John Williams

Born 8 February 1932.

soundtrack composer & conductor

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Composing for the Silver Screen

Charles Hazlewood and Debbie Wiseman on composing for the cinema.

Featured in BBC Music Clips


John Towner Williams (born February 8, 1932) is an American composer, conductor and pianist. He is considered to be one of the greatest film composers of all time. In a career spanning over six decades, he has composed some of the most popular and recognizable film scores in cinematic history, including Jaws, Family Plot (Alfred Hitchcock's final film), the Star Wars series, Superman, the Indiana Jones series, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, the first two Home Alone films, Hook, the first two Jurassic Park films, Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, the first three Harry Potter films, Catch Me If You Can, Memoirs of a Geisha, War Horse, and Lincoln. He has had a long association with director Steven Spielberg, composing the music for all but one (The Color Purple) of Spielberg's major feature-length films.

Other notable works by Williams include theme music for four Olympic Games, NBC Sunday Night Football, the NBC Nightly News, the Statue of Liberty's rededication, the television series Lost in Space and Land of the Giants, and the original, not as well known calypso-based theme song to Gilligan's Island. Williams has also composed numerous classical concerti, and he served as the Boston Pops Orchestra's principal conductor from 1980 to 1993; he is now the orchestra's conductor laureate.

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BBC Reviews

  1. Review of Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

    Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith 2005

    Reviewed by Morag Reavley
    ...the Empire strikes back with all the familiar notes. They just don't sound quite as...
  2. Review of The Music of John Williams: 40 Years of Film Music

    The Music of John Williams: 40 Years of Film Music 2003

    Reviewed by Morag Reavley
    No one has contributed more to modern film music.
  3. Review of The Indiana Jones Trilogy

    The Indiana Jones Trilogy 2003

    Reviewed by Fenella Fudge
    John Williams scores for the Indiana Jones Trilogy. Swashbuckling, panoramic excitement.
  4. Review of Catch Me If You Can: Original Soundtrack

    Catch Me If You Can: Original Soundtrack

    Reviewed by Morag Reavley
    Tom Hanks chases Leonardo DiCaprio. John Williams accompanies them on saxophone.
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