A few days back, I put out a call on both Facebook and Twitter, asking for people to tell me who they think the most important person to the movie industry has been over the last 50 years. I had mine in mind, but wanted to see both what others thought, and see just how clever I was being because I suspected mine would not be a top name selected.
I got some excellent suggestions. Some that even had me questioning my pick. Here were some of the better suggestions:
- George Lucas (Star Wars, Indiana Jones, etc.)
- Reed Hastings (Netflix co-founder, CEO)
- Harvey Weinstein (the indie king, before…well, you know)
- Jon Favreau (MCU, Elf)
- Quentin Tarantino (my favorite director of the last 20 years)
- Actors: Clint Eastwood, Mel Gibson, Tom Hanks
- Steven Spielberg (almost any blockbuster not in the MCU)
- Coen Brothers
- Martin Scorsese (name a mob movie after Godfather)
- Bob Iger (Disney)
- Alfred Hitchcock (on the edge of that 50 year mark)
- Kevin Fiege (MCU)
As you can see, most mentioned directors or CEO types, along with some of the biggest actors of their times.
Like I said, I thought I was being clever with my pick, but it took all of about three comments on Facebook for someone to name mine, which means it probably wasn’t that clever at all. In my defense, the guy who said my pick married a band director, so he shouldn’t count. Sorry, Will.
Yes, my pick actually worked with many of the names above, helping make them household names. It is none other than John Williams.
It is quite likely George Lucas is not GEORGELUCAS! without Mr. Williams’ work on Star Wars. A man could have written both the opening title music and Imperial March and called it a pretty solid career. I mean, c’mon. I marched down the aisle to Imperial March at my wedding. Your memories of Star Wars are as wrapped up in the sound as much as they are the story of effects.
And to follow that up later with the music of Indiana Jones is just ridiculous
As for Spielberg. Yes, the summer blockbuster was launched with Jaws. But I would argue Jaws was launched with a tuba every bit as much as it was a shark or a man chasing it. I have not watched Jaws in more than 20 years probably. That music is still ingrained in my head. Yours too, admit it.
As for Favreau or Feige, yeah John Williams did super heros too. Ever heard of a man by the name of Superman?
And none of that is even getting into ET, JFK, Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List or Harry Potter.
And if you don’t think the music guy is important enough to warrant the honor of “most important person to movies” just go watch any of those Youtube clips where people change the music to famous scenes and completely change the scene.
The man has 25 Grammy awards, five Academy awards and four Golden Globes. His 52 Academy Award nominations are second all time behind Walt Disney. He was the first non-actor/director to win the AFI Life Achievement Award. Bach and Beethoven never won an Academy award. Take that, losers.
Williams has been active for 70 years as of this year. No matter what age you are, John Williams probably wrote the soundtrack to your childhood.