Five by Friday: Top Five Film Scores

Welcome to Five by Friday! 

Today’s 5xF is a topic near and dear to our hearts: film scores. When done well, a movie’s music can end up being just as important as the characters or script. It sets the mood, tugs the heartstrings, and the best scores can instantly transport us into their world in just a few notes.

This time we’re doing something a little different in order to give us more room on our lists. Since we all collectively agree that the Lord of the Rings score by Howard Shore is hands down the best film score of all time, we’re putting it up here at the top and picking our next five for our individual lists.

Five by Friday

Join us in the comments or on your own blog–we’ve even provided a graphic for you, which you can either save to your own space or link from tinypic using the following HTML code: <a href=””><img src=””><*/a> Just remove the asterisks, and you’re all set!


To avoid overlap and highlight more worthy scores, I’m going to force myself not to pick any of the scores on Sarah’s or Teija’s lists. Otherwise you’d definitely be seeing some repeats, as scores like Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Wars, and How to Train Your Dragon are among my all-time favorites. I also forced myself to differentiate composers at least a little, otherwise my list could easily have been entirely John Williams and/or Hans Zimmer.

I’d like to state for the record that making this list was agonizing. Many of my favorites still didn’t make any of our lists. So if your favorite isn’t represented below… I feel you.

5) The Man From Snowy River, Bruce Rowland

4) The Last of the Mohicans, Trevor Jones, Randy Edelman

3) Jurassic Park, John Williams

2) Gladiator, Hans Zimmer, Lisa Gerrard

1) E.T., John Williams


This might have been my most difficult 5xF to date. Other than my top pick, I removed, rearranged, swapped out, and swapped back in more selections than I could probably count. It was an agonizing decision, but in the end I decided to go with happy feels over sad (so no Schindler’s List), tried to diversify beyond just John Williams scores (so, Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones, and Harry Potter missed the cut), and scoured my Spotify to see which scores get the most actual playtime throughout my day.

And once again, to avoid overlap and highlight as many amazing scores as we can, I forced myself not to select any of the scores that Teija and Lauren had picked.

5) Pacific Rim, Ramin Djawadi

4) Brave, Patrick Doyle

3) Memoirs of a Geisha, John Williams

2) How to Train Your Dragon, John Powell

1) Star Wars (The Collection), John Williams


Like Lauren and Sarah before me, I have purposely endeavored not to include any overlap on this list, and I’m glad for it, as many of the soundtracks listed above could easily have made my list as well. I know that if I went into my Spotify, I would also start second-guessing myself for some things that didn’t make it to any of our lists. I tried not to focus too singularly on any one composer (which is why there isn’t more of Hans Zimmer represented here). Narrowing this down to five was difficult, so don’t be surprised if we come back to soundtracks again in the future.

5) The Rock, Nick Glennie-Smith, Hans Zimmer, and Harry Gregson-Williams

4) Pride & Prejudice, Dario Marianelli

3) Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amelie Poulain, Yann Tiersen

2) Schindler’s List, John Williams

1) Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy (Klaus Badelt, Hans Zimmer)

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