Top 10 Best Film Composers of All-Time

Nick Kush

A current college student, Nick founded MovieBabble in October of 2016. As a film critic, he offers content that is meant to entertain as well as educate. He fell in love with film after first seeing Forrest Gump and has been hooked ever since.

38 Responses

  1. lazaruslair says:

    Yes Henry Mancini should really have been on that list, and not just for Breakfast at Tiffanys.

    • Nick Kush says:

      Another good one! I can’t fault you for it one bit. Like I’ve mentioned before, I think it comes down to which composers left a lasting, personal touch. Unfortunately, I don’t think Mancini did that as much as the other composers on the list IMO

  2. My favourite is Thomas Newman who did American Beauty, Erin Brockovich, Finding Nemo, A Series of Unfortunate Events, WALL·E, The Help, Saving Mr. Banks… I can always tell when it’s him and his score always makes me feel warm and good

    • Nick Kush says:

      That’s another good one! I think it comes down to which composers had a personal connection with you, which is where Newman falls behind the others on the list. He’s great though!

  3. All of the composers you’ve listed are just incredible. I wasn’t brave enough to to a top 10 list, but I’m glad you were and that you did! I’m still making my way through MovieBabble! So far, you have a really great blog! 🙂

  4. mitchteemley says:

    Great list, although it overlooks a lot of great film composers pre-1970 (except Hermann), like Nino Rota (Romeo & Juliet, The Godfather), Max Steiner (Casablanca, Gone With the Wind), Franz Waxman (Rebecca, Sunset Boulevard), Henry Mancini (Breakfast at Tiffany’s), Maurice Jarre (Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago). Also–just a personal preference–I’d bump Elmer Bernstein (The Magnificent Seven, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Escape) to the top ten. What would movies be without music indeed!

    • Nick Kush says:

      It’s every once in awhile when you see a cut of a movie without the score playing underneath it, it’s an entirely different film!

  5. Steve says:

    I don’t think I could create a list I myself would agree with every day, but today I’d move Hermann and Morricone higher on the list and drop Williams down nearer the bottom. Although Glass doesn’t “do” film music, the Qatsi trilogy featuring the music of Philip Glass is so astounding by itself to warrant mention.

  6. Steve says:

    Also, not sure how you can mention Horner without mentioning Braveheart 😉

  7. Steve says:

    We can bicker about the order, but your list is for the most part solid in its inclusions. I must add though that if you study music, you will find John Williams is not the greatest composer ever, but rather the greatest hack and plagarist ever. Hans Zimmer steals a lot, but he does original things with what he steals, whereas John Williams is counting on his audiences to not be familiar with the original works from which he steals.

  8. All great composers on your list, but there’s one glaring omission: Maurice Jarre, composer of the epic soundtracks for the equally epic films “Lawrence of Arabia” and “Doctor Zhivago.”

    • Nick Kush says:

      I’m a fan, but unfortunately I just don’t gravitate towards him like you do. I wish I did!

  9. Robin Write says:

    As a fan of film scores like The Horse Whisperer, The Shawshank Redemption, Road to Perdition, WALL-E, Meet Joe Black, American Beauty, The Green Mile, Revolutionary Road, Finding Nemo, He Named Me Malala, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Cinderella Man, Little Children, Little Women, In the Bedroom, Oscar and Lucinda – I am shocked that Thomas Newman is not mentioned here.

    • Nick Kush says:

      I thought about it, but the only score I could remember the theme to was Shawshank. Maybe I just needed something more original, who knows

  10. What a nice topic! John Williams is my favorite, but I’ll add also Alexandre Desplat, Nicholas Hooper and Hugo Montenegro.

    • Nick Kush says:

      Desplat was a tough one to leave off, I think I just have more of an affinity for the others!

  11. MoJo says:

    This is an epic list. I was wondering if any of Kubrick’s composers would make the MB cut. I need to see who did his stuff. Love me some Kubrick and the music and sound editing was some of the best.

    • Nick Kush says:

      Hmm guess not. I can’t think of who did his music off the top of my head so I guess it didn’t resonate very well with me!

      • MoJo says:

        What!?!? I am biased. I love that movie and have always been wow’ed by Kubrick even when I didn’t like the story. I actually looked into after I read your comment to see if maybe some of these composers were involved in his films. It looks like he used music from all over the place, so perhaps he did. Great post though. 🙂

      • Nick Kush says:

        Thanks for the info! I’m glad you enjoyed it!

    • Steve says:

      Yeah, Kubrick used a lot of non-original classical and post classical works – mostly dead guys.

  12. Film composer must be one of the most enjoyable jobs ever! I’m envious just reading about it.

    • Nick Kush says:

      I know right? How cool would be to accent all these great films! Plus, you’d get to see the film early lol

  13. raistlin0903 says:

    Great post, and pretty much all of the ones listed are on my own list as well. Most notably Hans Zimmer and John Williams. There is one I would add to this one, and it’s one I even did a post for this week : and that is Kenji Kawai. He is my alltime favorite composer,and absolutely amazing. 😊

  14. Anonymous says:

    Randy Edelman is one of my favourites, he done the music for Dragonheart

  15. Nick Kush says:

    Thanks so much!

  1. July 27, 2017

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