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Monday, December 21, 2009

Music That Matters: Top 50 Movie Symphonies (#33 Born On The Fourth Of July Theme by John Williams)

MTV never, and I mean never, showed videos for a symphonic song included in a movie. But to my surprise, I caught wind of a video in 1989 for the main theme of Born On The Fourth Of July by the master of his craft John Williams. And the theme just blew me away making me realize that John Williams did more than just score movies for Stephen Spielberg and George Lucas. Born On The Fourth Of July was supposed to be the sure fire Oscar winner about the life and struggles of Ron Kovic, a Vietnam war veteran and anti-war activist who became paralyzed from the waste down while fighting in 'Nam. Tom Cruise was brilliant in the role of Ron Kovic, and should have been a lock to win the Best Actor award. He would lose out to a then unknown actor named Daniel-Day Lewis for My Left Foot. Although Cruise would later be nominated for Jerry Maguire, he probably has never has an easier shot to win. Although the movie was successful and earned director Oliver Stone an Oscar award for Best Directing, Born On The Fourth Of July lost out to Driving Miss Daisy for Best Picture and John Williams couldn't bring home another award for his brilliant score. Although his loss was at the hands of Alan Menken's The Little Mermaid score which would begin the long reign in the 90's of scores written for Disney movies. I can't fault the Academy for not recognizing John Williams that year.

The theme is an extremely uplifting song with a powerful solo trumpet performance by Tim Morrison. It also would be one of Williams' first pieces in a politically themed movie that would continue in the early 90's when he reteamed with Oliver Stone for JFK. I have always loved the song since I first saw that video back in 1989, but had never seen the film to really appreciate the song. But I finally saw the movie last year. Born On The Fourth Of July was a good movie, but once again John Williams made another movie great with one of his best themes of all time. Might by overlooked by the masses, but not by me!

Ladies and gentlemen.... #33 The Born On The Fourth Of July Theme from John Williams

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