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Composers' Ages at First Movie

Compiled by Lukas Kendall

Today's column has no real point. It is just a list I made for fun of how old composers were when they did their first feature or first major feature. I thought it was interesting; sorry about some of the shorthand. Important thing to realize for young composers, in college or even grad school: don't worry about making it big now. Think about making it big in 10 or 15 years! John Williams scored Star Wars at age 45. The majority of the composers here scored their first films in their 30s and went on to have big careers in their 40s and 50s.

Source: Fred Karlin's Listening to Movies published by Schirmer Books. Some of the ages might be off a year because of where the birthdays fall during the year. But it's more or less accurate.

John Addison: Tom Jones (43)

Angelo Badalamenti: Blue Velvet (49)

John Barry: From Russia with Love (30)

Richard Rodney Bennett: Far from the Madding Crowd (31)

Elmer Bernstein: Robot Monster (31), Man/Golden Arm (33), The Magnificent Seven (38)

Bruce Broughton: Silverado (40)

Carter Burwell: Raising Arizona (32)

Bill Conti: Rocky (34)

Stewart Copeland: Rumble Fish (31)

John Corigliano: Altered States (42)

Patrick Doyle: Henry V (36)

Randy Edelman: Twins (41)

Cliff Eidelman: Triumph of the Spirit (25), Star Trek VI (27)

Danny Elfman: Pee Weešs Big Adventure (32), Batman (36)

George Fenton: Gandhi (32), Dangerous Liaisons (38)

Brad Fiedel: The Terminator (33)

Charlie Fox: Barbarella (27) (Nine to Five, 40)

Gerald Fried: The Killing (27) [Star Trek/UNCLE TV music, 38]

Dominic Frontiere: The Outer Limits (34), Hang Œem High (37)

Ernest Gold: Exodus (39)

Billy Goldenberg: Duel (35)

Elliot Goldenthal: Pet Semetary (36), Alien3 (39)

Jerry Goldsmith: Lonely Are the Brave (33) [Black Patch 28], Planet of the Apes (39)

Michael Gore: Fame (29)

Dave Grusin: The Graduate (33), Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (34)

Marvin Hamlisch: Bananas (27), The Way We Were (29)

Isaac Hayes: Shaft (29)

Neal Hefti: Sex and the Single Girl (43)

Lee Holdridge: Jonathan Livingston Seagull (29), Splash (40)

James Horner: Battle Beyond the Stars (26), Star Trek II (29)

James Newton Howard: Head Office (34), The Fugitive (41)

Mark Isham: Never Cry Wolf (32)

Maurice Jarre: Lawrence of Arabia (38)

Quincy Jones: The Pawnbroker (32), In the Heat of the Night (34)

Trevor Jones: The Dark Crystal (33)

Michael Kamen: The Next Man (28), The Dead Zone (35), Die Hard (40)

Michel Legrand: The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (32), Thomas Crown Affair (36)

Johnny Mandel: I Want to Live (23), The Sandpiper (30), MASH (35)

Harry Manfredini: Friday the 13th (37)

Hummie Mann: Year of the Comet (37)

Curtis Mayfield: Superfly (30)

Alan Menken: Little Shop of Horrors (37), Little Mermaid (40)

Vic Mizzy: Ghost and Mr. Chicken (44)

Giorgio Moroder: Midnight Express (38)

Ennio Morricone: A Fistful of Dollars (36)

John Morris: The Producers (42)

Ira Newborn: Ferris Buelleršs Day Off (37)

David Newman: Throw Momma from the Train (33)

Randy Newman: Cold Turkey (28), Ragtime (38), The Natural (41)

Thomas Newman: Desperately Seeking Susan (30)

Jack Nitzsche: One Flew Over the Cuckoošs Nest (39)

Basil Poledouris: Conan the Barbarian (37), Big Wednesday (33)

Rachel Portman: Used People (32)

Andre Previn: did first films at age 20, Gigi (29)

David Raksin: Laura (32)

Graeme Revell: Dead Calm (34)

Leonard Rosenman: East of Eden (31)

Laurence Rosenthal: The Miracle Worker (36)

Ryuichi Sakamoto: Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (31), Last Emperor (35)

Philippe Sarde: Quest for Fire (37)

Lalo Schifrin: The Cincinnati Kid (33), Bullitt (36), Dirty Harry (39)

John Scott: first film (37), Greystoke: Legend of Tarzan (54)

Alan Silvestri: Amazing Dobermans (26), Romancing the Stone (34), Back to the Future (35)

Howard Shore: Scanners (35) [Sat. Nite Live 29-34], The Silence of the Lambs (45)

Craig Safan: The Last Starfighter (36)

David Shire: The Conversation (37)

Marc Shaiman: Misery (31)

Michael Small: Klute (32)

Ken Thorne: Funny Thing Happened (adapt) (42), Superman II (56)

Vangelis: Chariots of Fire (37)

Shirley Walker: Black Stallion (w/ Coppola) (34), Memoirs Invisible Man (47)

John Williams: How to Steal a Million (34) [Daddy-O 27], Star Wars (45)

Chris Young: Def-Con IV (27), Bat 21 (31)

Hans Zimmer: Rain Man (31)

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