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Section Header
James Newton Howard
(1951-)
Reviews in Filmtracks'
Top 100 Traffic Ranks:
#79.  Batman Begins
(updated daily)

Scores in Filmtracks'
Top 100 Voting Ranks:
#9.  Lady in the Water
(updated daily)

Filmtracks Editor's Recommendations:
Lady in the Water
Restoration

Biography:
Born in 1951, Jim Howard's youth was rooted in the study of classical music. With a grandmother who performed the violin with the Pittsburgh Symphony, Howard began lessons on the piano that would eventually culminate in a classical education at Santa Barbara's Music Academy of the West (with Reginald Stewart and Leon Fleischer) and at the USC School of Music. Though always fond of orchestral strings, Howard was drawn into the world of pop rock during the 1960's and 1970's. After performing keyboards with the Southern California band "Mama Lion" in the early 70's, Howard produced a few solo albums featuring the advancing technologies of Yamaha keyboards. It was during that time that Howard made a living as a session keyboard artist, often programming synthesizers for the likes of Diana Ross, Carly Simon, Ringo Starr, and others.

Seeking a lucrative career with his talents, Howard expanded his name for publicity purposes to include the full James Newton Howard, partly because it sounded more distinguished and partly because there was already a James Howard in the industry (which causes problems when registering with a professional guild). In the mid-1970's, Howard was contacted by Elton John, and he soon became John's regular keyboardist. The collaboration included album performances through 1981, and eventually included a tour with John in 1986. While on tour, Howard began experimenting with other career avenues. He produced recordings for Cher and Valerie Carter, which led to similar deals with everyone from Barbara Streisand to Randy Newman. Howard had the opportunity to orchestrate and conduct Elton John's live performance in Australia. He became acquinted with the popular rock band Toto, fresh off of their cult score for Dune, and Howard's music is performed by Toto members to this day. His knack for superior string arrangements led to recordings for which he orchestrated and conducted the London Symphony Orchestra.

It was then, in the mid-80's, that Howard stumbled upon film scoring. His first score was for "Head Office" in 1986, and while the films he composed for over the next five years were extremely forgettable, Howard's name was beginning to filter to very well known Hollywood directors. His career skyrocketed in 1991, when he was nominated for an Academy Award for The Prince of Tides and also successfully scored Man in the Moon and Grand Canyon. He expanded his work to television, scoring many popular themes. His Emmy nominated theme for E.R. in 1994 has since given him a comfortable financial situation, earning him royalties for each episode. He has won and been nominated for other Emmys and Grammys, and has received Academy Award nominations for The Fugitive, My Best Friend's Wedding, and The Village as well as several songs. Howard's ongoing collaborations feature well-chronicled admiration from directors Ivan Reitman, Kevin Costner, and Lawrence Kasdan. He remains one of the versetile composers in Hollywood today. Residing in the Los Angeles area with his wife and two sons, Howard is a proud dog owner.





James Newton Howard in the late 1990's


"Composing is a natural fit. As far as the creative process goes, I'd rather do this than anything else, by far. Something different happened to me when I started to write music to images. It was a feeling of excitement and connection and a sense of being in the right place that I never had before."
-- James Newton Howard in 2000

Lingering close to the forefront of film score stardom, James Newton Howard's body of work during the 1990's is as diverse as any composer in Hollywood. Extensively trained in both the arts of orchestral and electronic music, Howard has made a living by avoiding a single typecast role in the industry. His talents have produced scores for genres including pop/rock, children's, horror, action, romance, and drama. First noticed by mainstream score collectors in 1991 for his Academy Award nominated score The Prince of Tides, Howard has scored over 60 large-budget, feature films since, gaining him numerous award nominations and wins for Emmys, Grammys, and Oscars. He has composed some of the best known television themes of the modern age, with his E.R. theme as the pinnacle of all. His collaborations with several of Hollywood's best directors, as well as pop icons Elton John and Cher, place him in a unique situation in the film scoring industry.

One of Howard's very best attributes as a composer is his ability create a different style of music for every score he writes. He is the ultimate aural chameleon. While other composers' works can be instantly recognized in the theatre simply because of their orchestrations or thematic styles, Howard's scores are never easily identified as the products of his imagination. This ability has caused him to become one of the most highly sought composers, and his string of highly successful scores in the late 1990's has catapulted him into the "A" list of composers. He is a regular artist for films in which Julia Roberts stars, and with Dinosaur in 2000, he has become the next crown jewel of the Disney franchise for years to come. Directors have even been known to ask Howard to compose themes for a project before it even begins shooting. From the subtle, but powerful undertones of The Sixth Sense to the bombastic, exotic flight of Waterworld, Howard figures to be a key player in the film score arena during the first decade of the 21st Century.



 Filmography/Reviews at Filmtracks:  

(see legend below for information on abbreviations and codes)
 Title FRVRVT CTRD TR DatesNotes
2014:
N
Maleficent*****3.772927|||1,62508/14
2013:
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire***3.102065|||1,35712/13
Parkland
After Earth***2.992092|||1,31906/13
2012:
The Bourne Legacy**2.472151||1,13008/12
Snow White & the Huntsman***3.224043|||1,12506/12
The Hunger Games (co-wrote)***3.035533|||1,06204/12
2011:
Green Lantern**2.222774||1,40607/11
Water for Elephants****3.232311||1,46106/11
Gnomeo & Juliet (co-wrote)***2.893470||1,43702/11
The Green Hornet
2010:
The Tourist (co-wrote)***3.072300||1,47801/11
Love and Other Drugs
Salt***3.054815||1,16607/10
The Last Airbender*****3.761,66511||||55106/10
Inhale
Nanny McPhee Returns***3.20841||1,70308/11all albums
2009:
Duplicity**2.962870||1,23003/09
Confessions of a Shopaholic
2008:
Defiance (AW)****3.598095||70112/08
Youssou Ndour: I Bring What I Love
The Dark Knight (co-wrote) (AW)**2.734,907131||||20507/08 - 04/10multiple albums
The Happening***3.095193||84006/08
Mad Money
2007:
The Great Debaters
Charlie Wilson's War***3.221310||1,64510/10
I Am Legend****3.642180|||1,44705/10
The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep****3.745204|||71012/07
Michael Clayton (AW)*2.343504|77411/07
The Lookout
2006:
Blood Diamond (AW)****3.5965417||40812/06
Lady in the Water*****4.311,73246|||17107/06
RV
Freedomland**
2005:
King Kong (AW)****3.791,836139|||22612/05
Batman Begins (co-wrote)**2.945,898378||||7906/05 - 09/11
The Interpreter***3.3033610||65304/05 - 10/11
2004:
Collateral
The Village (AW)****3.772,407218|||13707/04 - 09/11
Hidalgo****3.471,06828||30603/04 - 04/09
2003:
Peter Pan***3.472,11879||12412/03 - 03/09
Dreamcatcher**1.961,12229||41603/03 - 03/09
2002:
Treasure Planet****3.441,57513||41112/02 - 02/09
Amongst the Shoes
The Emperor's Club***3.072513||1,05809/03 - 02/09
Unconditional Love
Signs***3.342,51494|||38909/02 - 02/09
Big Trouble
2001:
America's Sweethearts
Atlantis: The Lost Empire****3.735,75945||16505/01 - 01/09all albums
2000:
Vertical Limit****3.361180||1,62807/10
Unbreakable***3.071,85021||26011/00 - 11/07
Dinosaur****3.714,22615||24005/00 - 06/08
1999:
Wayward Son
Snow Falling on Cedars****3.501,1736|27511/99 - 08/07
Mumford
The Sixth Sense***3.504,7703||13108/99 - 06/08
Stir of Echoes
Runaway Bride
1998:
A Perfect Murder**3.17750||1,71101/12
1997:
The Postman****3.411200||1,61507/10
Devil's Advocate****3.411,0351||28511/97 - 06/07
My Best Friend's Wedding (AW)***3.031950|19202/98 - 03/06all albums
Fathers' Day
Liar Liar (co-wrote)***3.126302|83206/99 - 02/08
Romy and Michele's High School Reunion
Dante's Peak (co-wrote)***3.181031||1,62907/10
1996:
One Fine Day
Space Jam
The Trigger Effect
Primal Fear
The Juror
Eye for an Eye
1995:
Restoration*****3.704624|73003/00 - 04/07
French Kiss
Waterworld****3.711,9773|20606/98 - 05/07
Outbreak***3.171360|1,02706/98 - 03/06
Just Cause
1994:
Junior
Wyatt Earp****3.456923|||80006/03 - 12/13all albums
Intersection
1993:
The Saint of Fort Washington
The Fugitive (AW)**3.081,2963|||46712/00 - 09/10all albums
Dave****3.45961||1,59102/12 - 03/13all albums
Falling Down**3.241370||50706/97 - 03/06bootleg
Alive***
1992:
Night and the City
Glengarry Glen Ross
Diggstown
A Private Matter (TV)
American Heart
1991:
The Prince of Tides (AW)****3.29790||1,65002/12
Grand Canyon
My Girl
The Man in the Moon****3.344701|64201/00 - 08/06
Dying Young
Guilty by Suspicion
King Ralph
1990:
Descending Angel (TV)
3 Men and a Little Lady
Marked for Death
Somebody Has to Shoot the Picture (TV)
Flatliners****3.241370||50706/97 - 03/06bootleg
Revealing Evidence: Stalking the Honolulu Strangler (TV)
Pretty Woman
Coupe de Ville
The Image (TV)
1989:
The Package
Major League**
Tap
1988:
Everybody's All-American
Go Toward the Light (TV)
Some Girls
Off Limits
1987:
Russkies
Five Corners
Campus Man
Promised Land
1986:
Nobody's Fool
Tough Guys
8 Million Ways to Die
Wildcats
1985:
Head Office
(reviews listed with a "co-wrote" indicate that either the composer wrote the score with another person or that more than one composer worked separately to provide a score for the production)


Legend:
Status:
N
- indicates a new review that has been published in the last 90 days
R
- indicates an older review that has been significantly revised in the last 90 days
Awards: AW - indicates that the music won or was nominated for a major award
Ratings: FR - Filmtracks Rating ("Varied" indicates a split rating with no overall designation)
VR - Viewer Rating (overall average)
VT - Vote Total (for viewer ratings)
Comments: Comment Total (the number of messages posted in the review's comment area)
Review Depth: ||||| - Massive Review (over 4,000 words)
|||| - Very Long Review (between 2,200 and 4,000 words)
||| - Long Review (between 1,200 and 2,200 words)
|| - Average Review (between 800 and 1,200 words)
| - Short Review (under 800 words)
Traffic Rank: Popularity Rank (lower numbers indicate more cumulative reads; new reviews take time to climb the ranks)
Dates: 1st - indicates the month and year during which the review was first published
2nd - indicates the month and year of the review's most recent significant revision (if any)


   
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