Film Comment's 101 Film Score Milestones

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This Essential List of 101 Great Film Score Milestones (in chronological order) from 1933-2001 was compiled by John Caps in the November-December 2003 issue of Film Comment magazine in an article titled "Soundtracks 101 – Essential Movie Music: A Listener's Guide." The article also provided a brief history of film music in the introduction and further details on each of the choices.

Facts and Commentary About the List:
•The list was created to mark the 70th anniversary of the film score in 2003.
• The list consisted of composed instrumental film scores (whether symphonic or electronic, classical or pop in style), not film musicals or song scores, from American and British films (English-language films).
•These were films from the talkie era onwards (and recognizing that silent films were never silent).
•The quality of a film often has nothing to do with the rating of its film score, e.g., Taras Bulba (1962, Waxman).
•According to the author, the list was "representative rather than exhaustive; all of the scores in the list "contribute something memorable, something personal, to their films - and communicate one step further to us as music."
•Predictably, one-fourth of the list was taken by the six giants of the Golden Age (Steiner, Waxman, Korngold, Newman, Rozsa, Herrmann). Yet the author also recognized some of the great, but seemingly forgotten, figures of the recent past: Laurence Rosenthal, Richard Rodney Bennett, Dave Grusin, David Shire, and Basil Poledouris.

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  1. 1 new

    King Kong

    1933, in 27 top lists Check
  2. 2 new

    Bride of Frankenstein

    1935, in 18 top lists Check
  3. 3 new

    The Informer

    1935, in 7 top lists Check
  4. 4 new

    Things to Come

    1936, in 8 top lists Check
  5. 5 new

    The Prince and the Pauper

    1937, in 0 top lists Check
  6. 6 new

    The Adventures of Robin Hood

    1938, in 16 top lists Check
  7. 7 new

    Gone with the Wind

    1939, in 30 top lists Check
  8. 8 new

    Son of Frankenstein

    1939, in 2 top lists Check
  9. 9 new

    Of Mice and Men

    1939, in 4 top lists Check
  10. 10 new

    The Sea Hawk

    1940, in 2 top lists Check
  11. 11 new

    Rebecca

    1940, in 21 top lists Check
  12. 12 new

    How Green Was My Valley

    1941, in 11 top lists Check
  13. 13 new

    The First of the Few

    1942 — a.k.a. Spitfire, in 0 top lists Check
  14. 14 new

    Jungle Book

    1942, in 1 top list Check
  15. 15 new

    All That Money Can Buy

    1941 — a.k.a. The Devil and Daniel Webster, in 6 top lists Check
  16. 16 new

    The Song of Bernadette

    1943, in 3 top lists Check
  17. 17 new

    The Adventures of Mark Twain

    1944, in 0 top lists Check
  18. 18 new

    Laura

    1944, in 19 top lists Check
  19. 19 new

    Double Indemnity

    1944, in 32 top lists Check
  20. 20 new

    The Chronicle History of King Henry the Fifth...

    1944 — a.k.a. Henry V, in 12 top lists Check
  21. 21 new

    The Best Years of Our Lives

    1946, in 25 top lists Check
  22. 22 new

    Captain from Castile

    1947, in 1 top list Check
  23. 23 new

    Forever Amber

    1947, in 0 top lists Check
  24. 24 new

    Green Dolphin Street

    1947, in 0 top lists Check
  25. 25 new

    Odd Man Out

    1947, in 12 top lists Check
  26. 26 new

    Johnny Belinda

    1948, in 2 top lists Check
  27. 27 new

    Louisiana Story

    1948, in 5 top lists Check
  28. 28 new

    Oliver Twist

    1948, in 6 top lists Check
  29. 29 new

    Scott of the Antarctic

    1948, in 0 top lists Check
  30. 30 new

    Madame Bovary

    1949, in 0 top lists Check
  31. 31 new

    The Red Pony

    1949, in 0 top lists Check
  32. 32 new

    Sunset Blvd.

    1950 — a.k.a. Sunset Boulevard, in 32 top lists Check
  33. 33 new

    Night and the City

    1950, in 10 top lists Check
  34. 34 new

    A Streetcar Named Desire

    1951, in 15 top lists Check
  35. 35 new

    Death of a Salesman

    1951, in 2 top lists Check
  36. 36 new

    The Day the Earth Stood Still

    1951, in 13 top lists Check
  37. 37 new

    High Noon

    1952, in 18 top lists Check
  38. 38 new

    Viva Zapata!

    1952, in 2 top lists Check
  39. 39 new

    On Dangerous Ground

    1951, in 2 top lists Check
  40. 40 new

    On the Waterfront

    1954, in 28 top lists Check
  41. 41 new

    The Man with the Golden Arm

    1955, in 6 top lists Check
  42. 42 new

    The Cobweb

    1955, in 1 top list Check
  43. 43 new

    Rebel Without a Cause

    1955, in 16 top lists Check
  44. 44 new

    Around the World in 80 Days

    1956, in 8 top lists Check
  45. 45 new

    Auntie Mame

    1958, in 3 top lists Check
  46. 46 new

    Bell Book and Candle

    1958, in 0 top lists Check
  47. 47 new

    The Big Country

    1958, in 4 top lists Check
  48. 48 new

    Vertigo

    1958, in 42 top lists Check
  49. 49 new

    Ben-Hur

    1959, in 23 top lists Check
  50. 50 new

    The Magnificent Seven

    1960, in 9 top lists Check
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Last updated on Feb 26, 2013; source