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10 Best John Williams Scores

A new 'Star Wars' trilogy means we can look forward to three more great scores from arguably America's greatest ever film composer. Here are 10 of John Williams' most memorable works to date, from a career spanning six decades.



Jaws (1975)

Williams has become synonymous with Steven Spielberg and this is easily their most famous collaboration. Possibly the most identifiable theme tune in cinema history.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

Based around what has become the most iconic five notes in science fiction, 'CEOT3K' is arguably Williams' greatest work, evoking an equal sense of dread and wonder.

Star Wars (1977)

Inspired by the classic scores of Wolfgang Korngold, Williams gave George Lucas a score he could only have dreamed of. Whenever the 20th Century Fox fanfare opens a movie, part of me always expects it to be followed by the main theme from 'Star Wars'.

The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

With a darker theme, the first 'Star Wars' sequel needed a darker score and Williams delivered in style. It's impossible not to hear 'The Imperial March' whenever Darth Vader is mentioned. Has since become the ringtone of choice for sci-fi nerds.

The Phantom Menace (1999)

While the movie pissed off an entire generation, Williams returned to the 'Star Wars' world with one of his greatest scores. The highlight is 'Duel of the Fates', which can still be heard before Tottenham Hotspur home games.

Superman (1978)

Richard Donner's comic book classic is one of my earliest movie memories and Williams' iconic score positively reeks of heroism.

Catch Me If You Can (2002)

Williams' last great score to date employs Jazz elements to evoke a Henry Mancini inspired sixties vibe.

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Needs no introduction. A schoolyard favorite back in the eighties.

The Fury (1978)

Composing for Brian de Palma, it's likely Williams may have been instructed to deliver a score reminiscent of Bernard Herrmann as that's exactly what his work on 'The Fury' sounds like.

The Long Goodbye (1973)

Unlike anything Williams has done since, his score for Robert Altman's classic detective flick is actually just the title song repeated in several variations throughout the movie.


Eric Hillis