Ennio Morricone is a film composer most associated with Sergio Leone. He was born November 10th, 1928, in Rome, Italy; studied at the Conservatory of the National Academy of Santa Cecelia; was a classmate of Sergio Leone; has 516 composer credits–the most recent of which is from 2013’s Vengeance Rides a Horse; and winner of a 2007 Honorary Academy Award.
His first composer credit is The Fascist (1961). His first Leone film is A Fistful of Dollars (1964). Notable other films are The Battle of Algiers; The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly; Once Upon A Time In the West; Burn; Two Mules for Sister Sarah; Days of Heaven; The Thing (1982); The Untouchables; and Frantic among others. His work is so distinctive it is often sampled in other films; most notably in the work of Quentin Tarantino, such as in Django Unchained and Inglorious Basterds.
Trivia: Heavy-metal band Metallica starts their shows with Morricone’s instrumental The Ecstasy Of Gold (from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)] before appearing on stage.
Quote: “You can’t save a bad movie with a good score.”
Morricone is definitely in my Top Five film composers of all time, and most likely in the top three. He creates music that is distinctive, creates place and motion, and stays with you long after the film is done.
A few years back at the Miami International Film Festival (MIFF), they had a screening of a restored copy of Once Upon A Time In The West. Having the chance to watch the film on the big screen in an old movie palace, I could not resist and convinced my husband to come with me. He not being a fan of Westerns, it was a tough sell. After the film–which he loved–his main take away was the power of the musical score and how he never heard anything like that before–least of all in a Western.
Below are some samples of Morricone’s work: