There aren’t many modern composers out there who’ve managed to become a household name but even your most casual moviegoer knows about John Williams. The list of iconic movies he has composed the score for speaks for itself: Jaws, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, and even Home Alone. Need I say more?
Whenever I hear one of those iconic themes, I instantly feel a ton of nostalgia and excitement that results in a desire to sit down, grab some snacks, and watch the damn movie. However, even though Williams is easily the most recognizable composer in Hollywood, there’s one who was equally as legendary but whose name flew a bit further under the radar—especially with younger crowds —who sadly died on Monday at the age of 91.
According to Variety, Ennio Morricone died in Rome shortly after being hospitalized due to a fall that fractured his hip. He got some well-deserved time in the spotlight most recently for his Oscar-winning work on Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight (he also composed an original song for Django Unchained) but that’s only the very tip of the iceberg when it comes to his legacy.
His greatest achievements in the world of cinema span a career of over 50 years, a span of time that saw him produce over 500 scores for film and television. He had been nominated for an Academy Award six times before getting the trophy with his aforementioned win but he’s also one of only two composers ever to be awarded an honorary Oscar for his immense contributions to cinema history over the years.
I could go on and on listing great movies that Ennio Morricone was an integral part of—like Once Upon A Time In The West and Cinema Paradiso—but the film I will always remember him for is The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly. I consider that movie to be a masterpiece even without taking the soundtrack into consideration but Morricone’s epic music makes it that much greater.
Whether you realize it or not, you’d probably recognize the film’s main theme, as there’s no doubt it’s the most classic Western soundtrack of all time. It’s what everyone thinks of when they pretend they’re cowboys with their friends as kids and has been parodied and imitated countless times.
So in honor of the man himself, enjoy Morricone conducting this short collection of legendary tunes, including two amazing pieces from The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly.
Thanks for the memories, Ennio, and rest in peace.