Top 25 Movie Soundtracks

soundtracks, movie music, film music, AFI, Top 25 soundtracks, Star WarsI love listening to movie soundtracks, especially when I’m writing.  Music and movies have been connected since the early day of silent films. Although there was no soundtrack, much less spoken dialogue, in the early silent films, while the movies ran in the theater, live musicians performed. Now, it’s hard to imagine any movie without some kind of soundtrack.

Today while writing and editing I listened to Songza’s playlist of the greatest movie soundtracks as determined by the American Film Institute.

The soundtrack to Star Wars was voted #1. John Williams is also going to score the new Star Wars move, Episode VII, as yet untitled, of course, which will be directed by J.J. Abrahms. 

The top 25 included soundtracks by such noted composers as Bernard Hermann for the soundtrack to Psycho, with its famous signature musical sequence for its equally infamous shower scene.

And John Williams again, for the score to Jaws and another famous signature musical sequence that heralded the appearance of a particularly nasty denizen of the sea.

That’s what so great about these top 25 movie scores. You hear the music and you instantly know what the movie is about and what scene it’s most associated with.

# FILM YEAR STUDIO COMPOSER
1 STAR WARS 1977 Twentieth Century Fox John Williams
2 GONE WITH THE WIND 1939 Selznick/MGM Max Steiner
3 LAWRENCE OF ARABIA 1962 Columbia Maurice Jarre
4 PSYCHO 1960 Paramount Bernard Herrmann
5 THE GODFATHER 1972 Paramount Nino Rota
6 JAWS 1975 Universal John Williams
7 LAURA 1944 Twentieth Century Fox David Raksin
8 THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN 1960 United Artists Elmer Bernstein
9 CHINATOWN 1974 Paramount Jerry Goldsmith
10 HIGH NOON 1952 United Artists Dimitri Tiomkin
11 THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD 1938 Warner Bros. Erich Wolfgang Korngold
12 VERTIGO 1958 Paramount Bernard Herrmann
13 KING KONG 1933 RKO Max Steiner
14 E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL 1982 Universal John Williams
15 OUT OF AFRICA 1985 Universal John Barry
16 SUNSET BLVD. 1950 Paramount Franz Waxman
17 TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD 1962 Universal Elmer Bernstein
18 PLANET OF THE APES 1968 Twentieth Century Fox Jerry Goldsmith
19 A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE 1951 Warner Bros. Alex North
20 THE PINK PANTHER 1964 United Artists Henry Mancini
21 BEN-HUR 1959 MGM Miklos Rozsa
22 ON THE WATERFRONT 1954 Columbia Leonard Bernstein
23 THE MISSION 1986 Warner Bros. Ennio Morricone
24 ON GOLDEN POND 1981 Universal Dave Grusin
25 HOW THE WEST WAS WON 1962 MGM, Cinerama Releasing Alfred Newman
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