James Horner Composer




List of Scores




  • Black Gold


  • The Karate Kid



  • Avatar


  • The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
  • The Spiderwick Chronicles


  • The Life Before Her Eyes


  • Apocalypto
  • All the King’s Men


  • The Chumscrubber
  • Flightplan
  • The Legend of Zorro
  • The New World


  • The Forgotten
  • Troy
  • Bobby Jones: A Stroke of Genius


  • House of Sand and Fog
  • The Missing
  • Beyond Borders
  • Radio


  • The Four Feathers
  • Windtalkers


  • Iris
  • A Beautiful Mind
  • Enemy at the Gates


  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  • The Perfect Storm



  • Bicentennial Man


  • Mighty Joe Young
  • The Mask of Zorro
  • Deep Impact


  • Titanic
  • The Devil’s Own


  • Ransom
  • To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday
  • Courage Under Fire
  • The Spitfire Grill


  • Jade
  • Balto
  • Jumanji
  • Apollo 13
  • Casper
  • Braveheart


  • Legends of the Fall
  • The Pagemaster
  • Clear and Present Danger


  • Bopha!
  • House of Cards
  • Jack the Bear
  • The Man Without a Face
  • Once Upon a Forest
  • Hocus Pocus
  • Searching for Bobby Fischer
  • Swing Kids
  • We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story
  • The Pelican Brief
  • A Far Off Place


  • Thunderheart
  • Sneakers
  • Unlawful Entry
  • Patriot Games


  • An American Tail: Fieval Goes West
  • Once Around
  • The Rocketeer
  • Class Action


  • I Love You to Death
  • Another 48 Hours



  • Dad
  • Field of Dreams
  • Glory
  • In Country
  • Honey, I Shrunk the Kids


  • The Land Before Time
  • Vibes
  • Cocoon: The Return
  • Red Heat
  • Willow


  • Project X
  • *batteries not included


  • The Name of the Rose
  • Off Beat
  • Where the River Runs Black
  • An American Tail
  • Aliens


  • The Journey of Natty Gann


  • Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
  • The Stone Boy


  • The Dresser
  • Gorky Park
  • Testament
  • Uncommon Valor
  • Brainstorm
  • Krull
  • Something Wicked This Way Comes


  • 48 Hrs.
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan


  • Deadly Blessings
  • The Hand
  • Wolfen
  • The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper


  • Humanoids from the Deep

Before 1980


  • The Lady in Red


James Roy Horner (born August 14, 1953) is an American composer, orchestrator and conductor of orchestral and film music. He is noted for the integration of choral and electronic elements in many of his film scores, and for frequent use ofCeltic musical elements. His score to the 1997 film Titanic remains the best selling orchestral film soundtrack of all time.

In addition, Horner has scored over 100 films, frequently collaborating with acclaimed directors such as James Cameron and Ron Howard. Other scores he worked on include those of Braveheart*batteries not includedWillowApollo 13Star Trek II: The Wrath of KhanCocoonLegends of the FallAliensGloryThe Mask of ZorroField of DreamsEnemy at the GatesThe MissingSneakersCasperTroyAn American TailThe Land Before TimeThe RocketeerA Beautiful Mind,Mighty Joe YoungThe Perfect StormAvatarThe Karate Kid, and most recently, Black Gold.

His body of work is notable for including the scores to the two highest-grossing films of all time; Titanic and Avatar, both of which were directed by James Cameron.

Horner is a two-time Academy Award-winner, and has received a total of 10 Oscar nominations. He has won numerous other awards, including the Golden Globe Award and the Grammy Award.

Early Life

Horner was born in Los Angeles, the son of Austrian immigrants Joan (née Frankel) and Harry Horner, who was a production designer, set designer and occasional film director.

Horner started playing piano at the age of five. His early years were spent in London, where he attended the Royal College of Music. He subsequently attended Verde Valley High School in Sedona, Arizona. He received his bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Southern California, and eventually earned a master’s and started working on his doctorate at the University of California, Los Angeles where he studied with Paul Chihara, among others. After several scoring assignments with the American Film Institute in the 1970s, he finished his teaching of music theory at UCLA and turned to film scoring.

Film and television scoring

Horner’s first major film score was for the 1979 film, The Lady in Red. He began his film scoring career by working for B film director and producer Roger Corman, with his first composer credit for Corman’s big-budget Battle Beyond the Stars. His works steadily gained notice in Hollywood, which led him to take on larger projects. Horner made a breakthrough in 1982, when he had the chance to score for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, establishing himself as a mainstream composer.

Horner continued composing music for high-profile releases during the 1980s, including 48 Hrs. (1982), Krull (1983), Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984), Commando (1985), Cocoon (1985), Aliens (1986), *batteries not includedWillow (1988), Glory and Field of Dreams (both 1989).

Aliens earned Horner his first Academy Award nomination. He has been nominated an additional nine times since. Horner’s scores have been sampled in film trailers for other films. The climax of the track Bishop’s Countdown from his score for Aliens ranks fifth in the most commonly-used soundtrack cues for film trailers. Also, an unused fragment from Aliens was featured in a scene from Die Hard. Several films whose scores were composed by Michael Kamen have had trailers featuring Horner’s music; most notably, the music from Willow is substituted for the theme Kamen wrote for the 1993 remake of The Three Musketeers. Horner also added his nominated Braveheart ”For the Love of a Princess” single for Robert Zemeckis’s Theatrical Trailer of Cast Away.

Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, Horner also wrote orchestral scores for children’s films (particularly those produced by Amblin Entertainment), with credits for An American Tail (1986), The Land Before Time (1988), An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991), We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story (1993), and CasperJumanji, and Balto (all from 1995).

1995 saw Horner produce no fewer than six scores, including his commercially successful and critically acclaimed works for Braveheart and Apollo 13, both of which earned him Academy Award nominations. Horner’s greatest financial and critical success would come in 1997, with the score to the motion picture, Titanic. The album became the best-selling primarily orchestral soundtrack in history, selling over 27 million copies worldwide.

At the 70th Academy Awards, Horner won Oscars for Best Original Dramatic Score and Best Original Song for “My Heart Will Go On” (which he co-wrote with Will Jennings). In addition, Horner and Jennings won three Grammy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards for the soundtrack andMy Heart Will Go On. Titanic also marked the first time in ten years that Horner worked with director James Cameron (following the highly stressful scoring sessions for Aliens, Horner declared that he would never work with Cameron again and described the experience of scoring the film Aliens as “a nightmare”).[citation needed]

Since Titanic, Horner has continued to score for major productions (including The Perfect StormA Beautiful MindEnemy At The GatesThe Mask of ZorroThe Legend of ZorroHouse of Sand and Fog and Bicentennial Man).

Aside from scoring major productions, Horner periodically works on smaller projects such as IrisRadio and Bobby Jones: A Stroke of Genius. He received his eighth and ninth Academy Award nominations for A Beautiful Mind (2001) and House of Sand and Fog (2003), but lost on both occasions to Howard Shore. He frequently collaborates with film director Ron Howard, a partnership that began with Cocoon in 1985. Coincidentally, Horner’s end title music from Glory can be heard in the trailer for Howard’s Backdraft.

Horner composed the 2006-2011 theme music for the CBS Evening News. The theme was introduced as part of the debut of Katie Couric as anchor on September 5, 2006. It has since been adopted by most other CBS News programs as well.

Horner recollaborated with James Cameron on the 2009 film Avatar, which was released in December 2009 and has since become the highest grossing film of all time, surpassing Titanic (also directed by Cameron and scored by Horner).

Horner spent over two years working on the score for Avatar, and did not take on any other projects during that time. Horner’s work on Avatar earned him numerous award nominations, including his tenth Oscar nomination, a Golden Globe nomination, a BAFTA nomination, and a Grammy Award nomination, all of which he lost to Michael Giacchino for Up.

Regarding the experience of scoring Avatar, Horner said, “Avatar has been the most difficult film I have worked on and the biggest job I have undertaken… I work from four in the morning to about ten at night and that’s been my way of life since March. That’s the world I’m in now and it makes you feel estranged from everything. I’ll have to recover from that and get my head out of Avatar.” It is currently unknown whether or not Horner will return as composer for the sequel(s) to Avatar.

Horner recently composed the score for the film The Karate Kid replacing Atli Örvarsson. This is the first film Horner has worked on since Avatar. The film was released in 2010.

Horner has recently scored The Song of Names (2011), as well as The Amazing Spider-Man, which stars Andrew Garfield and is set for release in July 2012.

Critical debate

Horner has been criticised for transposing hooks, orchestral motifs, or larger passages from other scores of his own or of other composers. These contentions are points of fierce debates between supporters of Horner and his detractors.


Composer Biography and List of Scores  were gathered from Wikipedia but have been modified and added to.