ByDallin JD Schmidt, writer at

If you’re watching a movie, and the musical score is big, epic, and dramatic, there’s a pretty good chance that it’s a John Williams score. And if the movie is directed by Steven Spielberg, then it’s definitely a John Williams score. His name has become synonymous with the highest class of musical composition. He has received forty-nine Academy Award nominations, and has won five of them. He has also been nominated for a whopping sixty-five Grammy Awards, winning twenty-two.

Williams broke into the movie scene with his score for the 1971 adaptation of Fiddler on the Roof (for which he won his first Oscar), and since that time has composed some of the most recognizable film scores of all time. Star Wars Episode VII will be the last score that he composes for the series, and from the small portion that we can hear in the newest trailer, the music will undoubtedly be amazing. So today, we are paying tribute to this giant of a composer, and taking a look at fifteen of his greatest film scores and themes. This was going to be a top five, then a top ten, but honestly, even ten songs didn’t cut it. Simply put, there are too many great ones. So get ready, because these songs are going to bring back memories and emotions faster than hearing your ex’s favorite song on the radio.

15. Olympic Fanfare

What better way to start off a list of Williams’ best film scores with…not a film? This fanfare became a staple for NBC’s broadcast of the Olympics beginning in 1984, for the Summer Games in Los Angeles. The fanfare is huge and grand, and perfectly epitomizes the feelings of pride and nationalism that accompany each Olympics. I imagine that, prior to the 1984 games, two guys on the NBC Olympics committee wanted a theme song for their broadcast, and their conversation probably went something like this:

“Hey, we need a theme song for the Olympics.”

“You mean, like, a song that will be played during the biggest and most popular worldwide event in the history of the planet?”


“Well…why not John Williams?”


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