Soundtracks The Best Soundtrack Composers  

Reference
Originally by
1.2k votes 241 voters 6.2k views 123 items

List Rules Any musician or composer who has created the official soundtrack for a film

When you're watching movies, the music in the background often plays an essential role in shaping the mood of what you're seeing. Though seemingly playing a minor role, the soundtrack of a movie has a major impact on viewers, whether they realize it or not. Thus, soundtrack composers are just as critical as the actors in determining how a movie turns out. The best soundtrack composers have a knack for building up the film's score to where you subliminally don't know what you're feeling emotionally even though a particular moment is resonating. It's not an easy feat to be a soundtrack band, but the best soundtrack artists are heads above their competitors.

So, who are considered the best soundtrack composers and soundtrack bands? For starters, you can't have a list of soundtrack bands and soundtrack composers without the likes of Hans Zimmer, Christophe Beck, and Danny Elfman not be at or near the top of the list. These are easily the most well known soundtrack composers in film. Often times, they'll put together the best soundtrack musicians to perform the music they scored and bring it to life. The greatest soundtrack bands need a leader, and these composers are often leading the charge by helping mold what music they're going to play that enhances the film.

That said, what exactly are the best soundtrack bands and soundtrack composers? It's not an easy question to determine an answer for, but ultimately, it's up to you to decide. This list answers the questions "who are the best soundtrack bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest soundtrack musician ever?" If you notice someone who fits this criteria and isn't showing up, feel free to add them to this list.
list ordered by

1
104 15
John Williams is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Soundtrack Composers
Romance, Classical music, Jazz

2
68 13
James Horner is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Soundtrack Composers
Amy Boal added Film score

3
49 13
Alan Silvestri is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Soundtrack Composers
Film score

4
49 13
Howard Shore is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Soundtrack Composers
Amy Boal added Film score

5
72 28
Hans Zimmer is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Soundtrack Composers
Electronic music, Film score, Video game music

6
49 22
Danny Elfman is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Soundtrack Composers
Soundtrack, New Wave, Alternative rock

7
39 10
Ennio Morricone is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Soundtrack Composers
dca1983 added Lounge music, Classical music, Easy listening

8
24 8
Michael Giacchino is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Soundtrack Composers
Film score

9
22 8
Nino Rota is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Soundtrack Composers
Opera, Film score, 20th-century classical music

10
31 19
Randy Newman is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Soundtrack Composers
Amy Boal added Pop music, Rock music, Soft rock

11
31 13
A. R. Rahman is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Soundtrack Composers
Soundtrack, Bollywood, Indian classical music

12
21 12
Trevor Rabin is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Soundtrack Composers
Amy Boal added Rock music, Classical music, Pop rock

13
20 9
Henry Mancini is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Soundtrack Composers
Amy Boal added Easy listening, Jazz, Film score

14
17 4
Alexandre Desplat is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Soundtrack Composers
Amy Boal added Film score

15
9 1
Bernard Herrmann is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Soundtrack Composers
Opera, Film score

16
8 1
Joe Hisaishi is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Soundtrack Composers
levalex88 added New Age music, Progressive rock, Film score

17
8 2
Ranker Video
Michael Samons added Film soundtrack, Film score

18
5 7
Christophe Beck is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Soundtrack Composers
Film score

19
6 3
Bear McCreary is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Soundtrack Composers
Amy Boal added Film score

20
8 6
Klaus Badelt is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Soundtrack Composers
Amy Boal added Film score

21
12 12
Trent Reznor is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Soundtrack Composers
Alternative hip hop, Dark ambient, Synthpop

22
3 2
Alan Menken is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Soundtrack Composers
LarsyLou added Pop music, Musical theatre, Operatic pop

23
5 2
Rockford Kabine is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Soundtrack Composers
Soundtrack, Trip hop, Psychedelia

24
5 2
Ranker Video
Michael Samons added Rock music, Electronic music, Industrial rock

25
7 5
Carl Stalling is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Soundtrack Composers
Soundtrack, Film score

26
1 1
Two Steps from Hell is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Soundtrack Composers
Marina Velcu added

27
5 4
Gustavo Santaolalla is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Soundtrack Composers
Soundtrack, Nuevo tango, Chicano rock

28
1 2
Cliff Eidelman is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Soundtrack Composers
LarsyLou added Film score

29
2 1
Jan Randall is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Soundtrack Composers
Soundtrack, Folk music, Classical music

30
1 2
Michiru Yamane is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Soundtrack Composers
AdanNet added

31
2 1
Domenico Capuano is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Soundtrack Composers
choichu added Pop music, Electro, Film score

32
1 0
James Newton Howard is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Soundtrack Composers
hoosh added Film score

33
0 1
Jo Yeong-wook is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Soundtrack Composers
levalex88 added Film score

34
5 5
Cliff Martinez is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Soundtrack Composers
Soundtrack, Experimental rock, Industrial music

35
4 4
Jonny Greenwood is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Soundtrack Composers
Soundtrack, Electronic music, Classical music

36
4 4
Andrea McArdle is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Soundtrack Composers
Soundtrack

37
4 4
Dan Pinto is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Soundtrack Composers
Soundtrack, New Age, New Age music

38
2 2
V. Harikrishna is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Soundtrack Composers
Soundtrack, World music, Film score

39
2 2
Milt Franklyn is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Soundtrack Composers
Soundtrack, Film score

40
1 1
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Soundtrack Composers
Popular music, Soundtrack, New Age music

41
1 1
Scott Bradley is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Soundtrack Composers
Soundtrack, Film score

42
0 0
Sherman Brothers is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Soundtrack Composers
comicspies1 added

43
0 0
Ramin Djawadi is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Soundtrack Composers
hoosh added Film score

44
0 0
Basil Poledouris is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Soundtrack Composers
hoosh added Film score

45
0 0
London Symphony Orchestra is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Soundtrack Composers
Popular music, Soundtrack, Symphonic

46
7 8
Akira Yamaoka is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Soundtrack Composers
Soundtrack, Dark ambient, Trip hop

47
0 2
Yuhki Kuramoto is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Soundtrack Composers
levalex88 added

48
5 6
Bill Frisell is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Soundtrack Composers
Soundtrack, Americana, Experimental rock

49
4 5
Baron is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Soundtrack Composers

50
4 5
Colonial Cousins is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Soundtrack Composers
Soundtrack, Pop music, Rock music