Basil Poledouris

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Basil Konstantine Poledouris
Basil Poledouris.jpg
Background information
Born (1945-08-21)August 21, 1945
Kansas City, Missouri, USA
Died November 8, 2006(2006-11-08) (aged 61)
Los Angeles, California, USA
Genres Film score
Occupation(s) Composer, conductor
Instruments Piano, orchestra
Years active 1970–2003

Basil Konstantine Poledouris[1] (August 21, 1945 – November 8, 2006) was an American music composer who concentrated on the scores for films and television shows. Poledouris won the Emmy Award for Best Musical Score for work on part four of the TV miniseries Lonesome Dove in 1989. He is best known for scores such as Conan the Barbarian (1982), RoboCop (1987), Spellbinder (1988), Red Dawn (1984), The Hunt for Red October (1990), RoboCop 3 (1993) and Starship Troopers (1997).

Life and career[edit]

Born in Kansas City, Missouri, he credited two influences with guiding him towards music: the first was composer Miklós Rózsa; the second his own Greek Orthodox heritage. Poledouris was raised in the Church, and he used to sit in services enthralled by the choir's sound.[2] At the age of seven, Poledouris began piano lessons, and after high school graduation, he enrolled at the University of Southern California to study both filmmaking and music. Several short films to which he contributed are still kept in the university's archives. At USC, Poledouris met movie directors John Milius and Randal Kleiser, with whom he would later collaborate as a music composer. He appeared as a background extra in several episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series.[3] In 1985, Poledouris wrote the music for Paul Verhoeven's Flesh & Blood, establishing a durable collaboration.

Poledouris became renowned for his powerfully epic style of orchestral composition and his intricate thematic designs. He scored the soundtrack for The Blue Lagoon (1980; dir: Kleiser); Conan the Barbarian (1982; dir: Milius); Conan the Destroyer (1984); Red Dawn (1984; dir: Milius), Iron Eagle (1986); RoboCop (1987; dir: Verhoeven); The Hunt for Red October (1990); Quigley Down Under (1990 Simon Wincer); Free Willy (1993) and its first sequel Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home (1995); Starship Troopers (1997; dir: Verhoeven); and For Love of the Game (1999).

Poledouris's studio, "Blowtorch Flats", is located in Venice, California, and is a professional mixing facility specializing in film and media production.

Poledouris married his wife Bobbie in 1969; they had two daughters, Zoë and Alexis. His elder daughter, Zoë Poledouris, is an actress and film composer, who occasionally collaborated with her father in composing film soundtracks.

Poledouris's score for Conan the Barbarian is considered by many to be one of the finest examples of motion picture scoring ever written.[4][5][6]

In 1996, Poledouris composed the "The Tradition of the Games"[7] for the Atlanta Olympics opening ceremony that accompanied the memorable dance tribute[8] to the athletes and goddesses of victory of the ancient Greek Olympics using silhouette imagery.[9]

Poledouris spent the last four years of his life residing on Vashon Island, in Washington State. He died on November 8, 2006, in Los Angeles, California, aged 61, from cancer.[10]


  • Winner Best Score for Miniseries – Emmy Awards (Lonesome Dove)
  • Nominee Best Score – Saturn Awards (Conan the Barbarian)
  • Winner Special Recognition Music Award – BMI Film & TV Awards (Olympic Tribute for "The Tradition of the Games")
  • Winner Film Music Award – BMI Awards (Free Willy)
  • Winner Film Music Award – BMI Awards (The Hunt for Red October)
  • Winner TV Music Award – BMI Awards (Lonesome Dove)
  • Winner Film Music Award – BMI Awards (RoboCop)



Year Title Director Studio(s)
1973 Extreme Close-Up Jeannot Szwarc
Hollywood 90028 Christina Hornisher
1977 Tintorera René Cardona Jr. Hemdale Film Corporation
United Film Distribution
1978 Big Wednesday John Milius Warner Bros.
1980 The Blue Lagoon Randal Kleiser Columbia Pictures
1982 Conan the Barbarian John Milius De Laurentiis Entertainment Group
Universal Pictures (North America)
20th Century Fox (International)
Summer Lovers Randal Kleiser Filmways Pictures
1984 The House of God Donald Wrye
Making the Grade Dorian Walker Cannon Films
Conan the Destroyer Richard Fleischer De Laurentiis Entertainment Group
Universal Pictures
Red Dawn John Milius United Artists
Protocol Herbert Ross Warner Bros.
1985 Flesh & Blood Paul Verhoeven Orion Pictures
1986 Iron Eagle Sidney J. Furie TriStar Pictures
1987 RoboCop Paul Verhoeven Orion Pictures
No Man's Land Peter Werner Orion Pictures
1988 Cherry 2000 Steve De Jarnatt Orion Pictures
Spellbinder Janet Greek Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Split Decisions David Drury New Century Entertainment
1989 Farewell to the King John Milius Orion Pictures
Wired Larry Peerce Taurus Entertainment
1990 The Hunt for Red October John McTiernan Paramount Pictures
Quigley Down Under Simon Wincer Pathé
1991 Flight of the Intruder John Milius Paramount Pictures
White Fang Randal Kleiser Walt Disney Pictures with Hans Zimmer
Return to the Blue Lagoon William A. Graham Columbia Pictures
Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man Simon Wincer Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
1992 Wind Carroll Ballard TriStar Pictures
1993 Hot Shots! Part Deux Jim Abrahams 20th Century Fox
Free Willy Simon Wincer Le Studio Canal+
Regency Enterprises
Warner Bros. Family Entertainment
RoboCop 3 Fred Dekker Orion Pictures
1994 On Deadly Ground Steven Seagal Warner Bros.
Serial Mom John Waters Savoy Pictures
Lassie Daniel Petrie Western Publishing
Paramount Pictures
Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book Stephen Sommers Walt Disney Pictures
1995 Under Siege 2: Dark Territory Geoff Murphy Regency Enterprises
Warner Bros.
Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home Dwight H. Little Le Studio Canal+
Regency Enterprises
Warner Bros. Family Entertainment
1996 It's My Party Randal Kleiser United Artists
Celtic Pride Tom DeCerchio Caravan Pictures
Hollywood Pictures
The War at Home Emilio Estevez Touchstone Pictures
Amanda Bobby Roth
1997 Breakdown Jonathan Mostow Dino de Laurentiis Company
Paramount Pictures
Switchback Jeb Stuart Rysher Entertainment
Paramount Pictures
Starship Troopers Paul Verhoeven TriStar Pictures (North America)
Touchstone Pictures (International)
1998 Les Misérables Bille August Mandalay Entertainment
TriStar Pictures
1999 Mickey Blue Eyes Kelly Makin Castle Rock Entertainment
Warner Bros. (US)
Universal Pictures (UK)
Kimberly Frederic Golchan
For Love of the Game Sam Raimi Renaissance Pictures
Beacon Pictures
Universal Pictures
2000 Cecil B. DeMented John Waters Le Studio Canal+
Artisan Entertainment
2001 Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles Simon Wincer Paramount Pictures
2002 The Touch Peter Pau Miramax Films



Other works[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Rhodes, S. Mark. "A Sprig of Basil: The Musical Mastery of Basil Poledouris." Film Score Monthly, Volume 9, Number 4, 2004.
  3. ^ "Basil Poledouris". Memory Alpha. Retrieved 1 August 2015. 
  4. ^ Corn, Adam. "Conan the Barbarian: An Epitomal Fantasy-Adventure Soundtrack." Soundtrack Central, 1999.
  5. ^ Southall, James. "Conan the Barbarian: Epic Masterpiece is One of the Finest Fantasy Scores to Date." Movie Wave, 27 December 2006.
  6. ^ Broxton, Jonathan. "Conan the Barbarian." Movie Music UK, 1998.
  7. ^ a b Basil Poledouris. "1996 Olympics Opening Ceremony – Honor and Glory CD Audio". Basil Poledouris website. Retrieved 2008-02-19. 
  8. ^ "Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games opening ceremony via Youtube (video)". CBC TV via YouTube. Retrieved 2008-02-19. 
  9. ^ "Basil Poledouris Biography". Basil Poledouris website. Archived from the original on 20 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-19. 
  10. ^ "Basil Poledouris 1945 – 2006." Basil Poledouris Message Board, 8 November 2006.

External links[edit]