It’s a case of one score to rule them all, as Howard Shore’s stirring epic soundtrack for The Lord of the Rings trilogy was voted the U.K.’s favorite movie music.
Shore’s score for the Rings film, which has won three Academy Awards, three Golden Globes and four Grammys, came out ahead of some of the greatest and most recognizable soundtracks of all time, including John Williams’ music for Schindler’s List and Star Wars, which came second and third 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. More than 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.
“Many thanks to all the Classic FM listeners,” Shore told Classic FM on being told of his win. “I’m very happy that I was able to bring you a little closer to J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth.”
Shore’s score for The Hobbit trilogy came in 80th place.
Despite not topping the list, Williams can console himself with the knowledge that he is the U.K.’s most popular composer. Williams boasts five entries in the top 20, and 11 in the top 100 overall, including 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 was the second most popular film composer overall, with ten entries in the top 100, including 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).
Brit 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 great Ennio Morricone also had a significant presence in the top 100, with five of his scores making the list, including The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (9); The Mission (10); Cinema Paradiso (26); Once Upon a Time in the West (49); Once Upon a Time in America (82).
The full list is dominated by men, with the highest placing film score by a woman reaching number six (Debbie Wiseman’s music for Wilde). The other women to make 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).
The top 20 from the Classic FM Movie Music Hall of Fame 2023:
- The Lord of the Rings – Howard Shore
- Schindler’s List – John Williams
- Star Wars – John Williams
- Out of Africa – John Barry
- Gladiator – Hans Zimmer
- Wilde – Debbie Wiseman
- Dances with Wolves – John Barry
- Jurassic Park – John Williams
- The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – Ennio Morricone
- The Mission – Ennio Morricone
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – John Williams
- Chariots of Fire – Vangelis
- Indiana Jones – John Williams
- Ladies in Lavender – Nigel Hess
- Doctor Zhivago – Maurice Jarre
- The Magnificent Seven – Elmer Bernstein
- Interstellar – Hans Zimmer
- The Godfather – Nino Rota
- Titanic – James Horner
- Pirates of the Caribbean – Klaus Badelt