James Horner (Titanic music composer) dies at 61


Well-known Member
One of my favourites is "All Love Can Be" from the Beautiful Mind soundtrack with Charlotte Church singing - the extended version is just amazing - I have some soundtrack compilations and they just use a short edited version of it - the full version is at the end of the film only.

This interview shows what Horner was like making this:

Here's the full end credits version (starts at 59:32 in case the link doesn't work and continues to the end of video - cuts end off though). The media embed functionality of AVForums doesn't allow the start parameter (it strips it :mad:):

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Well-known Member
Such a huge body of work and so very good, what a great talent. Music from Apollo 13 was epic.


Well-known Member
So much has already been said and very eliquently. All I can say is that this news is very, very sad indeed. I heard about his tragic plane crash on LBC radio this morning driving in central London in the taxi. A great loss to film music (more likened to opulent symphonic opus's really) but an even greater loss to his family, 61 is no age. RIP. :(
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Distinguished Member
Titanic and Avatar director James Cameron and producer Jon Landau have released the following statement regarding the death of James Horner;
The Avatar community has lost one of our great creative lights with the passing of James Horner. James’ music was the air under the banshees’ wings, the ancient song of the forest, and the heartbeat of Eywa. We have lost not only a great team-mate and collaborator, but a good friend. James’ music affected the heart because his heart was so big, it infused every cue with deep emotional resonance, whether soaring in majesty through the floating mountains, or crying for the loss of nature’s innocence under bulldozer treads. The beauty and power of Avatar lay not just in the superb performances and the visual splendor, but in the music that made us cry and exult along with our characters.

Irayo, James. Fly brother.

Jim and Jon


Distinguished Member
To add to the YouTube listing, I still love to listen to the Secret Wedding from Braveheart.
The oboe at 3.30 still sends shivers down my spine.

He has given me many hours and will continue to do so.

Beautiful music.

So many other gems...and Apollo 13 is one of my favourite soundtracks ever, along with Braveheart and A Beautiful Mind. And of course there's Titanic...huge loss.


Distinguished Member
He leaves an amazing legacy of work. But my personal favourite was the rousing theme to The Rocketeer, which was a simply perfect match to the film.

Both the film and the music deserved far more success then they received, and if you haven't seen the film, I cannot recommend it enough.


Standard Member
So sad that film will no longer be graced with his wonderful music. He had an individual style with beautiful melody making his scores so recognisable. He made great films greater and not-so-great films a whole lot better! A tragic loss...

Chris McEneany

Well-known Member
I sat down tonight to write an obituary for James Horner - my absolute favourite modern film composer and somebody whose work I have discussed comprehensively many times for this site - but ... I just couldn't do it. In fact I am struggling just to put these thoughts down.

Perhaps playing some of his most emotive scores - emotive to me, at any rate - was a mistake. It reduced me to a wreck, mourning for someone I had never met, yet loved so very dearly. Movie-music means the world to me. It plays constantly in my house, and in my ears, and forms the soundtrack to my life ... and my real introduction to it, and the sheer power and beauty that it possessed, came via the bravura excitement, the spellbinding euphoria and the inescapable heartbreak that Horner's magisterial work so consistently delivered. And it has been a constant companion to me, seemingly all my life. Possibly my most played scores, and certainly those that have haunted me the most, have hailed from this jovial, always smiling genius.

Yes, he was certainly guilty of pilfering from the classical maestros and, most often, from himself, but with a legacy this diverse, this rich and achingly thematic, this damn triumphant, I find this not only forgivable but a truly wonderful component in his canon. This instant recognition - which could also be said of John Williams, Leonard Rosenman and especially John Barry - became a hallmark and a reassuring delight. Without a doubt, his early ideas - those heard in Humanoids from the Deep, The Hand, Wolfen (my most cherished score), Battle Beyond the Stars and Star Trek II - would seep throughout a huge number of those that followed. Soaring strings, the danger motif, the anvil!!!!! These are what fans adored and revelled in every time they reappeared.

He could produce pure dread and terror (Aliens, Wolfen, Something Wicked This Way Comes), rousing heroism (The Rocketeer, Krull, The Mask of Zorro), fantastical evocation (Jumanji, Cocoon, The Spiderwick Chronicles, Avatar), passionate period detail and exoticism (In The Name of The Rose, Troy, Braveheart, The Four Feathers), pulsating action (Commando, 48 Hrs, Red Heat) and even riotous upbeat frivolity (Honey, I Shrunk the Kids). He could be experimental too - The New World and Extreme Close-up, say. But perhaps it will be the swooning strings and incredibly moving lyricism that he could inject into a drama for which he will most be remembered. Obviously Titanic fits the bill, but he wrote such soul-clutching music for Brainstorm, Glory, Cocoon, The Man Without a Face, Legends of the Fall (which just levels me), and even inveigled sweet, beautific tragedy into the likes of genre epics like Wolfen, Star Trek II, The Perfect Storm and The Amazing Spider-Man (still one of the most gorgeous superhero scores).

At 61, so preciously and unforgivably young, Horner still had many, many more years and scores ahead of him, and the world of movies will not be the same without his distinctive voice. But with a career as prolific and as creative as his, we have been bestowed a fabulous legacy of treasures.

God, this one really hurts.

James Horner RIP.

Full celebration of his wondrous musical talents to come.

Chris McEneany


Novice Member
I am right now listening to the Braveheart end credits.
R.I.P. James Horner.
You will live forever through your music.


Distinguished Member
I was in my early twenty's growing up in the 70's and a great cinema fan...I was aware of...and enjoyed immensely film soundtracks by composers such as John Barry, Jerry Goldsmith and one of my all-time favourite's Ennio Morricone...I then started to see James Horner's music credited in more and more movies and I bought my first CD of his...The Legend of the Falls...I got this just before a family holiday to Spain and I took it with me and listened to it on my portable CD player through headphones every night and lying around the Hotel pool...I still love listening to that particular soundtrack to this day.
Some of the tracks start off as simple but very melodic piano pieces and then he brings in violins and the rest of the orchestra and he weaves such a wonderful tapestry of music, long, but very intricate and always very well arranged...I then heard Braveheart, bought it and some other soundtracks of his and that cemented my love of his music to this day.

His output is vast and as others have said, he did repeat his melodies in other movies but so what...I don't care, they're gorgeous pieces and I'm forever coming across other soundtracks of his I've never heard before and look forward to hearing many many more undiscovered (by me) of his work.


Distinguished Member
I can always pick a mile off Leonard Rosenman and the majority of Michel Jarre.

I presume you meant "Maurice" Jarre there Garrett?...("Jean-Michel" is his son).
I have a similar ear for soundtrack composers "Styles" especially John Barry, Georges Delerue..another of my all-time favourites, Maurice Jarre, James Horner and Patrick Doyle and can, like you, usually identify them within hearing a few bars of their music.


I presume you meant "Maurice" Jarre there Garrett?...("Jean-Michel" is his son).
I have a similar ear for soundtrack composers "Styles" especially John Barry, Georges Delerue..another of my all-time favourites, Maurice Jarre, James Horner and Patrick Doyle and can, like you, usually identify them within hearing a few bars of their music.
Yup, no way meant his son :). I remember walking one afternoon at my parents and them watching Morituri about half way though and more or less instantly said I bet Jerry Goldsmith wrote the score, looking up I was right.
Even though it was like nothing I heard him score before. Something Jerry does is use horns in quite a wistful manner e.g. First Blood or Chinatown Love theme. also use a lot of snare drums in early scores. Some of my favourites are Gorges, Nobody Runs Forever and The House on Carol Street.
I have spotted of late composers not known to me are using some of the old masters styles.
Malcolm Arnold re uses his incidental music in most of his films, As I think James Bernard in his Hammer films.


Distinguished Member
Another one who loves his Commando score. RIP James Horner.

Mark One

Active Member
Tragic news, he will definitely be missed. A huge fan of his work, if I had too choose my favourite score it would have to be Glory. RIP.


Distinguished Member
What an amazing list (post 1). Never realised he scored many of the films in said list.

The score for Braveheart is simply amazing. One of my faves ever. Reduces me to a blubbering wreck every time.

Recent Empire interview here .

James Horner: The Empire Interview



Distinguished Member
I'm in Italy and heard this news a few days ago. Was totally shocked! 61 is very young RIP loved his work. :(
Loved Something Wicked This Way Comes.

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