4. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Composer: Maurice Jarre
Standout track: “Overture”

Maurice Jarre’s work on Lawrence of Arabia is nothing short of a masterpiece. The thumping percussion and booming horns add a sonic splendor to David Lean’s widescreen epic, but it’s in the film’s overture where Jarre really worked his magic. This is a theme that has become one of the most iconic in Hollywood history. The juxtaposition between the harsh drum beats and the soothing strings add so many layers to the piece, and it keeps the music constantly propelling forward and unpredictable.

Lawrence of Arabia hit theaters at a time when movies were getting larger in both visual scope and budget, so it was important for the film to have music that shared its ambitions. Jarre’s work is tailor-made for Lean’s tastes, and that combination led to music that can stand alongside anything being produced by the most talented composers of the era.