John Williams’s Star Wars theme named nation’s favourite film score

Classic film score beats competition from Morricone, Bernstein and Herrmann

John Williams’s theme for Star Wars has been voted the nation’s favourite film score in a poll run by BBC Radio 3.

Williams’s score for the classic sci-fi films beat competition from Ennio Morricone, whose score for The Good, the Bad and the Ugly came second, and Leonard Bernstein, whose West Side Story finished third.

Berhnard Herrmann’s iconic music for Psycho only reached number eleven, while his score for Vertigo came fifth, just after Maurice Jarre’s theme for Lawrence of Arabia.

Music by Hans Zimmer, Rogers & Hammerstein, Nino Rota and Jonny Greenwood also featured in the chart – the full list of which can be seen below.

There’s a chance to hear all the music featured in the chart in a special programme on Radio 3 at 2pm today, 27 September, when the BBC Concert Orchestra will perform the music in the top 20 live, conducted by Robert Ziegler and in front of a studio audience.

The vote was part of the BBC’s Sound of Cinema season and people were asked to vote online from a shortlist compiled by film experts including Radio 3’s Matthew Sweet, Radio 4’s Francine Stock and conductor Robert Ziegler.

The full top 20 is as follows:

1. Star Wars Main Theme (John Williams)
2. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Ennio Morricone, arr. David Arnold)
3. West Side Story (Leonard Bernstein)
4. Lawrence of Arabia Main Theme (Maurice Jarre)
5. Vertigo (Bernard Herrmann)
6. The Third Man (Anton Karas arr. Cox)
7. Dark Knight Rises Suite (Hans Zimmer)
8. Grease (various)
9. Sound of Music (Richard Rogers / Oscar Hammerstein II)
10. Apocalypse Now (Wagner)
11. Psycho (Bernard Herrmann)
12. Django Unchained (Bacalov / Morricone)
13. Mary Poppins (Sherman brothers)
14. Billy Elliot (Swan Lake music, Tchaikovsky)
15. The Wizard of Oz (Harold Arlen, E.Y. Harburg, Herbert Stothard)
16. There Will be Blood (Jonny Greenwood)
17. Planet of the Apes (Jerry Goldsmith)
18. 8 ½ ‘Otto e Mezzo’ (Nino Rota)
19. Sholay (RD Burman)
20. Bombay (AR Rahman)