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Greatest film music composers (all time)

A ranking of film composers. A film composer is a person who creates film scores, a.k.a. film music, background music, or incidental music.

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John Williams
1

John Williams

John Towner Williams (born February 8, 1932) is an American composer, conductor, and pianist. In a career spanning over six decades, he has composed some of the most popular and recognizable film scores in cinematic history, inclu...
9.1
9.1
from 9 votes
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James Newton Howard
2

James Newton Howard

James Newton Howard (born June 9, 1951) is an American composer, conductor, music producer and musician. Throughout his career, he has scored over 100 films of all scales and genres, earning multiple award nominations for his work...
9
9
from 3 votes
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Danny Elfman
3

Danny Elfman

Daniel Robert "Danny" Elfman (born May 29, 1953) is an American composer, singer, songwriter, and record producer. He is known as the lead singer and songwriter for the rock band Oingo Boingo from 1976 to 1995, and later for scori...
9
9
from 1 vote
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Alexandre Desplat
3

Alexandre Desplat

Alexandre Michel Gérard Desplat (born 23 August 1961) is a French and Greek film composer. He has won one Academy Award for his soundtrack to the film The Grand Budapest Hotel, and received seven additional Academy Award nominatio...
9
9
from 1 vote
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Ennio Morricone
5

Ennio Morricone

Ennio Morricone (born November 10, 1928) is an Italian composer, orchestrator, conductor and former trumpet player, who has written music for more than 500 motion pictures and television series, as well as contemporary classical w...
8.9
8.9
from 8 votes
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Hans Zimmer
6

Hans Zimmer

Hans Florian Zimmer born 12 September 1957) is a German film composer and music producer. He has composed music for over 150 films, including film scores for The Lion King, The Thin Red Line, Gladiator, The Last Samurai, Pirates...
8.6
8.6
from 25 votes
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James Horner
7

James Horner

James Roy Horner (August 14, 1953 – June 22, 2015) was an American composer, conductor and orchestrator of film scores. He was known for the integration of choral and electronic elements in many of his film scores, and for his fre...
8.4
8.4
from 5 votes
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Trent Reznor
8

Trent Reznor

Michael Trent Reznor (born May 17, 1965), known professionally as Trent Reznor, is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, and film score composer. As a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, he has led the industrial rock pr...
8
8
from 1 vote
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Michael Stearns
8

Michael Stearns

Michael Stearns (born 1948) is a United States musician and composer of ambient music. He is also known as a film composer, sound designer and soundtrack producer for large format films, theatrical films, documentaries, commercial...
8
8
from 1 vote
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Ryuichi Sakamoto
8

Ryuichi Sakamoto

Ryuichi Sakamoto (坂本 龍一 Sakamoto Ryūichi, born January 17, 1952) (Japanese pronunciation: [sakamoto ɽju͍ːitɕi]) is a Japanese musician, activist, composer, record producer, writer, singer, pianist, and actor based in Tokyo and New...
8
8
from 1 vote
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Daniel Pemberton
8

Daniel Pemberton

Daniel Pemberton (born 3 November 1977) is an English Ivor Novello winning and multi BAFTA nominated composer.
8
8
from 1 vote
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Alan Silvestri
8

Alan Silvestri

Alan Anthony Silvestri (born March 26, 1950) is an American composer and conductor who works primarily in film and television. He is known inter alia for his frequent collaboration with director Robert Zemeckis, including composin...
8
8
from 1 vote
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Michael Hoenig
8

Michael Hoenig

Michael Hoenig (born 4 January 1952) is a German composer who has composed music for several films and games
8
8
from 1 vote
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Philip Glass
8

Philip Glass

Philip Morris Glass (born January 31, 1937) is an American composer.
8
8
from 1 vote
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Klaus Badelt
15

Klaus Badelt

Klaus Badelt (born 12 June 1967) is a German composer, best known for composing film scores. Badelt was born in Frankfurt, West Germany. He started his musical career composing for movies and commercials in his homeland. In 1998,...
7.5
7.5
from 2 votes
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Carter Burwell
16

Carter Burwell

Carter Benedict Burwell (born November 18, 1955) is an American composer of film scores. He is best known as a regular collaborator of the Coen brothers, having scored many of their films, among them Raising Arizona (1987), Barton...
7
7
from 1 vote
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Tan Dun
16

Tan Dun

Tan Dun (simplified Chinese: 谭盾; traditional Chinese: 譚盾; pinyin: Tán Dùn; born 1957, Changsha, Hunan) is a Chinese contemporary classical composer and conductor, most widely known for his scores for the movies Crouching Tiger, Hi...
7
7
from 1 vote
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Aaron Copland
16

Aaron Copland

Aaron Copland (November 14, 1900 – December 2, 1990) was an American composer, composition teacher, writer, and later in his career a conductor of his own and other American music. Instrumental in forging a distinctly American sty...
7
7
from 1 vote
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Sion Sono
16

Sion Sono

Sion Sono (born December 18, 1961) is a Japanese filmmaker, author and poet.
7
7
from 1 vote
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Basil Poledouris
16

Basil Poledouris

Basil Poledouris (August 21, 1945 – November 8, 2006) was an American music composer who concentrated on the scores for films and television shows. Poledouris won the Emmy Award for Best Musical Score for work on part four of the...
7
7
from 1 vote
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Harry Gregson-Williams
16

Harry Gregson-Williams

Harry Gregson-Williams (born 13 December 1961) is a British composer, orchestrator, conductor, and music producer. He has regularly written for television and films, such as The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wa...
7
7
from 1 vote
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Ramin Djawadi
22

Ramin Djawadi

Ramin Djawadi (Persian: رامین جوادی‎‎; born July 19, 1974) is a German composer of Iranian origin. Djawadi is best known for his Grammy-nominated, guitar-heavy score for the 2008 Marvel film Iron Man and for the theme of HBO's pop...
6
6
from 2 votes
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Info: The persons listed below are officially not in the ranking; they're candidates that don't have the minimum number of votes (1) to officially be in yet. They're listed by the number of votes, not by the rating. Click any item to cast your vote.
George Martin
candidate

George Martin

Sir George Henry Martin (born 3 January 1926) is an English record producer, arranger, composer, conductor, audio engineer, and musician. He is sometimes referred to as "the Fifth Beatle" in reference to his extensive involvement...
0
0
from 0 votes
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John Carpenter
candidate

John Carpenter

John Howard Carpenter (born January 16, 1948) is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, editor and composer. Although Carpenter has worked in numerous film genres, he is most commonly associated with horror and science...
0
0
from 0 votes
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Charlie Chaplin
candidate

Charlie Chaplin

Sir Charles Spencer "Charlie" Chaplin, KBE (16 April 1889 – 25 December 1977) was an English comic actor, filmmaker, and composer who rose to fame in the silent era. His career spanned more than 75 years, from childhood in the Vic...
0
0
from 0 votes
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