Basil Poledouris

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Basil 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 Poledouris (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 with the choir's sound.[1] 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.[2] In 1985, Poledouris wrote the music for the movie Flesh & Blood of Dutch director Paul Verhoeven, establishing another durable collaboration in films.

Poledouris became renowned for his "powerfully epic style" of orchestral composition and "intricate thematic designs". He scored the music 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.

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Poledouris's score for Conan the Barbarian is considered by many to be one of the finest examples of motion picture scoring ever written.[3][4][5]

In 1996, Poledouris composed the "The Tradition of the Games"[6] for the Atlanta Olympics opening ceremony that accompanied the memorable dance tribute[7] to the athletes and goddesses of victory of the ancient Greek Olympics using silhouette imagery.[8]

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.[9]


  • 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)





Other works[edit]


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

External links[edit]