Ennio Morricone
Photo credit: Meeting Remini (Flickr).

The world recently lost one of the great film composers of our time – Ennio Morricone (10 November 1928 – 6 July 2020). Since we recently looked at Hans Zimmer contribution to music, it only feels right to pay tribute to Morricone, who scored classic films that include the iconic score to Sergio Leone’s 1966 epic The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight for which he finally won an Oscar in 2016.

While he’s most well-know for instantly recognisable them of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, one of Morricone’s greatest highlights is The Ecstasy of Gold, from the same film.

Early career

Morricone was the definition of prolific. He began composing at the age of six at which point he was encouraged to develop his talents. By 1946 – when he was 18 – he was writing music for theatre as well as classical pieces. By the time he wrote his last film score in 2016 he had composed music for 400+ films and TV shows.

Morricone’s influence on other musicians

Ennio Morricone’s music has been influential on a range of artists – the likes of Metallica, Dire Straits, Muse and Radiohead speaking of his influence of their music, while also Hans Zimmer was also influenced by Ennio Morricone.

Ennio Morricone conducting
Photo credit: Meeting Remini (Flickr).

Directors Morricone worked with

Ennio Morricone collaborated with world-class directors over the course of his career, including:

  • Sergio Leone (Dollars trilogy)
  • Quentin Tarantino
  • Giuseppe Tornatore (Cinema Paradiso and all subsequent scores for Tornatore)
  • Sergio Corbucci
  • Sergio Sollima

Ennio Morricone Western film scores

Moricone composed film scores for many genres, from comedies and drama’s to political films and war films, and the majority of his film scores were outside of the Spaghetti Western genre – Morricone composed the scores for more than 400 films and TV shows, 33 of which were Westerns, mostly in the 60’s during the genre’s heyday.

The Western films he composed for include;

  1. Gunfight at Red Sands (1963)
  2. Bullets Don’t Argue (1964)
  3. A Fistful of Dollars (1964)
  4. A Pistol for Ringo (1965)
  5. For a Few Dollars More (1965)
  6. The Return of Ringo (1965)
  7. Seven Guns for the MacGregors (1966)
  8. The Hills Run Red (1966)
  9. Fort Yuma Gold (1966)
  10. Navajo Joe (1966)
  11. The Big Gundown (1966)
  12. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
  13. The Hellbenders (1967)
  14. Face to Face (1967)
  15. Tepepa (1968)
  16. The Mercenary (1968)
  17. A Sky Full of Stars for a Roof (1968)
  18. Run, Man, Run (1968)
  19. Death Rides a Horse (1968)
  20. Guns for San Sebastian (1968)
  21. Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
  22. The Great Silence (1968)
  23. The Five Man Army (1969)
  24. Compañeros (1970)
  25. Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970)
  26. Duck, You Sucker! (1971)
  27. Sonny and Jed (1972)
  28. Life is Tough, Eh Providence? (1972)
  29. Here We Go Again, Eh Providence? (1973)
  30. My Name Is Nobody (1973)
  31. A Genius, Two Partners and a Dupe (1975)
  32. Buddy Goes West (1981)
  33. The Hateful Eight (2015)

Award-winning scores by Ennio Morricone

Ennio Morricone was a prolific film score composer, with over 400 credits to his name. But not all were masterpieces – his score for Butterfly and horror film The Thing were both nominated for Golden Raspberry (Razzie) Award for Worst Musical Score. In 2015, after five nominations, he finally won an Oscar for his score for The Hateful Eight. Other award-winning films he composed for were:

  1. A Fistful of Dollars (1964)
    1. Silver Ribbon Award for Best Score
  2. Metti una sera a cena (1969)
    1. Silver Ribbon Award for Best Score
  3. Sacco & Vanzetti (1971)
    1. Silver Ribbon Award for Best Score
  4. Days of Heaven (1978)
    1. BAFTA Award for Best Film Music
    1. also nominated for Academy Award for Best Original Score
  5. Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
    1. BAFTA Award for Best Film Music
    1. Silver Ribbon Award for Best Score
    1. also nominated for Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score
  6. The Mission (1986)
    1. BAFTA Award for Best Film Music
    1. Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score
    1. also nominated for Academy Award for Best Original Score
  7. The Gold Rimmed Glasses (1987)
    1. David di Donatello for Best Score
  8. The Untouchables (1987)
    1. BAFTA Award for Best Film Music
    1. Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media
    1. Silver Ribbon Award for Best Score
    1. also nominated for Academy Award for Best Original Score and Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score
  9. Cinema Paradiso (1988)
    1. BAFTA Award for Best Film Music; David di Donatello for Best Score
  10. Everybody’s Fine (1990)
    1. David di Donatello for Best Score
  11. Jonah Who Lived in the Whale (1993)
    1. David di Donatello for Best Score
    1. also nominated for Silver Ribbon Award for Best Score
  12. The Legend of 1900 (1998)
    1. Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score
    1. nominated for David di Donatello for Best Score
  13. Canone Inverso – Making Love (2000)
    1. David di Donatello for Best Score
    1. Silver Ribbon Award for Best Score
  14. The Unknown Woman (2006)
    1. David di Donatello for Best Score
  15. Baaria (2009)
    1. David di Donatello for Best Score
  16. The Best Offer (2013)
    1. David di Donatello for Best Score
    1. Silver Ribbon Award for Best Score
  17. The Hateful Eight (2015)
    1. Academy Award for Best Original Score
    1. ASCAP Award for Best Film Score
    1. BAFTA Award for Best Film Music
    1. Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score
    1. Nominated for: Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media and for Saturn Award for Best Music)

Ennio Morricone’s impact on cinema and music is immeasurable and will be felt for years to come.

Listen to ‘The Ecstasy of Gold’ (from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly)

Listen to ‘A Man with Harmonica’ (from Once upon a Time in the West)