Howard Shore’s epic soundtrack for The Lord of the Rings trilogy has been voted the U.K.’s favorite movie music. The score, which has won numerous awards, including three Academy Awards, three Golden Globes, and four Grammys, beat out some of the most iconic soundtracks of all time, including John Williams’ music for Schindler’s List and Star Wars, which came in second and third place, respectively.
The list of the top 100 film scores was compiled by popular U.K. radio station Classic FM as part of their annual Movie Music Hall of Fame. Over 10,000 people voted for this year’s edition, and the winner was revealed on Sunday by Jonathan Ross, the former presenter of the BBC’s Film program.
Upon learning of his win, Howard Shore expressed his gratitude to the Classic FM listeners and stated, “I’m very happy that I was able to bring you a little closer to J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth.” In addition to his score for The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Shore’s score for The Hobbit trilogy also made the list, coming in at 80th place.
Although John Williams did not top the list, he can take comfort in the fact that he is the U.K.’s most popular composer. Williams has five entries in the top 20 and a total of 11 entries in the top 100. His other scores in the top 20 include Schindler’s List (2); Star Wars franchise (3); Jurassic Park franchise (8); Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (11); Indiana Jones franchise (13); Saving Private Ryan (21); E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (30); Jaws (39); Superman (47); Close Encounters of the Third Kind (58); and War Horse (87).
Hans Zimmer, another renowned film composer, took second place in the overall ranking with ten entries in the top 100. Some of his notable scores include Gladiator (5); Interstellar (17); The Lion King (23); Inception (29); Pirates of the Caribbean franchise (31); The Holiday (52); The Dark Knight trilogy (61); Dunkirk (70); No Time to Die (77); and The Da Vinci Code (85).
British composer John Barry had six of his film scores make the top 100, including Out of Africa (4); Dances With Wolves (7); Somewhere in Time (56); Born Free (69); On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (72); and Goldfinger (76).
The late Ennio Morricone also had a significant presence in the top 100, with five of his scores making the list. These included The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (9); The Mission (10); Cinema Paradiso (26); Once Upon a Time in the West (49); and Once Upon a Time in America (82).
While the majority of the list is dominated by male composers, the highest-ranking film score by a woman reached number six. Debbie Wiseman’s music for Wilde was the highest-placing score by a female composer. Other women who made the list include Angela Morley for Watership Down (55); Germaine Franco for Encanto (59); Hildur Guðnadóttir for Joker (83); and Rachel Portman for Chocolat (92).
Here is the top 20 from the Classic FM Movie Music Hall of Fame 2023:
1. The Lord of the Rings – Howard Shore
2. Schindler’s List – John Williams
3. Star Wars – John Williams
4. Out of Africa – John Barry
5. Gladiator – Hans Zimmer
6. Wilde – Debbie Wiseman
7. Dances with Wolves – John Barry
8. Jurassic Park – John Williams
9. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – Ennio Morricone
10. The Mission – Ennio Morricone
11. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – John Williams
12. Chariots of Fire – Vangelis
13. Indiana Jones – John Williams
14. Ladies in Lavender – Nigel Hess
15. Doctor Zhivago – Maurice Jarre
16. The Magnificent Seven – Elmer Bernstein
17. Interstellar – Hans Zimmer
18. The Godfather – Nino Rota
19. Titanic – James Horner
20. Pirates of the Caribbean – Klaus Badelt
The Classic FM Movie Music Hall of Fame 2023 showcases the enduring popularity of film scores and highlights the incredible talent of composers like Howard Shore, John Williams, and Hans Zimmer. These scores have become integral parts of the films they accompany, enriching the storytelling experience for audiences worldwide.