Hollywood composers

You know music or original score[1] is more than relevant in a movie o motion picture.  It is what makes you think of a movie sometimes, or it is what makes you enjoy it.  D’you think you would have enjoyed ‘Jurassic Park’ so much if it hadn’t had such great music?  A helicopter flying in the midst of green islands might not be that spectacular, right?


This image is property of InGen


Anyhow, I was thinking about it the other day, and I realized there are just a handful of composers who are in charge of creating the score for Hollywood’s biggest hits.  It might seem John Williams, James Newton Howard, Danny Elfman and Alan Silvestri are the only ones up to the task.


I said “it might seem” because there are many, many others of course, such as David Arnold (‘Independence Day’, ‘Godzilla’, ‘Casino Royale’), Trevor Rabin (‘Armageddon’) and one of my personal favourites, Hans Zimmer (‘The Rock’, ‘Pearl Harbor’, ‘The Da Vinci Code’), who has recently worked close with Christopher Nolan in the Batman movies and ‘Inception’, creating a style of their own, truly recognizable, truly amazing.


Hans Zimmer



Williams, Howard and Silvestri on the other hand, have made almost everything when it comes to Hollywood blockbusters:


John Williams*:

  • Star Wars (movie series)
  • Indiana Jones (movie series)
  • Jurassic Park (1993)
  • Schindler’s List (1993)
  • Seven Years in Tibet (1997)
  • Saving Private Ryan (1998)
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001)
  • Catch Me If you Can (2002)




James Newton Howard*:

  • The Fugitive (1993)
  • Outbreak (1995)
  • The Devil’s Advocate (1997)
  • A Perfect Murder (1998)
  • I Am Legend (2007)
  • Green Lantern (2011)





Alan Silvestri*:

  • Back to the Future (movie series)
  • Forrest Gump (1994)
  • The Quick and the Dead (1995)
  • Cast Away (2000)
  • Beowulf (2007)
  • Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)




*Among many other works.



I think we’ve only mentioned 7 names of composers, I’m sure you can recall a couple more but I got the feeling just a few guys are the ones in control of music in the American film industry.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not necessarily a bad thing, I reckon they’ve made a terrific work so far.

September 25th, 2011.




[1] An original score is a substantial body of music that serves as original dramatic underscoring and is written specifically for the motion picture by the submitting composer. A.M.P.A.S.



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