A to Z Challenge: X (John Williams’ film scores)

*Read John Williams’ biography here

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
Released in 1982 (another Steven Spielberg project) the movie stars Henry Thomas, Dee Wallace, Peter Coyote, Robert MacNaughton, Drew Barrymore and Pat Welsh.

The film concept comes from an imaginary friend Spielberg invented following his parents’ divorce in 1960. The movie tells the story of a boy who becomes friend with an extra terrestrial (E.T.) who is stuck on Earth. The boy and his siblings help E.T. return to his home planet while avoiding the government.

Williams has described the challenge he found in creating a score that would generate sympathy for the odd looking E.T.. However, as with his previous movies with Spielberg, Speilberg liked every theme and included them all in the movie. In fact, he loved the final chase music so much he edited the sequence to suit the theme

The score was heavily awarded, picking up Williams’ fourth Academy Award, three Grammy’s (Best Instrumental Composition, Best Arrangement on an Instrumental Recording and Best Album of an Original Score Written for a Motion Picture), a BAFTA for Best Film Music and a Golden Globe for Best Original Score.

In some ways the music reminds me of the theme for Home Alone – his score is emotional and sensitive and ranges from happy to intense/dramatic.

I saw E.T. when I was a kid (and it came out on VHS) but I wasn’t a huge fan. From memory I think I thought some bits were scary and I didn’t like the ending which I found sad. That first impression has meant I have never watched it again. I like the music a lot more than the movie!

In your opinion what was better – the music or the movie?

15 comments on “A to Z Challenge: X (John Williams’ film scores)

  1. Giggling Fattie

    April 27, 2019 at 9:53 pm

    Ooooo I was wondering what you’d do for X! Good pick!

  2. Nice workaround for X.

    I never saw the movie, in all honesty…

  3. There are 3 criteria I thought of using to answer your question. In the grand scheme of Things ET, the film has done more for the movie industry than the score has done for the movie music industry. ET came out the Summer before my senior year of high school and at the time I was much more impressed with the film than. the score. However, I feel the film has not aged all that well and the score still moves me

  4. The overall achievements of the film are superior to the score. When I first saw the film, I preferred the film to the score. Over the years the film has lessened my view and the score has increased. At this time I would say I prefer the score to the film.

    My A to Z challenge is also movie music related. The music of the Sherman Brothers. They collaborated with John Williams on one film The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

    • I’ll check out your posts. I almost included Tom Sawyer but I couldn’t go past The Terminal because of the clarinet.

  5. I don’t think I ever saw i either. I remember a movie where someone was building stuff with their mashed potatoes and that was significant. But that is all I remember of it and I don’t think it was E.T.


    • Hi Kristin, the mashed potato movie was Close Encounters of the Third Kind (my “C” as it was also a John Williams’ scored movie).

  6. Stopped by from the A to Z blog list, and I’m enjoying your theme and your posts. X is always the hardest letter, at least for me, and you found a very creative solution. I loved this movie, and Williams’ score was a big part of giving it the emotional punch it had.

  7. I’m not a big fan of this, either, although I had an ET diary (that must have been a gift) that’s still around. And ET trading cards. The merchandising on that film…

    • Merchandising has been around that long! I didn’t realise, I thought it was a more modern thing. We didn’t have a cinema in the town I grew up in so I guess there was no point selling the merchandise.

  8. While i remember ET with fondness, i think i agree the music has aged better than the movie itself. Great job with X.

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