John Williams’ Most Iconic Movie Soundtracks, Ranked

We all love a movie soundtrack known to almost everyone we know, when we can start humming it randomly and everyone joins. John Williams is one of the iconic Oscar-winning composers known for writing many famous soundtracks around the world.


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Some of Williams’ most famous soundtracks come from movies Jaws, Jurassic Park, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s StoneAnd Superman. Create music that complements the storyline and gives the film an extra layer of perfection.

‘The Jaws’ (1975)

Jaws is an adventure thriller released in 1975. It follows the story of a huge and terrifying white shark attacking anything it can get its fins on. The shark, Jaws, plays a compound theme every time he is about to attack.

This film is just under 50 years old and is still known to a large part of the population, undeniably for the brilliant theme song played when the shark is about to attack, composed by Williams. This soundtrack is simply composed of two bass notes played on the tuba

‘Superman’ (1978)

Superman (Christopher Reeve) in flight

Superman is a sci-fi action movie released in 1978 about the story of an alien orphan sent to earth while his home planet is dying. Here, he becomes Earth’s first ever superhero. Superman has a brilliantly strong lead theme at the beginning of the film and all the time.


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The main title track is the best known because many now know which superhero you are referring to when you start singing it. It was nominated for an Oscar and is still used in the classical setting of orchestras to this day. It expresses the fun, selfless and uplifting characteristics of this superhero.

“Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” (1980)

Photo via Disney

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back is the perfect choice among William de’s soundtracks Star Wars series because it has it all; from the main theme song to “The March of Darth Vader”, and obviously the introductory melody of Yoda. These three songs are masterpieces.

The main theme song of Star Wars still resonates with so many today with its proud trumpets and its cheerful sci-fi melody. “The March of Darth Vader” is the perfect portrayal of Vader as he is filled with power, superiority and darkness. Meanwhile, Yoda’s introductory song gives the complete contrast, giving light, hope and curiosity.

“Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Bow” (1981)


Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Bow is the first Indiana Jones film that follows an archeology professor on his crazy adventure in search of a biblical artifact. However, he is not the only one looking for this artifact, as a troop of Nazis are on the warpath to get what he wants.


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The lead theme became a smash hit with Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones. It gives a perfect optimistic and adventurous acronym for that curious adventurer. This song was nominated for an Oscar but unfortunately lost Vangelis‘”Chariots of fire “.

Screenshot 12-02-2022 at 22:29:20

ET: The extraterrestrial is a 1982 science fiction adventure film that follows a child who discovers an alien who becomes his friend. They form a beautiful bond together as they face many obstacles along the way. Williams worked with Steven Spielberg during this magical film.

This soundtrack was made at the height of Williams’ career and is certainly unforgettable. The brilliant director, Spielberg, has so much respect for Williams that he actually modified the film’s ending to completely fit his composition, instead of the other way around, as is normally the case.

“Jurassic Park” (1993)

A T-Rex standing a few meters from a man holding a rocket to distract him

Jurassic Park is a science fiction adventure film released in 1993 about the story of a paleontologist who visits a nearly full dinosaur park with his friends. However, he takes a turn for the worse when the power goes out and the dinosaurs go wild.

Williams created the brilliant theme for this film that gives a real idea of ​​what will happen while watching, gives adventure and awe. The soundtrack is the perfect representation of suspense and danger as the park begins to lose control.

“Schindler’s List” (1994)

Ralph Fiennes as Amon Goeth

Schindler’s List is a historical and biographical drama film released in 1994 and set during the Second World War, when Poland was occupied by Germany. An industrialist is concerned about his Jewish workforce as he watches their persecution by the Nazis.


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It was another Spielberg production. It was such an amazing film that Williams actually told Spielberg that she needed a better composer than him. However, Williams definitely made it by giving this soundtrack so much passion, emotion and pain that it won its 5th Oscar.

“7 years in Tibet” (1997)

a blond man watching a monk open a box

7 years in Tibet is an adventure drama based on a true story during the time of China’s conquest of Tibet. Heinrich Harrer, played by Brad Pitthe traveled through Tibet between 1944 and 1951 and became a mentor and friend of the Dalai Lama.

Williams portrays this film beautifully through its soundtrack creating a romantic theme while portraying authentic oriental elements. She expels the passion by adding Yo-Yo Mathe performance on the cello.

“Saving Private Ryan” (1998)

Soldiers from Saving Private Ryan

Save Private Ryan is a drama war film that follows a group of American soldiers after the Normandy landings as they travel behind enemy lines in an attempt to retrieve one of their paratroopers whose brother was killed in action.


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Spielberg decided to leave the music out of the battle scenes to make them more realistic. Williams had to create the perfect composition for the credits to honor the fallen soldiers. Although there is very little music, “Hymn to the Fallen” makes up for it because it is a memorable empathic composition that refers to the emotions experienced.

“Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” (2001)


Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is a fantasy adventure film released in 2001. It follows an orphaned young boy enrolled in a witchcraft school. Once in school, he begins to discover more about himself, his family and the evil that surrounds him.

Williams has outdone himself with this magical and captivating acronym; he exudes curiosity, terror and innocence all rolled into one. The first film shone above the others for its magical musical composition with eerie melodic leaps and spiral strings.


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