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Basil Poledouris Is Gone

ScoreKeeper here with news I regretfully must bear. The world of film music fell silent today as famed composer and conductor Basil Poledouris lost his battle with cancer. A favorite among fans, his music will forever live in the hearts of those whose lives he touched through the magic of cinema.
With more than eighty film and television credits to his name, Poledouris, will be remembered for many great scores including, BIG WEDNESDAY (1978), THE BLUE LAGOON (1980), CONAN THE BARBARIAN (1982), RED DAWN (1984), ROBOCOP (1987), LONESOME DOVE (1989), THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER (1990), FREE WILLY (1993), IT’S MY PARTY (1996) and STARSHIP TROOPERS (1997) to name a few. He also composed “The Tradition of the Games” for the 1996 Olympic Opening Ceremonies. One of the more recent scores of his I fell in love with was FOR LOVE OF THE GAME (1999). A rabid baseball fan myself, he empathized with those who love the true spirit of the sport and crafted a stirring dramatic score that was par for the course for Basil Poledouris. The world can not afford his loss.

Readers Talkback
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  • Nov. 8, 2006, 9:21 p.m. CST

    oh, man

    by occula

    a great loss indeed.

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 9:20 p.m. CST

    Holy crap!

    by 24200124

    This man made some of the best scores ever. He will be missed.

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 9:20 p.m. CST

    Conan The Barbarian

    by Manos

    What a great score. And this is truly a loss.

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 9:21 p.m. CST


    by Stone316

    Sad day when we lose the man that put the barbarian in'll be missed...

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 9:29 p.m. CST

    Nice to see someone passionate about movie scores

    by Bean_

    Great post ScoreKeeper!

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 9:32 p.m. CST

    Ah dammit.

    by zurge

    I just watched Starship last week man. He will surely be missed. And now we'll never have another Verhoven and Poledour sci-fi epic again. We'll miss ya. Best wishes to the family.

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 9:32 p.m. CST

    The man was a fucking genius.

    by thenewpulper

    He will be missed.

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 9:34 p.m. CST


    by Too Gay Too Soon

    One of his most memorable film scores now speaks for itself. May you rest in peace Basil. You've officially earned the title of Maestro.

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 9:39 p.m. CST

    Shit man. Too soon, too soon...

    by Laserbrain

    Bye Bas, you made a hell of a fuckin mark.

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 9:39 p.m. CST

    Damn shame

    by PhillipMarlowe

    Big fan of his Les Miserables and Starship Troopers Soundtracks, and of course, Conan the Barbarian. Wrote really stirring music. Rest in peace.

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 9:40 p.m. CST


    by Archduke_Chocula

    The Conan score is a real triumph, he will be missed.

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 9:46 p.m. CST

    Lonesome Dove fan myself

    by Billyeveryteen

    His score made me cry. Looks like I will again.

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 9:49 p.m. CST


    by Killah_Mate

    Really, really sad news. The man was not just a legend, he created legends. Conan of course, and so many others. Always had a soft spot for his "Hunt for Red October" score myself. Rest In Peace, Maestro... Man, this blows.

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 9:58 p.m. CST

    For Love of the Game

    by whiskeybandit

    I agree. One of my favorite scores of all time. Very few film composers have written such stirring music.

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 10:07 p.m. CST

    May he rest in peace

    by Darth Thoth

    Thank you Mr. Poledouris for your gift of music you shared with the world. Many a time your music has brought a smile to my face or a tear to my eye. Conan the Barbarian was my favorite of your pieces. I think without a doubt it is one of the finest film scores ever created. No question about it. May you rest in peace. God bless. And we will always remember you as your music lives on and with it your spirit. Peace.

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 10:16 p.m. CST

    Anvil of Crom

    by werideatdusk

    "Anvil of Crom," the opening theme from Conan the Barbarian, is a piece of tremendously powerful and majestic music. THis man was talented, and will be missed. The music will live on forever.

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 10:22 p.m. CST

    Plays "Funeral Pyre" from Conan in requiem

    by Osmosis Jones

    "Why do you cry?" ~ "Because he will not" Well, *I'm* on the verge of tears now. Farewell To The King, indeed...

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 10:22 p.m. CST


    by Vermifax

    "Red October" was near-perfect and Basil's wife was great in "Starship Troopers". We should really step up this cancer cure shit. R.I.P. Basil.

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 10:26 p.m. CST

    R.I.P. Mr.P

    by Malebolgia

    Love, love, LOVE the Conan Soundtrack!!

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 10:25 p.m. CST

    listening to his Conan soundtrack now..

    by Amy Chasing

    Probably the greatest score for a fantasy film in the last 50 years. Never heard a bad word spoken about his music - he was more than just a fan favorite, he was an artist.

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 10:31 p.m. CST

    Damn this sucks

    by nil8tion

    the conan sdtk was the first I'd ever heard, he will be missed.

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 10:31 p.m. CST

    Starshp Troopers...

    by Some Dude

    ...was a good score.

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 10:31 p.m. CST

    Starship, even.

    by Some Dude

    me am retard

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 10:36 p.m. CST

    Big Wednesday!

    by Det. John Kimble

    I had no idea he scored that - I'm going to watch it tonight and mourn the loss of a fine musician.

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 10:49 p.m. CST

    That was Basil's *daughter*, Zoe, in Starship Troopers

    by Osmosis Jones

    She was the lead singer during the high school graduation sequence.

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 10:58 p.m. CST

    RIP, condolences to his family

    by tiredpm

    Some great work by him -- Conan and Robocop are such wonderfully evocative scores and fit both the material and the era in which they were made. A true great has been lost.

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 10:59 p.m. CST

    He was awesome

    by Neo Zeed

    His scores were legendary. Basil will be missed.

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 11 p.m. CST

    Rest in Peace.

    by granhalcon

    I LOVED his music for "Conan", "Robocop" and "Starship Troopers" but,still, I took him for granted somehow. I want to fix that now - even though it's too late. Goodbye Mr. Poledouris.

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 11:13 p.m. CST

    Really creepy...

    by TedTwist

    I was just watching Conan with my daughter today. And she was asking me about the music and the chanting. We then went into my office and she fiddled on the computer while I played the soundtrack on iTunes. I told her it was the first soundtrack I ever bought and that I listen to it usually once a week while working. How odd that it happened today of all days. Just one of those scary coincidences. Basil, you will be missed. I am a richer man for your brilliance.

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 11:13 p.m. CST

    Loved the music for Hunt for Red October

    by slder78

    It was so good that Zimmer ripped it off in Crimson Tide. Condolences to his family.

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 11:15 p.m. CST


    by CZ

    My life is a little sadder now...

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 11:16 p.m. CST


    by CZ

    My life is a little sadder now...

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 11:18 p.m. CST

    It's My Party

    by ScoreKeeper

    I've been listening to Basil all night. I decided I'd go to iTunes and purchase and album in honor of his legacy. I picked IT'S MY PARTY (1996). Basil was so fluent in the bombastic orchestral scores but yet this simple score for solo piano may reflect his true genius. If you've got this score. Put it on tonight. I'll think I'll just have it on a continual loop all night long. Goodbye Mr. Poledouris.

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 11:19 p.m. CST

    R.I.P. Basil

    by Boromir187

    To hell with you Crom for taking him from us!

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 11:20 p.m. CST

    Another USC musical legend... gone.

    by SithScorp

    He was a grad of the University of Southern California School of music. A fellow alum, though MANY years before my time there. I was lucky enough to play in a concert that he conducted Hunt For Red October for... Great man with a great sense of humor. He and Bruce Broughton joked during rehearsals about classes they took with other legends like David Raksin. A great loss.

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 11:41 p.m. CST

    Conan the Barbarian and Robocop

    by one9deuce

    Two of the great scores ever written. Robocop is a Sci-Fi film, but Basil Poledouris' score gives it the feel of a Western. Which is really what that film is under the futuristic setting. And the Conan the Barbarian score is brilliant. The score elevates that film immeasurably.

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 11:49 p.m. CST

    Damn, this guy was talented.

    by Doc_Strange

    I had watched Conan recently and every piece of music throughout that movie was memorable. The one that sticks out to me the most was the part where Conan turns the wheel in the beginning. Thoughts and prayers go out to his family. Truly, this is a sad day for music. But I like to think God has an appreciation for music be it classic or contemporary, farewell.

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 11:58 p.m. CST

    Holy shit that sucks

    by zillabeast

    Man oh man. I didn't see this one coming. One of my all time favs....

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 12:05 a.m. CST

    I can say without trace of irony

    by Flim_

    that he was one of the ten best composers in cinema history. He never repeated himself. He never composed a bad score. All his themes were monumental. I am truly, truly saddened to hear this news. <br>May flights of sonorous angels speed thee to thy rest.

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 12:16 a.m. CST

    First Michael Kamen, now him.

    by Lobanhaki

    I'm a Radio/TV/Film major, and my interest in making movies stems a lot from my early fascination with movie music and the people who composed it. Poledouris' scores for Red October, Quigley Down Under, and of course, Robocop were some of the biggest attractions for me. It's sad to see him go.

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 12:17 a.m. CST

    Oh man.......

    by Jimmy Jazz

    Too bad. The Russian folk song stuff at the begining of Hunt For Red October still gives me chills.

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 12:20 a.m. CST

    R.I.P. (and P.S. to Sithscorp)

    by ChickenDelicious

    Love his music. I still play my Conan CD all the time. He will be missed. P.S. Sithscorp, I think we must have mutual friends. A good friend of mine, also from SC, sang in that Red October event. I know he's feeling this loss, too.

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 12:31 a.m. CST

    A shame that KING CONAN didn't happen...

    by godoffireinhell

    He probably would have scored it a couple years ago. I love his work on CONAN, ROBOCOP and STARSHIP TROOPERS. This is sad.

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 12:32 a.m. CST

    Who's ScoreKeeper?

    by jrbarker

    new guy? R.I.P. to Basil.

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 12:39 a.m. CST

    By Crom

    by darth jobu

    I've been listening to the Conan the Barbarian soundtrack since it came out. The french horns. How sad. We lost a true artist. J

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 12:56 a.m. CST

    A time of high musical adventure!

    by IAmJack'sUserID

    Conan the Barbarian was the second CD I ever bought, and I listened and loved it soo much I wore it out. He's one of my favs, and I am saddened at his loss, just as the film score world is as well.

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 1:08 a.m. CST

    Damn this bites!

    by DarthJedi

    I'm listening to Conan and extremely sad as I write this. I'm actually choking back some tears as I realize that we'll never hear another score from this man again. A sad day for all music fans and music in general. RIP Basil. You will be missed.

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 1:08 a.m. CST

    Robocop and Starship Troopers

    by SebastianHaff

    While not the greatest movies ever, were always among my favorite scores growing up. This guy ruled and he will be missed. Verhoeven (sp?) movies never sound right without his presence.

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 1:12 a.m. CST

    Another great one

    by Wingnut1A

    If you get a chance, take a listen to Quigley Down Under's main theme. Very rousing. =) But, Conan is still my fave.

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 1:58 a.m. CST

    I love the Robocop-Theme!

    by DerLanghaarige


  • Nov. 9, 2006, 2:28 a.m. CST

    This is so sad

    by Roderich

    Conan, Farewell to the King, Robocop, Starship Troopers. Some of them were my personal favourites for months at the time. Conan remains it today. Best score ever. My condolences to his familiy. From the heart.

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 2:32 a.m. CST

    RIP sir

    by Primus

    Your scores were truly magnificent. In an age when many soundtracks are churned out with an utterly generic feel, yours always had great flavour, memorable themes and real class that allowed them to stand alone from the movie they accompanied. You have left us far too soon.

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 2:47 a.m. CST

    Losing lots of them lately

    by jawsfan

    Kamen, Poledouris, Goldsmith, Bernstein. This sucks.

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 3:01 a.m. CST

    What a loss

    by kai028

    This man created some of the most powerful and memorable film music in history. He and Ennio Morricone are the first two film composers I ever took notice of. He gave us many gifts, and the worlds of film and music are the worse for his loss. RIP.

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 3:16 a.m. CST

    A true loss.

    by DocPazuzu

    Poledouris was probably my favorite film composer of all time, closely followed by Williams and Goldsmith. Unlike the latter two, however, I found Poledouris' music to have the capacity to stir me all on its own to a greater extent, with his Conan the Barbarian score being the finest example along with Farewell to the King. Another favorite is the melancholy yet defiant (and sadly overlooked) score for the 1987 miniseries Amerika. I'll be playing all my Poledouris tracks today in honor of the man... R.I.P.

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 3:32 a.m. CST

    Truly a great composer...

    by Monkey_King

    He'll be missed

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 4:01 a.m. CST

    Basil Poledouris

    by kwisatzhaderach

    I am shocked. I did not know he was ill. Conan the Barbarian is one of the greatest film scores of all time, BAR NONE. It's just an unbelievable score. Every track is a classic, Anvil of Crom, Riddle of Steel/Riders of Doom, Gift of Fury, Atlantean Sword, Wheel of Pain, Theology/Civilization... just amazing, awe-inspiring music. His scores for Red October and RoboCop were incredible too. I salute you Mr Poledouris, thank you for the wonderful music you gave us. It will be played and loved when we are all gone.

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 4:12 a.m. CST

    Conan The Barbarian...

    by hiperaktiv

    One of the greatest movie scores ever and one of my favourites. But only part of a great body of work. Basil Poledouris, you will be missed. RIP

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 5:40 a.m. CST

    Oh Bollocks

    by King_Knut

    The Conan score is one of only 3 soundtracks I have on my mobile. I've had it as a ringtone for months. This is horrible news.

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 5:47 a.m. CST

    When Williams goes...

    by abiggerboat

    That's when the old salty water will flow from my eyes!

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 6:01 a.m. CST


    by Primus

    This is not the place for your personal protests againsy Michael Bay. By all means use forums related to his films, but using a forum for people to acknowledge the death of a movie great is just rude and indecent. Please be more respectful.

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 6:09 a.m. CST

    oh wow..

    by the_shogun_gunslinger

    at first i was like, "who?" then it hit, im so bummed now...he had some AMAZING scores and truely his own sound..especially loved the Robocop and ST scores...always got me pumped up...Rest well, good sir :(

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 6:27 a.m. CST

    I was always hoping...

    by Seph_J

    ...that he had time for a few more classics. As everyone has already said, Conan was awesome, as was Starship Troopers and Robocop.... I actually thought Free Willy was lovely too. Goddamnit, this is sad. And MCMLXXVI is just about the scummiest piece of shit I have ever had the unpleasantness of talking about. I hope he gets banned from this place very soon. And i'm sure he will. RIP Basil Poledouris. And thanks.

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 6:42 a.m. CST

    we've lost a musical great

    by oscarmike

    he will be missed

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 8:33 a.m. CST

    This is very unfortunate.

    by MattCG

    I have almost every score he's done. He will be missed.

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 9:07 a.m. CST


    by Godardwhowhatnow


  • Nov. 9, 2006, 9:30 a.m. CST

    Conan the Barbarian is my favourite movie score

    by CuervoJones

    A genious is gone

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 10:07 a.m. CST

    Rest in Peace, Basil

    by Archive

    For several years, I worked on an independent project that is still in development limbo, and Basil was our composer. I spoke him several times, and his recording studio was right next door to our offices, so I saw him at least once a week during those years. He was always gracious and generous with his time, and I remember one occasion at a Christmas Party where we fell into a conversation abour Bergman and Tarkovski while he kept feeding me egg nog he'd spiked with Captain Morgan's - it was one of the best Christmas parties I've ever been to, surrounded by people I love and artists I admire both. He was a master of his craft and has left a legacy of beautiful music that will live on and affect audiences forever - he has helped to shape our culture, which is all any artist can ask for. Even more so, he was a truly beautiful person, and I know all those around me now who knew him feel his absence today. As an up and coming filmmaker, one of my goals has always been to direct a film with his music - as I make that movie, I hope he can still see it as he watches over us all from paradise, and I hope it makes him smile. Basil, thank you for helping all of us aspire to be the best craftsmen and artists we can be, and thank you for elevating our stories. We were blessed to have you in our lives.

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 10:08 a.m. CST

    We should honor the greats before they pass on

    by NivekJ

    Someone had mentioned Michael Kamen earlier in the talkback. He,a long with Basil, was one of my favorites. With Jerry Goldsmith gone, the thundering greats of our favorite movie scores are passing on. They wrote some of the best music I've heard in my life, surpassing anything on the Billboard charts. Their music was the successor to classical and opera as a storytelling medium. If not for film score, music as a whole would not be achieving its full potential. On a personal note, I've been listening to a disc of Conan, Robocop, and Starship Troopers tracks. So, this has hit me pretty hard as well. Is there any way we can leave condolences and farewells on a family website? Are there any tributes planned? My only hope is that people will appreciate and honor Basil's music in their memory, and watch one of his films or listen to one of his scores for old times' sake. Honor those you admire and respect before they are gone. You'll be sorry you didn't.

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 10:16 a.m. CST



    Basil created consistently great scores that, while always bearing his signature bombast, never felt like repeats or rehashes of previous work. It was Basil that introduced me to film scores, after I saw Robocop. The theme song just kept repeating in my haed, until finally I went back to the theater, saw the film again and waited through the credits to see who did the score. After that I started listening to the scores in movies and was amazed at how often the ones that I really loved were his scores. RIP, homie!

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 10:41 a.m. CST

    Rest in Peace

    by Mantenna

    Your 'Conan' Score was the best Movie-OST ever. You'll be missed.

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 10:58 a.m. CST

    Everyone else has already said it but...

    by Cat_Corporation

    Conan the Barbarian is one of the greatest, greatest movie scores EVER. I adore it, and I remember how excited it got me about Gladiator when they used it for the teaser - genius. That score completely nails that sword-swinging, warrior-roaring, battle-charging epic-ness, and for an ancient historian like me, it's truly inspirational (especially when the paper writing hits a rut). So sad that he's been taken by an illness so early - but his music will live on. Rest in Peace, Mr P.

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 10:58 a.m. CST

    Same here WISEBLOOD

    by B0D

    Robocop was the first soundtrack I ever bought, saved up all my pocket money for a few weeks to get that. He's truly one of the greats. RIP.

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 11:01 a.m. CST

    As a MAJOR Conan fan...

    by Gil Brooks

    ...this is truely sad news. Rest with Crom...

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 11:18 a.m. CST

    Nothing new to add

    by Mr_ant

    other than another voice in agreement. Conan is the greatest score of all time.

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 11:43 a.m. CST

    A Real Loss...

    by Abin Sur

    His scores evoked so much emotion in me, moreso than most film scores have ever done. Conan is definitely one of the great compositions of the 20th century in terms of cinematic music. I hold him up there with Tangerine Dream as my favorite film scorers.

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 12:03 p.m. CST

    My personal favorite

    by Mattapooh

    My girlfriend and I were just talking about him yesterday. Very sad news, but it's great to see so many people showing how enthusiastic they are about his great stuff.

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 12:05 p.m. CST

    Very sad news.

    by Cleyu


  • Nov. 9, 2006, 1:03 p.m. CST


    by Traumnovelle

    Fuckin' RIP to a legend. Countless days and nights spent absorbing the Conan OST. One of the greatest soundtracks of all time. Basil is king.

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 1:28 p.m. CST

    Rest in peace!

    by Lord_Soth

    A genius is gone. :(

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 4:44 p.m. CST

    TedTwist --

    by Flansy

    "I listen to it usually ONCE A WEEK while working. How odd that it happened today of all days. Just one of those scary coincidences." (Really? The odds seem more like 1/7 to me. ^.^ )

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 5:02 p.m. CST

    Add another who thinks CONAN best score ever.

    by murawsky

    Basil.. very sad to see you go. You gave me my greatest joy with the score of Conan. I have listened to it more often than anything else. When you face CROM.. remember the riddle of steel. You set a fine example.

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 6 p.m. CST

    The best score to listen to while having sex...

    by cganimation

    Conan! I used to work with an artist who swore up and down that for memorable sex, put the Conan score on. I laughed it off, that guy was a nut. But one night I tried it, just for shits and giggles, and that dude was right. Epic.

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 6:35 p.m. CST

    best score....robocop

    by Flux_brown

    rip basil

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 7:38 p.m. CST

    IMDB Sucks!!

    by Stone316

    Its been almost 24 hours since i saw here that the great Basil Poledoris had passed away and IMDB still hasnt reported the news... what kind of database are they??

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 9:04 p.m. CST

    Yes- Conan is the best score ever

    by TheSecondQuest

    CAN NOT be said enough times- the Conan score is magnificent. Truely a great artist, and the loss of him diminishes us all.

  • Nov. 10, 2006, 1:56 p.m. CST

    Conan the Barbarian is...

    by dragon-lord

    One of the greatest scores ever, if not THE quintessential example of how to score to a film, and film to a score. The director and composer working together, back and forth, to create sequences of magic. His influence cannot be underestimated.

  • Nov. 14, 2006, 5:26 p.m. CST

    Say hello to REH

    by BranMakMorn

    Basil's CONAN score was better than the film.

  • Feb. 26, 2008, 3:19 p.m. CST

    Rest In Peace Mr.Poledouris.......

    by travis-dane

    great scores!