AFI’s 100 YEARS OF FILM SCORES – American Film Institute

AFI's 100 YEARS OF FILM SCORES

the 25 greatest film scores of all time LEARN MORE
The American Film Institute proudly curates lists to celebrate excellence in the art form. We believe their greatest impact is to inspire personal, passionate discussions about what makes a great film and why and, also, to chart the evolution of the art form. Since its inception, American film has marginalized the diversity of voices that make our nation and its stories strong – and these lists reflect that intolerable truth. AFI acknowledges its responsibility in curating these lists that has reinforced this marginality and looks forward to releasing new lists that will embrace our modern day and drive culture forward.
  • LIST VIEW
  • EXPANDED VIEW

How many have you seen?

DOWNLOAD PDF
Star Wars (1977)

Cast: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher

Directors: George Lucas

Producer: Gary Kurtz, George Lucas

Writer: George Lucas

Editor: Paul Hirsch, Marcia Lucas, Richard Chew, John Jympson

Cinematographer: Gilbert Taylor

Genre: Adventure, Science fiction

Production Company: Lucasfilm, Ltd.

Composer: John Williams [composer]

Gone with the Wind (1939)

Cast: Thomas Mitchell, Barbara O'Neil, Vivien Leigh

Directors: Victor Fleming, Sam Wood, George Cukor, Chester Franklin, James Fitzpatrick

Producer: David O. Selznick

Writer: Sidney Howard, Barbara Keon, Lydia Schiller, Connie Earl

Cinematographer: Ernest Haller, Lee Garmes

Genre: Romance

Production Company: Selznick International Pictures, Inc.

Composer: Max Steiner

Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Cast: Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn

Directors: David Lean

Producer: Sam Spiegel, David Lean

Writer: Robert Bolt, Michael Wilson

Editor: Anne V. Coates

Cinematographer: F. A. Young

Genre: Adventure, Biography

Production Company: Horizon Pictures (G.B.), Ltd.

Composer: Maurice Jarre

Psycho (1960)

Cast: Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, John Gavin

Directors: Alfred Hitchcock

Producer: Alfred Hitchcock

Writer: Joseph Stefano

Editor: George Tomasini

Cinematographer: John L. Russell

Genre: Horror

Production Company: Shamley Productions, Inc.

Composer: Bernard Herrmann

The Godfather (1972)

Cast: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan

Directors: Francis Ford Coppola

Producer: Robert Evans, Albert S. Ruddy

Writer: Mario Puzo, Francis Ford Coppola

Editor: William Reynolds, Peter Zinner

Cinematographer: Gordon Willis

Genre: Drama

Production Company: Paramount Pictures Corp., Alfran Productions, Inc.

Composer: Nino Rota

Jaws (1975)

Cast: Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss

Directors: Steven Spielberg

Producer: Richard D. Zanuck, David Brown, William S. Gilmore Jr.

Writer: Peter Benchley, Carl Gottlieb

Editor: Verna Fields

Cinematographer: Bill Butler

Genre: Drama

Production Company: Universal Pictures , Zanuck/Brown Company

Composer: John Williams [composer]

Laura (1944)

Cast: Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb

Directors: Otto Preminger

Producer: Otto Preminger

Writer: Jay Dratler, Samuel Hoffenstein, Betty Reinhardt

Editor: Louis Loeffler

Cinematographer: Joseph La Shelle, Lucien Ballard

Genre: Film noir

Production Company: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.

Composer: David Raksin

The Magnificent Seven (1960)

Cast: Yul Brynner, Eli Wallach, Steve McQueen

Directors: John Sturges

Producer: Walter Mirisch, John Sturges

Writer: William Roberts, Walter Newman

Editor: Ferris Webster

Cinematographer: Charles Lang Jr.

Genre: Western

Production Company: The Mirisch Company, Inc., Alpha Productions

Composer: Elmer Bernstein

Chinatown (1974)

Cast: Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston

Directors: Roman Polanski

Producer: Robert Evans

Writer: Robert Towne

Editor: Sam O'Steen

Cinematographer: John Alonzo, Stanley Cortez

Genre: Mystery, Romance

Production Company: Long Road Productions, Inc.

Composer: Jerry Goldsmith

High Noon (1952)

Cast: Gary Cooper, Thomas Mitchell, Lloyd Bridges

Directors: Fred Zinnemann

Writer: Carl Foreman

Editor: Harry Gerstad, Elmo Williams

Cinematographer: Floyd Crosby

Genre: Western

Production Company: Stanley Kramer Productions, Inc.

Composer: Dimitri Tiomkin

The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)

Cast: Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone

Directors: Michael Curtiz, William Keighley

Producer: Jack L. Warner, Hal B. Wallis

Writer: Norman Reilly Raine, Seton I. Miller

Editor: Ralph Dawson

Cinematographer: Tony Gaudio, Sol Polito

Genre: Adventure

Production Company: Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.

Composer: Erich Wolfgang Korngold

Vertigo (1958)

Cast: James Stewart, Kim Novak, Barbara Bel Geddes

Directors: Alfred Hitchcock

Producer: Alfred Hitchcock

Writer: Alec Coppel, Samuel Taylor

Editor: George Tomasini

Cinematographer: Robert Burks

Genre: Romance

Production Company: Alfred J. Hitchcock Productions, Inc., Paramount Pictures Corp.

Composer: Bernard Herrmann

King Kong (1933)

Cast: Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong, Bruce Cabot

Directors: Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack

Producer: David O. Selznick

Writer: James Ashmore Creelman, Ruth Rose

Editor: Ted Cheesman

Cinematographer: Eddie Linden, Vernon L. Walker, J. O. Taylor

Genre: Adventure, Horror

Production Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.

Composer: Max Steiner

E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

Cast: Dee Wallace, Peter Coyote, Robert MacNaughton

Directors: Steven Spielberg

Producer: Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy

Writer: Melissa Mathison

Editor: Carol Littleton

Cinematographer: Allen Daviau

Genre: Fantasy, Science fiction

Production Company: Universal Pictures , Amblin' Entertainment

Composer: John Williams [composer]

Out of Africa (1985)

Cast: Meryl Streep, Robert Redford, Klaus Maria Brandauer

Directors: Sydney Pollack

Producer: Sydney Pollack, Kim Jorgensen

Writer: Kurt Luedtke

Editor: Fredric Steinkamp, William Steinkamp, Pembroke Herring, Sheldon Kahn

Cinematographer: David Watkin

Genre: Biography, Drama, Romance

Production Company: Universal Pictures , Mirage Enterprises

Composer: John Barry

Sunset Blvd. (1950)

Cast: William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich von Stroheim

Directors: Billy Wilder

Producer: Charles Brackett

Writer: Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder, D. M. Marshman Jr.

Editor: Arthur Schmidt, Doane Harrison

Cinematographer: John F. Seitz

Genre: Drama

Production Company: Paramount Pictures Corp.

Composer: Franz Waxman

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

Cast: Gregory Peck, John Megna, Frank Overton

Directors: Robert Mulligan

Producer: Alan J. Pakula

Writer: Horton Foote

Editor: Aaron Stell, J. Terry Williams

Cinematographer: Russell Harlan

Genre: Drama

Production Company: Pakula-Mulligan Productions, Inc., Brentwood Productions, Inc.

Composer: Elmer Bernstein

Planet of the Apes (1968)

Cast: Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter

Directors: Franklin J. Schaffner

Producer: Arthur P. Jacobs

Writer: Michael Wilson, Rod Serling

Editor: Hugh S. Fowler

Cinematographer: Leon Shamroy

Genre: Science fiction

Production Company: Apjac Productions, Inc.

Composer: Jerry Goldsmith

A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)

Cast: Vivien Leigh, Marlon Brando, Kim Hunter

Directors: Elia Kazan

Producer: Charles K. Feldman

Writer: Tennessee Williams, Oscar Saul

Editor: David Weisbart

Cinematographer: Harry Stradling

Genre: Drama

Production Company: Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc., Charles K. Feldman Group Productions

Composer: Alex North

The Pink Panther (1964)

Cast: David Niven, Peter Sellers, Robert Wagner

Directors: Blake Edwards

Producer: Martin Jurow

Writer: Maurice Richlin, Blake Edwards

Editor: Ralph E. Winters

Cinematographer: Philip Lathrop

Genre: Comedy

Production Company: Mirisch--G-E Productions

Composer: Henry Mancini

Ben-Hur (1959)

Cast: Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins, Haya Harareet

Directors: William Wyler

Producer: Joseph R. Vogel, Sol C. Siegel, Sam Zimbalist, J. J. Cohn

Writer: Karl Tunberg

Editor: Ralph E. Winters, John D. Dunning, Margaret Booth

Cinematographer: Robert L. Surtees

Genre: Epic

Production Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.

Composer: Miklos Rozsa

On the Waterfront (1954)

Cast: Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb

Directors: Elia Kazan

Producer: Sam Spiegel

Writer: Budd Schulberg

Editor: Gene Milford

Cinematographer: Boris Kaufman

Genre: Drama

Production Company: Horizon-American Pictures, Inc..

Composer: Leonard Bernstein

The Mission (1986)

Cast: Robert De Niro, Jeremy Irons, Ray McAnally

Directors: Roland Joffé

Producer: Fernando Ghia, David Puttnam

Writer: Robert Bolt

Editor: Jim Clark

Cinematographer: Chris Menges

Genre: Drama

Production Company: Goldcrest, Kingsmere Productions , Enigma Productions

Composer: Ennio Morricone

On Golden Pond (1981)

Cast: Katharine Hepburn, Henry Fonda, Jane Fonda

Directors: Mark Rydell

Producer: Bruce Gilbert

Writer: Ernest Thompson

Editor: Robert L. Wolfe

Cinematographer: Billy Williams

Genre: Drama

Production Company: ITC Films , IPC Films

Composer: Dave Grusin

How the West Was Won (1963)

Cast: Spencer Tracy, Carroll Baker, Lee J. Cobb

Directors: John Ford, George Marshall, Henry Hathaway

Producer: Bernard Smith

Writer: James R. Webb

Editor: Harold F. Kress

Cinematographer: William H. Daniels, Milton Krasner, Charles Lang Jr., Joseph La Shelle

Genre: Western

Production Company: Cinerama, Inc., Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.

Composer: Alfred Newman

1. Star Wars (1977)

Composer: John Williams [composer]

Cast: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher

Directors: George Lucas

Producer: Gary Kurtz, George Lucas

Writer: George Lucas

Editor: Paul Hirsch, Marcia Lucas, Richard Chew, John Jympson

Cinematographer: Gilbert Taylor

Production Company: Lucasfilm, Ltd.

2. Gone with the Wind (1939)

Composer: Max Steiner

Cast: Thomas Mitchell, Barbara O'Neil, Vivien Leigh

Directors: Victor Fleming, Sam Wood, George Cukor, Chester Franklin, James Fitzpatrick

Producer: David O. Selznick

Writer: Sidney Howard, Barbara Keon, Lydia Schiller, Connie Earl

Cinematographer: Ernest Haller, Lee Garmes

Production Company: Selznick International Pictures, Inc.

3. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Composer: Maurice Jarre

Cast: Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn

Directors: David Lean

Producer: Sam Spiegel, David Lean

Writer: Robert Bolt, Michael Wilson

Editor: Anne V. Coates

Cinematographer: F. A. Young

Production Company: Horizon Pictures (G.B.), Ltd.

4. Psycho (1960)

Composer: Bernard Herrmann

Cast: Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, John Gavin

Directors: Alfred Hitchcock

Producer: Alfred Hitchcock

Writer: Joseph Stefano

Editor: George Tomasini

Cinematographer: John L. Russell

Production Company: Shamley Productions, Inc.

5. The Godfather (1972)

Composer: Nino Rota

Cast: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan

Directors: Francis Ford Coppola

Producer: Robert Evans, Albert S. Ruddy

Writer: Mario Puzo, Francis Ford Coppola

Editor: William Reynolds, Peter Zinner

Cinematographer: Gordon Willis

Production Company: Paramount Pictures Corp., Alfran Productions, Inc.

6. Jaws (1975)

Composer: John Williams [composer]

Cast: Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss

Directors: Steven Spielberg

Producer: Richard D. Zanuck, David Brown, William S. Gilmore Jr.

Writer: Peter Benchley, Carl Gottlieb

Editor: Verna Fields

Cinematographer: Bill Butler

Production Company: Universal Pictures , Zanuck/Brown Company

7. Laura (1944)

Composer: David Raksin

Cast: Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb

Directors: Otto Preminger

Producer: Otto Preminger

Writer: Jay Dratler, Samuel Hoffenstein, Betty Reinhardt

Editor: Louis Loeffler

Cinematographer: Joseph La Shelle, Lucien Ballard

Production Company: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.

8. The Magnificent Seven (1960)

Composer: Elmer Bernstein

Cast: Yul Brynner, Eli Wallach, Steve McQueen

Directors: John Sturges

Producer: Walter Mirisch, John Sturges

Writer: William Roberts, Walter Newman

Editor: Ferris Webster

Cinematographer: Charles Lang Jr.

Production Company: The Mirisch Company, Inc., Alpha Productions

9. Chinatown (1974)

Composer: Jerry Goldsmith

Cast: Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston

Directors: Roman Polanski

Producer: Robert Evans

Writer: Robert Towne

Editor: Sam O'Steen

Cinematographer: John Alonzo, Stanley Cortez

Production Company: Long Road Productions, Inc.

10. High Noon (1952)

Composer: Dimitri Tiomkin

Cast: Gary Cooper, Thomas Mitchell, Lloyd Bridges

Directors: Fred Zinnemann

Writer: Carl Foreman

Editor: Harry Gerstad, Elmo Williams

Cinematographer: Floyd Crosby

Production Company: Stanley Kramer Productions, Inc.

11. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)

Composer: Erich Wolfgang Korngold

Cast: Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone

Directors: Michael Curtiz, William Keighley

Producer: Jack L. Warner, Hal B. Wallis

Writer: Norman Reilly Raine, Seton I. Miller

Editor: Ralph Dawson

Cinematographer: Tony Gaudio, Sol Polito

Production Company: Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.

12. Vertigo (1958)

Composer: Bernard Herrmann

Cast: James Stewart, Kim Novak, Barbara Bel Geddes

Directors: Alfred Hitchcock

Producer: Alfred Hitchcock

Writer: Alec Coppel, Samuel Taylor

Editor: George Tomasini

Cinematographer: Robert Burks

Production Company: Alfred J. Hitchcock Productions, Inc., Paramount Pictures Corp.

13. King Kong (1933)

Composer: Max Steiner

Cast: Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong, Bruce Cabot

Directors: Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack

Producer: David O. Selznick

Writer: James Ashmore Creelman, Ruth Rose

Editor: Ted Cheesman

Cinematographer: Eddie Linden, Vernon L. Walker, J. O. Taylor

Production Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.

14. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

Composer: John Williams [composer]

Cast: Dee Wallace, Peter Coyote, Robert MacNaughton

Directors: Steven Spielberg

Producer: Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy

Writer: Melissa Mathison

Editor: Carol Littleton

Cinematographer: Allen Daviau

Production Company: Universal Pictures , Amblin' Entertainment

15. Out of Africa (1985)

Composer: John Barry

Cast: Meryl Streep, Robert Redford, Klaus Maria Brandauer

Directors: Sydney Pollack

Producer: Sydney Pollack, Kim Jorgensen

Writer: Kurt Luedtke

Editor: Fredric Steinkamp, William Steinkamp, Pembroke Herring, Sheldon Kahn

Cinematographer: David Watkin

Production Company: Universal Pictures , Mirage Enterprises

16. Sunset Blvd. (1950)

Composer: Franz Waxman

Cast: William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich von Stroheim

Directors: Billy Wilder

Producer: Charles Brackett

Writer: Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder, D. M. Marshman Jr.

Editor: Arthur Schmidt, Doane Harrison

Cinematographer: John F. Seitz

Production Company: Paramount Pictures Corp.

17. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

Composer: Elmer Bernstein

Cast: Gregory Peck, John Megna, Frank Overton

Directors: Robert Mulligan

Producer: Alan J. Pakula

Writer: Horton Foote

Editor: Aaron Stell, J. Terry Williams

Cinematographer: Russell Harlan

Production Company: Pakula-Mulligan Productions, Inc., Brentwood Productions, Inc.

18. Planet of the Apes (1968)

Composer: Jerry Goldsmith

Cast: Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter

Directors: Franklin J. Schaffner

Producer: Arthur P. Jacobs

Writer: Michael Wilson, Rod Serling

Editor: Hugh S. Fowler

Cinematographer: Leon Shamroy

Production Company: Apjac Productions, Inc.

19. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)

Composer: Alex North

Cast: Vivien Leigh, Marlon Brando, Kim Hunter

Directors: Elia Kazan

Producer: Charles K. Feldman

Writer: Tennessee Williams, Oscar Saul

Editor: David Weisbart

Cinematographer: Harry Stradling

Production Company: Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc., Charles K. Feldman Group Productions

20. The Pink Panther (1964)

Composer: Henry Mancini

Cast: David Niven, Peter Sellers, Robert Wagner

Directors: Blake Edwards

Producer: Martin Jurow

Writer: Maurice Richlin, Blake Edwards

Editor: Ralph E. Winters

Cinematographer: Philip Lathrop

Production Company: Mirisch--G-E Productions

21. Ben-Hur (1959)

Composer: Miklos Rozsa

Cast: Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins, Haya Harareet

Directors: William Wyler

Producer: Joseph R. Vogel, Sol C. Siegel, Sam Zimbalist, J. J. Cohn

Writer: Karl Tunberg

Editor: Ralph E. Winters, John D. Dunning, Margaret Booth

Cinematographer: Robert L. Surtees

Production Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.

22. On the Waterfront (1954)

Composer: Leonard Bernstein

Cast: Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb

Directors: Elia Kazan

Producer: Sam Spiegel

Writer: Budd Schulberg

Editor: Gene Milford

Cinematographer: Boris Kaufman

Production Company: Horizon-American Pictures, Inc..

23. The Mission (1986)

Composer: Ennio Morricone

Cast: Robert De Niro, Jeremy Irons, Ray McAnally

Directors: Roland Joffé

Producer: Fernando Ghia, David Puttnam

Writer: Robert Bolt

Editor: Jim Clark

Cinematographer: Chris Menges

Production Company: Goldcrest, Kingsmere Productions , Enigma Productions

24. On Golden Pond (1981)

Composer: Dave Grusin

Cast: Katharine Hepburn, Henry Fonda, Jane Fonda

Directors: Mark Rydell

Producer: Bruce Gilbert

Writer: Ernest Thompson

Editor: Robert L. Wolfe

Cinematographer: Billy Williams

Production Company: ITC Films , IPC Films

25. How the West Was Won (1963)

Composer: Alfred Newman

Cast: Spencer Tracy, Carroll Baker, Lee J. Cobb

Directors: John Ford, George Marshall, Henry Hathaway

Producer: Bernard Smith

Writer: James R. Webb

Editor: Harold F. Kress

Cinematographer: William H. Daniels, Milton Krasner, Charles Lang Jr., Joseph La Shelle

Production Company: Cinerama, Inc., Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.

DONATE

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER