John Williams: His 10 Greatest Film Scores

There is little doubt to any one who appreciates film music that John Williams is the consummate master in his…

Kyle Hytonen

Contributor

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There is little doubt to any one who appreciates film music that John Williams is the consummate master in his field. Williams is one of the greatest living composers today and has set the standard for those who have tried to follow in his footsteps over the last 50 years. With over 125 films to his credit and at the age of 81, Williams continues working today, and has formed many collaborative bonds with notable directors over the decades. His most celebrated bond, of course, would be his work with director Steven Spielberg. 26 films later and the two friends are still making beautiful music today, with Williams recently collaborating on last year’s Oscar winning Lincoln.

With 48 Oscar nominations (and 5 wins) Williams is the most nominated person alive today in Oscar history and 2nd all-time behind Walt Disney. With his career not stopping anytime soon, Williams will ensure that mark will never be matched. Now with over 125 titles to choose from we found it daunting to choose just 10, but here is our list of the finest film scores from the great John Williams.

10. Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone (2001)

This film, dubbed The Sorcerer’s Stone in the US, came as a resurgence in Williams’ career. At the time he was bouncing back between his collaborations with Spielberg and working on the new Star Wars prequels, but didn’t have anything profound or wholly original to call his own. Then the Harry Potter film series got going (which in the early stages was in development with Spielberg directing) and Williams found new found inspiration and a younger audience to appreciate his work.

Working with director and frequent collaborator Chris Columbus, Williams was given free reign to try new approaches to creating an original sound for the Harry Potter universe. The epic fantasy series lends well to Williams’ musical voice, who from the film’s opening scene sets up what would become one of his most memorable works. Beginning his score with a quiet Celeste Piano piece, Williams introduces the theme that has now since become synonymous with both the Harry Potter films and even the books. Other standouts in his film score is the rousing Wagner influenced scoring of the series’ first Quidditch game and a deadly introduction to Voldemort near the film’s climax.

Williams received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Score for his work and would only go on to score the next 2 Harry Potter films, but his iconic original theme for the series has been present in all 7 of the adaptations.