Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner is unlike any science fiction movie of its time, so it only makes sense for the score to match that level of originality. A bit more current than the rest of the films on here, Greek composer Vangelis absolutely kills it.
John Williams is truly an all-star. The fact that he’s responsible for more than a few instantly-recognizable scores is a testament to this. The staying power of those rumbling strings at the start of Jaws's theme should be proof enough.
John Wiliams is clearly an unstoppable force when it comes to original compositions. It’s unclear whether there’s another composer out there with as many hits as he has. Those notes that sound as dinosaurs are seen for the first time in Jurassic Park are impossible to beat.
What’s so impressive about Howard Shore’s Lord of the Rings score is how perfectly it captures the feel of Middle Earth. The heavy reliance on woodwinds makes for some genuinely timeless tunes.
Sergio Leone is the king of spaghetti westerns, a badge of honor that Leone wore loudly and proudly. Ennio Morricone was his go-to composer, and for a good reason: he and Leone created an entire subgenre of westerns, Leone with his visuals and Morricone with his groundbreaking compositions.
Just as The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly’s whistles have been cemented in the pop culture pantheon, so have Bernard Herrmann’s shrill strings in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. The shower scene in this film is one of the most influential in film history, and Herrmann’s strings are doing plenty of the heavy lifting to help set that suspenseful tone.
A close second to his Star Wars score, John Williams’s original compositions for Raiders of the Lost Ark are practically a part of Indiana Jones’s character. It’s impossible to imagine any other song accompanying his many archeological adventures.
There’s nothing to be said about John Williams’s definitive space score that hasn’t already been said before. Simply put, John Williams’s compositions ARE Star Wars.
Not only is The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly’s score truly great, but it’s also one of the most instantly recognizable. Even if the listener doesn’t know that it comes from this film, that iconic whistle included in Ennio Morricone’s theme is a tune immortalized in pop culture.
Nino Rota’s score for Francis Ford Coppola’s seminal mob movie The Godfather deserves just as much love as the film itself. (Not to mention the fact that most mob movies that followed The Godfather try their hardest to emulate Rota to the best of their ability.)