James Horner

JAMES HORNER

(1953-2015)


Where to begin.

Last night, we got the news that we were all dreading.  James Horner’s airplane had crashed and he was missing for a while — but then the news.  Last night, we lost a legend.  Not only music lovers, not only movie fans, and not only Hollywood were greatly saddened, but artists everywhere.  He told us stories.  He made us feel empowered, fearful, joyous, saddened, alive, heroic, and so much more, all the while doing it in a way that nobody else possibly could.  In honor, here is a slight glimpse at the man who changed our worlds.

James Roy Horner was born August 14th, 1953, in Los Angeles, California.  His father, a Czechoslovakian immigrant, worked in Hollywood as a set designer.  After graduating college, James worked on several projects with the American Film Institute in the 1970s before finally turning to film scoring. 

Horner started out, as most in the business do, working on lower budget “B Films”.  He had his big break, however, when he entered the mainstream and composed the music to the film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.  That was only the beginning.  He moved on to scoring many films that we now know and love.  His first of 10 Academy Award nominations came for his score to the 1986 film Aliens. He would go on to win two Oscars for his work on the classic film Titanic.

That is just a slight look into his numerous well deserved accolades that he received.  The list of his scores that have influenced and touched us is long enough that rather than list it one by one, the complete list of the movies he scored is written below in chronological order. 

Even if you do not personally appreciate his work in ways that others do, there is one fact that cannot be ignored – his contributions to the cinema are astounding.  However, it is near impossible to imagine that one of his scores did not touch you in some way.  Fan of his methods or not, the purity of the music is stirringly extraordinary.  His music is not just something that he did to pass the time.  It was his life. 

Some see dots on a page, but he saw magic. 

We heard that magic.  He gave it to us as his gift to the world.  He had more to give, though, and we know that what he had in store for us was amazing.  That’s part of what made him a legend.  He didn’t write music.  He was a well of emotion that would never run dry.  Although he is now gone, his gift remains for us to cherish. 

Rest in peace, James Horner.

James Horner’s movies from beginning to end (the ones in bold have particularly touched audiences worldwide):

1970s:

The Watcher

Up from the Depths

The Lady in Red

1980s:

Humanoids from the Deep

Battle Beyond the Stars

Angel Dusted

The Hand

Wolfen

Deadly Blessing

A Few Days in Weasel Creek

The Pursuit of D. B. Cooper

A Piano for Mrs. Cimino

Rascals and Robbers:  The Secret Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn

Star Trek II:  The Wrath of Khan

48 Hrs.

Journey to Krull

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Space Raiders

Krull

Between Friends

Brainstorm

Testament

The Dresser

Gorky Park

Uncommon Valor

The Stone Boy

Star Trek III:  The Search for Spock

Heaven Help Us

Surviving

Barbarian Queen

Cocoon

Volunteers

The Journey of Natty Gann

Wizards of the Lost Kingdom

Commando

In Her Own Time

Off Beat

Aliens

Where the River Runs Black

The Name of the Rose

An American Tail

P. K. and the Kid

Project X

*batteries not included

Willow

Red Heat

Vibes

The Land Before Time

Cocoon: The Return

Andy Colby’s Incredible Adventure

Field of Dreams

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids

In Country

Dad

Glory

1990s:

I Love You to Death

Another 48 Hrs.

Once Around

My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys

Class Action

The Rocketeer

An American Tail: Fievel Goes West

Thunderheart

Patriot Games

Unlawful Entry

Sneakers

Swing Kids

A Far Off Place

Jack the Bear

Once Upon a Forest

House of Cards

Searching for Bobby Fischer

The Man Without a Face

Bopha!

We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story

The Pelican Brief

Clear and Present Danger

The Pagemaster

Legends of the Fall

Braveheart

Casper

Apollo 13

Jade

Jumanji

Balto

The Spitfire Grill

Courage Under Fire

To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday

Ransom

The Devil’s Own

Titanic

Deep Impact

The Mask of Zorro

Mighty Joe Young

Bicentennial Man

2000s:

Freedom Song

The Perfect Storm

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Enemy at the Gates

A Beautiful Mind

Iris

Windtalkers

The Four Feathers

Radio

Beyond Borders

The Missing

House of Sand and Fog

Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genuis

Troy

The Forgotten

The Chumscrubber

Flightplan

The Legend of Zorro

The New World

All the King’s Men

Apocalypto

The Life Before Her Eyes

The Spiderwick Chronicles

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Avatar

2010s:

The Karate Kid

Day of the Falcon

For Greater Glory: The True Story of Cristiada

The Amazing Spider-Man

One Day in Auschwitz

(Forthcoming):

Wolf Totem

Living in the Age of Airplanes

Southpaw

The 33

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