In 2007, Ennio Morricone told the New York Times, “The notion that I am a composer who writes a lot of things is true on one hand and not true on the other hand. Maybe my time is better organized than many other people’s. But compared to classical composers like Bach, Frescobaldi, Palestrina or Mozart, I would define myself as unemployed.” This lighthearted self-deprecation shows Morricone’s wicked sense of humor but does no justice to his talent. In reality, Morricone was not only a composer but one of the most influential film composers of all time.
One look at the man’s filmography is enough to astonish, but most widely recognizable is the theme from Sergio Leone’s “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.” Famous to the point of being spoofed regularly in pop culture, the tune is inseparable from our modern conceptions of the western genre. Morricone scored all three films from the “Dollars Trilogy” as well as less popular spaghetti westerns from his home country of Italy. Other films on which Morricone left his mark on were Édouard Molinaro’s “La Cage aux Folles,” John Carpenter’s “The Thing,” Leone’s “Once Upon a Time in America,” Brian De Palma’s “The Untouchables,” Giuseppe Tornatore’s “Cinema Paradiso,” Wolfgang Petersen’s “In the Line of Fire,” Barry Levinson’s “Disclosure,” and Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight.”
Morricone passed away Monday in Rome. The impact he left on the landscape of music and cinema is undeniable.
We thank him for the priceless gift of his work.