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Home Page
John Debney
$composer Photo
Filmtracks Statistics:
Average Filmtracks Rating: 3.29
Average Viewer Rating: 3.05
Number of Reviews: 52
Number of Votes: 45,597
Number of Comments: 913
Reviews in Filmtracks'
Top 100 Traffic Ranks:
#92. The Passion of the Christ
Reviews in Filmtracks'
Top 100 Voting Ranks:
#18.  Cutthroat Island
Filmtracks Editor's Recommendations:
Cutthroat Island
The Jungle Book
The Passion of the Christ
Related Pages of Interest:
SeaQuest DSV
(1993, television series)
(Cond. Debney, 1998, The Royal Scottish National Orchestra)
Amazing Stories
(Cond. Debney, 1999, The Royal Scottish National Orchestra)
Back to the Future Trilogy
(Cond. Debney, 1999, The Royal Scottish National Orchestra)
The Towering Inferno
(Cond. Debney, 1999, The Royal Scottish National Orchestra)
Remember the Titans
(1999, rejected score)
Additional Quotes:
"I'm still learning how to score films. I don't think there's any right way to score a film because just when I think there's a right way to do a certain scene, somebody like Danny Elfman comes along and does something that's different." - 1998, on the diversity of film scores

"I think it was my score to The Relic that was very difficult for me. That type of score is not as enticing. People like Chris Young and now Marco Beltrami... they're so good at it. They seem to flourish with it, especially Chris. I'm just blown away by what he does." - 1998, on the horror genre

"The Varèse recordings have been very exciting and gratifying. Bob Townson and I have tried with all our hearts to stay as true to the original performances as humanly possible. I would never presume to contact any of the living composers I've conducted. I just hope that at the end of the day they will be pleased with the final product." - 1999, on conducting classic scores

"I think for any composer to write for a pirate movie, a big cowboy movie, or a space epic like Star Wars, that's a dream job. The Scorpion King was right up there because it was really fun to dive into all the elements that go into something like that." - 2002, on dream assignments

"As the most challenging and rewarding, the one that comes to mind is Cutthroat Island. That may seem strange because the film is known as this huge failure. When we were doing it, it was this amazingly glorious experience because it required me to compose over two hours of huge swashbuckling-type music... I was given this huge canvas to paint." - 2002, on his most rewarding score

"When I was a kid, I remember my dad bringing home some of the classic Disney films on 16 mm film. Once I'd learned how to read music, I'd sit with the written score for Sleeping Beauty, for example, and follow along while watching the film. I always had a keen interest in that." - 2003, on his childhood

"I've already seen instances where the technology can really overshadow the craft. You can get someone who's barely knowledgeable of music fundamentals doing big film scores. My hope is, with the advent of technology, that we never lose sight of the craft involved." - 2003, on technology and composer talents

"I only have a problem with a song idea when the studio is jamming the songs down the throat of the film. I've had many directors tell me that they don't want this or that song as part of the film. But the reality is that if you get a hit soundtrack, quite frankly, some of those do better than the movies." - 2003, on score albums versus song albums

Decorative Nonsense
Primary Composer Picture
John Debney at the Bruce Almighty premiere in 2003

"I love writing melodies. I love writing memorable and emotional music. In my heart, I'm not really into big, bombastic stuff, even though I like to write it. I'd like to one day be nominated for an Oscar."
- John Debney, 1993

Born in 1956 in Burbank, California, John Debney started playing guitar at age of six and began his classical training. His father worked as a musician and producer at Disney Studios for over 40 years, introducing his teenage son to the industry of animated pictures. He would bring Disney films and their written musical scores home for his son to compare while watching the films, including Sleeping Beauty. During his maturation, he went through a rock band phase during which his band was signed on to a contract. But after working the rock band scene out of his system, Debney earned his Bachelors Degree from Cal-Arts and continued to study music composition privately. In the following years, he worked mostly as an orchestrator for other composers before slowly getting his own assignments (mostly in television). His performance and expertise is in piano and guitar, though he has experimented with the cello and sax. He also sings and has done professional singing work.

Reviews Icon
(see legend below for abbreviations and codes)
 TitleFR VRVTCT RD TRDates Notes
High Wire Act
League of Gods
Ice Age: Collision Course****3.521491||1,65209/16
Mother's Day
The Jungle Book*****3.692406|||1,35705/16
The Young Messiah****
Broken Horses***
Wolves and Dogs: Howls for Full Moon
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water***3.02931||1,72206/15limited
The Cobbler
Stonehearst Asylum
Walk of Shame
Draft Day
The Call
Alex Cross
The Three Stooges
A Thousand Words
New Year's Eve
The Double
Dream House****3.322213|||1,40810/11
The Change-Up
No Strings Attached***2.841800||1,76802/11
Yogi Bear
Machete (co-wrote)
Iron Man 2**2.785569|||1,13407/10
Valentine's Day***2.961421||1,87905/10
Old Dogs
Aliens in the Attic***2.961741||1,61309/09
Hannah Montana: The Movie
Hotel for Dogs
My Best Friend's Girl
The Stoning of Soraya M.****3.452060||1,67006/09limited
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (co-wrote)
Swing Vote
Meet Dave
Evan Almighty***3.011994|1,43911/07
Spider-Man 3 (co-wrote)
Georgia Rule
Everyone's Hero
The Ant Bully****
Keeping Up with the Steins
Cheaper by the Dozen 2
Chicken Little***2.795755||70611/05
Venom (co-wrote)
The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D (co-wrote)**2.582143||92212/05
Sin City (co-wrote)****3.2684944|||31104/05 - 09/11
Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo (co-wrote)
The Pacifier
Christmas with the Kranks
The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement
Raising Helen
Spider-Man 2 (co-wrote)
The Whole Ten Yards
The Passion of the Christ (AW)****2.9814,554424||||9202/04 - 02/15
Welcome to Mooseport
Malibu's Most Wanted (co-wrote)
Looney Tunes: Back in Action (co-wrote)****3.371,21632||27011/03 - 03/09
Elf***3.1561919||35811/03 - 03/09
Bruce Almighty***3.181,67072|33606/03 - 03/09
The Hot Chick (co-wrote)
The Tuxedo (co-wrote)**2.472365||99612/02 - 02/09
Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams (co-wrote)***2.884756||86303/03 - 01/09
The Scorpion King****3.518567||37407/02 - 01/09
Swimfan (co-wrote)
Dragonfly****3.7085311||82904/02 - 02/09
Snow Dogs
Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius
The Princess Diaries***3.446626|31001/02 - 02/09
Cats & Dogs***3.194143|94508/01 - 02/09
Heartbreakers (co-wrote)
Spy Kids (co-wrote)***2.941,94512|||39604/01 - 01/09
See Spot Run
The Emperor's New Groove (co-wrote) (AW)***3.071,2942||37611/00 - 08/08all albums
Running Mates (TV)
The Replacements*2.304501||53804/01 - 07/08
Michael Jordan to the Max (IMAX)***
G-Saviour (TV)
End of Days****3.722,3165|||38311/99 - 05/08
The Hand Behind the Mouse: The Ub Iwerks Story
The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland
Dick***2.582480|1,29608/99 - 06/08promotional
Inspector Gadget***3.001,0944||42707/99 - 10/07promotional
Lost and Found***2.751702|1,34608/99 - 04/07promotional
My Favorite Martian (co-wrote)****3.115620||87803/99 - 10/07promotional
I'll Be Home for Christmas
Paulie***2.582150|1,09705/98 - 03/07
I Know What You Did Last Summer***3.022751||67801/99 - 08/08promotional
Liar Liar (co-wrote)***3.157552|88706/99 - 02/08
The Relic**2.722477||60911/99 - 03/13multiple albums
Justice League of America (TV)
Getting Away with Murder
Cutthroat Island*****4.254,33463|||11603/98 - 09/16all albums
Sudden Death**2.622221|1,44806/99 - 04/07
Runaway Brainanimated short
Kansas (TV)
In Pursuit of Honor (TV)****3.271760||1,29710/99 - 06/07promotional
Little Giants***3.012431|85711/99 - 09/06promotional
White Fang 2: Myth of the White Wolf****3.283432|94710/99 - 05/07promotional
Hollyrock-a-Bye Baby (TV)
For Love and Glory (TV)
Hocus Pocus
Class of '61 (TV)***3.271760||1,29710/99 - 06/07promotional
Jonny's Golden Quest (TV)**2.741981|83611/99 - 06/07promotional
I Yabba-Dabba Do! (TV)
Praying Mantis (TV)
The Halloween Tree
Sunstroke (TV)
Still Not Quite Human (TV)
Vidiots (TV)
Into the Badlands (TV)
The Face of Fear (TV)
Jetsons: The Movie**2.741981|83611/99 - 06/07promotional
The Yum Yums: The Day Things Went Sour (TV)
The Eyes of the Panther (TV)***3.321810||1,22710/99 - 05/07limited
Trenchcoat in Paradise (TV)
Seven Hours to Judgment
The Further Adventures of Tennessee Buck
Not Since Casanova****3.321810||1,22710/99 - 05/07limited
The Wild Pair
Sport Goofy in Soccermania (TV)
Rose Petal Place: Real Friends (TV)
Donald Duck's 50th Birthday (TV)
The All-New Adventures of Disney's Sport Goofy (TV)
Deer in the Works
(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)
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