Film Music Review
The Sammy awards









These movie music awards are named in honor of lyricist,
Sammy Cahn, 1913-1993.

The Sammys are announced each year for the best film music released on CDs, and are chosen by Roger Hall, a respected film music historian,
ASCAP composer, author of A Guide to Film Music, and editor of Film Music Review.

The Sammy Awards have been mentioned at these web sites:

Brad Lang's Classic Movies (Salute to the Oscars)

Elmer Bernstein - The Official Site

Film Score Monthly


John Williams Fan Network


If you have a web site and list these awards or would like to exchanges links, write to:

Sammy Awards

20th Annual Sammy Awards


10 February 2008

The Sammys have no connection to the Oscars, Golden Globes, or any other awards and are based on the quality of the film music on CDs -- that is the soundtrack, song or compilation.  

Now in their 20th year, the Sammys are the longest-running awards chosen exclusively for film music on CDs. Special certificiates are sent to each year's recipients of the Sammys.     

I named these awards in honor of Sammy Cahn, who was Oscar-nominated more than any other songwriter – 26 times in all between 1942 and 1973. 

The first Sammy Awards were chosen for best score and song of 1988 – the year of Sammy Cahn’s 75th birthday.  When he was notified, Sammy said he was “flattered and honored" to have the awards named after him.

He certainly deserved the honor. Sammy received four Oscars for co-writing these songs:

  • "Three Coins in the Fountain" (1954) from THREE COINS IN THE FOUNTAIN -- music by Jule Styne
  • "All the Way" from THE JOKER IS WILD (1957) --
    music by James Van Heusen
  • "High Hopes" from A HOLE IN THE HEAD (1959) --
    music by James Van Heusen
  • "Call Me Irresponsible" from PAPA'S DELICATE CONDITION (1963) --
    music by James Van Heusen

All four songs were recorded by Frank Sinatra, who was a big admirer of Sammy's lyrics.

Current Sammy Award Categories:

This year was not a good one for new film scores. So the focus this year is on soundtrack preservations. It was a great year for re-releases and re-recordings of vintage soundtracks. To read the review for each award, just click on the link.

Without any envelopes to open or boring speeches to listen to, here are the...


20th Annual Sammy Awards For 2007  

Best New Film Score

ATONEMENT -- music by Dario Marianelli (Decca CD)

A beautifully scored soundtrack by Marianelli for one of the year's best films. Featuring excellent performances by The English Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Benjamin Wallfisch with piano soloist: Jean-Yves Thibaudet; cello soloist: Caroline Dale; Harmonica soloist: Brendan Power. Most poignant tracks: "Elegy for Dunkirk" and "Denouement."


Best New Film Song


"Lies" from ONCE --
words and music by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova
(Sony Music Soundtrax CD)

Even though much of the attention this year is focused on the songs from the Disney fantasy ENCHANTED, after listening to the wonderful songtrack from ONCE, I believe it is a much more satisfying one. With so many good songs it was not an easy choice, but I think "Lies" has the most to say and is also the best performed song on the CD. Other memorable songs include: "Falling Slowly"; "If You Want Me"; "Gold"; "Fallen From The Sky" (a really catchy tune); "Trying to Pull Myself Away"; and "Once" (the title song). I'd recommend getting the Collector's Edition with several extra tracks and a fascinating bonus DVD disc. If only more of today's musical films had this much appeal and talented songwriting! Produced by Glen Hansard.

Best New Song/Score Compilation



With all the artists involved, this might seem like too many cooks in the kitchen, yet this very diverse compilation honors the powerful, passionate songs and themes composed by the greatest living Italian film composer, Ennio Morricone. It includes excellent songs, like the beautiful "I Knew I Loved You" (lyrics by Alan & Marilyn Bergman) and "Sail Away" (lyrics by Leonie Gane). Morricone conducts the Rome Sinfonietta Orchestra. Produced by Luigi Caiola.




Best Overlooked New Score


music by James Newton Howard (Sony Classical CD)

It seems that just about every critic and reviewer passed over this excellent soundtrack and paid more attention to the other scores by James Newton Howard. I named him as Top Composer of the Year for his numerous worthwhile scores in 2007. Strangely, his score for MICHAEL CLAYTON is proably the weakest of the bunch and yet it is the one Oscar nominated. Howard's THE VILLAGE was named for a Sammy as Best Film Score in 2004. THE WATER HORSE was produced by James Newton Howard and Jim Weldman.





Best Vintage Film Soundtrack


RAINTREE COUNTY (1957) - music by Johnny Green
(Film Score Monthly - 2 CDs

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the M-G-M epic, this lush and beautiful Johnny Green score is presented complete on this soundtrack, including the Overture, Entr'Acte music and all the rest. The composer conducts the sumptuous M-G-M Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. The soundtrack also includes the memorable title song, lyrics by Paul Francis Webster, beautifully sung by the serene voice of Nat King Cole. Produced by Lukas Kendall.



Best Vintage Compilation

Miklós Rózsa: A Centenary Clebration (Varese Sarabande - 3 CD Box Set)

This box set was released in celebration of the 100th birthday anniversary of one of the greatest film composers, Miklós Rózsa (1907-1995). It includes many of his best known themes such as from EL CID, THE THIEF OF BAGDAD, BEN HUR, KING OF KINGS, THE LOST WEEKEND, PLYMOUTH ADVENTURE, also several pieces for two pianos: NEW ENGLAND CONCERTO and SPELLBOUND CONCERTO. A superlative tribute to this film music master, with various orchestras conducted by Elmer Bernstein, Cliff Edelman, Joel McNeely, Richard Mueller-Lampertz, and Miklós Rózsa. Produced by Robert Townson.


Preservation Award - Best Restored Film Soundtrack


FAHRENHEIT 451 -- music Bernard Herrmann (Tribute Film Classics CD)

From a brand new CD label comes the first complete soundtrack of this magnificent score by Bernard Herrmann, with a superb restoration by John Morgan and excellent performance by the Moscow Symphony Orchestra, brilliantly conducted by William Stromberg. This CD also includes the poignant score from one of the best TWILIGHT ZONE episodes: "Walking Distance." Produced by Anna Bonn, John Morgan, and William Stromberg.

Also recommended is the DVD which includes an excellent bonus feature on Bernard Herrmann's music score...





DVD: FAHRENHEIT 451 (1966)




Preservation Award - Best Restored Compilation


AMAZING STORIES - Anthology Three (Intrada 2 CDs)

For fans of this TV series produced by Steven Spielberg in the 1980s, this is the best of the Intrada AMAZING STORIES Anthology releases. Inlcuded are scores by Michael Kamen, Bruce Broughton, Billy Goldenberg, John Addison, and especially John Williams, whose score fro THE MISSION is probably the best of the entire TV series. Produced by Douglass Fake.




Preservation Award - Best Album Producer

Alien [Complete Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]

For his stellar work in producing such excellent CD restorations as ALIEN and AMAZING STORIES and a re-recoring of Rozsa's SPELLBOUND, this year's Preservation Award goes to...

Douglass Fake at INTRADA





Lifetime Achievement Award for Past Film Composer or Songwriter


Since 1988 there have been 14 film composers and 6 songwriters named for this Lifetime Achievement Award, given to those who have made significant contributions to film music.

The composers and arrangers are (in the order of their listing):

Bernard Herrmann, Henry Mancini, Alfred Newman, Max Steiner, Miklos Rozsa, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Dimitri Tiomkin, Franz Waxman, Victor Young, Hugo Friedhofer, Johnny Green, Bronislau Kaper, Alex North, and Elmer Bernstein.

The songwriters and lyricists are: Sammy Cahn, Johnny Mercer, James Van Heusen, Harry Warren, Jay Livingston and Ray Evans.

Now in 2008, I select a film composer who was one of the greatest from the past half century...


Jerrald (Jerry) Goldsmith

Born:  Los Angeles, California, February 10, 1929

Died: Beverly Hills, California, July 21, 2004



I first became aware of his TV music, especially the classic Twilight Zone episode, "The Invaders."

Also his many TV themes for such programs as:


There were also his memorable early film scores from the 1960s, including these:

A Patch Of Blue: Original Sound Track Recording




The Sand Pebbles: Original Motion Picture Score (1997 Re-recording)


The isolated Jerry Goldsmith score with commentary by Nick Redman, Jon Burlingame, and Len Dobbs is available on a highly recommended Cinema Classics Collection 2 DVD set with both the Theatrical and Roadshow Versions of the 1966 film as well as many other extra features...


Two years after THE SAND PEBBLES, Goldsmith composed another outstanding and innovative score for...

Planet Of The Apes: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - Also Featuring Music From Escape From The Planet Of The Apes 


Planet of the Apes - The Legacy Collection (Planet of the Apes [1968] / Beneath the / Escape from the / Conquest of the / Battle for the)

PLANET OF THE APES - The Legacy Collection, with Jerry Goldsmith commentary

Later, he produced several distinctive scores for the STAR TREK series, especially the first one from 1979:

Star Trek: The Motion Picture

(20th Anniversary Edition - 2 CD Set)


Besides the film scores already mentioned, here are ten more listed by year of release and covering numerous genres:

PATTON (1970)



THE OMEN (1976) -- his only Oscar-winning score

ISLANDS IN THE STREAM (1977) -- Jerry Goldsmith's favorite score



RUDY (1993)


There are so many other film scores which could be named.  He was that prolific and versatile.

Here are several very good compilations, both conducted by the composer:

The Film Music of Jerry Goldsmith (Telarc CD)

Goldsmith Conducts Goldsmith (Silva Screen CD)

I think one of the best reflections of what a film composer goes through is found in the following quote from Fred Karlin's excellent book, Listening to Movies

Jerry Goldsmith said:

Some people might imagine a composer as a quiet, romantic figure, dreaming up beautiful chords and melodies, but to me every assignment is a scramble and a crunch.  Each assignment becomes an agonizing experience. Where shall I begin? What notes shall I play? What combinations of sounds will be at once melodic and original and attention-grabbing that the audience will be hooked?

To illustrate how much his music is valued, I have selected seven Goldsmith scores on the list of Top 100 Film Scores of the 20th Century.

This Lifetime Achievement Award is intended to acknowledgeJerry Goldsmith's years of devotion to the film industry and his superlative work in producing some of the most memorable film scores of our time, even for those films that were not very good.

He had a rare gift for film scoring and he used it superbly.

Fortunately a lot of his film music has been available on such record labels as

Film Score Monthly (available from Screen Archives Entertainment)




Varese Sarabande

And for all the CDs and DVDs with his film scores Goldsmith's many fans can be very thankful.

I count myself among them.

Jerry Goldsmith was a GIANT in the film music world.

His film music will continue to live on.

-- Roger Hall, The Sammy Awards

To read more information about the Lifetime Achievement Award composer, click on these links:

Jerry Goldsmith (Wikipedia)

Jerry Goldsmith Online



Are you a fan of classic films?

If you enjoy music from older films, this DVD is highly recommended.

It is hosted with great candor by John Mauceri and includes music by Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Alfred Newman, David Raksin, Max Steiner, Dimitri Tiomkin, and Franz Waxman.

Click on this link to order:

Music for the Movies: The Hollywood Sound

Music from Hollywood

Also recommended is this CD from a 1963 television program, with the Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra and music conducted by these film composers: Alfred Newman, David Raksin, Alex North, Franz Waxman, Johnny Green, Bernard Herrmann, Dimitri Tiomkin, and Miklos Rozsa.

Music From Hollywood

Read the previous choices at this link:

The Sammy Awards List


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