Match Made in Heaven: 10 Best Times Movie Composers Collaborated on a Score – Collider

Hans Zimmer’s collaborations are often as surprising as they are brilliant.
The job of movie score composers is a crucial one. Oftentimes, the musical atmosphere of a film is the defining factor that makes it an engrossing and captivating experience.
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If a score by one great composer is good, then a score composed by two or more is absolute bliss. It's not often that composers of the stature of Hans Zimmer and Danny Elfman collaborate on a single film, but when it happens, the result is often a gorgeous composition that strengthens the movie in the most surprising of ways.
Mary Magdalene is a historical drama about the Biblical character of the same name, a free-spirited woman who finds a sense of purpose in a radical new movement led by a preacher named Jesus.
Not only is the film's score rousing and gorgeous: It's also one of the final works of the late Jóhann Jóhannson. The endlessly talented artist collaborated on this movie with the Icelandic cellist Hildur Guðnadóttir, who's relatively new to the film scoring game but has already made quite a name for herself. The result is a mournful and contemplative album that pairs beautifully with the film.
Say what you will about Robert Rodriguez's family action movie Spy Kids, about the children of a spy couple having to save them from danger, but one thing that can't be denied is that it has a killer score.
The team that worked on the music is so vast that you'd expect the result to be a jumbled mess, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Not only are all the songs cohesive: They're also a ton of fun to listen to, either by themselves or in accompaniment with the undeniably bombastic movie.
Although it's one of DreamWorks' less talked-about movies, Chicken Run is hilarious and highly underrated. It's a stop-motion animated film about a group of hens trying to escape from their owners with the help of a rooster.
Borrowing influence from the music of many great prison break movies like 1963's The Great Escape, Harry Gregson-Williams and John Powell also sprinkled in some really inspired creative choices (you'll find no movie score that uses kazoos in such a fun way!) to craft some really impactful music.
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Surprisingly, Top Gun: Maverick is a film that needs no introduction. The sequel to a highly popular but rather unremarkable '80s movie, no one would have expected it to be the passionately crafted pop culture phenomenon that it turned out to be.
Three monumental artists collaborated on the film's thrilling score. Harold Faltermeyer, the man behind the iconic music of the first movie; Hans Zimmer, the highest-grossing composer at the worldwide box office; and Lady Gaga in her first-ever film composing work. What they made is truly remarkable, and it makes the movie a hundred times more engaging.
Chicken Run isn't the only legendary animated film that Gregson-Williams and Powell have collaborated on. They also worked together on the first Best Animated Feature Oscar winner (and still one of the best), Shrek.
The film itself is an extraordinary achievement, and the score is just as well. The duo masterfully captures the tone and feel of fairy tale movies with their elegant and tranquil compositions, while also balancing that with much more lighthearted qualities that pair beautifully with Shrek's satirical nature.
Often hailed as the greatest superhero film ever made, Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight, the second installment in his highly acclaimed Batman trilogy, follows the Caped Crusader as he faces off against the greatest threat he could imagine.
Such a dark film requires an equally dark yet exciting score. Thankfully, Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard were around. Their music for The Dark Knight isn't only incredibly iconic, it's also masterfully thought out. Each character has a very distinct leitmotif, from the Joker's wailing string accompaniment to Batman's simple but thrilling theme.
This kung fu comedy is one of DreamWorks' most successful outings, a heartwarming movie about a panda thrown into a world far greater and riskier than he's qualified for.
Powell was a student of Zimmer's, and Kung Fu Panda was the third movie that they collaborated on. The maturity of their working relationship definitely shines through, as they were able to compose a score that borrows many elements from traditional Chinese music and uses them to empower the film's light, dark, exciting, and emotional moments.
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Like most of his body of work, Terrence Malick's Days of Heaven is a sprawling work of art. It's a timeless portrayal of America and turn-of-the-century labor about a steel worker who convinces the woman he loves of marrying their boss in order to get his fortune.
The movie isn't just one of the best-shot films of all time: It also has spellbinding music. Initially, Malick approached guitarist Leo Kottke to compose the whole score, but he declined. Instead, Kottke collaborated with a few songs while the legendary Ennio Morricone took care of the rest, earning his first Academy Award nomination for this film.
Legacy sequels don't often turn out as great as Denis Villeneuve's Blade Runner 2049, where a young blade runner is sent in search of Rick Deckard (the first movie's protagonist), who has been missing for decades.
Following the flawless work of Vangelis on Ridley Scott's original Blade Runner was a tough task, but Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch were more than up to the challenge. Their work on 2049 is booming, futuristic, and atmospheric, evoking more emotions than one can even begin to put into words.
It's not often that you see a father and son collaborate on a movie score, but Ennio Morricone and his son Andrea worked together on multiple films. The undeniable magnum opus of their collaborations, though, is Cinema Paradiso.
Ennio didn't compose a single bad song in his entire career, and Andrea seems to have only empowered his artistic voice for this film. The score is absolutely gorgeous, growing up and maturing alongside the protagonist as he leaves innocence behind, falls in love, leaves his little town, and comes back for a profoundly emotional farewell.
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Diego Pineda Pacheco has been a storyteller ever since he learned how to write. He writes for Collider and he has self-published a fantasy novel and a book of short stories. You can find movie reviews and analyses on his Instagram page dedicated to cinema, and more in-depth film-related essays on his blog.
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