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), The Hunt for Red October (1990), RoboCop 3 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.

Soundtrack's main theme, composed by Basil Poledouris.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

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
1973 Extreme Close-Up Jeannot Szwarc
Hollywood 90028 Christina Hornisher
1977 Tintorera René Cardona Jr.
1978 Big Wednesday John Milius
1980 The Blue Lagoon Randal Kleiser
1982 Conan the Barbarian John Milius
Summer Lovers Randal Kleiser
1984 The House of God Donald Wrye
Making the Grade Dorian Walker
Conan the Destroyer Richard Fleischer
Red Dawn John Milius
Protocol Herbert Ross
1985 Flesh & Blood Paul Verhoeven
1986 Iron Eagle Sidney J. Furie
1987 RoboCop Paul Verhoeven
No Man's Land Peter Werner
1988 Cherry 2000 Steve De Jarnatt
Spellbinder Janet Greek
Split Decisions David Drury
1989 Farewell to the King John Milius
Wired Larry Peerce
1990 The Hunt for Red October John McTiernan
Quigley Down Under Simon Wincer
1991 Flight of the Intruder John Milius
White Fang Randal Kleiser
Return to the Blue Lagoon William A. Graham
Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man Simon Wincer
1992 Wind Carroll Ballard
1993 Hot Shots! Part Deux Jim Abrahams
Free Willy Simon Wincer
RoboCop 3 Fred Dekker
1994 On Deadly Ground Steven Seagal
Serial Mom John Waters
Lassie Daniel Petrie
Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book Stephen Sommers
1995 Under Siege 2: Dark Territory Geoff Murphy
Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home Dwight H. Little
1996 It's My Party Randal Kleiser
Celtic Pride Tom DeCerchio
The War at Home Emilio Estevez
Amanda Bobby Roth
1997 Breakdown Jonathan Mostow
Switchback Jeb Stuart
Starship Troopers Paul Verhoeven
1998 Les Misérables Bille August
1999 Mickey Blue Eyes Kelly Makin
Kimberly Frederic Golchan
For Love of the Game Sam Raimi
2000 Cecil B. DeMented John Waters
2001 Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles Simon Wincer
2002 The Touch Peter Pau



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]