AFI Honors John Williams. To Commemorate, My Top 10 Non-Blockbuster John Williams Scores


Another first for John Williams.

On Thursday night June 9, the American Film Institute will honor the legendary film composer with their Lifetime Achievement Award. It will be the first time in the 44 year history of the award that the honor will go to an artist that’s not a director or actor. (The ceremony will be televised on June 15 at 10pm EST, 9pm CST on TNT. It will be broadcast again on Turner Classic Movies in the fall on September 12 during a daylong Williams retrospective.)

If anyone deserves to break into that AFI actor/director clique, it’s Williams. His themes to blockbusters for Steven Spielberg (the 23rd recipient of the AFI Award), George Lucas (the 33rd recipient) and others (ranging from movies like SupermanHome Alone, and the first three Harry Potter films) are as timeless as the classic movies they defined.

But you know those scores.

In honor of his entire career, here are my choices for:

The Top 10 Non-Blockbuster John Williams Film Scores

10. Sabrina (1995) (dir. Sydney Pollack)

9. Born On The Fourth of July (1989) (dir. Oliver Stone)

8. Rosewood (1997) (dir. John Singleton)

7. Seven Years In Tibet (1997) (dir. Jean-Jacques Annaud)

6. Heartbeeps (1981) (dir. Allan Arkush) (easily the most obscure movie on this list)

5. Always (1989) (dir. Steven Spielberg)

4. The Cowboys (1972) (dir. Mark Rydell)

3. The Book Thief (2013) (dir. Brian Percival)

2. Stepmom (1998) (dir. Chris Columbus)

1. SpaceCamp (1986) (dir. Harry Winer)

Non-Movie Honorable Mentions:

  • The theme to the 1960s sci-fi TV series Lost In Space
  • The theme to The NBC Nightly News (called “The Mission Theme”)
  • The theme to PBS’s Great Performances
  • Two different Olympic themes – 1984’s “Olympic Fanfare” and 1996’s “Summon The Heroes” (Both Olympiads were hosted by the United States.)

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