From ‘Harry Potter’ to ‘Star Wars’: 10 Best John Williams Scores

Legendary musician and Oscar-winning composer John Williams turns 90 years old today. In many respects, he’s considered the epitome of film music composing because he has elevated the possibilities of so many films and genres that could have felt standard or safe otherwise.

With 52 Oscar nominations, he is the second most-nominated individual after Walt Disney in Academy Awards history. He’s won five Oscars over his impressive career: “Fiddler on the Roof” (1971), “Jaws” (1976), “Star Wars” (1977), “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” (1982) and “Schindler’s List” (1993). His multiple nominations have been split through various inceptions of the original score category, including best scoring of music – adaptation or treatment, and when it was divided between drama and comedy or musical. He’s also been recognized for his contributions to multiple original songs, which is one category in which he hasn’t won.

In addition, Williams has won 25 Grammys, seven BAFTAs, and three Emmy Awards. However, he has yet to win a Tony to complete his EGOT status. He’s also been honored with an honorary doctorate of music from Berklee College of Music and Boston College and several lifetime achievement awards, including AFI. Many of his most acclaimed and popular scores have been under the directorial guidance of filmmakers such as Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Richard Donner and Chris Columbus.

When tackling a list that’s essentially splitting hairs on what score is better than another, we should note some adopted rules when approaching this monumental task. First, we included one score per franchise — otherwise, we could have easily had a top 10 of all “Star Wars” and “Harry Potter” films. Below, Variety ranks the 10 best music scores of John Williams’ career.

Honorable mentions: “Hook” (1991), “Saving Private Ryan” (1998) and “Catch Me If You Can” (2002)