, and we used to talk about scores all the time. And, uh, work. Right.
posted by linux at 9:03 AM on May 1, 2009


Silvestri's best score is for Predator imo, that movie is practically an opera there's so much music in it.
posted by leibniz at 9:07 AM on May 1, 2009


Jon Brion was indeed robbed. His score for Punch-Drunk Love was wonderful.
posted by bluishorange at 11:46 AM on May 1, 2009


Some obvious contenders that have been skipped: no Jerry Fielding, for example (I'm thinking particularly of Straw Dogs) or perhaps John Corigliano for Altered States... no Richard Rodney Bennett for Billion Dollar Brain or Gil Mellé for The Andromeda Strain... animé seems a bit absent too.
Personally, finding The Godfather occupying the top slot kind of totals the validity of the list. Of course it's an iconic theme and so on but it certainly does not have the subtlety or class of something like Chinatown.
posted by specialbrew at 12:01 PM on May 1, 2009


The Manchurian Candidate?
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 5:12 PM on May 1, 2009


Quincy Jones and Goblin in the same sentence.
posted by Hammond Rye at 5:29 PM on May 1, 2009


I'd put Jurassic Park ahead of many of Williams' other scores, and Rudy ahead of some of the Goldsmith scores which were chosen.

But my main complaint with this list, which others have also noted, is that Philip Glass is an unforgivable omission. Koyaanisqatsi seems to be the most acclaimed of the three 'qatsi movies, but personally I give a slight edge to Powaqqatsi. Although I've been known to listen to all three in sequence on long road trips—Powaqqatsi forming sort of a lighter scherzo movement between the darker bookends of Koyaanisqatsi and Naqoyqatsi. Also, for those keeping track, some of Glass's music was re-used in Watchmen, in the flashback scene where Jon Ostermann first reconstitutes himself after the accident.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:04 AM on May 4, 2009


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