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From the golden age of John Wayne, through the Spaghetti era, to Brokeback Mountain, Westerns have given us some of cinema's most memorable music. Here are 12 of the best - see if you agree.
Dimitri Tiomkin wrote a grand symphonic score for this John Wayne classic, which inspired composers of western soundtracks for decades to come.
The Searchers is often cited as the greatest western ever made - a movie that has it all - heroes, drama, action, and magnificent cinematography. Max Steiner's score with its unforgettable themes and rousing rhythms provide perfect accompaniment to the action.
This soundtrack conjured up the vast American plains and launched Jerome Moross’s movie career. He perfected an exciting rugged style inspired by his first experience of the Great Plains.
Also an enduring favourite in the concert hall, Elmer Bernstein’s rollicking theme continues to excite even after more than 50 years.
Ennio Morricone’s most famous score combines a classic theme tune with electric guitars and dramatic vocal shrieks, which represent the howling of coyotes.
The invention of a new kind of Western soundtrack, with male chants, Spanish guitars, whistling and bells, catapulted Morricone to movie-scoring stardom.
This lyrical, harmonica-tinged soundtrack helped make director Sergio Leone’s brutal Western, starring Henry Fonda and Charles Bronson, an all-time classic.
John Williams’s music was the best feature of this Marlon Brando – Jack Nicholson vehicle. Low key with guitars, harmonica, percussion, and a handful of other instruments, and a beautiful love theme.
Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch boasted a powerful, Oscar-nominated score - the greatest achievement of composer Jerry Fielding. Peckinpah wanted music that departed from Hollywood Western tradition and got music that exposes the characters thoughts and emotions.
John Barry managed to avoid the usual movie clichés with his expansive score depicting America’s vast landscape.
Composer Lennie Niehaus created an evocative score – at turns sweeping and affecting – for Clint Eastwood’s dark western. Eastwood himself wrote the emotional ‘Claudia’s Theme’.
Ang Lee’s epic romantic Western had a haunting Oscar-winning score from Argentinian Gustavo Santaolalla.