In honor of John Williams 75th birthday today I have decided to grace you with my five favorite John Williams themes. In the interest of variety, I have decided to discount any of the Star Wars themes since they are already widely considered to be his best (or at least most recognizable) work. Also, I would probably end up with at least three entries devoted to Star Wars: the Star Wars Theme, The Imperial March, and Duel of the Fates. So without further ado, here are my picks for my 5 favorite John Williams themes other than Star Wars (in reverse chronological order).
Hymn to the Fallen from Saving Private Ryan (1998)
I like the majestic feel of the piece, the snare drums at the beginning, and it's a lot of fun to sing along with the "Ahhs" from the choir.
Parade of the Slave Children from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
This theme is a whole lot of fun. It's somewhat ironic that what may be the best theme from the Indiana Jones trilogy is from the worst of the three movies.
The Raiders March from Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
The Raiders March is the sound of high adventure. It's also great to hear live with a full orchestra.
March from 1941 (1979)
The theme is both whimsical and exciting and has a nice rhythm section. My foot refuses to stop tapping every time I hear this piece. Too bad the movie wasn't nearly as good as its theme. I wish I could hear it live.
Main Theme from Superman (1978)
My first non-Spielberg entry. And I was trying for variety. This theme probably wouldn't have made the list a year ago, but then I watched Superman Returns in the theater with it playing quite loud during the opening credits with a set of good speakers, and it ended up being one of my most memorable movie-going experiences. It's also good live.
And for those of you who are eagerly awaiting the next Improbable Moment of the Week, it's coming.