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28 November 2019

Scala Radio reveals the UK’s most popular film scores from the past ten years

 2011’s War Horse is the nation’s favourite film score of the past 10 years.

Despite having lost out on both the Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Original Score to ‘The Artist

’ in 2012, the movie’s music has apparently reigned as a favourite among film fans.

A tenth of the population picked the moving film score by John Williams narrowly pushing Hans Zimmer’s Inception score into second place.

Williams’ score for The Book Thief also placed in the Top 30 list of greatest original film scores over the last ten years, which did not take into account sequels or franchise extensions such as Star Wars or Jurassic Park.

Hans Zimmer’s work is also a clear favourite among film fans, with three scores from the Christopher Nolan collaborator placing within the Top 5.

The poll was commissioned by new classical station Scala Radio and positioned The Dark Knight Rises as fourth on the list and Interstellar placed fifth.

Six films from the Marvel and DC Universes also made the cut, despite recent controversial comments from director Martin Scorsese claiming that superhero films are “not cinema”.

2019’s Avengers Endgame came in seventh place, with Joker, Spiderman Homecoming, Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel all making the list.

Scala Radio presenter and UK film critic, Mark Kermode said: When we think of films, music is often the first thing that comes to mind.”

“As the presenter of a weekly film music show on Scala Radio, I’m particularly aware how much people remember movies through their scores. Every week we get emails from listeners describing their experience of listening to the soundtrack of a favourite film, which can be as intense and emotional as actually watching the movie.”

“It was interesting to see the variety of films on our list – with scores from historical dramas, musicals, childhood fantasies, animation, superhero movies, science fiction, social satire and much more.” 

The poll of 2,000 adults found one in five have bought a film score, and a third of the population have watched a film specifically because someone told them the music was so enjoyable.

One in five have even enjoyed a film’s soundtrack so much they’ve made the effort to go see it performed live.

Just under two thirds of those polled via OnePoll believe film scores are a great way to encourage someone to get into classical music.

And more than a third – 38 per cent – have been encouraged to listen to a genre of music they’d normally avoid, due to hearing it in a film.

The majority of Brits believe classical tracks make for the best film scores – 50 per cent – followed by pop – a third – and rock – 27 per cent.

Mark Kermode added “While many film scores are classical in nature, others can be very experimental, using modern arrangements and instrumentation to startling effect.” 

“My own favourite scores featured on our list Rachel Portman’s haunting music for the underappreciated Never Let Me Go; Jo Yeong-Wook’s music from The Handmaiden; Clint Mansell’s music for Moon; and Hildur Gudnaddotir’s brooding score for Joker.”

Mark Kermode hosts a weekly programme on movie music on Scala Radio, airing every Saturday at 1pm.


  1. John Williams – War Horse (2011)
  2. Hans Zimmer – Inception (2010)
  3. Alexandre Desplat – The King’s Speech (2010)
  4. Hans Zimmer – The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
  5. Hans Zimmer – Interstellar (2014)
  6. Alexandre Desplat – The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
  7. Alan Silvestri – Avengers Endgame (2019)
  8. Marc Shaiman – Mary Poppins Returns (2018)
  9. Justin Hurwitz – La La Land (2017)
  10. Hildur Gudnaddotir – Joker (2019)
  11. Danny Elfman – Alice In Wonderland (2010)
  12. Michael Giacchino – Up (2009)
  13. Michael Giacchino – Spiderman Homecoming (2017)
  14. Nicholas Britell – If Beale Street Could Talk (2019)
  15. Johann Johannsson – The Theory of Everything (2015)
  16. Alexandre Desplat – The Shape of Water (2018)
  17. John Powell – How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
  18. John Williams – The Book Thief (2013)
  19. Pinar Toprak – Captain Marvel (2019)
  20. Rupert Gregson-Williams – Wonder Woman (2017)
  21. Michael Giacchino – Coco (2017)
  22. Max Richter – Mary Queen of Scots (2019)
  23. Rachel Portman – Never Let Me Go (2011)
  24. Alexandre Desplat – The Imitation Game (2014)
  25. Clint Mansell – Moon (2009)
  26. Johann Johannsson – Arrival (2016)
  27. Daniel Pemberton – Steve Jobs (2015)
  28. Amelia Warner – Mary Shelley (2018)
  29. Jonny Greenwood – Phantom Thread (2018)
  30. Jo Yeong-Wook – The Handmaiden (2017)

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