Last Updated on 26 September 2023

I searched the Internet for lists of the best or greatest movie music composers of all time. Criteria included the composers being ranked, including from all countries, and the lists created by groups, not individuals. Some lists were made by groups of critics or film reviewers, others were based on general public voting (like

I took the 27 lists I found and added all their content into a spreadsheet, noting the rank of every person. I experimented with different formulas, trying to balance the value of being ranked high on any list and being included on the most lists. I ended up averaging the rankings each one got (there were 99 that were on at least 2 lists) and dividing that average by the number of lists that movie was on. The lowest score meant a high ranking average on many lists.

The composers that were on the most lists (out of 27):

  • John Williams – all 27 lists!
  • Hans Zimmer – all 27 lists!
  • Ennio Morricone – 26 lists
  • Bernard Herrmann – 24 lists
  • Max Steiner – 21 lists
  • Jerry Goldsmith – 19 lists
  • Danny Elfman – 19 lists
  • James Horner – 19 lists

Here are links to the lists I used along with dates the lists were created: