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John Williams
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Filmtracks Statistics:
Average Filmtracks Rating: 3.74
Average Viewer Rating: 3.6
Number of Reviews: 69
Number of Votes: 338,776
Number of Comments: 4,835
Reviews in Filmtracks'
Top 100 Traffic Ranks:
#3. Star Wars: A New Hope
#4. Schindler's List
#10. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace
#11. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
#12. Jurassic Park
#25. Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
#29. Superman
#34. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
#35. Saving Private Ryan
#41. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
#46. Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
#48. Star Wars: Attack of the Clones
#55. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
#62. Raiders of the Lost Ark
#67. The Lost World: Jurassic Park
#74. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
#78. Close Encounters of the Third Kind
#80. Seven Years in Tibet
#83. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
#88. Jaws
Reviews in Filmtracks'
Top 100 Voting Ranks:
#1.  Schindler's List
#3.  E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
#6.  Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
#14.  Raiders of the Lost Ark
#17.  Jaws
#18.  Star Wars: The Phantom Menace
#19.  Jurassic Park
#22.  Star Wars: A New Hope
#31.  Superman
#35.  Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
#42.  Hook
#54.  The Terminal
#56.  Far and Away
#67.  Star Wars: Attack of the Clones
#70.  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
#80.  Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
Filmtracks Editor's Recommendations:
The Towering Inferno
Star Wars: A New Hope
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
Raiders of the Lost Ark
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Presumed Innocent
Far and Away
Jurassic Park
Schindler's List
Star Wars: The Phantom Menace
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Star Wars: Attack of the Clones
The Terminal
The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn
Related Pages of Interest:
Star Wars: Special Edition Theme of the Month
(February 1997 archives)
Hollywood Sound
(1997 compilation, Williams conducting)
Close Encounters: The Essential John Williams Collection
(1999, The City of Prague Philharmonic)
American Journey/Call of the Champions
(2002 Olympics recording)
Additional Quotes:
"On the technical side, the development of a sound, solid craft, is the best advice anyone can be given. The study of the great canon of western music. A working familiarity with counterpoint of what should be part of every composer. Reading is enormously important, for inspiration and creation of music. There is more music to be found in poetry and in the quiet contemplation of nature, than in studying music itself. As to how to develop a career, one can now have one in music education, or in film, or in a community service, in vocal music, choral, all of these areas. All are rich areas, and are good ones. So a good solid basis education can lead you to a career that is joyful and enormously rewarding." - 1999, on advice for aspiring composers

"The first time I turned around at the end of the first number, there was still some light and I could see, all the way, this multitude of people, and the only word I could think of for it was 'biblical.' It was like a multitude crossing the sea... No way to describe the feeling of standing in from of that number of people. The Pope could maybe tell you something about it." - 1982, on conducting live in front of 225,000 people

"The fifth time is like the first time. It's like anything else we do creatively. We sit down with a blank piece of paper and we hope that we're going to have the inspiration and the energy and the good luck that we've had in the past. So I think every time is the same challenge all over again, and we rise to meet it in the best way we can and that's the thing that keeps us vitally interested in what we do." - 2002, on Attack of the Clones

"The Olympics are a wonderful metaphor for world cooperation, the kind of international competition that's wholesome and healthy, an interplay between countries that represents the best in all of us." - 2001, on writing Call of the Champions for the 2002 Olympics

"It was not music that might describe terra incognita but the opposite of that, music that would put us in touch with very familiar and remembered emotions, which for me as a musician translated into the use of a 19th century operatic idiom, if you like, Wagner and this sort of thing. These sorts of influences would put us in touch with remembered theatrical experiences as well, all western experiences to be sure." - 1997, on Star Wars

Decorative Nonsense
Primary Composer Picture
John Williams conducts during recording sessions of The Fury in 1978

"So much of what we do is ephemeral and quickly forgotten, even by ourselves, so it's gratifying to have something you have done linger in people's memories."

John Towner Williams was born in the Flushing section of Queens, in New York City, on February 8, 1932, the oldest of Esther and Johnny Williams. His father, a jazz drummer, had been one of the original members of the Raymond Scott Quintet and later was a percussionist with the CBS Radio Orchestra and NBC's "Your Hit Parade". Music played an important part in the lives of John, his brothers Jerry and Don, and his sister Joan. From the age of seven he studied piano, and he also learned to play the trombone, the trumpet, and the clarinet. In 1948 the family moved to Los Angeles, where the father free-lanced with film studio orchestras. After graduating in 1950 from North Hollywood High School, where he played, arranged, and composed for the school band, Williams took courses in piano and composition at UCLA and studied privately with pianist-arranger Bobby Van Eps. He composed his first serious work, a piano sonata, as a nineteen-year-old student and later a wind quintet never finished or performed.

Reviews Icon
(see legend below for abbreviations and codes)
 TitleFR VRVTCT RD TRDates Notes
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
The Book Thief (AW)****3.643392||1,08612/13
Lincoln (AW)****3.4956514|||71811/12
War Horse (AW)****3.801,25220||||63211/11
The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (AW)*****3.921,33810||||54111/11
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (AW)****3.511,39424||||48105/08 - 12/08all albums
Munich (AW)****3.461,44063||32401/06
Memoirs of a Geisha (AW)****3.611,54460|21911/05
War of the Worlds***3.141,856127|||15107/05 - 09/11
Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (AW)****4.0420,077529|||||4604/05 - 09/11
The Terminal*****4.112,750100|||21006/04 - 09/11
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (AW)****3.978,580340||||5505/04 - 08/11
Catch Me If You Can (AW)***2.972,42663||11112/02 - 01/09
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (co-wrote) (AW)****3.7413,039339||||7411/02 - 12/08
Minority Report***3.062,876169|||16506/02 - 01/09
Star Wars: Attack of the Clones*****4.0929,124872|||||4802/02 - 12/08all albums
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (AW)*****4.0731,850457|||||1108/01 - 11/08all albums
A.I. Artificial Intelligence (AW)****3.664,680213||||10907/01 - 01/09
The Patriot (AW)****3.966,02080|||16106/00 - 06/08
Angela's Ashes (AW)****3.885,1319|||25412/99 - 04/08
Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (AW)*****4.2643,966126|||||1003/99 - 07/08all albums
Stepmom***3.523,33316|17112/98 - 07/07
Saving Private Ryan (AW)***3.3512,38545|||3507/98 - 03/08
Amistad (AW)****3.772,5479||23812/97 - 02/08
Seven Years in Tibet (AW)****3.662,1063||8009/97 - 03/08
The Lost World: Jurassic Park (AW)***3.944,0645|||6705/97 - 02/08
Rosewood***3.061822|||61303/97 - 07/13all albums
Sleepers (AW)**3.012703||60810/96 - 11/11
Nixon (AW)**2.887545||39309/96 - 05/07
Sabrina (AW)**3.285428||33509/96 - 08/08
Schindler's List (AW)*****4.3724,736381|||409/96 - 08/06multiple albums
Jurassic Park (AW)*****4.2617,459114||||1209/96 - 07/13all albums
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York**3.221,13417|||25209/96 - 03/13all albums
Far and Away*****4.104,59516|||16809/96 - 01/08
Hook (AW)*****4.163,80177||||13509/96 - 08/12multiple albums
JFK (AW)**3.478153||38106/98 - 05/07
Home Alone (AW)****3.952,83619|||11309/96 - 01/11all albums
Presumed Innocent*****3.557685||46109/96 - 08/08
Stanley & Iris**3.002223||89806/98 - 11/11
Always**2.993336|75606/98 - 08/06
Born on the Fourth of July (AW)****3.923,2606||33006/98 - 07/06
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (AW)****3.944,57818|||8308/97 - 12/08all albums
The Accidental Tourist (AW)**3.072908|70006/98 - 02/10all albums
Empire of the Sun (AW)***3.722751|||1,27008/09 - 08/14all albums
The Witches of Eastwick (AW)***3.505741||1,37408/09 - 11/12multiple albums
SpaceCamp***3.163794||62807/98 - 12/14all albums
Amazing Stories (TV) (co-wrote)Varied3.688081||||36106/99 - 10/07all albums
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (AW)*****3.638344|||97208/09all albums
The River (AW)****3.171211||1,56308/09
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (AW)*****4.1810,67033||||2503/97 - 09/11all albums
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (AW)*****4.337,969129||||4109/96 - 08/08
Raiders of the Lost Ark (AW)*****4.296,3225|||||6209/96 - 12/08all albums
Heartbeeps**3.003026||1,12911/01 - 10/08limited
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (AW)*****4.329,39463||||3401/97 - 09/11all albums
1941**3.011912|||1,38108/09 - 10/11multiple albums
The Fury****3.555214|||72803/03 - 03/13all albums
Superman (AW)*****4.203,97841||||2911/98 - 07/09multiple albums
Jaws 2****3.244631||1,43208/09
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (AW)****3.782,1838|||7805/98 - 04/08all albums
Star Wars: A New Hope (AW)*****4.2517,28062||||301/97 - 08/11all albums
Black Sunday***3.031500|||1,59802/10limited
Midway***3.001401||1,46108/09 - 11/11multiple albums
The Missouri Breaks**3.006020||1,01806/99 - 10/07all albums
Family Plot***3.00960|||1,65412/10limited
Jaws (AW)*****4.271,73739|||8803/03 - 03/09all albums
The Eiger Sanction***
The Towering Inferno (AW)*****3.909169|||29304/01 - 10/08limited
The Sugarland Express***
Conrack***3.094942|||31809/96 - 09/10all albums
Cinderella Liberty (AW)***
The Paper Chase**3.094942|||31809/96 - 09/10all albums
The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing**
The Long Goodbye**
Tom Sawyer (AW)***adaptation
Pete 'N' Tillie
The Poseidon Adventure****3.094942|||31809/96 - 09/10all albums
Images (AW)
The Screaming Woman (TV)
The Cowboys****
Fiddler on the Roof (AW)***adaptation
Jane Eyre (AW)***
Story of a Woman (Storia Di Una Donna)
The Reivers (AW)****
Goodbye, Mr. Chips (AW)***
Daddy's Gone A-Hunting
Heidi (TV) (AW)****
Sergeant Ryker
Ghostbreakers (TV)
A Guide for the Married Man
Valley of the Dolls (AW)***adaptation
Not With My Wife You Don't!**
How to Steal a Million**
The Plainsman
The Rare Breed
John Goldfarb, Please Come Home*
None But the Brave***
The Killers
Nightmare in Chicago (TV)
Gilligan's Island: Marooned (TV)
Gidget Goes to Rome
Diamond Head**
Bachelor Flat
The Secret Ways
Because They're Young
I Passed for White
(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)
- indicates a new review that has been published in the last 90 days
- indicates an older review that has been significantly revised in the last 90 days
Awards: AW - or a golden year 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)
Copyright © 1996-2015, Filmtracks Publications. All rights reserved.
The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast,
rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. Page created 9/24/96 and last updated 5/30/15.
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