Here are my Top 5 Favorite John Williams Film Scores. Enjoy.
No. 5 – The Fury (1978)
Directed by Brian De Palma
The main title to De Palma’s wonderfully over the top film is a fantastic example of how Williams can use a musical piece that sounds much like a waltz and fuse it into a horror score. There is a brilliant opening where it starts peacefully and serenely then builds into a classic explosion of bombast only Williams can supply. At times it sounds almost like a precursor to some of the work he will later do in Raiders of the Lost Ark. One of my favorite scores by Williams and greatly under-appreciated.
No. 4 – Dracula (1979)
Directed by John Badham
Another horror film score by Williams. Greatly gothic and daring, this score is just insanely captivating and precisely what Badham’s vision of the famous bloodsucker ordered. It is grand, sweeping and very engaging. His use of the hypnotic strings and horns in the main suite is completely immersive and places us within a very palpable and frightening canvas of terror. Williams seems to be channeling James Bernard of Hammer Films at times. Highly recommended.
No. 3 – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Directed by Irvin Kershner
Was it possible to improve on the vastly popular and ground-breaking Star Wars – A New Hope score? Hell yes, it was and with just the iconic “Imperial March” John Williams transcended the previous effort. It is a deeply personal favorite of mine.
It resonates on so many levels. We get “Yoda’s Theme,” “The Cloud City” and “Hyperspace” and so many other tracks that move the story forward and makes us associate dearly with characters we love and hate within the Star Wars universe. It is simply magical and a work of art for the ears and heart. Here is another favorite track of mine from “Empire” – “The Asteroid Field!” Enjoy.
No. 2 – Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Directed by Steven Spielberg
An instantaneously recognizable score that is wildly energetic and fun. I can never just start the score and stop it midway. It is much like the story of Indy and his adventure during his quest for the fabled Lost Ark of the Covenant. You have to take the journey and this is a fantastical world that Williams transports us to.
“The Desert Chase” remains, hands down, the most bad ass track of this grand score by Williams. Every time I hear that track on my iPod, I’m transported to a palatial movie theater in the Bronx where I get to relive it in all it’s sweeping glory.
No. 1 – Jaws (1975)
Directed by Steven Spielberg
I don’t really need to explain why this is my favorite all time John Williams score do I? I didn’t think so. I will let the brilliantly scary and profound score speak for itself. From 1975, this score changed just about everything that involved how a musical piece should accompany a film and even become part of the film’s story and become it’s heartbeat.
This score is almost a cast member. A perfect blend of terror and adventure on the high seas, so to speak. I love it and appreciate it’s complexity and it’s bold and primal perfection. An absolutely wonderful score that will stand for the ages. Plus, it always scares the shit outta me.
Honorable Mention –
Superman The Movie
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
The Towering Inferno
Sound off gang with your favorite John Williams scores!