Who are the best film music composers of all time?

The best film music composers of all time. Piano with scores.

As we discussed in our previous post on The Best Movies Soundtracks of All Time, a good soundtrack is never forgotten and that is because music can completely change and turn a great movie into a great masterpiece.

Composers work to create sensations for viewers through music and that causes us different sensations depending on what the image wants to convey. As we know of the great importance of music, we want, in this post, to comment on the best music composers for films of all time.

The Top 10 best film music composers

It is very likely that we will leave out of this list great composers of music for films, even so, we have prepared a list of the 10 composers of all time:

Max Steiner

The first composer we want to include in this list is Max Steiner. His success as a composer of great films began in 1933 with the famous King Kong film and ever since he has created great compositions for more than 300 films, including the soundtrack of Gone with the Wind.

Ennio Morricone

Ennio Morricone became one of the most prolific and versatile composers in the history of cinema and stands out for his work on films such as The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly and also for creating the music for films such as Cinema Paradiso or The Untouchables.

Hans Zimmer

Hans Zimmer is one of the best-known composers since he has been the creator of great soundtracks such as the one he made for The Lion King film for which he received an Oscar. In addition, he has created the soundtrack for The Prince of Egypt, Gladiator, The Holiday, and Dunkerque.

Henry Mancini

The next composer we want to include on this list is also one of the best-known film composers, thanks to the creation of one of Audrey Hepburn’s most iconic moments playing Moon River on guitar from the window in Breakfast at Diamonds. In addition, he has also created the soundtrack for La Pantera Rosa, Days of wine and roses, and Charada.

James Horner

Surely you know the name of James Horner, he is the composer of one of the best-selling films in the entire history of cinema: the Titanic movie. In addition, he has also created numerous scores for great movies such as Aliens, Braveheart, and Avatar.

Thomas Newman

With the passage of time and thanks to his great works, Thomas Newman has shown that he has a great talent for composing and the result is great compositions for films such as A Life Chain, American Beauty, WALL-E, and Skyfall.

Bill Conti

With just a few small chords you can identify one of the best compositions that Bill Conti has made. Specifically, we are talking about the soundtrack that he created for the movie Rocky. In addition, he has also created the scores for films such as James Bond, For Your Eyes Only, and Chosen for Glory, with which he won his only Oscar.

Danny Elfman

If you are a lover of Tim Burton surely you recognize the name of Danny Elfman, since he has practically composed the soundtrack of each of his films, even those in which Burton was only a producer like The Nightmare before Christmas.

Justin Hurwitz

We wanted to include Justin Hurwitz on this list, despite the fact that he is one of the youngest, because, with the soundtrack he did for La La Land, he has shown the world that he has a huge talent to compose.

Nino Rota

Nino Rota is another of the great Italian artists who will be remembered for his great collaborations with Federico Fellini. And it is thanks to their work together that great films and great soundtracks of films such as La Dolce Vita, Amarcord, or Francis Ford Coppola emerged: The Godfather.

Other great film music composers of all time

Although we have made a list of the best film composers of all time, we want to highlight three other composers who are also considered the best of all time.

John Williams

The first of them is John Williams, we must say that many of the most successful films in the history of cinema are accompanied by his soundtracks. Among these films, the most notable are ET, Jaws, Superman, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park,the first three Harry Potter films, and so many other films that it is really surprising.

In addition, we consider it important to highlight that he has been one of the people with the most amount of nominations for the Oscars in all of history, after Walt Disney – who received 59 nominations-, with a total of 52 nominations.

Bernard Herrmann

When we mention Bernard Herrmann, we have to talk about the great directors Orson Welles and Alfred Hitchcock, because Herrmann has created the soundtrack for films such as Citizen Kane or Psycho, including the famous shower scene. Furthermore, Bernard Herrmann is considered to be one of the most avant-garde film music authors.


The third composer that we want to include in this small list is Vangelis since he is the composer of three great soundtracks such as the electronic compositions of films like Chariots of Fire, Blade Runner, and 1492: Conquest of Paradise. Besides, he is one of a more orchestral nature as it was for the film 1492: Conquest of Paradise.

The most awarded film music composers of all time

After commenting on the best composers, we would also like to highlight the most awarded film music composers of all time.

Alfred Newman is one of the most awarded songwriters with nine awards. Only Walt Disney and art director Cedric Gibbons have surpassed him. He won nine Academy Awards and received Oscar nominations 45 times.

And, as we’ve discussed previously, John Williams is one of the most-nominated people in the Academy Awards in history with a total of 52 nominations.


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