HISTORY & SURVEY OF FILM MUSIC

Alan Silvestri

(b. 1950)

1984     Romancing the Stone

1985     Back to the Future

1987     Predator 

1988     Who Framed Roger Rabbit

1991     Father of the Bride

1992     The Bodyguard

1994      Forrest Gump

2000     Cast Away

2001     The Mummy Returns

2004     Van Helsing

2004     The Polar Express

2007     Beowulf

2011     Captain America: The First Avenger

2012     The Avengers

2018    Avengers: Infinity War

2019    Avengers: Endgame

Alan Silvestri is one of those composers who was at the right place at the right time, not once but twice. His lyricist friend, mistakenly called about music for a low-budget feature, suggested the desperate, out of work Silvestri for The Doberman Gang (1972). Then, after several seasons of scoring TVs “Chips”, its music director recommended Silvestri for an action adventure called Romancing the Stone (1984).

The latter cemented a relationship with director Robert Zemeckis, and Silvestri has scored all of his films since, Including the Back to the Future trilogy, the groundbreaking animated Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the wicked comedy Death Becomes Her, and the multiple award-winning Forrest Gump.


Silvestri, who attended Boston's Berklee school of music for two years though is largely self taught, has been much in demand for comedies from Bette Midler in Outrageous Fortune to Steve Martin and Father of the Bride, to Lemon and Mathau in Grumpy Old Men. Yet he has also demonstrated his abilities in other genres, including horror, science-fiction, thrillers, and westerns. 

Although The Bodyguard was essentially a song score, Silvestri was fortunate once more: his melancholy theme from Kevin Costner/Whitney Houston romance was included on the album. It's now among the top selling soundtracks of all time.


from John Burlingame, “Sound and Vision” (2000)


Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)

Zemeckis’s 1988 groundbreaking mixture of live action and animation cast Bob Hoskins as a private eye investigating dark doings in the all-animation Toontown. Silvestri delivered a score that was wild and wacky, with music that ranges from saloon jazz (where Jessica Rabbit worked) to darkly suspenseful (for detective Eddie Valiant’s dangerous work) to purely manic (for the many cartoon characters that fly in and out of the picture). Traditional cartoon themes, including “The Merry-G-Round Broke Down” and “Merrily We Roll Along,” are appropriately featured.

John Burlingame, “Sound and Vision” (2000)

Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) - Jessica Rabbit

Forrest Gump (1994)

This Eric Roth-written, Robert Zemeckis-directed epic of one slightly slow-witted but big-hearted Southern boy (Tom Hanks) and his journeys through post-war America won six 1994 Oscars including Best Picture. Silvestri’s score, while nominated, did not win, and that’s a shame considering its depth and its effectiveness within the film. Multi-thematic, gentle, and subtle- where the many period songs in this movie are not- this is Silvestri’s finest work.

(Burlingame: Sound and Vision)

Forrest Gump (1994) “Run Forrest, Run!”

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