Most of you have probably not heard of Ennio Morricone. And, yet, he’s one of the most prolific film composers ever, having written music for almost 500 movies and television programs since assisting on his first effort in 1959.
A good friend of Sergio Leone, the composer has worked with the director in many films. He’d already worked on almost 20 movies before really kicking off his career in 1964 with Leone’s Per un pugno di dollar (A Fistful of Dollars, 1964), following that up with Per qualche dollaro in più (For a Few Dollars More, 1965) and Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo (The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, 1966) — the trio of “spaghetti westerns” that also set Clint Eastwood’s career going. He scored other foreign-made westerns, including Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970).
And he worked on Hollywood films, as well. His score for Leone’s Once Upon a Time in America (1984) won the Golden Globe for best score. Maybe you know his work in Brian de Palma’s The Untouchables (1987), Barry Levinson’s Bugsy (1991) and Disclosure (1994), or Warren Beatty’s Bulworth (1998).
The Untouchables and Bugsy scores were nominated for Academy Awards, as were three others of his scores, and in 2007, Morricone was given an honorary award for his lifetime of work.
And now, in his 80s, Morricone is still working, scoring a few movies and TV shows every year, even after 50 years of it.
Viva Ennio Morricone, e buon compleanno!