My 70 All-Time Favorite Original Movie Scores


A total of forty-nine composers and seventy scores. Thirty-eight composers are represented once. Five are represented twice. Four are represented thrice, and two have five of their scores honored. Of the forty-nine composers, forty-eight are male, and one is female. This used to be – and still is – a very manly profession, but female composers are finally making headway. One of John Barry’s scores is listed twice; it’s the same score but with an orchestral arrangement in “You Only Live Twice” and an arrangement for harmonica in “Midnight Cowboy” – Barry received no screen credit for his work on “Cowboy.” A colleague of the original composer completed the scores of two of the movies listed.

Of the seventy original scores listed, Five are Oscar winners: The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), Sunset Boulevard (1950), Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), Lawrence of Arabia (1962), and Midnight Express (1978). Twenty-one received an Oscar nomination. One received a nomination that was then rescinded: Nino Rota for The Godfather (1972). The other forty-three of my favorite movie scores were NOT nominated by AMPAS – a reflection of that branch of the Academy’s questionable taste!


Gone with the Wind (1939): Max Steiner


Rebecca (1940): Franz Waxman

Citizen Kane

Citizen Kane (1941): Bernard Herrmann

King's Row

King’s Row (1942): Erich Wolfgang Korngold


Laura (1944): David Raksin

Double Indemnity

Double Indemnity (1944): Miklós Rózsa


Notorious (1946): Roy Webb

The Best Years of Our Lives

The Best Years of Our Lives (1946): Hugo Friedhofer

The Third Man

The Third Man (1949): Anton Karas

Sunset Boulevard

Sunset Boulevard (1950): Franz Waxman

A Streetcar Named Desire

A Streetcar Named Desire (1951): Alex North

Rebel Without a Cause

Rebel Without a Cause (1955): Leonard Rosenman

The Big Country

The Big Country (1958): Jerome Moross


Vertigo (1958): Bernard Herrmann

North By Northwest

North by Northwest (1959): Bernard Herrmann


Psycho (1960): Bernard Herrmann.

The Magnificent Seven

The Magnificent Seven (1960): Elmer Bernstein

Breakfast at Tiffany's

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961): Henry Mancini

Lawrence of Arabia

Lawrence of Arabia (1962): Maurice Jarre

To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962): Elmer Bernstein

Whatever Happened to Baby Jane

Whatever Happened to Baby Jane (1962): Frank De Vol

Eight and a Half

Eight and a Half (1963): Nino Rota

The Pink Panther

The Pink Panther (1964): Henry Mancini


Contempt (1964): Georges Delerue

Juliette of the Spirits

Juliette of the Spirits (1965): Nino Rota

A Man and a Woman

A Man and a Woman (1966): Francis Lai

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (1966): Ennio Morricone

Reflections in a Golden Eye

Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967): Toshiro Mayuzumi

You Only Live Twice

You Only Live Twice (1967): John Barry

(the same score as “Midnight Cowboy” arranged for the symphony)

The Fox

The Fox (1968): Lalo Schifrin

Once Upon A Time in The West

Once Upon a Time in the West (1968): Ennio Morricone

The Wild Bunch

The Wild Bunch (1969): Jerry Fielding

Midnight Cowboy

Midnight Cowboy (1969): John Barry

(the same score as “You Only Live Twice” arranged for harmonica: Barry does not receive an on-screen credit)

The Godfather

The Godfather (1972): Nino Rota

Last Tango in Paris

Last Tango in Paris (1973): Gato Barbieri

Don't Look Now

Don’t Look Now (1973): Pino Donaggio


Chinatown (1974): Jerry Goldsmith.

Taxi Driver

Taxi Driver (1976): Bernard Herrmann.


Carrie (1976): Pino Donaggio


Rocky (1976): Bill Conti


1900 (1976): Ennio Morricone

The Other Side of Midnight

The Other Side of Midnight (1977): Michel Legrand

Midnight Express

Midnight Express (1978): Giorgio Moroder


Tess (1979): Philippe Sarde.

American Gigolo

American Gigolo (1980): Giorgio Moroder

Altered States

Altered States (1980): John Corigliano.

Dressed to Kill

Dressed to Kill (1980): Pino Donaggio

Body Heat

Body Heat (1981): John Barry.

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981): John Williams.


Diva (1981): Vladimir Cosma.

Blade Runner

Blade Runner (1982): Vangelis

Sophie's Choice

Sophie’s Choice (1982): Marvin Hamlish

Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence

Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (1983): Ryuichi Sakamoto


Koyaanisqatsi (1983): Philip Glass


Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985): Philip Glass

The Mission

The Mission (1986): Ennio Morricone

The Moderns

The Moderns (1988): Mark Isham

Cinema Paradiso

Cinema Paradiso (1989): Ennio Morricone

The Last of the Mohicans

The Last of the Mohicans (1992): Trevor Jones with Randy Edelman

Bram Stoker's Dracula

Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992): Wojciech Kilar

The Piano

The Piano (1993): Michael Nyman

The Talented Mir. Riplet

The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999): Gabriel Yared

There Will Be Blood

There Will Be Blood (2007): Jonny Greenwood

Revolutionary Road

Revolutionary Road (2008): Thomas Newman

Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy

Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy (2011): Alberto Iglesias

Under the skin

Under the Skin (2014): Mica Levi

Phantom Thread

Phantom Thread (2017): Jonny Greenwood

Beale Street

If Beale Street Could Talk (2018): Nicholas Britell


Spencer (2021): Jonny Greenwood


Pearl (2022): Tyler Bates and Timothy Williams

Bernard Herrmann (5)Vladimir Cosma (1)Alex North (1)
Ennio Morricone (5)Frank De Vol (1)Michael Nyman (1)
Georges Delerue (1)David Raksin (1)
John Barry (3)*Jerry Fielding (1)Leonard Rosenman (1)
Pino Donaggio (3)Hugo Friedhofer (1)Miklos Rozsa (1)
Jonny Greenwood (3)Jerry Goldsmith (1)Ryuichi Sakamoto (1)
Nino Rota (3)Marvin Hamlish (1)Phillipe Sarde (1)
Mark Isham (1)Lalo Schifrin (1)
Elmer Bernstein (2)Maurice Jarre (1)Max Steiner (1)
Philip Glass (2)Trevor Jones (1) ***Vangelis (1)
Henry Mancini (2)Anton Karas (1)Roy Webb (1)
Giorgio Moroder (2)Wojciech Kilar (1)John Williams (1)
Franz Waxman (2)Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1)Gabriel Yared (1)
Francis Lai (1)
Gato Barbieri (1)Michel Legrand (1)
Tyler Bates (1)**Mica Levi (1)
Nicholas Britell (1)Toshiro Mayuzumi (1)
Bill Conti (1)Jerome Moross (1)
John Corigliano (1)Thomas Newman (1)
* The same score was arranged differently for the two films, with Barry getting no screen credit on the second. **With Timothy Williams. ***With Randy Edelman

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Rebecca (1940) Film Review A+ – TheBrownees

Laura (1944) Film Review A+ – TheBrownees

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