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Celebrating Our Favorite Ennio Morricone Scores

We lost a true cinema legend on Monday. Ennio Morricone wasn’t just a mere film composer, he was the one who gave a massive swath of cinema its mood, its voice, and in a lot of cases, its longevity. With over 500 film and TV credits to his name, his impact on the medium is ubiquitous to say the least. Through his work with director Sergio Leone on The Dollars Trilogy, Morricone cemented what the Italian Western sounded like. Every spaghetti Western score you love, every fuzzy guitar or mouth harp in a movie thereafter is due to him.

Clint Eastwood The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

MGM

And it wasn’t just Westerns, though he did a ton of those. He was also one of the most prolific composers in all kinds of European and American cinema. There are movies on his resume you’ve never heard of, and likely would never have heard of had Morricone not composed for it. The music has a life above and beyond the films.

Danger Diabolik, with an amazing soundtrack by Ennio Morricone

Paramount Pictures

In tribute to the maestro, we’ve compiled a playlist of just some of our favorite pieces of music from Morricone’s storied career. Now, it would be very easy to make it just full of Italian Western music, and even just his work with Leone. But we tried to spread the wealth a bit.

In addition to non-Leone westerns like The Mercenary and Navajo Joe, we included some of Morricone’s music from Euro-cult favorites such as Mario Bava’s Danger! Diabolik; Lucio Fulci’s A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin; Luigi Bazzoni’s The Fifth Cord; and Jerzy Kawalerowicz’s Maddalena.

Beyond cult stuff, Morricone also worked prolifically in prestigious art films and big Hollywood fare. Included here are cuts from Cinema Paradiso; Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion; Two Mules for Sister Sara; Days of Heaven; The Untouchables; The Thing; and even The Exorcist II: The Heretic, of which Morricone’s score is easily the best thing.

The cover of The Hateful Eight, which won Ennio Morricone his sole Oscar.

TWC

And of course no Morricone playlist would be complete without his sole Oscar win, from Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight. A great (and very him) final bow.

What’s your favorite Ennio Morricone score? Let us know in the comments below!

Featured Image: TWC

Kyle Anderson is the Senior Editor for Nerdist. You can find his film and TV reviews here. Follow him on Twitter!