John Williams Just Made Oscar History With His Best Original Score Nomination

best john williams scores and movies
10 John Williams Scores From Your Favorite MoviesBettmann - Getty Images
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Think of some of your favorite movies of all time. While you might not remember every great line, you can probably play the entire score in your head! The soundtracks from our favorite films are one of the most important parts of a movie, which is something that American composer, John Williams, understood since he began his career. His resumé includes scores from brilliant movies, including the Indiana Jones franchise, aka one of Ree’s favorites! (She even has a Harrison Ford quiz and all to prove it. 😉)

There's a good chance that many of your go-to movies have John Williams as its musical genius. Do you like action movies and superhero flicks like Superman? He composed the score for that. Love to watch classic kid films like Harry Potter? You can credit Williams for that soundtrack, too. What about blockbuster '70s and '80s flicks like the Star Wars franchise? You guessed it—he's also behind that!

It's no wonder that Williams is officially the most nominated living person at the Academy Awards. We’re talking 54 nominations, including one for Best Original Score for Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny at this year's 2024 Oscars! Kick back, listen to some of the best scores from the mastermind that is John Williams and take a walk down memory lane!

Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Even if you're not a diehard fan of Indiana Jones or Harrison Ford like Ree is, you've heard the theme song to the franchise at one point or another. The minute the trumpet blasts those spirited notes in “Raider’s March,” you know you’re about to head into a cinematic masterpiece!

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E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

This movie's music is as dreamy and mystical as E.T. himself—and one of the most heartwarming scores of all time. It’s worth noting that he won his fourth Oscar for this one, so that’s definitely saying something!

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Jurassic Park (1993)

We know dinosaurs are scary, but this movie’s theme song does something to our heart strings. Fun fact: Williams once said that he paced the music he composed to match the “rhythmic gyrations” of the dinosaurs.

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Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

In The Empire Strikes Back, you're transported to a galaxy far, far away. We're not sure there's a more recognizable soundtrack out there! Have you noticed that each character sort of gets their own theme, too? Darth Vader was often accompanied by militaristic music, while Princess Leia was usually introduced to a scene with the sweet notes of flutes.

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Home Alone (1990)

This list would not be complete without this soundtrack! While Williams’ theme song has that cheerful Christmas sound, it also evokes a bit of mystery and skepticism—fitting for a kid who's dealing with con artists!

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)

Hand us our brooms, cloaks, and Elder Wands, because we're heading to Hogwarts! That's exactly how we feel whenever we hear a tune from the Harry Potter franchise, especially one from the Sorcerer’s Stone.

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Jaws (1975)

That great white shark may fall a little short in the special effects department, but somehow the music still makes you terrified! We even hum it when we're trying to create drama!

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Superman (1978)

Like his other supernatural films, Williams brings on a mystical feeling with this one. When he first showed the recording of his music to director Richard Donner, he replied with one word: “Genius!”

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Saving Private Ryan (1998)

When you hear the score of Saving Private Ryan you feel heroic, brave—and maybe just a little bit melancholy. For the first time in one of his film productions, Williams used the Boston Symphony Orchestra to help compose the soundtrack. It’s the sole reason the music sounds so majestic, even in the most devastating scenes.

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Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

However you feel about the existence of aliens, this music will sure pique your curiosity! It’s funny, because Williams ended up being nominated for an Oscar for this score as well as his score in Star Wars… both in 1978!

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