Music

Danny Elfman’s Movies and Film Scores List

Written by the MasterClass staff

Last updated: Aug 27, 2021 • 6 min read

For more than 30 years, Danny Elfman has established himself as one of the most versatile and accomplished film composers in the Hollywood industry. He’s been nominated for four Oscars and has collaborated with directors such as Tim Burton, Gus Van Sant, Sam Raimi, Peter Jackson, Ang Lee, Rob Minkoff, Guillermo del Toro, Brian De Palma, James Ponsoldt, and David O. Russell.

Beginning with his first score on Tim Burton’s Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, Danny has scored more than 100 films, including Milk (Oscar nominated), Good Will Hunting (Oscar nominated), Big Fish (Oscar nominated), Men in Black (Oscar nominated), Edward Scissorhands, Batman, To Die For, Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, Alice in Wonderland, Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle, Justice League, Spiderman, A Simple Plan, Midnight Run, Sommersby, Dolores Claiborne, and the Errol Morris documentaries The Unknown Known and Standard Operating Procedure. Most recently he has provided the music for Tim Burton’s Dumbo and The Grinch.

A native of Los Angeles, Danny grew up loving film music. He traveled the world as a young man, absorbing its musical diversity. He founded the band Oingo Boingo and came to the attention of a young Tim Burton, who asked him to write the score for Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. Thirty-four years later, the two have forged one of the most fruitful composer-director collaborations in film history.

In addition to his film work, Danny wrote the iconic theme music for the television series The Simpsons as well as the series Desperate Housewives and Tales from the Crypt.