27 August 2007

American Film Institute Top Film Scores of All Time

Another AFI list, this one ranks the greatest film scores of all time.  Since the original list only ran to 25, I will only include the top 10 here.  (I don't want to steal the AFI's thunder.)  The complete list can be retreived from the AFI website simply by registering (which is free, anyway).  I highly recommend you do this, because it's a neat website from what I've seen.

Star Wars Main Theme sheet music
1. Star Wars (John Williams)
2. Gone with the Wind (Max Steiner)
3. Lawrence of Arabia (Maurice Jarre)
4. Psycho (1960) (Bernard Herrmann)
5. The Godfather (Nino Rota)
6. Jaws (John Williams)
7. Laura (David Raksin)
8. The Magnificent Seven (Elmer Bernstein)
9. Chinatown (Jerry Goldsmith)
10. High Noon (Dimitri Tiomkin)

At one point, I owned soundtrack albums of three of these ten (Star Wars, Jaws and The Godfather).  I don't even remember what happened to Jaws and The Godfather, but I currently have the 2004 re-mastered release of Star Wars as well as two copies of the original LP double album.  I've looked off and on for Maurice Jarre's score to Lawrence of Arabia, because it really is a very strongly composed score with great themes, but it seems the only copies that are affordable are new recordings of his score.  The original recordings were lost in a fire or flood or swarm of locusts or some such disaster.  Maybe I'll track it down on LP if and when I get the new computer-ready turntable I'm thinking about getting in the fall.  I have Jarre's Doctor Zhivago on LP.

Also, I'd like to observe that you could really do an entire list of just John Williams film scores.  How his scores to Jurassic Park and Schindler's List failed to make this list is beyond me.  Maybe Star Wars and Jaws were considered the iconic ones, which would be impossible to dispute, but I think those other two are probably even better.  Surely, had the list been longer than 25, they would have made at least the 50-26 range.  I've also always loved James Horner's score for Glory, which is an oft-overlooked masterpiece.

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