Steven Spielberg To Honor The Greatest Composer With A Documentary

Steven Spielberg is producing a documentary about long-time collaborator and legendary composer, John Williams.

By Phillip Moyer | Published

steven spielberg john williams

Less than a week after Steven Spielberg was shocked by the news that composer and longtime collaborator John Williams decided not to retire, the Raiders of the Lost Ark director has announced his plan to produce a documentary about the musical legend.

Steven Spielberg has signed on as executive producer for the documentary, which will detail his 50-year partnership with John Williams. The documentary will be created via Spielberg’s TV studio, Amblin Television, alongside Imagine Documentaries and Nedland Media. The documentary will be directed by Laurent Bouzereau, who previously directed documentaries about actress Natalie Wood and screenwriter Dustin Lance Black.

The partnership between Steven Spielberg and John Williams began with the little-known crime drama The Sugarland Express, which followed the story of a woman’s ill-conceived plan to break her husband out of prison and kidnap their son from foster care. From there, the duo worked on Jaws, the aquatic horror movie whose well-known theme music and masterful direction led to it becoming the first-ever blockbuster film. Jaws was such a success that it had an unexpected effect on the world’s ecosystem, as it led to Americans killing sharks in catastrophic numbers. 

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After the unprecedented success of Jaws, Steven Spielberg began working with John Williams almost exclusively. Williams has scored all, but five of the 39 films Spielberg has directed, including Spielberg’s latest film, The Fabelmans. Williams has also scored the upcoming Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny — which was going to be his last film before he decided not to retire after all. 

The documentary won’t just follow the relationship between the director and composer, however. Williams began his career composing music for television, including series such as Wagon Train and Lost in Space. He had some early work in now-forgotten films such as 1958’s Daddy-O and 1960s Because They’re Young, but it wasn’t until 1969 that he began working on films almost exclusively.

Along with his work with Steven Spielberg, John Williams is responsible for the iconic soundtracks of many other hit films. His well-known scores include music for almost every Star Wars movie, the 1978 Richard Donner Superman film, Home AloneThe Patriot, and the Harry Potter series.

While Steven Spielberg’s influence may have helped push John Williams to focus on films, he didn’t abandon television entirely. He has composed some music for NBC News and NBC Sunday Night Football, along with the theme music for the 1984 Summer Olympics.

As can probably be expected Steven Spielberg’s longtime partner, John Williams has been showered with awards and award nominations. He is the second-most-nominated individual in the history of The Oscars, having earned 52 nominations for his music — though he only won awards for Fiddler on the RoofJawsE.T., and Schindler’s List. Williams has also won four Golden Globe awards, 25 Grammy Awards, and three Emmy Awards.

Steven Spielberg has announced his intent to continue working with John Williams, now that the 90-year-old composer has decided not to retire. While this is good news for film fans, it does mean that the documentary probably will not be able to give a complete story of Williams’ career.