The final round is never easy. This month’s tournament is no exception, and before we sort out who’s The Greatest Film Composer of All Time, we have to settle a three-way match between Ennio Morricone, John Williams, and Philip Glass. Now, before you draw your guns for Morricone, whip towards John Williams, or, uh, get all existential for Philip Glass, take your time and think about the decision you’re about to make. Remember the films they’ve worked on. Grasp the emotion they bottled up in each of their compositions.
But also listen to a few of your fellow readers, who have offered up their own sage-like advice over the past month. After all, they’re the ones who’ve been influencing this game all along. So, why not let them finish it? To make things easy, we went ahead and gathered a few scores of truth ourselves, straight from your own keyboards and back to your eyes. Indulge ’em one last time before you hit the voting booth.
“The music he wrote for each film was specifically tailored, always original, sweeping and emotional. I like some of the ‘newbies’, but the first one to mind was Morricone. I’m glad that Williams was mentioned. I was afraid he would be panned for being too commercial, but the man has created some truly beautiful pieces of music.” –Imakele
“People also seem to link the movie’s success to the composer, not the soundtrack; while that applies to Williams and Morricone – I’m referring to the latter who, lets be honest, is only known for doing the famous spaghetti westerns?” –Skeff
“To say Morricone is only famous for westerns is totally wrong. Yes, this made him well known, but the man is a legend. This genius of a man has written over 500 movie scores, and in regards to range, innovation, and beauty, he is unmatched. To get the worldwide love that this man gets, having shunned Hollywood and big blockbuster films, shows you his class. John Williams, he’s good, but give me Morricone any day.” –Robbie
“Who gives a fuck who is on a stamp? Being on a stamp makes your music somehow better? Or is this just age old elitist ‘newer stuff can never compare to older stuff’ crap?” –Anonymous
“Trent Reznor made it but not Giorgio Moroder? What the hell is wrong with you people?” –Mike
Well, hope that helped. If not, you can always defer to our own writers…
Ennio Morricone vs. John Williams vs. Philip Glass
Ennio Morricone’s strength is in his diversity. Three specific scores back up this claim: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, The Untouchables, and The Mission. The score for GBU gallops at a reserved speed, just slow enough for Clint Eastwood’s Blondie to ride off into the sunset with some swagger. The main theme from The Untouchables and its opening credit score are as different as night and day; the former with sweeping strings and horns, the latter with its mysterious piano atop a rat-tat-tat drumbeat. Morricone’s so good that even the great John Carpenter let him score one of his films (The Thing). But at the end of the day, Morricone’s greatest achievement is the go-jus “Gabriel’s Oboe” from the so-so film The Mission. The show’s about to begin… –Justin Gerber
I could just type in Superman, Indiana Jones, and Star Wars and call it a day, but I won’t. John Williams blows away most of his contemporaries because in his glory days, he focused not only on composing a great main theme/march for his assigned film, but the entire score of the film. Superman’s “Leaving Home” is the third best piece of music found in that film, and it’s better than anything you’ll hear in any Marvel or DC film today. The Empire Strikes Back’s “The Imperial March”, aka Darth Vader’s theme, is as iconic as the Star Wars theme itself. Oh, and Jaws, which has a piece of music that deters you from ever dipping your toes in the ocean. The best. –Justin Gerber
It’s not easy to find fissure in the quintessential American composer Philip Glass, but in theory the classical minimalism he reflects through repetition can crack your brain like a hammer to a glass pain. His music requires undivided attention, causing profound cognitive transportation. For years, we’ve been writing fictional stories about time travel, concocting complex clusters of theories analogous to the feelings of wonder, excitement, and fantasy, but as the overture of time unfurls in Glass’s music, you’re able to travel, in real time, to an entirely new dimension of listening. From his operatic victory, Einstein on the Beach, to his 50+ film scores (e.g., The Thin Blue Line, The Truman Show, The Hours) to his many Academy Award nominations, it’s easy to call Philip Glass one of the most influential composers of all time. –Lior Phillips