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Vassilis Konstantinos "Basil" Poledouris (August 21, 1945 – November 8, 2006) was a Greek-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), and RoboCop (1987).

Life and career

Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Poledouris was a Greek-American.[1] 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.[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. 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), RoboCop (1987; dir: Verhoeven); The Hunt for Red October (1990); 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.

Robocop theme
Soundtrack's main theme, composed by Basil Poledouris.
Problems listening to 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.[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]

Extreme Close-Up (1973)
Tintorera (1977)
Big Wednesday (1978)
The House of God (1980)
The Blue Lagoon (1980)
Summer Lovers (1982)
Conan the Barbarian (1982)
Red Dawn (1984)
Protocol (1984)
Conan the Destroyer (1984)
Making the Grade (1984)
Flesh & Blood (1985)
Iron Eagle (1986)
Cherry 2000 (1987)
No Man's Land (1987)
RoboCop (1987)
Split Decisions (1988)
Spellbinder (1988)
Farewell to the King (1989)
Wired (1989)
Quigley Down Under (1990)
The Hunt for Red October (1990)
Flight of the Intruder (1991)
White Fang (1991)
Return to the Blue Lagoon (1991)
Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man (1991)
Wind (1992)
RoboCop 3 (1993)
Hot Shots! Part Deux (1993)
Free Willy (1993)
On Deadly Ground (1994)
Serial Mom (1994)
Lassie (1994)
Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book (1994)
Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home (1995)
Under Siege 2 (1995)
It's My Party (1996)
Celtic Pride (1996)
Amanda (1996)
The War at Home (1996)
Switchback (1997)
Breakdown (1997)
Starship Troopers (1997)
Les Misérables (1998)
Kimberly (1999)
For Love of the Game (1999)
Mickey Blue Eyes (1999)
Cecil B. DeMented (2000)
Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles (2001)
The Touch (2002)
The Legend of Butch and Sundance (2003)


Amerika (14-hour mini-series) (1987)
Lonesome Dove (8-hour mini-series) (1989) (Emmy Award Winner for Best Score)
Zoya (4-hour mini-series) (theme) (1995)


Congratulations, It's a Boy (1971)
Three for the Road (1974)
Hollywood 90028 (1979)
Dolphin (1979)
A Whale for the Killing (1981)
Fire on the Mountain (1981)
Amazons (1984)
Single Women, Single Bars (1984)
Alfred Hitchcock Presents (pilot) (1985)
Misfits of Science (pilot) (1986)
The Twilight Zone: "Profile in Silver" (1986)
The Twilight Zone: "Monsters" (1986)
The Twilight Zone: "A Message from Charity" (1986)
Prison for Children (1987)
Island Sons (pilot) (1987)
Intrigue (pilot) (1988)
L.A. Takedown (pilot) (1989)
Nasty Boys (pilot) (1989)
Nasty Boys: "Lone Justice" (1990)
Life & Times of Ned Blessing (pilot) (1991)
If These Walls Could Talk II (2000)
Love and Treason (2001)

Other works

1996 Atlanta Olympic Games (Opening Ceremony)[6]
Conan Sword & Sorcery Spectacular (Universal Studios' live stage show)
American Journeys (A Circle-Vision 360° film at Disneyland and Magic Kingdom)
Flyers (IMAX)
Behold Hawaii (IMAX)


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

External links

Official website
Basil Poledouris at the Internet Movie Database
Basil Poledouris interview at UnderScores : Musique de Film

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