Top 10 Scores Turning 30 in 2019

Back to our musical score time machine!  For this edition, we're looking at 1989!  Here's a look back at the scores of 1989 with my list of the 10 Best Scores Turning 30!

Let's start the ranking!

10. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (Jerry Goldsmith)
Returning to Trek after The Motion Picture (1979), Goldsmith returned to his main title march and Klingon music while adding in lush new themes, strong action material and one for villain Sybok.  While it's not a highly rated film, it's an interesting stepping stone to the next three Trek films he'd later score.

9. Field of Dreams (James Horner)
Instead of a large score, Horner took a more reserved tone - full of ethereal moments, atmospheric synth work, Americana and lyrical melodies that culminate in the finale.  The themes are memorable but don't distract from the story.

8. Born on the Fourth of July (John Williams)
This score is extremely effective, mainly the powerful trumpet solo and the sorrowful main theme following Ron Kovic's story beyond the war.  The emotional range on this underrated score has some truly haunting string writing and also uplifting end credits music.

7. Farewell to the King (Basil Poledouris)
Poledouris uses sweeping themes full of heart while the instrumentation fits the exotic locales.  It's similar to some of John Barry's late 80s scores, and has some Conan the Barbarian-style writing.  Any fans of Poledouris should check this one out.
6. The Abyss (Alan Silvestri)
Silvestri evokes the mystery of the water with some atmospheric and electronic writing.  The choir's appearance along with the famous CGI creation is stunning, but the buildup to the finale with full choir and orchestra is some of Silvestri's most moving work.

5. Henry V (Patrick Doyle)
Doyle made his film score debut alongside Kenneth Branagh's directorial debut.  Much of the subdued underscore supports the Shakespeare dialogue and battle scenes.  There are moments where the orchestra emerges and shines: the St. Crispin's Day speech and the stirring Non Nobis, Domine (performed in film by Doyle himself).
4. The Little Mermaid (Alan Menken)
Even past the now classic songs, Menken crafted his first film score to keep musical continuity.  There's plenty of animated mickey-mouse style syncing, plenty of intimate instrumental moments and long, grand orchestral cues.  The orchestral reprises of his song material proved to be a worthy formula for future Disney films.  The first (of many) Oscar wins for Menken.
3. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (John Williams)
I love the musical set-pieces and themes - the circus train, Scherzo for Motorcycle and Orchestra and the tank chase.  After the darker Temple of Doom, Williams adds more musical levity among the usual suspense and action.  The music for the holy grail and the father & son relationship theme is a standout in the series.

2. Glory (James Horner)
Horner's use of choir through the score is one of its strongest elements.  Several elements of the score make their way into his other scores, like the sweeping themes that pack much of the punch for this forgotten Civil War story.  Building to the climactic battle at Fort Wagner and ending elegy are stunning on film and album.  

1. Batman (Danny Elfman)
For Elfman's first foray into large blockbuster scoring it is still one of his best and most memorable.  The now iconic minor-key Batman theme matches the tone of the Tim Burton-era Gotham City, while balancing the comedic tone for the Joker and the softer romantic side.  This score has had the lasting effect on Batman, from the animated series to Elfman even using it 28 years later for his Justice League score. 

Honorable Mentions:

Always (John Williams), Back to the Future Part II (Alan Silvestri), Driving Miss Daisy (Hans Zimmer), The Fabulous Baker Boys (Dave Grusin), Fat Man and Little Boy (Ennio Morricone), Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (James Horner), Lethal Weapon 2 (Kamen/Clapton/Sanborn), Leviathan (Jerry Goldsmith), Pet Sematary (Elliot Goldenthal), Steel Magnolias (Georges Delerue), The War of the Roses (David Newman)

Any personal favorites of yours from 1989 that I didn't include? 

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