15. James Horner
James Horner uses this little four note motif in nearly all of his scores and it drives us absolutely crazy. Anyway… aside from that and the fact that he’s seriously dropped off in quality over the last few years, he’s written some incredible scores. Legends of the Fall (1994), Braveheart (1995) and Titanic (1997) are probably his most famous.
Also, for any Star Trek fans out there he did the awesome score for The Wrath of Khan (1982), but you already knew that, didn’t you?
14. Joe Hisaishi
Talk about flying under the radar. You know how good Hayao Miyazaki’s movies are yeah? Well Joe Hisaishi is the guy making them even more awesome with his music. He’d worked with Miyazaki on every film since Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984) as well as working on a number of Takeshi Kitano’s films. The emotional power of his scores are so overwhelming, you’d better prepare some handkerchiefs before listening to them.
13. Hans Zimmer
Did you know that Hans Zimmer is briefly visible playing keyboard in the music video for The Buggles’ hit “Video Killed the Radio Star”? Now he’s arguably the most popular film scorer in the world. People love this guy. Even Steven Spielberg said that if it wasn’t for his friendship with John Williams, he would have gotten Zimmer on board ages ago.
Zimmer’s score for films like Thelma & Louise, The Lion King, Gladiator, The Rock, Pirates of the Caribbean and The Dark Knight are some of the greatest in recent times.
12. John Barry
Apparently his full name is John Barry Prendergast, but he obviously wasn’t a fan of the Prendergast bit because he’s been working as John Barry for most of his career. This is the guy that wrote the music for all the old school James Bond films. He didn’t write the original version of the theme song, but is responsible for making it as awesome as it is now. He’s also pretty good at writing big, sweeping scores and has a won a buttload of Oscars for films like Out Of Africa (1985) and Dances with Wolves (1990).
11. Maurice Jarre
If you’re after epic, Jarre’s sweeping score for David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia (1962) is about as epic as it gets. Apparently Jarre got into music fairly late into his teens, unlike most musicians who kick off at a young age.
He must have really gotten into it, because now he’s one of the most famous film composers in history. He worked with Lean on all his films since Lawrence as well as providing the score to a number of popular films such as Ghost (1990) and Witness (1985).
10. Jerry Goldsmith
We’re getting to the stage on the list when each entry just has a remarkable number of incredible scores to their name. He composed scores for such noteworthy films as Planet of the Apes, Patton, Chinatown, The Omen, Alien, Poltergeist, Total Recall, Basic Instinct, Air Force One, L.A. Confidential, Mulan, The Mummy, three Rambo films, and five Star Trek films.
You can briefly hear Goldsmith’s main theme from Aliens (1979) during the scene in Prometheus (2012) with the hologram of Guy Pearce, who was inexplicable cast as an old man.
Ilaiyaraaja is an Indian film composer who works in the Indian film Industry. His body of work has spanned across Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Hindi and English language films.
Regarded as one of the finest music composers in India, Ilaiyaraaja is also an instrumentalist, conductor, singer, and a songwriter. To date, he has composed over 4500 songs and provided film scores for more than 950 Indian films in various languages, particularly being acclaimed for his background scoring. His songs and background score played a very crucial role in the success of many films.