Yesterday we celebrated the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens’ birthday, but today we celebrate a legend who is actually still alive. John Williams, the Academy Award-winning conductor and composer of some of the most famous film scores in cinema history, celebrates his 80th birthday today.
Williams, who composed the iconic music behind Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, Jaws, Superman, Harry Potter, E.T., Hook, and dozens more, is up for an Oscar this year with dual nominations for War Horse and The Adventures of Tintin (bringing his total number of nominations to 47, the most for any living person, and the second-most behind Walt Disney).
It seems only appropriate that Williams’ birthday falls on the same week as the re-release of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (and our EW essay series, “How Star Wars Changed My Life”). Of course, the only truly appropriate way to celebrate this special occasion – aside from commissioning a 48-piece orchestra to play an epic 12 minute-long symphonic arrangement of “Happy Birthday” – is to reminisce with some of Williams’ best and most beloved compositions.
Here are just a few of my choice picks of his iconic music, but feel free to let us know your favorite John Williams score in the comments:
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
Catch Me If You Can
I had to include Catch Me If You Can simply because it’s one of my favorite underrated movies (and makes for excellent college-paper-writing-music). PopWatchers, what’s your favorite John Williams jam?