Howard Shore’s Best Musical Scores, Ranked

Howard Shore may not be one of the names most likely to come to mind when you think of modern composers, but his impact within the film industry and the directors he worked with may surprise you. , and he had a prolific career. Shore is likely to be recognized for its fluid and whimsical elements, woodwinds and horns, which complement the on-screen visuals. While his contemporaries like Howard Zimmer or Danny Elfman sound distinctive in themselves, Shore’s orchestral scores have their own unique element that you might not notice on first listen, but once you hear something. from Shore, you know it’s him when you hear another one. .



It tends to work with the same directors (much like John Williams does with Steven Spielberg) and has a long history with Peter Jackson, David Cronenberg and Martin Scorsese. In fact, it scored all but one of Cronenberg’s films in his career.

To celebrate his legacy, as well as his latest collaboration with Cronenberg in Future Crimeshere are Howard Shore’s best musical scores.

seven Se7en (1995)

David Fincher’s crime thriller is still relevant today, seemingly as likely to be a true-crime podcast version. It’s so dark and unsettling, grounded in standout performances and Fincher’s distinctive style, that it doesn’t look a day old. And a big part of that is the music. “Gluttony‘, track two of the soundtrack, creaks with long, stretching horns, setting the perfect disturbing tone that the visuals match as we get a sense of how earth-shattering this story is about to be. Without the Shore score, Se7fr still lands, but it’s missing an essential element of its demoralizing story.

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6 A History of Violence (2005)

When you hear the horns of the song”To M“, you feel elements of Middle-earth, especially in regards to Viggo Mortensen, but you’re in America. It’s heroic and yet simultaneously sad. Just like the movie, the score unfolds and changes as it goes. as the story unfolds. It feels light and warm, with doses of Americana, but as the dark nature that Tom is trying to hide reappears; the heavy sounds resurface to accompany the thematic reveal of one of the Cronenberg’s best films.

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5 The Airman (2004)

Martin Scorsese’s biographical epic on Howard Hughes might arguably be Leonardo DiCaprio’s greatest performance. The film itself has been somewhat lost in the filmographies of those who worked on it, especially compared to some of Scorsese’s crime films. However, the film is not only masterful, but Shore’s work mirrors Hughes’ efforts throughout the story. Echoing orchestral scores from the 1940s to the Hughes movie era, then moving on to awe-inspiring sounds to accompany the exploration of aviation. It’s a beautiful score that grows with the length of the film and Hughes’ life. Shore won both a Golden Globe and a Critics’ Choice award for his work.


4 The Fly (1986)

David Cronenberg is a master of practical filmmaking, sci-fi themes and forcing audiences into comfortable places. Shore’s companion score is no different. We are immersed in the excitement and horror that tells the story of Seth Brundle’s transformation by Jeff Goldblum. There are moments of whimsy, but ultimately it’s the soundtrack and musical component that grips you as we watch Brundle’s final stage in horror and disgust.

3 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

If there’s one score that will be remembered by Howard Shore, it’s probably Peter Jackson’s. The Lord of the Rings epic trilogy. It’s hard to believe that this trilogy is celebrating its 20th anniversary. And Shore’s written score is an important part of his remarkable legacy. Individual tracks like “Concerning Hobbits” establish a sense of joy, playfulness and innocence. Then songs like “Khazad-dûm“mix the moving theme of the films with the choral terror that faces the Community. This score earned Shore his first Academy Award for Musical Score, as well as a Grammy and Critics’ Choice award.

Related:These are the best Lord of the Rings characters, ranked

2 The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Although Shore has barely been recognized for his contributions to this Oscar-winning classic, the score fits perfectly. Asked about it, he said, “I tried to make the music fit perfectly. When you watch the movie, you are not aware of the music. You get your feelings from all the elements simultaneously, the lighting, the cinematography, the costumes, the acting, the music. And that’s exactly what it does. The theme, like many of his other works, is a mixture of sentiment, terror and fantasy. You are uncomfortable and you don’t know why. It’s a bit like Hannibal Lecter himself, something magnetic about him, fascinating and terrifying at the same time.

1 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

What better way to end this than the beautiful score of The king’s return. This Best Picture winner wraps up the epic trilogy in spectacular fashion, and the score, which also won an Oscar, is just as impressive. The horns of Gondor, the drums that echo across the fields of the Pelennor, and the choral accompaniment of Frodo’s battle within Mount Doom are all memorable moments. But it’s “The Edge of Night», sung by Billy Boyd, who runs away with the crown of the score. It’s a beautiful, dramatic and heartbreaking scene, and it’s an absolutely breathtaking musical masterpiece.