Celebrate John Williams' birthday with 10 of his best sci-fi scores

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Marc Bernardin
Dec 16, 2012

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:

Main Theme, Jaws