7 Most Memorable Film Scores in Filmdom – When you watch a movie, you’re probably aware of the music that is woven into a production. This music is called the film score. Not only does the film score add an extra dimension to the movie, but it also helps to keep the audience emotionally invested. The best film scores are also well-remembered long after the movie has ended. That’s why they are worth reviewing here in the 7 Most Memorable Film Scores in Filmdom.
1. Star Wars
John Williams won his first Academy Award for a film score in 1971. The movie was Fiddler on the Roof. Since then, Williams went on to win awards for several film scores. Some of these movies include Jaws, Schindler’s List, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. One of his most memorable film scores, however, is Star Wars. Along with winning an Academy Award for Best Original Score, the Star Wars film score also received a British Academy Award, a Saturn Award, and a Grammy Award. The American Film Institute has ranked Star Wars as the greatest film score of all time.
2. Chariots of Fire
Vangelis, a Greek electronic composer produced the award-winning and inspirational film score for Chariots of Fire. Vangelis played every instrument used in the film score. These instruments included synthesizers, drums, and acoustic piano. The film score received an Academy Award for Original Music Score. The soundtrack for the movie topped the Billboard 200 in the U.S. for four weeks. The film score also ranked high on the charts in Canada, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. The title track for Chariots of Fire was played at the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics in London, as well as during every victory ceremony. Steve Jobs also used the song upon introducing the first Macintosh computer in 1984.
Along with co-writing the hugely popular hit, “My Heart Will Go On” James Horner produced the rest of the film score for Titanic. The soundtrack for the movie, which came out in 1998, sold over 30 million copies. This made the Titanic soundtrack one of the best-selling albums in the U.S. The film score also hit the charts in nearly two-dozen countries and territories around the world. The Titanic film score won multiple awards including an Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Original Dramatic Score and Best Original Song.
The film score for Psycho, written in 1960 by Bernard Herrmann, is considered one of the most famous in history. It’s also considered the greatest horror film score ever composed. While the music to the infamous murder scene is probably the most memorable, the entire music score helped make the entire film a success. According to Alfred Hitchcock, who produced and directed Psycho, “33 percent of the effect of Psycho was due to the music.”
Bill Conti produced the film score for Rocky in 1976. The film score includes, “Gonna Fly Now,” which is one of the most recognizable arrangements in film score history. The song received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song. Rocky was Conti’s first film score, but certainly not the last. He went on to produce film scores for the entire Rocky series, which ended with Rocky Balboa in 2006.
Hildur Guonadottir, an Icelandic musician and composer, wrote and produced the film score for Joker. Todd Phillips wanted her to be involved with the music after hearing her film score for Sicario: Day of the Soldado. Joker, based on the DC comics character came out in 2019. The film score received an Academy Award and a British Academy Film Award for Best Original Score. The film score also won the Critics’ Choice Movie Award, Hollywood Critics Association Award, a Grammy Award, Golden Derby Award, and Golden Globe.
Rounding out the 7 Most Memorable Film Scores in Filmdom is Tron. Wendy Carlos composed the film score for Tron, a 1982 science fiction movie. Carlos is considered a pioneer electronic musician. She also composed music for two other major motion pictures, including A Clockwork Orange and The Shining. The soundtrack for Tron featured two songs by the popular rock band, Journey. Much of the film score was created with digital synthesizers, along with pieces performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra.