5 Essential Ennio Morricone Soundtracks To Listen To

We’ve rounded up the Italian maestro’s most iconic film scores. 
Friday 10 July 2020
Ennio Morricone, the composer who changed the way films were made and perceived. Photo: AFP

Legendary composer Ennio Morricone passed away on 6 July at the age of 91. In an extraordinary career spanning over five decades, Morricone forever changed the way movies were made and perceived. Possibly one of his best known works, is the immediately recognisable theme tune to The Good, the Bad and The Ugly, a piece of melody that is now embedded in the minds of millions as the sound of the wild west. 

Besides the spaghetti western films which his work is most renowned for, the Italian composer has created over 400 scores in his career, working with directors from Gillo Pontecorvo, Brian de Palma and Quentin Tarantino. British filmmaker Edgar Wright posted a heartfelt tweet that perfectly summed up the legacy left behind by the Italian maestro, “He could make an average movie into a must see, a good movie into art, and a great movie into legend.” Here is a roundup of some of Morricone’s most essential soundtracks: 


A Fistful of Dollars (1964) 

This was the film that would be the beginning of a long and successful partnership between Morricone and filmmaker Sergio Leone. It is arguably one of the most recognisable scores to any film ever made. 



Love Theme from Cinema Paradiso (1988) 

Filmmaker Giuseppe Tornatore called in the help of Morricone to compose the moving score to this coming of age story of a young boy who is fascinated by the magic of cinema. 



Gabriel’s Oboe from The Mission (1986) 

Morricone composed the main theme tune for Roland Joffé’s The Mission. The piece of music has today become a repertoire of many musicians. 



The Battle of Algiers (1966) 

Morricone and filmmaker Gillo Pontecorvo composed this powerful theme tune to the controversial political film about Algeria’s struggle for independence. Shot in documentary style, the film’s score offers a haunting atmosphere to the shockingly brutal scenes. 



The Thing (1982) 

John Carpenter’s sci-fi horror classic is backed by this simple and rather spooky synthesizer soundtrack composed by Morricone. Carpenter (who is used to creating the soundtracks for his own films) reeled in the help of Morricone to create something that still stayed true to the director’s style. In an interview with the Rolling Stone, Carpenter said of his collaboration with Morricone, “All I said to him was, ‘Fewer notes.’ If you see The Thing, the ultimate theme is the result of our conversation: really simple, synth-driven, effective.”