The AFI’s 25 Greatest Film Scores


There is nothing I love more in this world than movie lists. At this point in my movie watching obsession I have only completed one. And let me tell you, that was no easy chore. It took me a little more than a year because most video stores (i.e. blockbuster) do not carry anything pre-1960’s -1970’s. Apparently kids today don’t appreciate Hitchcock, Cary Grant, Citizen Kane, or Chaplin as much. But enough ranting (and I could rant for a while) because the American Film Institute, on September 23, announced its most recent list….

The 25 Greatest Film Scores!!!!

Not that I would go out of my way to watch a movie just because the music is great, cool, or just weird, but having lists to highlight obsessively and endlessly makes me feel like I’m actually accomplishing something as I watch more and more movies.

And the complete list is:

1. Star Wars (1977); John Williams
2. Gone with the Wind (1939); Max Steiner
3. Lawrence of Arabia (1962); Maurice Jarre
4. Psycho (1960); Bernard Herrmann
5. The Godfather (1972); Nino Rota
6. Jaws (1975); John Williams
7. Laura (1944); David Raskin
8. The Magnificent Seven (1960); Elmer Bernstein
9. Chinatown (1975); Jerry Goldsmith
10. High Noon (1952); Dimitri Tiomkin
11. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938); Erich Wolfgang Korngold
12. Vertigo (1958); Bernard Herrmann
13. King Kong (1933); Max Steiner
14. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982); John Williams
15. Out of Africa (1985); John Barry
16. Sunset Boulevard (1950); Franz Waxman
17. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962); Elmer Bernstein
18. Planet of the Apes (1968); Jerry Goldsmith
19. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951); Alex North
20. The Pink Panther (1964); Henry Mancini
21. Ben-Hur (1959); Miklos Rozsa
22. On the Waterfront (1954); Leonard Bernstein
23. The Mission (1986); Ennio Morricone
24. On Golden Pond (1981); David Grusin
25. How the West Was Won (1962); Alfred Newman

This list reads like a whose who of Hollywood elite composers. John Williams, Elmer Berstein, Henry Mancini, Bernard Hermann, Leonard Bernstein, Max Steiner etc. making it perfectly clear how essential good music is to any classic film.

What is your favorite? Sound off below.

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