In a very real sense, composer John Williams—80 years old today—is responsible for the sound of modern genre entertainment, given that he wrote the music for so many films that have been enshrined as sci-fi and fantasy classics: Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Raiders of the Lost Ark, etc. Here are 10 of his best ... and one non-genre score we couldn't do without.
For much of his life, Williams was the go-to composer for filmmakers like Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, who counted on him time and again to make their movies sing. And these themes, a mere selection from the 139 films and television programs he's written music for, are the ones that have a treasured place in our collective hearts.
Main Theme, Star Wars: Episode IV—A New Hope
The Raiders March, Raiders of the Lost Ark
Main Theme, Superman
The Imperial March, Star Wars: Episode V—The Empire Strikes Back
Hedwig's Theme, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Main Theme, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial
Duel of the Fates, Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom Menace
Main Theme, Jurassic Park
Resolution and End Titles, Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Main Theme, A.I.: Artificial Intelligence
And the bonus, non-genre score: