Last Updated on 15 September 2023

I searched the Internet for lists of best movie music composers of all time. Criteria included the composers being ranked, not just listed, and covering all time, not just a decade or from a certain genre. The lists were generally created by groups, whether teams or committees or based on general public voting (like Ranker.com).

I was able to find 27 lists. I took the 27 lists and added all their content into a spreadsheet, noting the rank of every person. The total number was over 600 including all the repeats. I averaged the rankings each person got and divided that average by the number of lists that composer was on. The lowest score meant a high ranking average on many lists. At the bottom is the spreadsheet with all of these lists and calculations.

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

  • John Williams – 27 lists
  • Hans Zimmer – 26 lists
  • Ennio Morricone – 24 lists
  • Max Steiner – 21 lists
  • Bernard Herrmann – 21 lists
  • John Barry – 17 lists
  • James Horner – 17 lists
  • Danny Elfman – 17 lists
  • Rachel Portman – 16 lists
  • Alfred Newman – 12 lists
  • Maurice Jarre – 12 lists
  • Howard Shore – 12 lists

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

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