Legendary film and television composer and conductor Ennio Morricone died in a Rome hospital on 7/6/20 from complications of a broken leg after falling down. He was 91.
Morricone scored over 500 movies and television shows. His music brought scenes to life with a majestically epic sweeping style and tones of suspense. In addition to the big and small screen, he produced music for The Pet Shop Boys, Morrissey, Paul Anka and many others.
He was known for his willingness to work with just about anyone and he didn’t stick to one genre. Directors and producers knew by bringing him into a film his sound would add credibility to the projects. Despite being highly respected by filmmakers and fans alike, he was only nominated by the Academy Awards six times. He won for Best Score in 2016 for “The Hateful Eight” directed by Quentin Tarantino. In 2007, he was presented an honorary Oscar by Clint Eastwood.
Eastwood was the star of director Sergio Leone’s “spaghetti Western” trilogy: “A Fist Full Of Dollars” (1964), “For A Few Dollars More” (1965), and “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” (1966). Morricone provided the music which was spoofed in countless other movies, TV shows, and commercials throughout the decades after. The two also worked together on Don Siegel’s Western comedy “Two Mules For Sister Sarah” in 1970 starring Shirley MacLaine in the title role.
In the 1970s, Morricone joined horror directors Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci, and Umberto Lenzi on their controversial and grisly “Giallos”. The soft scores purposely contrasted the images of murder and mayhem on screen.
He was behind the music of “Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom” in 1975 which is still called one of the most disturbing and controversial movies of all time. It is either banned or heavily edited down in several countries to this day.
In 1977, he was on board for the Jaws rip-off “Orca” starring Richard Harris, Charlotte Rampling, and Bo Derek. That same year he was part of the highly anticipated, but critically panned, “Exorcist II: The Heretic” starring Linda Blair and Richard Burton. It was considered one of the worst movie sequels of all time but it has become a cult classic over the decades.
1982 saw a rare career lowlight as he earned The Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Score on John Carpenter’s “The Thing”. He would rebound with a few nominations and a BAFTA Award for “Once Upon A Time In America” in 1984 which reunited him with director Sergio Leone.
As a lifelong Italian, Morricone was the perfect choice to score “Cinema Paradiso” in the late 1980s. The story is a touching drama about a famous Italian movie director reflecting back on his life and the local cinema projectionist who inspired his love of movies. The film was an international success and won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 1989.
With such an impressive large body of work, it would be impossible to cover everything of Morricone’s because of time constraints. Below are just some highlights of his masterpieces.