Schindler’s List score named nation’s favourite piece of film music

John Williams’ score to Schindler’s List has been voted the nation’s favourite piece of film music.

The composer’s Oscar-winning accompaniment to Steven Spielberg’s 1993 feature, about a German businessman who saved more than 1,000 lives during the Holocaust, topped the list compiled by Classic FM and Radio Times.

The film also knocked Howard Shore’s score for The Lord Of The Rings off the top spot this year, while Hans Zimmer’s music for Gladiator was in third.

John Barry took fourth and fifth with Out Of Africa and Dances With Wolves respectively.

Composer John Barry
Composer John Barry

Williams secured five entries in the top 20, including Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone and ET The Extra-Terrestrial.

He told Classic FM: “I’d like to express my gratitude to the listeners of Classic FM for selecting my music from Schindler’s List for this high honour.

“It was a privilege to be involved in the making of this film, and it’s very gratifying to know that so many people around the world continue to embrace it after nearly 30 years.”

Ennio Morricone death
Ennio Morricone death

Italian composer Ennio Morricone had three entries – The Mission, Cinema Paradiso and The Good, The Bad And The Ugly – in the top 20 following his death in July aged 91.

More than 21,000 votes were cast by Classic FM listeners and Radio Times readers.

Andrew Collins, presenter of Saturday Night At The Movies on Classic FM and Radio Times’ film editor, said: “It’s been a while since we polled the discerning listeners of Classic FM and readers of Radio Times about their favourite film themes and what we learn about their choices is that the greatest hits remain immovably and unimprovably great.

“Nobody would deny the near permanence of John Barry or the late Ennio Morricone or the trailblazing Vangelis in any top 10.

“The Lord Of The Rings, a true masterwork of narrative scope and innate personality, will always give the other fabulous scores something to aim for.

“I am personally sad not to see my own choice Interstellar in the top 10 but Hans Zimmer at three with Gladiator makes another mighty showing. Are we not entertained?

“As for John Williams… we have found your favourite film theme and it’s as moving and mournful as any winner.

“Williams doubted he could pull it off. He was wrong. My advice, as ever, is to explore the lower scores. There’s a lot of invention and innovation down there.

“I’m humming S.T.A.Y. from Interstellar just to reset the musical universe.”

The 100-strong list was played on-air between Saturday August 29 and Monday August 31.

The top 20 of the Classic FM Movie Music Hall Of Fame 2020

1. Schindler’s List – John Williams
2. The Lord Of The Rings – Howard Shore
3. Gladiator – Hans Zimmer
4. Out Of Africa – John Barry
5. Dances With Wolves – John Barry
6. The Mission – Ennio Morricone
7. Star Wars – John Williams
8. Chariots Of Fire – Vangelis
9. The Good, The Bad And The Ugly – Ennio Morricone
10. Jurassic Park – John Williams
11. Doctor Zhivago – Maurice Jarre
12. Cinema Paradiso – Ennio Morricone
13. Ladies In Lavender – Nigel Hess
14. Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone – John Williams
15. ET The Extra-Terrestrial – John Williams
16. The Magnificent Seven – Elmer Bernstein
17. 633 Squadron – Ron Goodwin
18. Amelie – Yann Tiersen
19. Blade Runner – Vangelis
20. Braveheart – James Horner