Film Score Monthly
Search Terms: 
Search Within:   search tips 
You must log in or register to post.
  Go to page:    
 Posted:   May 1, 2021 - 12:05 AM   
 By:   Mephariel   (Member)

What in your opinion are examples where a composer's career best score just happens to be in the best film he or she ever scored?

The ones that comes to mine for me:

Ben Hur - Miklós Rózsa
Lord of the Rings (pick one movie) - Howard Shore

And I know I'll get killed for this:

Titanic - James Horner

 Posted:   May 1, 2021 - 1:22 AM   
 By:   csista   (Member)

Easy choices for me:

Bill Conti - Rocky
Alan Silvestri - Back To The Future

Between Star Wars and Spielberg, John Williams has a few equally valid answers to choose from. My pick would be E.T.

And I’ll have your back on Titanic, although Braveheart makes that a tough call.

 Posted:   May 1, 2021 - 3:05 AM   
 By:   Tall Guy   (Member)

An impossible choice for so many reasons, but for the purpose of discussion I’ll suggest Ennio’s Once Upon a Time in America.

 Posted:   May 1, 2021 - 3:07 AM   
 By:   agentMaestraX   (Member)

The Living Daylights by John Barry.
The Empire Strikes Back - John Williams.

 Posted:   May 1, 2021 - 3:19 AM   
 By:   Graham Watt   (Member)

The Living Daylights by John Barry.
The Empire Strikes Back - John Williams.

The Living Daylights is John Barry's best film? And his best score?
The Empire Strikes Back is....?

 Posted:   May 1, 2021 - 3:49 AM   
 By:   mgh   (Member)

When thinking about Goldsmith, my first answer is LONELY ARE THE BRAVE. But then I pause. Is that really his "greatest" score? Or maybe it would be PATTON. Great film. Great score.

As for Bruce Broughton, for me it would have to be SILVERADO.
For Elmer Bernstein it would be THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN. Or maybe TO KILL A MOCKINBIRD. Or THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM. Too many...

 Posted:   May 1, 2021 - 4:14 AM   
 By:   TacktheCobbler   (Member)

Bernard Herrmann - Vertigo

That said, you could also make an argument for North by Northwest and Psycho.

 Posted:   May 1, 2021 - 5:06 AM   
 By:   JohnnyG   (Member)

This is actually very easy for me to answer:


The best score Hugo ever wrote (which also happens to be the greatest in film music history IMHO) for the best film he ever worked on.

(The "problem" with Herrmann, who would seem an obvious choice at first, is that his best score is "Psycho" and the best film he ever worked on is "Vertigo" - IMHO, of course smile ).

 Posted:   May 1, 2021 - 5:27 AM   
 By:   Nicolai P. Zwar   (Member)

Jerry Goldsmith: CHINATOWN

 Posted:   May 1, 2021 - 6:41 AM   
 By:   villagardens553   (Member)

Bernstein -- To Kill a Mockingbird
Friedhofer -- Best Years of Our Lives
Barry -- The Lion in Winter
Jones -- In Cold Blood
Goldsmith -- Chinatown
Schifrin -- Bullitt
Rota -- La Dolce Vita
Moross -- The Big Country
Herrmann -- Citizen Kane
Morricone -- Cinema Paradiso
Williams -- The Reivers

One could make an argument that the above scores are the best by that composer, and that those films were the best films scored by that composer. Of course, many alternative films/scores could work, as well.

 Posted:   May 1, 2021 - 6:56 AM   
 By:   Adam B.   (Member)

Cliff Eidelman - Star Trek VI

Don Davis - The Matrix

Brad Fiedel - The Terminator

Brian May - Mad Max II, The Road Warrior

John Barry - Dances With Wolves

Lalo Schifrin - Dirty Harry

Elmer Bernstein - The Ten Commandments

John Morris - Young Frankenstein

Gil Melle - The Andromeda Strain

John Harrison - Creepshow

Daft Punk - Tron Legacy smile

 Posted:   May 1, 2021 - 7:03 AM   
 By:   Solium   (Member)

Leonard Rosenman- Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
There I said it! big grin

 Posted:   May 1, 2021 - 7:04 AM   
 By:   Hitch22   (Member)

PSYCHO (Bernard Herrmann)

 Posted:   May 1, 2021 - 7:16 AM   
 By:   barryfan   (Member)

John Williams ET

Bernard Hermann Psycho

Hans Zimmer The Dark Knight

 Posted:   May 1, 2021 - 7:37 AM   
 By:   RcM   (Member)

I personally don’t think Titanic was a very good film - and Horner’s score is not his best, but it is the perfect score for that film.
I would make an argument for Star Trek II - both film and score still hold up today.

A few others:
Jerry Goldsmith - Planet of the Apes
John Williams - ET
Bernard Herrmann - Vertigo
Franz Waxman - Rebecca
Max Steiner - Gone with the Wind
Alexandre Desplat - The Girl with the Pearl Earring
Michael Nyman- The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover
Michael Giacchino - Up

 Posted:   May 1, 2021 - 7:58 AM   
 By:   Steven Lloyd   (Member)

For Alexandre Desplat: GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING
For Jerry Fielding: THE WILD BUNCH
For Jerome Moross: THE BIG COUNTRY

Three of the films above happen to be among my personal favorite movies as well as scores; but my favorite scores by my other favorite composers don't happen to have been created for the greatest films they worked on -- and vice versa.

My favorite of Barry's is THE LAST VALLEY ... a still-underrated picture that has a number of wonderful qualities, but hardly the single best film that he ever scored.

While NORTH BY NORTHWEST is my favorite Herrmann, it's not necessarily Hitchcock's best or the composer's.

Goldsmith, my most favorite composer, already has been cited multiple times in this thread for CHINATOWN, yet I've never been a fan of either film or score. And while my three favorites of his scores are THE SAND PEBBLES, ISLANDS IN THE STREAM, and UNDER FIRE, all are very good films ... yet I would never claim they were the three best movies to which he was attached. Not even though the first two are both among my top-10 favorite pictures, and the last is my single favorite Goldsmith.

I won't waste time trying to decide which I'd say was Alfred Newman's best score in order to tackle the question.

 Posted:   May 1, 2021 - 8:18 AM   
 By:   ZardozSpeaks   (Member)

Here's a sub-set from the list of my favorite films that also have their composers' finest works:

  • Onibaba/Hikaru Hayashi
  • Woman in the Dunes/Tôru Takemitsu
  • Lady in a Cage/Paul Glass
  • Les Biches/Pierre Jansen
  • L'eclisse/Giovanni Fusco
  • Tam Lin/Stanley Myers
  • Pressure Point/Ernest Gold
  • Nóz w wodzie/Komeda
  • Night of the Eagle/William Alwyn
  • The Fox/Lalo Schifrin
  • Doctor Faustus/Mario Nascimbene
  • Figures in a Landscape/Richard Rodney Bennett
  • The Haunting/Humphrey Searle
  • Eva/Michel Legrand
  • /Nino Rota
  • I tre volti della paura/Roberto Nicolosi
  • Don Juan 73/Michel Magne
  • House on Telegraph Hill/Sol Kaplan
  • Psyche 59/Kenneth V. Jones
  • The Prisoner/Benjamin Frankel
  • The Manchurian Candidate/David Amram
  • Images/John Williams
  • Séance on a Wet Afternoon/John Barry
  • Herz aus Glas/Popol Vuh
  • Lycanthropus/Armando Trovajoli
  • The Night My Number Came Up/Malcolm Arnold
  • Faces in the Dark/Mikis Theodorakis
  • The Bedford Incident/Gerard Schurmann
  • The Old Man and the Sea/Dimitri Tiomkin
  • Town on Trial/Tristram Cary
  • La última cena/Leo Brouwer
  • La sirène du Mississipi/Antoine Duhamel
  • Point Blank/Johnny Mandel
  • The Snorkel/Francis Chagrin
  • Mr. Klein/Egisto Macchi

     Posted:   May 1, 2021 - 8:37 AM   
     By:   Totoro   (Member)

    No best score = no best film

     Posted:   May 1, 2021 - 8:40 AM   
     By:   betenoir   (Member)

    This far down the thread and no one else has mentioned Lawrence of Arabia by Maurice Jarre?

    That is the best example I can imagine for this thread, though I agree with many (and disagree with some) of the others listed so far.

    I'll add another: Emerald Forest by Junior Homrich.

    And Blade Runner by Vangelis

     Posted:   May 1, 2021 - 8:53 AM   
     By:   Mephariel   (Member)

    John Williams ET

    Bernard Hermann Psycho

    Hans Zimmer The Dark Knight

    Closest for me with John Williams is Schindler's List. But I think Jurassic Park or Memoirs of a Geisha is his best work.

    Hans Zimmer...The Dark Knight being the best film is something I can agree with. But TDK as his best scoring work...that is a bit harder to swallow for me.

    You must log in or register to post.
      Go to page:    
    © 2021 Film Score Monthly. All Rights Reserved...