Best Soundtrack Composers

by oxyboldine | created - 05 Nov 2010 | updated - 05 Nov 2010 | Public

My favorite composers, and their masterpieces that I prefer.

1. Bernard Herrmann

Soundtrack | Taxi Driver

The man behind the low woodwinds that open Citizen Kane (1941), the shrieking violins of Psycho (1960), and the plaintive saxophone of Taxi Driver (1976) was one of the most original and distinctive composers ever to work in film. He started early, winning a composition prize at the age of 13 and ...

Vertigo, The Ghost and Mrs Muir, North by northwest, Citizen Kane, Psycho, Marnie, Taxi driver, The wrong man, The Trouble with Harry

2. Angelo Badalamenti

Music_department | Mulholland Dr.

Angelo Badalamenti was born on March 22, 1937 in New York City, New York, USA. He is known for his work on Mulholland Dr. (2001), Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992) and A Very Long Engagement (2004).

Mulholland drive, Lost Highway, Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks fire walk with me, A straight story, Twin Peaks (TV)

3. Ennio Morricone

Composer | The Hateful Eight

A classmate of director Sergio Leone with whom he would form one of the great director/composer partnerships (right up there with Eisenstein & Prokofiev, Hitchcock & Herrmann, Fellini & Rota), Ennio Morricone studied at Rome's Santa Cecilia Conservatory, where he specialized in trumpet. His first ...

Once upon a time in America, Once upon a time in the West, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, The Untouchables, For a few dollars more

4. Georges Delerue

Composer | Platoon

Georges Delerue was born on March 12, 1925 in Roubaix, Nord, France as Georges Henri Jean-Baptiste Delerue. He was a composer, known for Platoon (1986), The Day of the Dolphin (1973) and Twins (1988). He was married to Micheline Gautron. He died on March 20, 1992 in Los Angeles, California, USA.

Le Mépris, La Femme d'à côté, La nuit Américaine, Les Deux Anglaises et le Continent, Tirez sur le pianiste

5. Danny Elfman

Music_department | The Nightmare Before Christmas

As Danny Elfman was growing up in the Los Angeles area, he was largely unaware of his talent for composing. It wasn't until the early 1970s that Danny and his older brother Richard Elfman started a musical troupe while in Paris; the group "Mystic Knights of Oingo-Boingo" was created for Richard's ...

Sleepy Hollow, Big fish, Edward scissorhands, Batman, Mission : impossible

6. Miklós Rózsa

Composer | Ben-Hur

'Miklos Rozsa' studied the violin from the age of five. In 1926, he began studying at the Leipzig Conservatory. In 1929, his violin concerto was performed there. While living in Paris from 1931, Rozsa had his 'Variations on a Hungarian Peasant Song' and his 'Symphony and Serenade for Small ...

Moonfleet, The asphalt jungle, Double indemnity, Spellbound, Providence

7. Vangelis

Composer | Alexander

Vangelis is a composer and performer who works almost exclusively with electronic instruments. He is probably most well known for his Chariots of Fire (1981) and Blade Runner (1982) soundtracks or for the tracks used in the Cosmos (1980) television series. He has been involved in many musical ...

Blade Runner

8. Nino Rota

Composer | The Godfather

Born in Milan in 1911 into a family of musicians, Nino Rota was first a student of Orefice and Pizzetti. Then, still a child, he moved to Rome where he completed his studies at the Conservatory of Santa Cecilia in 1929 with Alfredo Casella. In the meantime, he had become an 'enfant prodige', famous...

Il Gattopardo, The Godfather, Fellini Roma, La dolce vita

9. Lennie Niehaus

Composer | Space Cowboys

Lennie Niehaus was born on June 11, 1929 in St. Louis, Missouri, USA as Leonard Niehaus. He is known for his work on Space Cowboys (2000), Heartbreak Ridge (1986) and The Bridges of Madison County (1995).

The Bridges of Madison county, Unforgiven, A perfect world, Absolute power

10. Clint Eastwood

Actor | Gran Torino

Clint Eastwood was born May 31, 1930 in San Francisco, the son of Clinton Eastwood Sr., a manufacturing executive for Georgia-Pacific Corporation, and Ruth Wood, a housewife turned IBM operator. He had a comfortable, middle-class upbringing in nearby Piedmont. At school Clint took interest in music...

Mystic river, Flags of our fathers, Changeling, Million dollar baby

11. Howard Shore

Music_department | The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Howard Shore is a Canadian composer, born in Toronto. He was born in a Jewish family. He started studying music when 8-years-old, and played as a member of bands by the time he was 13-years-old. He was interested in a professional career in music as a teenager. He studied music at the Berklee ...

A History of violence, Gangs of New York, The Lord of the Rings, The Fly

12. Pino Donaggio

Composer | Dressed to Kill

Born in Burano (Venice) in 1941, Pino Donaggio studied violin at the Conservatory of Venice and Milan.

After a period of adolescent performer of classical music with the Solisti Veneti and the Soloists of Milan, in 1959 he began to devote himself to the pop music that soon led to international ...

Body Double, Dressed to Kill, Blow Out, Raising Cain

13. Joe Hisaishi

Composer | Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi

Joe Hisaishi was born on December 6, 1950 in Nagano, Japan as Mamoru Fujisawa. He is known for his work on Spirited Away (2001), Kaze tachinu (2013) and Ponyo (2008).

Hana-bi, Princess Mononoke, Spirited away

14. John Carpenter

Writer | The Fog

John Howard Carpenter was born in Carthage, New York, to mother Milton Jean (Carter) and father Howard Ralph Carpenter. His family moved to Bowling Green, Kentucky, where his father, a professor, was head of the music department at Western Kentucky University. He attended Western Kentucky ...

Halloween, In the Mouth of Madness, The Thing

15. John Williams

Music_department | Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace

As one of the best known, awarded, and financially successful composers in US history, John Williams is as easy to recall as John Philip Sousa, Aaron Copland or Leonard Bernstein, illustrating why he is "America's composer" time and again. With a massive list of awards that includes over 41 Oscar ...

E.T. The Extra-terrestrial, Jurassic Park, Raiders of the Lost Ark

16. Franz Waxman

Composer | Sunset Blvd.

Franz Waxman (Wachsmann) pursued his dream of a career in music despite his family's misgivings. He worked for several years as a bank teller and paid for piano, harmony and composition lessons with his salary. He later moved to Berlin, where he continued his study and progress as a musician. He ...

Rear Window, Sunset blvd., Fury

17. Adolph Deutsch

Composer | The Apartment

Academy Award-winning composer, songwriter, conductor and arranger, educated at London Poly. and the Royal Academy of Music. He came to the USA in 1910 and became a US citizen in 1920, eventually leading his own orchestra; later he composed and arranged for and conducted other dance bands. He was ...

The Apartment, Some like it hot, The Maltese falcon

18. Max Steiner

Composer | The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

Austrian composer who achieved legendary status as the creator of hundreds of classic American film scores. As a child he was astonishingly musically gifted, composing complex works as a teenager and completing the course of study at Vienna's Hochschule fuer Musik und Darstellende Kunst in only one...

The Searchers, The Big sleep, Pursued

19. Frank Skinner

Composer | Harvey

The author of the textbook "F.Skinner's Simplified Method for Modern Arranging" (published 1934) began his musical career as a pianist in vaudeville alongside his brother Carl. He then became a noted arranger for New York dance orchestras in the 1930's and was briefly active in the field of music ...

Imitation of life, All that heaven allows, The Tarnished angels

20. Charles Chaplin

Writer | The Great Dictator

Considered to be one of the most pivotal stars of the early days of Hollywood, Charlie Chaplin lived an interesting life both in his films and behind the camera. He is most recognized as an icon of the silent film era, often associated with his popular character, the Little Tramp; the man with the ...

City lights, The gold rush, Modern times

21. Roy Webb

Composer | Out of the Past

Trained in classical music at Columbia University, Webb worked on Broadway by the time he was in his mid-20's, not only composing incidental music, but co-writing original plays with his older brother, the director Kenneth S. Webb. By 1923, he worked as conductor/arranger on hit shows like "Music ...

Out of the past, Notorious, Cat people

22. Michel Legrand

Composer | The Thomas Crown Affair

Michel Legrand is a three times Academy Award-winning French composer, conductor and pianist who composed over 200 film and television scores as well as recorded over a hundred albums of jazz, popular and classical music.

He was born on February 24, 1932, in Becon-les-Bruyeres, in the Paris suburbs,...

Les demoiselles de Rochefort, Les parapluies de Cherbourg

23. Mark Snow

Composer | The X Files

Mark Snow became a good friend with Michael Kamen while they were studying music at New York's Art and Music High School. After graduation, they became roommates at Juilliard (an elite music school). After studying at Juilliard, he became very fond of pop music. He, Michael Kamen and 3 others ...

Les Herbes Folles, Coeurs

24. Wendy Carlos

Composer | TRON

Wendy Carlos, one of the great innovators in synthesized and electronic music, was born as Walter Carlos in Rhode Island on November 14, 1939. She underwent a sex-change operation in 1972, details of which she revealed during a surprise Playboy interview in 1979. Walter's last credited release is "...

The Shining, Clockword orange

25. Elmer Bernstein

Composer | Far from Heaven

Elmer Bernstein was educated at the Walden School and New York University. He served in the US Army Air Corps in World War II. A prolific and respected film music composer, he was a protégé of Aaron Copland, who studied music with Roger Sessions and Stefan Wolpe. Bernstein worked in various ...

Some came running, The Age of innocence

26. Dimitri Tiomkin

Music_department | High Noon

Dimitri Tiomkin was a Russian Jewish composer who emigrated to America and became one of the most distinguished and best-loved music writers of Hollywood. He won a hallowed place in the pantheon of the most successful and productive composers in American film history, earning himself four Oscars ...

Dial M for murder Rio Bravo

27. Matthieu Chabrol

Composer | La cérémonie

Matthieu Chabrol was born on December 21, 1956 in Neuilly sur Seine, France. He is a composer and actor, known for La Cérémonie (1995), L'Enfer (1994) and Story of Women (1988).

La Cérémonie, Bellamy

28. Giovanni Fusco

Composer | L'avventura

Giovanni Fusco was born on October 10, 1906 in Sant'Agata de' Goti, Campania, Italy. He was a composer, known for L'Avventura (1960), Story of a Love Affair (1950) and Il Grido (1957). He died on May 31, 1968 in Rome, Lazio, Italy.

L'avventura

29. Alfred Newman

Composer | All About Eve

Alfred Newman was born on March 17, 1901 in New Haven, Connecticut, USA. He is known for his work on All About Eve (1950), How the West Was Won (1962) and V for Vendetta (2005). He was married to Martha Montgomery and Mary Lou Dix. He died on February 17, 1970 in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California,...

You only live once

30. Walter Schumann

Composer | The Night of the Hunter

Walter Schumann was born on October 8, 1913 in New York City, New York, USA. He is known for his work on The Night of the Hunter (1955), Inspector Gadget (1999) and Dragnet (1951). He died on August 21, 1958 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.

Night of the hunter

31. Jean Constantin

Soundtrack | Les quatre cents coups

Jean Constantin was born on February 9, 1923 in Paris, France. He was married to Lucie Dolène. He died on January 30, 1997 in Créteil, Val-de-Marne, France.

Les 400 coups

32. Herbie Hancock

Soundtrack | 'Round Midnight

Herbie Handcock is an American actor that was born. Herbert Jeffery Handcock, on April 12, 1940, Chicago, IL. He is best known as a piano player, jazz star, and a composer. He has won many Grammy Awards and has performed with many famous musicians beginning with Miles Davis in the 1960s. He ...

Blow-up

33. Antoine Duhamel

Composer | La mort en direct

Antoine Duhamel was born on July 30, 1925 in Valmondois, Val-d'Oise, France as Antoine Dominique Duhamel. He was a composer, known for Death Watch (1980), Safe Conduct (2002) and Belle Epoque (1992). He died on September 11, 2014 in Valmondois.

Pierrot le fou

34. Mark Isham

Composer | Blade

From his days as one of the pioneering icons of electronic music to his current status as a world-renowned legendary film composer, Mark Isham continues to be one of the most prolific and provocative artists on the scene. His gift for creating unforgettable melodies and his love of fresh, ...

The Black Dahlia

35. Martial Solal

Soundtrack | The Dreamers

Martial Solal was born on August 23, 1927 in Algiers, Alger, France. He is a composer, known for The Dreamers (2003), Breathless (1960) and The Trial (1962).

A bout de souffle

36. Wojciech Kilar

Composer | The Pianist

Wojciech Kilar was born on July 17, 1932 in Lwów, Lwowskie, Poland. He was a composer, known for The Pianist (2002), Dracula (1992) and The Ninth Gate (1999). He was married to Barbara Pomianowska. He died on December 29, 2013 in Katowice, Slaskie, Poland.

Bram Stocker's Dracula

37. Henry Mancini

Soundtrack | Breakfast at Tiffany's

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, but brought up in Pennsylvania, where he played the flute in a local band, as a youth, before sending some arrangements to Benny Goodman. Goodman offered him a job and, after serving in WWII, he joined the rearranged Glenn Miller band. In 1952, he was given a two-week ...

Touch of Evil

38. Peter Gabriel

Soundtrack | WALL·E

Peter Gabriel was educated at Charterhouse School, Surrey, England. He was the lead singer of leading progressive rock band Genesis from its inception until he left in 1975 for a successful solo career as a singer-songwriter, soundtrack composer and innovator in visual presentation of music, music ...

The Last Temptation of Christ

39. Leonard Bernstein

Soundtrack | New York Philharmonic Young People's Concerts

Renowned composer ("West Side Story", "Candide", "On The Town"), conductor, arranger, pianist, educator, author, TV/radio host, educated at the Boston Latin School and Harvard University (BA) with Walter Piston. Edward Burlingame Hill and A. Tillman Merritt. He studied piano with Helen Coates, ...

West Side Story