The 30 Greatest Movie Songwriters


As stated in my “Brief Exposition on Movie Music”, there is more to movie music than just a traditional score.  There is also the incorporation of classical place-setters and the addition of music-and-lyric type songs (whether they be original or recycled, diegetic or non-diegetic).  So, while my recent reviews on Gone With the Wind and Wuthering Heights have led me to spend some extra time on the great scores and composers of moviedom, it is still requisite that we journey through movie songs on our quest for film competence. And, considering our last two reviews of American movies from 1939 will be particularly important when it comes to this very topic, the divulgence into these lists seems all the more important.  These movies are, The Wizard of Oz and, to a lesser extent, The Roaring Twenties. So, like we did with the lists on traditional movie score, we will begin with a list on the writers of this great music.  Enjoy!

*Note: special thanks to Chow Kim Wan, a commenter, who made a couple corrections on my 1990s Disney songwriters.  There were some inaccuracies.  They have since been updated.

  1. Irving Berlin (Holiday Inn, White Christmas)
  2. George and Ira Gershwin (An American in Paris, Funny Face)
  3. The Sherman Brothers (Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang)
  4. Sammy Cahn (Three Coins in the Fountain, The Joker is Wild)
  5. Jerome Kern (Show Boat, Swing Time)
  6. Rodgers & Hammerstein II (South Pacific, The Sound of Music)
  7. Howard Ashman and Alan Menken (The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast)
  8. Harold Arlen (The Wizard of Oz, A Star is Born)
  9. Ned Washington (Pinocchio, High Noon)
  10. Johnny Mercer (The Harvey Girls, Here Comes the Groom)
  11. Henry Mancini (Days of Wine and Roses, Breakfast at Tiffany’s)
  12. Jimmy Van Heusen (Going My Way, The Bells of St. Mary’s)
  13. Ray Evans and Jay Livingston (Isn’t it Romantic?, The Paleface)
  14. Tim Rice (Aladdin, The Lion King)
  15. Will Jennings (Titanic, Rush)
  16. Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner (My Fair Lady, Camelot)
  17. Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown (Singin’ in the Rain, Babes in Arms)
  18. Burt Bacharach (What’s New, Pussycat?, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid)
  19. Larry Morey (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Bambi)
  20. Bruce Springsteen (Philadelphia, The Wrestler)
  21. Carole Bayer Sager (Arthur, Quest for Camelot)
  22. Randy Newman (Cars, Toy Story)
  23. Harry Warren (42nd Street, Dames)
  24. Leslie Bricusse (Scrooge, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory)
  25. Alan and Marilyn Bergman (Tootsie, The Way We Were)
  26. Jule Styne (Funny Girl, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes)
  27. Stephen Schwartz (Pocahontas, The Prince of Egypt)
  28. Phil Collins (Against All Odds, Tarzan)
  29. Paul Francis Webster (The Sandpiper, Love is a Many-Splendored Thing)
  30. Kenny Loggins (Caddyshack, Footloose)

3 thoughts on “The 30 Greatest Movie Songwriters

  1. Pingback: The 102 Greatest Movie Songs | A Slice of Cake

  2. Pingback: Scrooge (1970) | A Slice of Cake

  3. Hi. Tim Rice did not write the lyrics to Beauty and the Beast. He wrote them for half of the songs of Aladdin. The films Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid were all composed by Alan Menken. This is otherwise a very complete list! So many familiar names here (I am a Broadway guy).

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