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A Retrospective of Hans Zimmer’s Career as a Film Composer

Fresh off his 11th Oscar nomination for Dunkirk, the great Hans Zimmer sat down with Vanity Fair to do a retrospective on his 30+ years in the film scoring business, from My Beautiful Laundrette and Rain Man to Interstellar. He also briefly reflected on his collaborations with Sir Ridley Scott and Christopher Nolan.

As a film score enthusiast, I’m always in awe at how Zimmer has evolved over three decades, from his breezy synth-y scores in the late 80s, to his more propulsive action works that basically rewrote the book on how to score action films, to his current “blaring horns” phase as seen in Inception, Dunkirk, and Blade Runner 2049. Zimmer is nearly without equal in creating powerful, heavy Wagnerian layered sound, but as he demonstrated in True Romance, Matchstick Men, and Driving Miss Daisy, he’s shown he can write playful tunes as well. And he has certainly demonstrated he’s no slouch in creating stirring main cues like in The Lion King and Gladiator. A very prolific composer who continues to churn out 3-4 quality scores a year, at the very least.

Here are my top 10 Zimmer scores:

  • Inception
  • Dunkirk
  • Gladiator
  • Interstellar
  • The Last Samurai
  • The Dark Knight Trilogy
  • Matchstick Men
  • True Romance
  • The Lion King
  • The Thin Red Line

What are yours?