We’ve now reached the top 20 entries in my movie music countdown, and I’ve finally started including some of the more beloved film scores. Silvestri and Williams dominate the next five, but there’s still room for one greatly underrated favorite of mine. Enjoy!
#20: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Oscar winner – John Williams
That’s right; after last week’s Jane Eyre, that’s two John Williams scores in a row. No wonder he’s the most represented composer here. His magical score for E.T. added to the endearing delight of Steven Spielberg’s classic about a boy and his alien. Can’t you still see Elliott flying E.T. on his bike across the moon? Whimsical yet powerful, it gets the goosebumps going every time.
#19: Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas (2003), no nomination – Harry Gregson-Williams
Sinbad may be DreamWorks Animation’s most action-packed and overlooked work, but both the film and the score deserve to be remembered. The music ranges from the sultry song of the sirens to the impish mischief of Eris to the thrilling theme of Sinbad’s roguish misadventures. If not for Pirates of the Caribbean, this might have been the perfect pirate music. Oops, did I give something away?
#18: Cast Away (2000), no Oscar nomination – Alan Silvestri
Silvestri returns with a most impressive achievement. The majority of Cast Away has no music, in order to enhance the isolation of poor Chuck Noland, yet once he leaves his island home behind, the Grammy-winning music leaves an indelible impression. Utterly emotional, those plaintive strings make me want to cry every time. Wilson!
#17: Home Alone (1995), Oscar nominee – John Williams
A classic Christmas film deserves a classic Christmas soundtrack. The mischievous ditties recall Grieg’s ”Hall of the Mountain King,” while the twinkling theme “Somewhere in My Memory” always conjures the holiday season, no matter what time of year it is. John Williams strikes again!
#16: Back to the Future (1985), no nomination – Alan Silvestri
Time travel is never so much fun as with Marty McFly and Doc Brown, and Alan Silvestri’s accompanying score runs on excitement rather than plutonium. Again, the music immediately puts me in the movie during the best parts. Just listening to it, I feel like driving to 88 MPH.