John Williams



John Williams was born on February 8, 1932 in New York. He was born into a musical family and looked up to his father, a professional jazz percussionist. He graduated from high school in 1950 and attended UCLA while privately studying with Italian composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. After that, he was drafted into the Air Force where one of his assignments was to compose pieces for the Air Force Band. He ended his service in 1955 and moved to New York and entered The Juilliard School, where he studied piano with Rosina Lhévinne.


Williams has composed the music and served as music director for nearly eighty films, including Saving Private Ryan, Amistad, Seven Years in Tibet, The Lost World, Rosewood, Sleepers, Nixon, Sabrina, Schindler's List, Jurassic Park, Home Alone, Far and Away, JFK, Hook, Presumed Innocent, Always, Born on the Fourth of July, the Indiana Jones trilogy, The Accidental Tourist, Empire of the Sun, The Witches of Eastwick, the Star Wars trilogy, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, The Empire Strikes Back, Superman, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Jaws, and Goodbye Mr. Chips.


Kennedy Center Honors (2004)

5 Academy Awards

4 Golden Globe Awards

22 Grammy Awards

Career Start

After living and playing piano in New York, he moved to Los Angeles and played in film studios as an orchestrator. His first film composition was for the 1958 B movie Daddy-O.

Top Films

Indiana Jones Trilogy


Star Wars Trilogy

E.T. The Extra Terrestrial

Home Alone

Soundtrack Music

  • Uses cues to add music in specific spots in the movie
  • Written with collaboration between composer and producer/director of movie
  • Symphonic orchestra plays it
  • Different themes for main characters and events

Raiders of the Lost Ark


The movie starts with Indiana Jones obtaining a golden idol which is stolen by Nazis as he leaves the temple in South America. Government agents inform him that the Nazis are trying to acquire the Ark of the Covenant, which Hitler believes will make his army unstoppable. Indiana Jones travels to Nepal to start his search and reunites with his former mentor's daughter, Marion, who helps him obtain the ark. Indiana Jones and Marion find the ark, but it is stolen by the Nazis. Indiana Jones and the Nazis trade possession of the ark multiple times before the Nazis test its power. As the Nazis open the Ark, dead souls vaporize them all. Indiana Jones then gets the Ark after the souls. The U.S. government then keeps the Ark in storage.

Raiders of the Lost Ark Soundtrack - The Raiders March

"The Raiders March" - John Williams (Raiders of the Lost Ark)

S- Percussion, Brass, Woodwinds, Strings, Piano

H- Percussion, Woodwinds

M- Brass, Strings

R- fast, in 4- slow, in 4

G- moderate-loud-moderate-loud-soft


2 Themes


Work Cited

"Raiders of the Lost Ark." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 08 June 2015.

"John Williams." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 10 June 2015.

"The John Williams Web Pages: Biography." The John Williams Web Pages: Biography. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 June 2015.

"Film Score." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 10 June 2015.

"Awards." IMDb., n.d. Web. 10 June 2015.