top of page

Music in

1900 - 2000


Music in Films

Miklos Rozsa
1907 - 1995


Rozsa's film music

Miklós Rózsa (18 April 1907 – 27 July 1995) was a Hungarian-American composer trained in Germany (1925–1931), and active in France (1931–1935), the United Kingdom (1935–1940), and the United States (1940–1995), with extensive sojourns in Italy from 1953. Best known for his nearly one hundred film scores, he nevertheless maintained a steadfast allegiance to absolute concert music throughout what he called his "double life."

A Hungarian-born composer, most famous for his Hollywood and British film scores, but also responsible for a significant body of chamber pieces, concertos, and orchestral music for the concert hall. Rozsa's music is steeped in post-romanticism, with stylistic roots in the folk music of his native Hungary and some slight influences from those two giants of 20th-century Hungarian music, Bela Bartok and Zoltan Kodaly.


Rozsa discovered movie music in the mid-'30s, when he learned that his friend, composer Arthur Honneger, had written the score for a film. Impressed with the results, Rozsa began to study movies more closely for the role that music played in them. In 1937, he was invited to write the score for the romantic espionage thriller Knight Without Armour, starring Marlene Dietrich and Robert Donat, which became an international hit. Soon after, Rozsa was asked to join the staff of its production company, London Films -- founded by his fellow Hungarian expatriate Alexander Korda -- and during the next three years, he scored such classic movies as The Four Feathers and The Thief of Baghdad. When producer Alexander Korda was forced to move the latter film's production from London to Hollywood in 1940, Rozsa was among the London Films staff members who made the journey.

Having reached the filmmaking capital of the world, Rozsa made his way as a freelance composer for several years, primarily in the employ of Paramount Pictures in the films of Billy Wilder (Five Graves to Cairo, Double Indemnity, The Lost Weekend), producer David O. Selznick for Alfred Hitchcock (Spellbound), and the occasional Korda production (That Hamilton Woman, The Jungle Book). Following his winning of Oscars for Spellbound (1945) and A Double Life (1948), Rozsa joined the staff of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, where he worked for the next 15 years, doing the music for such classic films as Ben-Hur, for which he won his third Oscar. 

The Music of  Miklos Rozsa
1.- The Ten Commandments (1956) 'Prelude' by Elmer Bernstein
2.- Ben Hur Roman March
3.- Knights of the Round Table (1953)   Suite 
4.- Miklos Rozsa  Fanfares, The Chariot Procession
5.- The Dream of Olwen   Leonard Pennario 
6.- Ben Hur(Original Soundtrack Recording)  Parade Of The Charioteers
7.- The Dream of Olwen   Leonard Pennario Miklos Rozsa

Miklós Rózsa - Greatest Hits

1940 The Thief of Bagdad

1941 Lydia
1941 That Hamilton Woman
1942 Jungle Book 

1944 Double Indemnity

1945 Spellbound

1945 The Lost Weekend

1946 The Killers 
1947 A Double Life

1949 Madame Bovary
1950 The Asphalt Jungle
1951 Quo Vadis
1953 Knights of the Round Table 
1956 Diane
1950 Ben-Hur 
1961 El Cid
1963 The V.I.P.s
1973 The Golden Voyage of Sinbad
1977 Providence



The Thief of Bagdad

The Thief of Bagdad is a 1940 British Technicolor Arabian fantasy film, produced by Alexander Korda, directed by Michael Powell, Ludwig Berger, and Tim Whelan, with additional contributions by Korda's brothers Vincent and Zoltán and William Cameron Menzies. The film stars child actor Sabu, Conrad Veidt, John Justin, and June Duprez. It was distributed in the US and the UK by United Artists. 

The Thief of Bagdad won the Academy Awards for Cinematography, Art Direction (Vincent Korda) and Special Effects (Lawrence W. Butler, Jack Whitney) and marks the first major use of bluescreening in film. It was also nominated for Original Music Score (Miklós Rózsa), the first time a British film score had been recognized at the Academy Awards.

The Thief of Bagdad (1940) - Suite - Miklos Rozsa



Lydia is a 1941 drama film, directed by Julien Duvivier. It stars Merle Oberon as Lydia MacMillan, a woman whose life is seen from her spoiled, immature youth through bitter and resentful middle years, until at last she is old and accepting. It is a remake of Duvivier's Un carnet de bal (1937), which starred Marie Bell as the leading character.

Lydia (1941) 

Lydia (1941) 

Miklos Rozsa - "Lydia" suite for piano (1941) 1/2
Pianist : Albert Dominguez

1- Love theme (1.55)
2- Bubbling St ars (1.25)
3- Sleighride (1.49)
4- Waltz (2.58)

Miklos Rozsa - "Lydia" suite for piano (1941) 2/2
Pianist : Albert Dominguez

5- The Sea (2.14)
6- Farewell (3.17)
7- Concerto (four hands) (2.27)


That Hamilton Woman

That Hamilton Woman, also known as Lady Hamilton and The Enchantress, is a 1941 black-and-white historical film drama, produced and directed by Alexander Korda for his British company during his exile in the United States. Set during the Napoleonic Wars, the film tells the story of the rise and fall of Emma Hamilton, dance-hall girl and courtesan, who married Sir William Hamilton, British ambassador to the Kingdom of Naples. She later became mistress to Admiral Horatio Nelson. 

Lady Hamilton - 1941


MIKLOS ROZSA - Lady Hamilton theme


Jungle Book

Jungle Book is a 1942 independent Technicolor action-adventure film by the Hungarian Korda brothers, based on a screenplay adaptation by Laurence Stallings of Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, about a wild boy who is kidnapped by villagers who are cruel to animals as they attempt to steal a dead king's cursed treasure.

The film was directed by Zoltán Korda, produced by his brother Alexander and art directed by their younger brother Vincent. The cinematography was by Lee Garmes and W. Howard Greene and the music was by Miklós Rózsa. The film starred Sabu as Mowgli. Because of the war, the British Korda brothers had moved their film making to Hollywood in 1940, and Jungle Book is one of the films they made during that Hollywood period.


Jungle Book - Music by Miklos Rozsa - Matinee at the Shadowland

Jungle Book - Soundtrack Suite - Miklós Rózsa

Double Indemnity

Double Indemnity is a 1944 film noir crime drama directed by Billy Wilder, co-written by Wilder and Raymond Chandler, and produced by Buddy DeSylva and Joseph Sistrom. The screenplay was based on James M. Cain's 1943 novella of the same name, which originally appeared as an eight-part serial in Liberty magazine, beginning in February 1936.

The film stars Fred MacMurray as an insurance salesman, Barbara Stanwyck as a provocative housewife who wishes her husband were dead, and Edward G. Robinson as a claims adjuster whose job is to find phony claims. The term "double indemnity" refers to a clause in certain life insurance policies that doubles the payout in rare cases when death is caused accidentally, such as while riding a railway.

Praised by many critics when first released, Double Indemnity was nominated for seven Academy Awards but did not win any. Widely regarded as a classic, it is often cited as a paradigmatic film noir and as having set the standard for the films that followed in that genre.

Deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the U.S. Library of Congress in 1992, Double Indemnity was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. In 1998, it was ranked #38 on the American Film Institute's list of the 100 best American films of all time, and in 2007 it placed 29th on their 10th Anniversary list.

DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944) -  trailer

Miklos Rozsa: Double Indemnity (1944)




Spellbound is a 1945 American film noir psychological mystery thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It tells the story of the new head of a mental asylum who turns out not to be what he claims. The film stars Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck, Michael Chekhov and Leo G. Carroll. It is an adaptation by Angus MacPhail and Ben Hecht of the novel The House of Dr. Edwardes (1927) by Hilary Saint George Saunders and John Palmer.

Spellbound (1945)

Spellbound - Official Trailer 

Miklos Rosza: Spellbound (1945)

Miklos Rozsa - Spellbound - Soundtrack Music Suite


The Killers

The Killers (also known as A Man Alone) is a 1946 American film noir directed by Robert Siodmak and based in part on the 1927 short story of the same name by Ernest Hemingway.

It stars Burt Lancaster in his film debut, Ava Gardner, Edmond O'Brien, and Sam Levene. The film also features William Conrad in his first credited role, as one of the killers referred to in the title. An uncredited John Huston and Richard Brooks co-wrote the screenplay, which was credited to Anthony Veiller.

In 2008, The Killers was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

The Killers 1946
Burt Lancaster, Ava Gardner, Edmond O'Brien

Miklós Rózsa - The Killers


A Double Life

A Double Life is a 1947 film noir which tells the story of an actor whose mind becomes affected by the character he portrays. It stars Ronald Colman and Signe Hasso. It is directed by George Cukor, with screenplay by Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin. Ronald Colman won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in this film.

A Double Life - 1947
Ronald Colman, Edmond O'Brien, Signe Hasso

A Double Life - 1947
Original trailer

MIKLOS ROZSA - 'A DOUBLE LIFE' - Orchestral Suite Part 1 

MIKLOS ROZSA - 'A DOUBLE LIFE' Orchestral Suite Part 2 


Madame Bovary

Madame Bovary is a 1949 American romantic drama film adaptation of the classic novel of the same name by Gustave Flaubert. It stars Jennifer Jones, James Mason, Van Heflin, Louis Jourdan, Alf Kjellin (billed as Christopher Kent), Gene Lockhart, Frank Allenby and Gladys Cooper.

It was directed by Vincente Minnelli and produced by Pandro S. Berman, from a screenplay by Robert Ardrey based on the Flaubert novel. The music score was by Miklós Rózsa, the cinematography by Robert H. Planck and the art direction by Cedric Gibbons and Jack Martin Smith.

The film was a project of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios and Lana Turner was set to star, but when pregnancy forced her to withdraw, Jones stepped into the title role. Production ran from mid-December 1948 to mid-March 1949 and the film premiered the following August.

The story of the adulterous wife who destroys the lives of many presented censorship issues with the Motion Picture Production Code. A plot device which structured the story around author Flaubert's obscenity trial was developed to placate the censors. The highlight of the film is an elaborately choreographed ball sequence set to composer Miklós Rózsa's lush film score.

The film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration in 1950 for Cedric Gibbons, Jack Martin Smith, Edwin B. Willis and Richard Pefferle.


Madame Bovary  - Miklos Rozsa

Madame Bovary Original Trailer

Madame Bovary (1949) – Waltz Scene


The Asphalt Jungle

The Asphalt Jungle is a 1950 film noir and heist film directed by John Huston. Based on the 1949 novel of the same name by W. R. Burnett, it tells the story of a jewel robbery in a Midwestern city. The film stars Sterling Hayden, Louis Calhern, Jean Hagen, James Whitmore, Sam Jaffe, and John McIntire, and also features Marilyn Monroe in one of her earliest roles.

The film was nominated for four Academy Awards. In 2008, The Asphalt Jungle was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

The Asphalt Jungle - trailer

Miklos Rozsa - The Asphalt Jungle - Soundtrack 


Quo Vadis 

Quo Vadis (Latin for "Where are you going?") is a 1951 American epic film made by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in Technicolor. It was directed by Mervyn LeRoy and produced by Sam Zimbalist, from a screenplay by John Lee Mahin, S.N. Behrman and Sonya Levien, adapted from the novel Quo Vadis (1896) by the Polish Nobel Laureate author Henryk Sienkiewicz. The score is by Miklós Rózsa and the cinematography by Robert Surtees and William V. Skall. The title refers to an incident in the apocryphal Acts of Peter.

The film starred Robert Taylor, Deborah Kerr, Leo Genn, and Peter Ustinov, and featured Patricia Laffan, Finlay Currie, Abraham Sofaer, Marina Berti, Buddy Baer and Felix Aylmer. Anthony Mann worked on the film for four weeks as an uncredited second-unit director. Sergio Leone was an uncredited assistant director of Italian extras. Future Italian stars Sophia Loren and Bud Spencer appeared as uncredited extras. The film was nominated for eight Academy Awards (though it won none), and it was such a huge box-office success that it was credited with single-handedly rescuing M-G-M from the brink of bankruptcy.

Quo Vadis - Official Trailer

Eunice - "Quo Vadis" - Robert Taylor, Marina Berti

Quo Vadis (1951) - Petronias and Eunice

Quo Vadis - Soundtrack Suite - Miklós Rózsa



Ivanhoe is a 1952 historical adventure epic film directed by Richard Thorpe and produced by Pandro S. Berman for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The film was shot in Technicolor, with a cast featuring Robert Taylor, Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Fontaine, George Sanders, Emlyn Williams, Finlay Currie, and Felix Aylmer. The screenplay is written by Æneas MacKenzie, Marguerite Roberts, and Noel Langley, based on the 1820 historical novel Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott.

The film was the first in what turned out to be an unofficial trilogy made by the same director and producer and star, Robert Taylor. The others were Knights of the Round Table (1953) and The Adventures of Quentin Durward (1955). All three were made at MGM's British Studios at Elstree, near London.

In 1951, the year of production, one of the screenwriters, Marguerite Roberts, was blacklisted by the House Un-American Activities Committee, and MGM received permission from the Screen Writers Guild to remove her credit from the film.

Ivanhoe (1952) Trailer

Ivanhoe - Soundtrack Suite - Miklós Rózsa


Knights of the Round Table

Knights of the Round Table is a 1953 American historical Eastmancolor film made by MGM in England and Ireland. Directed by Richard Thorpe and produced by Pandro S. Berman, it was the first film in CinemaScope made by that studio. The screenplay was by Talbot Jennings, Jan Lustig [de] and Noel Langley from Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, first published in 1485 by William Caxton.

The film was the second in an unofficial trilogy made by the same director and producer and starring Robert Taylor, coming between Ivanhoe (1952) and The Adventures of Quentin Durward (1955). All three were made at MGM's British studios at Borehamwood, near London and partly filmed on location. The cast included Robert Taylor as Sir Lancelot, Ava Gardner as Queen Guinevere, Mel Ferrer as King Arthur, Anne Crawford as Morgan Le Fay, Stanley Baker as Modred and Felix Aylmer as Merlin. The film uses the Welsh spelling for Arthur's nemesis, Modred, rather than the more common Mordred.

In addition to the same producer, director and star, the first two films in the triology had the same cinematographer (F.A. Young), composer (Miklos Rozsa), art director (Alfred Junge) and costume designer (Roger Furse). The costumes for this film were executed by Elizabeth Haffenden. In 1955 she would take over from Furse as costume designer for the final film in the trilogy, Quentin Durward.

Knights of the Round Table - Official Trailer (1953)

Knights Of The Round Table - Soundtrack Suite - Miklós Rózsa



Diane is a 1956 American historical film drama about the life of Diane de Poitiers, produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, directed by David Miller, and produced by Edwin H. Knopf from a screenplay by Christopher Isherwood based on a story by John Erskine. The music score was composed by Miklós Rózsa, and Robert H. Planck was the cinematographer, who filmed in CinemaScope and Eastmancolor. The exceptionally lavish costumes were designed by Walter Plunkett.

The film stars Lana Turner, Pedro Armendáriz, Roger Moore, and Marisa Pavan, and features Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Torin Thatcher, Taina Elg, John Lupton, Henry Daniell, Melville Cooper and an early film appearance by Stuart Whitman. It was Turner's last film under her longtime MGM contract and thus marked another stage in the decline of the studio star system.

Love Theme from "Diane" (1956) - Miklos Rozsa

Finale from "Diane" (1956) - Miklos Rozsa

Diane (1956) 1/2

Diane (1956) 2/2



Ben-Hur is a 1959 American epic religious drama film, directed by William Wyler, produced by Sam Zimbalist for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and starring Charlton Heston as the title character. A remake of the 1925 silent film with the same title, Ben-Hur was adapted from Lew Wallace's 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ. The screenplay is credited to Karl Tunberg, but includes contributions from Maxwell Anderson, S. N. Behrman, Gore Vidal, and Christopher Fry.

Ben-Hur had the largest budget ($15.175 million), as well as the largest sets built, of any film produced at the time. Costume designer Elizabeth Haffenden oversaw a staff of 100 wardrobe fabricators to make the costumes, and a workshop employing 200 artists and workmen provided the hundreds of friezes and statues needed in the film. Filming commenced on May 18, 1958, and wrapped on January 7, 1959, with shooting lasting for 12 to 14 hours a day, six days a week. Pre-production began in Italy at Cinecittà around October 1957, and post-production took six months. Under cinematographer Robert L. Surtees, MGM executives made the decision to film the picture in a widescreen format, which Wyler strongly disliked. More than 200 camels and 2,500 horses were used in the shooting of the film, with some 10,000 extras. The sea battle was filmed using miniatures in a huge tank on the back lot at the MGM Studios in Culver City, California. The nine-minute chariot race has become one of cinema's most famous sequences, and the film score, composed and conducted by Miklós Rózsa, is the longest ever composed for a film and was highly influential on cinema for more than 15 years.

Following a $14.7 million marketing effort, Ben-Hur premiered at Loew's State Theatre in New York City on November 18, 1959. It was the fastest-grossing, as well as the highest-grossing film of 1959, in the process becoming the second highest-grossing film in history at the time after Gone with the Wind. It won a record 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director (Wyler), Best Actor in a Leading Role (Heston), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Griffith), and Best Cinematography – Color (Surtees). Ben-Hur also won three Golden Globe Awards, including Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Director and Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture for Stephen Boyd. Today, Ben-Hur is widely regarded as one of the greatest films of all time, and in 1998 the American Film Institute ranked it the 72nd best American film and the 2nd best American epic film in the AFI's 10 Top 10. In 2004, the National Film Preservation Board selected Ben-Hur for preservation by the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress for being a "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" motion picture.

Ben-Hur (1959) - Suite - Miklos Rozsa


El Cid 

El Cid is a 1961 epic historical drama film that romanticizes the life of the Christian Castilian knight Don Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, called "El Cid" (from the Arabic as-sidi, meaning "The Lord"), who, in the 11th century, fought the North African Almoravides and ultimately contributed to the unification of Spain. The film stars Charlton Heston in the title role and Sophia Loren as Doña Ximena.

Made by Samuel Bronston Productions in association with Dear Film Produzione and released in the United States by Allied Artists, the film was directed by Anthony Mann and produced by Samuel Bronston, with Jaime Prades and Michal Waszynski as associate producers. The screenplay was by Philip Yordan, Ben Barzman, and Fredric M. Frank from a story by Frank. The music score was by Miklós Rózsa, the cinematography by Robert Krasker and the editing by Robert Lawrence. The film had its World Premiere at the Metropole Theatre, Victoria, London on December 6, 1961.

El Cid - Soundtrack Suite - Miklós Rózsa

El Cid - 1961


The V.I.P.s 

The V.I.P.s (also known as Hotel International) is a 1963 British drama film in Metrocolor and Panavision. It was directed by Anthony Asquith, produced by Anatole de Grunwald and distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The film was written by Terence Rattigan, with a music score by Miklós Rózsa.

It has an all-star cast including Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Louis Jourdan, Elsa Martinelli, Maggie Smith, Rod Taylor, Orson Welles and Margaret Rutherford, who won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress as well as the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture.

Miklós Rózsa - The VIPs

The V.I.P.s (1963) Official Trailer


The Golden Voyage of Sinbad

The Golden Voyage of Sinbad is a 1973 fantasy film directed by Gordon Hessler and featuring stop motion effects by Ray Harryhausen. It is the second of three Sinbad films released by Columbia Pictures, the others being The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958) and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977). The film stars John Phillip Law, Tom Baker, Takis Emmanuel, and Caroline Munro. It won the first Saturn Award for Best Fantasy Film.

The Golden Voyage Of Sinbad - Soundtrack Suite - Miklós Rózsa

The Golden Voyage of Sinbad  - Trailer

The Golden Voyage of Sinbad - Battle with Kali



Providence is a 1977 French/Swiss film directed by Alain Resnais from a screenplay by David Mercer. It explores the processes of creativity through a portrayal of an ageing novelist, played by John Gielgud, who imagines scenes for his latest novel which draw upon his past history and his relationships with members of his family. The film won the 1978 César Award for Best Film.


Providence - Soundtrack Suite - Miklós Rózsa

Providence - Alain Resnais (1977) 

bottom of page