Film music analysis essay (800+ words) | Film Music | University of California, Irvine

Consider the 250 films nominated for the American Film Institute’s list of “America’s greatest film music”: you can find the official AFI ballot from 2005 on our course site (scores250.pdf). As always, the economy of prestige pivots around a competitive prize culture; please look further than the list of 25 “winners” also posted on our site (scores25.pdf). You will see John Williams has the most scores in the top 25, with E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Jaws, and Star Wars, while Elmer Bernstein, Jerry Goldsmith, Bernard Herrmann, and Max Steiner each have 2 listed among the final 25. However, there are 7 composers who saw 11 of their scores nominated for the list of 250 titles: Max Steiner,Elmer Bernstein,Alfred Newman,Jerry Goldsmith,Franz Waxman,Miklós Rózsa, and John Williams. We learned something about each of them in class. 

This homework assignment involves three steps. You can expect to spend six hours on this assignment, and quite possibly more. 

  1. Try to find out as much as you can about the nomination and selection process. What criteria are relevant for this honor? Who gets to nominate these films and their original scores? How are the finalists selected?
  2. Pick three of the nominated films, which cannot include Black Panther, A New Hope (1977), or Lion King. The films can’t be ones displayed on the syllabus either. They should be from different directors or composers.
  3. Write an essay of ~800 words or more about the three scores: what earned them a spot on this list? Discuss the compositions in some detail, referring to at least three of our readings from the syllabus, plus any other (academic) references you may want to use.

Please spell-check and proof-read your writing carefully. Take time to revise and refine your essay. Double-check your references.  

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