Charlotte: Plaything? I should say not. It is my egg sac, my magnum opus.
Wilbur: I don't know what a magnum opus is.
That's Latin. It means "great work." This egg sac is my great work—the finest thing I have ever made.
Welcome to the top of the mountain, and to the pearly gates beyond which only the best are permitted. This trope represents the pinnacle to which anyone who produces a work of art dreams of reaching. The term "Magnum Opus" is bestowed on any work generally accepted to be a masterpiece, as well as the greatest work of its creator, forever cementing them as someone of exceptional talent.
Any given writer, artist, musician, etc. may produce many works in his/her life time, and many of these works may be great; but the greatest, and most important, well known, and influential of these works is their Magnum Opus. For the purposes of this trope page, it is probably best to consult The Other Wiki
's definition of "Masterpiece": "a creation that has been given much critical praise, especially one that is considered the greatest work of a person's career or to a work of outstanding creativity, skill or workmanship.
" This trope is meant to recognize both the work and its creator, so any work of enough quality and critical acclaim is welcome. If you've ever heard a work referred to as a "classic" or especially a "masterpiece," chances are it belongs here.
Note that for some particularly talented creators, which work is their true masterpiece can be open to personal interpretation. There may be heavy debate regarding multiple works as to which is their true Magnum Opus
. However, for many creators there is usually a general consensus among critics and fans as to which work represents the pinnacle of their career—the big slam dunk. Others, unfortunately, find themselves facing the painful situational irony
of Magnum Opus Dissonance
. With that in mind, be free to specify whenever there may be a discrepancy as to which work truly qualifies for this trope, or even if the creator doesn't think that the work generally accepted as their Magnum Opus is really their best. Also note that for some creators, there is little controversy, because they've only ever created or are only known for one particular work
, which happens to be a masterpiece. Others manage to have a successful career, but the Magnum Opus
is their first work
Before commenting on works that are already cited on this page as a creator's Magnum Opus
that you don't agree with, please remember that the main page should be kept as objective as possible, with a minimal number of Justifying Edits
. If there is a work cited here that you don't agree with or a work you feel has been neglected, please mention it first on the Discussion Page.
Finally, please note that although there may be some overlap, this is not to be confused with One Hit Wonder
, which is when a creator is only known for one work, and that page mostly has music examples. This isn't One Book Author
, either. Most of these also aren't Tough Acts To Follow
, which is when any other work of a creator's is compared disfavorably to their opus; but again, they can be. The best way to decide whether or not a work is a Magnum Opus is by asking the question: "Is this work generally defined as a masterpiece, and as the greatest achievement of its creator's career?"
Also note that there may or may not be overlap with the creator's Breakthrough Hit
. While a few creators' breakthroughs are often cited to be their greatest work, most creators will create their breakthrough first, then eventually go on to produce their Magnum Opus
Also not to be confused with a certain penguin
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- Raphael's "School of Athens" an ode to all the masters of the Western world at the time.
- Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa (or maybe his Last Supper).
- Michelangelo's David (or maybe the Sistine Chapel painting).
- Pablo Picasso is one of the most important artists of the 20th century; his masterwork is an enormous (roughly 25 feet long and 10 feet high) oil painting known as Guernica.
- Marcel Duchamp might be the most important artist of the 20th century after Picasso; his magnum opus was a piece simply known as "Fountain," a porcelain urinal he put on a pedestal in a gallery and signed with a marker as "R. Mutt". The piece was concept heavy, meant to challenge the value of art and the importance of the gallery system. The big idea behind the piece being, "If something is in an art gallery, does that make it art?"
- Vincent Van Gogh never made an impact during his life, but his Starry Night remains one of the most influential and recognizable paintings in the world.
- Seurat died unfortunately young, but he (the inventor of pointillism) shook up the art world with his stylistically inventive and politically controversial Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grand Jatte.
- A little more contemporary, Matthew Barney's Cremaster Cycle series of films.
- Also more contemporary, prepare for some Squick in reading about Vito Acconci's performance masterpiece Seedbed.
- Masaccio's frescoes for the Barancacci Chapel, his greatest works and considered by some the principal classroom of the Florentine School.
- David's Death of Marat
- Rembrandt's The Night Watch (or The Conspiracy of Claudius Civilis depending on who you talk to).
- The Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia of Barcelona is often considered the masterpiece of the renowned Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi. The intricacy and scale of the cathedral was so immense that not only was it incomplete at the time of Gaudi's death (despite being started some forty years before he died, and devoting the last fifteen years of his life to it entirely), but remains incomplete to this day. By the time it is expected to be finished, it will have been built over the course of about 140 years.
- Salvador Dali's Hallucinogenic Toreador.
- Alan Moore and Watchmen. For the sole reason that Watchmen is the most famous and highly regarded comic ever. How highly regarded is it? Time magazine placed it in their list of the top 100 pieces of literature of the 20th century. Everything else on the list was traditional text-only literature.
- For Jack Kirby, it was the Fourth World.
- For Neil Gaiman, it was The Sandman.
- Alias or Daredevil for Brian Michael Bendis, although Ultimate Spiderman is well on its way of taking the top spot.
- The same Daredevil run for sure is this for Alex Maleev.
- Batman: The Dark Knight Returns for Frank Miller.
- Geoff Johns' work on Green Lantern is developing into this for him. The highlights of this run are the epics Sinestro Corps War and Blackest Night.
- First run of The Amazing Spider-Man for Stan Lee, Steve Ditko and John Romita Sr.
- Another candidate for both Stan Lee and Jack Kirby is the original run of Fantastic Four, which single-handedly kickstarted Marvel's Silver Age. The highlight of this run of course, was epic and extremely influential "Galactus Trilogy."
- Daredevil: Man Without Fear for John Romita Jr.
- Mark Millar seems to spark the most debate concerning his superhero stories The Ultimates and/or Superman: Red Son and his superhero Deconstruction Kick-Ass.
- The Savage Dragon for Erik Larsen
- Invincible for Robert Kirkman, at least if you ask Super Hero fans. Fans of comics in general can argue that it should be The Walking Dead.
- Art Spiegelman has been producing great comics for decades, but Maus is considered his masterpiece for its influence, critical appeal, and exposure within the media.
- Kingdom Come for Mark Waid and Alex Ross.
- Most readers consider Animal Man to be Grant Morrison's best work, though many would also argue for All-Star Superman, which Morrison himself has referred to as "my own Man of Steel magnum opus." A case could also be made for The Invisibles.
- Warren Ellis' Transmetropolitan.
- Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan.
- Garth Ennis' Preacher.
- Chris Claremont will always be remembered as the man who singlehandedly turned X-Men from a barely-remembered Marvel team comic to one of its premier titles. For a more specific Magnum Opus, look to either Days Of Future Past or The Dark Phoenix Saga.
- Crisis on Infinite Earths for the writer-artist team of Marv Wolfman and George Perez, though the latter's run on Wonder Woman was also highly acclaimed and influential. The duo's run on Teen Titans qualifies as well.
- Ed Brubaker's run on Captain America has been hailed as the best ever on the title, so much so that it earned him My Real Daddy status. Sleeper might be a better candidate, as it is quite representative of his body of work.
- Green Lantern/Green Arrow for Neal Adams and Denny O'Neil.
- Also, arguably for the duo, their run on Batman, which made the character a darker figure again (after the campiness inspired by the Adam West series) and introduced Ra's al Ghul.
- Keno Don Rosa's The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck
- Starman for James Robinson.
- Bone for Jeff Smith.
- Black Panther for Creator/Christopher Priest (Comics) with Quantum And Woody being a runner up.
- 100 Bullets for Brian Azzarello, and also for the artist, Eduardo Risso.
- Deadpool writer Joe Kelly's run on 'Pool's first monthly series is undoubtedly his finest work. It made him Deadpool's real daddy.
- Scott Pilgrim for Brian Lee O'Malley.
Film - Live Action
- Quentin Tarantino's Magnum Opus is still probably Pulp Fiction, although Inglourious Basterds seems to have opened up the debate. Tarantino himself considers Inglourious Basterds his Magnum Opus. Note that the last line is "I think this just might be my masterpiece." This line is made all the more amusing- or snobbish- by Tarantino claiming that while writing the screenplay he pictured himself as the character that says that line.
- There is a sizable(ish) contingent who say Jackie Brown is his best. This includes many of Tarantino's critics, which is understandable seeing as Jackie Brown is the movie which is least typical of him.
- There are also many who consider Kill Bill to be his greatest work.
- Citizen Kane for Orson Welles. Welles' own personal choice would have been his adaptation of The Trial.
- Or perhaps, The Chimes at Midnight.
- For Peter Jackson, it was the The Lord of the Rings film series.
- Most critics would consider M. Night Shyamalan's magnum opus to be The Sixth Sense, but he himself considers Unbreakable to be his greatest work (yet).
- People often argue what Alfred Hitchcock's magnum opus was, but the argument tends to boil down to Vertigo and Psycho (the former more often tops "greatest movies" lists, such as being declared the greatest film of all time by the British Film Institute in 2012). His favorite was Shadow Of A Doubt.
- Fritz Lang is a little more questionable, but it's down to M and Metropolis by most accounts. Lang himself favored M.
- Titanic and Avatar may be the two highest grossing movies of all time, but when it comes down to it, when you ask film critics or other film nerds what James Cameron's best film is, most will say either Aliens or Terminator 2 Judgment Day.
- George Lucas and the original Star Wars trilogy. Fans are torn between "A New Hope" and "The Empire Strikes Back".
- Stanley Kubrick and 2001: A Space Odyssey. For most directors, the almost-as-influential and loved Dr. Strangelove would serve as this, but 2001 may be the purest distillation of Kubrick's style. Also, A Clockwork Orange.
- Obadiah Stane references this trope in regards to Tony's Arc Reactor in the Iron Man movie.
Oh, it's beautiful. Tony, this is your Ninth Symphony. Oh, what a masterpiece.
- The Seventh Seal or Fanny And Alexander for Ingmar Bergman.
- La Dolce Vita or 8˝ for Federico Fellini.
- Ran or The Seven Samurai for Akira Kurosawa, but Rashomon deserves special mention.
- Ed Wood, The Nightmare Before Christmas (despite not directing it) or Big Fish for Tim Burton. He considers Edward Scissorhands to be his personal favorite, however.
- The Thing (1982) for John Carpenter, though Halloween 1978 is also raised to this status.
- The Texas Chain Saw Massacre 1974 for Tobe Hooper.
- Once Upon a Time in the West for Sergio Leone, though critics didn't think so at first.
- Most critics will point to either Apocalypse Now, The Godfather or The Godfather Part II for Francis Ford Coppola.
- Martin Scorsese has several for contention: Goodfellas has the most love, with Taxi Driver and Raging Bull at the top of the list. The movie that did win Oscar love for Scorsese, The Departed, isn't as highly regarded (although it's still considered excellent).
- While Christopher Nolan is well known for The Prestige and Batman Begins, not to mention The Dark Knight & The Dark Knight Rises, his greatest work is most likely Inception, which he had been working on for nearly a decade.
- The Dark Knight Saga as a whole may be a serious contender for the position, being one of the few film trilogies to have three consistently great and praised movies.
- Unfortunately, Memento could easily be considered this, if only as a major contender against the above, were it not for its lack of marketing, visibility, and a major theatrical run due to the distributors' uncertainty. Why? The complex plot.
- When Steven Spielberg was asked which film he would like to be remembered best for, he answered either E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial or Schindler's List.
- Most critics are considering Black Swan to be Darren Aronofsky's masterpiece. Coming from the same guy who made Requiem For A Dream and The Wrestler, that's saying a lot.
- David Lynch's Mulholland Drive is considered his best work, and he was nominated for Best Director at the Oscars. Other possible contenders include Eraserhead and Blue Velvet.
- Many feel that the adaptation No Country for Old Men is The Coen Brothers' masterpiece and that's saying quite a bit. Fargo is also a contender, as is The Big Lebowski.
- Pan's Labyrinth for Guillermo Del Toro.
- The Social Network is looking to be this for David Fincher, though many will still argue that Fight Club exceeds it.
- Among film critics, Se7en is generally held in higher esteem than Fight Club.
- The Shawshank Redemption for Frank Darabont.
- Alien and Blade Runner tend to be at odds as top dog for Ridley Scott.
- David Cronenberg just loves for his movies to make people's skin crawl, and yet critics adore one of his least disturbing movies Eastern Promises. Still plenty disturbing, though.
- Some would argue The Fly as his best horror film.
- The Wild Bunch for Sam Peckinpah.
- Chinatown for Roman Polanski.
- Ghostbusters for not just Ivan Reitman, but Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, too.
- Although some would argue that Groundhog Day is Ramis's magnum opus (and Bill Murray's).
- For the late John Hughes, it's both The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and to a lesser extent, Home Alone.
- There Will Be Blood for Paul Thomas Anderson.
- Annie Hall for Woody Allen.
- For famed Dutch director Paul Verhoeven, many will point to either Robocop or Zwartboek.
- Blake Edwards' MO is very likely The Pink Panther and its sequels.
- Do The Right Thing for Spike Lee was his best and most remembered film, with Malcolm X coming in close second. However, Inside Man was his most financially successful film.
- For John Singleton, Boyz N The Hood is his most remembered film. Considered by many the best "Hood" film ever made.
- Menace II Society is the Hughes Brothers most popular and recognized film.
- For David Yates, the second half of Harry Potter, particularly Deathly Hallows.
- Most readers assume The Lord of the Rings is this for J. R. R. Tolkien, but Tolkien himself considered The Silmarillion (which he worked on for longer) his Magnum Opus.
- Harry Potter for J.K. Rowling.
- His Dark Materials for Philip Pullman.
- A Song of Ice and Fire for George R. R. Martin.
- Herman Melville's Moby-Dick.
- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote multiple stories, but he will always be remembered as the one who gave Sherlock Holmes to the world. Of the "Holmes" stories, either the short story collection The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes or the novel The Hound Of The Baskervilles tend to be praised as the finest examples.
- H.G. Wells' iconic The War of the Worlds.
- Douglas Adams and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
- Joseph Heller's Catch Twenty Two.
- William Golding wrote many, many novels. One of those was Lord of the Flies.
- The Witcher for Andrzej Sapkowski.
- Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep.
- The Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse.
- Typically thought to be Ulysses for James Joyce, aside from a few diehard Mind Screw fans who say it's Finnegans Wake.
- The Master and Margarita for Mikhail Bulgakov.
- The Chronicles Of Narnia for C. S. Lewis.
- Pride and Prejudice is often considered the Magnum Opus of Jane Austen, but Austen considered Emma her best work.
- The Sound And The Fury for William Faulkner.
- Blood Meridian for Cormac McCarthy, although The Border Trilogy is a very strong contender as well.
- Vladimir Nabokov wrote many books, but Lolita is the only one most people have heard of. Although some of his other books are well-known among English majors. And Pale Fire seems to be well-read by educated people, and it is likely a very distant runner up in the contest for most famous Nabokov book. (Lolita was a success de scandal; none of his other books are from the POV of a child molester.)
- Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (Mathematical Principles of Science) is not only Issac Newton's most important book but considered one of the most important in the history of science.
- Similarly, Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity and Euclid's Elements.
- Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged.
- Hunter S. Thompson was a prolific journalist and author, writing many articles and books covering politics at least up until the 1992 presidential election, but everyone knows him for Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Shame considering how all his work is so awesome.
- Julia Child is best known for her first TV show The French Chef and her collaboration on Mastering The Art Of French Cooking, but her far less famous The Way To Cook book/video combination constitutes possibly the greatest project of her life.
- George Orwell's 1984.
- Brave New World for Aldous Huxley.
- Stephen King has said that if he has a Magnum Opus, it's The Dark Tower series. Fans usually argue The Stand.
- Although considering the connections, one could easily argue that both count, with The Stand being an integral part of the series proper.
- Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles.
- Plato's Republic.
- Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow.
- Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels.
- In-story example: Charlotte, of Charlottes Web, explicitly referred to her egg sac as her Magnum Opus, even explaining the term to Wilbur the pig. See the page quote. Charlotte's Web itself is probably E.B. White's Magnum Opus, though Stuart Little may have its advocates, as well as The Trumpet of the Swan.
- The Catcher in the Rye for J. D. Salinger.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby.
- Jack London's The Call Of The Wild.
- Frank Herbert's Dune.
- Either Of Mice and Men or The Grapes Of Wrath for John Steinbeck.
- Though Steinbeck himself considered East of Eden to be his masterpiece.
- An example of a Magnum Opus that does overlap with both One Book Author and Tough Act to Follow is Harper Lee's classic To Kill A Mockingbird, which is also the only book she ever wrote.
- Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel, Through the Looking-Glass, for Lewis Carroll.
- Most would say Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is this for Roald Dahl, but Matilda also has its supporters.
- Robert Jordan has The Wheel of Time.
- Brandon Sanderson is apparently planning The Stormlight Archive to be this, but currently, Mistborn is generally considered his greatest work.
- The Deverry series for Katherine Kerr.
- Stranger in a Strange Land for Robert A. Heinlein, although arguments could be made for Starship Troopers, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress and Time Enough For Love.
- Asimov's Foundation. On the other hand, the series was never concluded and many people find it somewhat dry. In terms of a legacy, I, Robot probably fits more.
- Clarke's Childhood's End although 2001: A Space Odyssey could also contend.
- Krabat for Otfried Preußler, which took him ten years (albeit with breaks).
- The Decline of the West for Oswald Spengler (1911-22 - yes, that includes World War One).
- Miguel Cervantes' The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote of La Mancha. Commonly hailed as "the first modern novel".
- Adam Mickiewicz's ''Pan Tadeusz', considered one of the best works in the Polish language.
- Henryk Sienkiewicz's Trilogy.
- Philip K. Dick's VALIS is generally considered his magnum opus in academic circles, although his only Hugo Award-winner, The Man In The High Castle, is another strong contender, as is Ubik, which Time Magazine called one of the 100 best novels since 1923. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep (the basis for the movie Blade Runner) is probably his best known work, though.
- The Chronicles of Amber for Roger Zelazny.
- The Black Company for Glen Cook.
- Either Earthsea Trilogy or The Left Hand of Darkness for Ursula K. Le Guin, depending on who you ask. The Dispossessed also gets a strong mention, and "Those Who Walk Away From Omelas" is generally considered the best of her short stories.
- Bleak House for Charles Dickens, though Dickens himself regarded Great Expectations as the greatest novel he ever wrote.
- A Prayer For Owen Meany for John Irving.
- The Old Man and the Sea for Ernest Hemingway.
- The Colour Out of Space for H. P. Lovecraft.
- Or arguably Call Of Cthulhu or The Case Charles Dexter Ward
- Saul Bellow's final Ravelstein—a Roman ŕ Clef about one of his close friends, Allan Bloom—is considered by many literary critics to be his masterpiece. This man wrote all manner of famous novels and short stories. Yeah.
- Cats Cradle or Slaughterhouse Five for Kurt Vonnegut
- Fahrenheit 451 for Ray Bradbury
- The Brothers Karamazov is considered this for Fyodor Dostoevsky, though many would also argue in favor or Crime And Punishment.
- The Wind In The Willows for Kenneth Grahame (who sadly does not have his own TV Tropes page).
- Baccano and Durarara!! for Ryohgo Narita.
- For Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels, it's a tossup between Night Watch and I Shall Wear Midnight.
- The first book in the Hunger Games trilogy for Suzanne Collins.
Live Action TV
- Babylon 5 for J Michael Straczynski.
- Joss Whedon - a case could be made for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, or Firefly.
- Fraggle Rock for Jim Henson.
- Ken Burns ' documentary miniseries The Civil War.
- Veronica Mars for Rob Thomas.
- All in the Family (the first 8 seasons before he left anyway) for Norman Lear.
- It might be argued that in terms of TV stories, LOST would count for J. J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse. For now, anyway.
- From an acting perspective, although he was already a big deal from Cheers, Frasier would likely be the front runner for Kelsey Grammer.
- Another acting one, Everybody Loves Raymond for most, if not all of the cast, as well as producer Phil Rosenthal.
- M*A*S*H for Alan Alda (and the rest of the cast, for that matter). Bonus points for Alda being a director, lead actor, AND writer.
- Though hardly unsuccessful with his other works, with three Oscars including Best Adapted Screenplay for The Social Network, it's likely that Aaron Sorkin will be most fondly remembered for his four seasons' work on The West Wing.
- The Sopranos for David Chase. Like The Wire, it is considered the champion modern example of television.
- The Wire for David Simon.
- Screw David Simon. This is the magnum opus of cop shows! Some call it a champion modern example of television, period.
- Some have even stated that watching the show makes it nearly impossible to watch any other cop shows because The Wire blows them all away so badly.
- They say that every Doctor Who Showrunner has an episode that encapsulates everything about their era in general, an episiode that couldn't have ever been made under anyone else. In rough order, based on fan opinion:
- Barry Letts/ Terrance Dicks - The Daemons
- Phillip Hinchcliffe/ Robert Holmes - The Talons Of Weng-Chiang
- Graham Williams/ Douglas Adams - City Of Death (May have been Shada if it had ever gotten properly made). With just Graham Williams alone the entire Key To Time season could be said to be this.
- John Nathan Turner / Christopher Bidmead - Logopolis
- John Nathan-Turner/ Eric Saward - Revelation Of The Daleks (Though in the words of Mike Morris The Two Doctors was arguably more encapsulating of what the Saward Era actually was, Revelation is more what it wanted to be)
- John Nathan-Turner/ Andrew Cartmel - The Curse Of Fenric
- Russell T Davies - The End Of Time
- Steven Moffat - As a producer, it may be to early to really judge. As a writer though, probably "Blink" tied with "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances".
- Actually, speaking of just Doctor Who writers by themselves:
- The re-imagined Battlestar Galactica for Ronald D. Moore.
- I Love Lucy for Lucille Ball. Seeing as how it practically invented the Sitcom and to this day you can't make one without borrowing from Lucy, it can be seen as a Magnum Opus for the genre itself, a feat made all the more impressive by the fact that it made Ball the most powerful woman in the TV industry at a time when women weren't given much slack.
- 24 for Kiefer Sutherland is what he is always going to be best known for acting-wise, in addition to encouraging debate regarding "extreme interrogation methods" employed by the Bush administration and other political issues.
- Community for Dan Harmon.
- A classic example is probably Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, which stands out despite Beethoven having written numerous well-known compositions.
- His Seventh Symphony is often seen as his most complete, especially among musicians.
- Some would also give this distinction to his Grosse Fuge for string quartet, which combined sonata, fugue, and variation forms, and somehow still sounds contemporary even today.
- J. S. Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier. Perhaps also The Art of the Fugue, though it suffers from Author Existence Failure.
- Musical historians debate that reality; it has been suggested that Der Kunst der Fuge was deliberately left unfinished at precisely the point where it trails off. In any event, Bach produced numerous masterworks, such that a case could be made for many as Magnum Opus - the "Dorian" Toccata and Fugue for organ, the six Brandenburg Concerti, The Musical Offering... the mighty Mass in B Minor has been refered to as the greatest musical work ever. With over 1200 catalogued compositions to choose from, no less than twenty jump immediately to mind when the term "Magnum Opus" is considered in connection with Johann Sebastian Bach; the man himself could be considered music's Magnum Opus.
- Any modern band will have fans heavily debate over which song or album was their true masterpiece, but above all the noise, certain works tend to stand out. While albums are most commonly referred to in this way, every so often an individual song makes its way to this level, so much that it becomes synonymous with the band itself, is considered the grand statement of that band's career:
- Led Zeppelin had "Stairway To Heaven".
- They themselves view "Kashmir" as their magnum opus, however.
- The Eagles had "Hotel California".
- Queen had "Bohemian Rhapsody".
- Public Enemy had "Fight The Power".
- Guns N' Roses had "Sweet Child O' Mine".
- Some might argue "Welcome to the Jungle", while others would argue "November Rain". Album is incontestably Appetite for Destruction (where both "Sweet Child" and "Jungle" originate).
- Just as it's hard to pin down a single album as The Beatles' masterpiece, it's also hard to pin down a single song. Contenders include "A Hard Day's Night", "Let it Be", "Hey Jude", and especially "A Day in the Life".
- While everybody seems to have a favorite The Beatles album and a decent argument as to why, it's pretty widely agreed that Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is their most important album, and kind of changed the face of music.
- It can be argued (especially among musicians) that Rubber Soul, Revolver, The White Album and Abbey Road were equally important and influential. It's even been said that when Sgt. Pepper isn't picked as the best album of all time, Revolver goes instead.
- The Beastie Boys sophomore effort Paul's Boutique was so ahead of it's time (and quite a drastic departure from their previous album) that a majority of "fans", who they had reluctantly gained thanks to their former tongue-in-cheek frat boy image being taken seriously, were completely polarized. It's only now been recognized as a masterpiece in recent years.
- Nirvana had Nevermind, which brought out alternative rock and remains to this day the most well known and well received Grunge album.
- Definitely a case of Magnum Opus Dissonance for Cobain; he himself preferred In Utero. Critics have also hailed MTV Unplugged in New York and Live at Reading as two of the greatest live albums of all time.
- Bauhaus produced four great albums in their short career, but their debut single "Bela Lugosi's Dead" is still considered their masterpiece. The fact that it almost single-handedly invented Goth has added to the legend.
- Interestingly, the song was written as a tongue-in-cheek parody aimed at the post-punk proto-Goth scenesters who frequented Bauhaus shows; and was not particularly well-liked by the band for most of their existence.
- People were floored by Joy Division's 1979 debut Unknown Pleasures, but their second (and final) album Closer is considered by most to be their masterwork.
- The Cure's 1989 album Disintegration bridges the gap between their Goth work and their pop work, and its large number of classic songs has made it their magnum opus.
- Debut, Post, and Homogenic are all in the running for Björk.
- Of the various albums and spin-offs from The Wu Tang Clan, their debut The 36 Chambers is still considered their definitive collaborative album; of side projects, GZA's Liquid Swords or Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... are typically cited as the masterpieces.
- Iggy Pop's two most acclaimed and important albums as a solo artist are The Idiot and Lust For Life, both of which were made in the same year and in collaboration with David Bowie.
- David Bowie has gone through so many ch-ch-ch-ch-changes that it's nearly impossible to pin down one, as they're all different. Hunky Dory, Ziggy Stardust, and Low are usually at the top for him.
- The Downward Spiral by Nine Inch Nails is still the most oft-cited magnum opus of Trent Reznor, though, all of NIN's other albums have their fans, particularly The Fragile. Except probably With Teeth, which remains something of a bastard child, though some will admit that it's a good album to introduce people to the band with.
- Britpop band Pulp have their magnum opus in 1995's Different Class, while their contemporaries blur have 1994's Parklife.
- Metallica's Master of Puppets, although ...And Justice for All and Ride the Lightning have plenty of fans as well. Master of Puppets is generally considered by critics to be the greatest heavy metal album ever recorded, or at least very close to it.
- Lars Ulrich has said that he considers .....And Justice For All to be their best work.
- Slayer's Reign in Blood.
- Seasons in the Abyss has it's fans as well.
- Megadeth's Peace Sells...But Who's Buying?, ironically released the same year as Master of Puppets and Reign In Blood. Rust In Peace, though, is often held up at the same level as Peace Sells..., mostly ending up a matter of personal preference.
- Avant Garde metal band Arcturus' album La Masquerade Infernale is considered by many fans to be one of the best examples of avant garde metal.
- Michael Jackson's Thriller, though some will contest Off the Wall. What is not contestable, however, is the fact that Thriller is the best selling album of all time.
- AC/DC's Back In Black. After their original singer Bon Scott died they were first thinking about quitting. Then they instead hired Brian Johnson (who Scott was a huge fan of) and recorded a new album in only a few months. It produced some of their most famous songs, like "Hells Bells", "You Shook Me All Night Long" and the title track. It is the best selling rock album of all-time and second overall behind Thriller.
- Pink Floyd's The Dark Side Of The Moon, although some would contest The Wall (which, regardless, is undoubtedly the magnum opus of Floyd's Roger Waters).
- Either those or The Piper At The Gates of Dawn (with Syd Barrett at the helm) or Wish You Were Here (the favorite of two bandmembers).
- The Dark Side of the Moon is the third best-selling album of all-time though, coming right behind the aformentioned Back in Black by AC/DC.
- My Bloody Valentine's Loveless. Kevin Shields worked on that thing for two years and nearly bankrupted Creation Records.
- They later more than made it up with what's considered Music/Oasis' magnum opus, (What's the Story) Morning Glory. (though its predecessor, Definitely Maybe, is just as popular)
- With Prince, it's Purple Rain, Sign o' the Times and 1999.
- I would say that Emancipation also definitely qualifies. Prince himself certainly thought so. It was his wedding album and also his first after being freed from his contract with warner brothers. It's three albums of smooth r and b jams and funky hip hop. The marriage ended. but the music lives on.
- XTC has Skylarking.
- The Stone Roses have The Stone Roses
- Motörhead have Ace of Spades.
- Tori Amos' Little Earthquakes.
- Soundgarden's Superunknown, a bridge between their heavy metal and experimental leanings.
- Badmotorfinger can also be this for fans that prefer their earlier albums.
- Kate Bush's Hounds of Love.
- Radiohead's OK Computer. Though there's a bit of a Broken Base over whether it's actually either The Bends or Kid A that counts as their magnum opus.
- Bruce Springsteen's big breakout, Born to Run.
- Nas' debut album, Illmatic.
- Liz Phair's Exile in Guyville.
- Pet Sounds is considered this for The Beach Boys.
- Mozart's is usually cited as his 41st (final) symphony, his Requiem Mass, or The Magic Flute.
- Depeche Mode's Violator is generally considered their finest album by the media, the band, their associates, and a sizable chunk of their fanbase, as well as being their most successful album with their highest-charting and best-known singles. It's not uncommon for their live setlist to be at least 25% Violator songs.
- The Smiths' The Queen Is Dead
- Somewhat subverted, as Morrissey and Marr both insist that their last album, Strangeways, Here We Come was their best.
- While they made many good albums Pearl Jam knew that their first album Ten is theirs. But for a good reason.
- Although Eddie Vedder has said that he can't listen to the early albums anymore.
- With London Calling The Clash moved beyond Three Chords and the Truth, instead seeking influence from everything from 50's rock n' roll to reggae.
- Their next album Sandinista! goes even more over-the-top than London Calling and is more of their underground Magnum Opus than anything. They explore dub and electronica and even had the first white rap song, predating Blondies "Rapture" by a few months.
- Iron Maiden's is debatably The Number of the Beast, although Piece of Mind is usually close behind (it's even the favorite by leader Steve Harris and singer Bruce Dickinson). Powerslave is also a popular choice (though it's a point of contention whether the 4 less-known tracks are as good as the four hits). As far as songs go, the popular vote is typically on "Fear of the Dark", "Hallowed Be Thy Name", or "Rime of the Ancient Mariner".
- Most Sheryl Crow fans consider her self-titled album her best
- Sarah Mclachlan's Surfacing was her most successful album commercially, although among fans Fumbling Towards Ecstasy is probably the favorite
- Sigur Rós' Ágćtis byrjun.
- Opeth's Blackwater Park is considered by both the band and the fanbase as their magnum opus.
- Rush's album Moving Pictures is generally considered theirs.
- Def Leppard has either Pyromania or Hysteria (or possibly both) as their greatest work.
- The Smashing Pumpkins third album, Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness, is generally considered by critics and fans to be their greatest work. That, or Siamese Dream.
- Alanis Morrisette has yet to release anything as well-acclaimed as Jagged Little Pill
- Public Enemy's second album, It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back is generally cited to be their best and most influential album, but others give this label to their third album, Fear Of A Black Planet.
- All of Gustav Mahler's works are masterpieces, but which is really his Magnum Opus is widely debated, and often comes down to personal preference. However, the strongest arguments can be made for his 8th symphony (owing to the fact that is takes some 600 performers to do justice), his final song cycle Das Lied von der Erde, or his 9th Symphony.
- Mariah Carey's fans seem to be between Daydream and Butterfly
- Whitney Houston's, ironically enough, was her soundtrack album for The Bodyguard
- Benjamin Britten's War Requiem.
- Meat Loaf has either Bat Out Of Hell, or Paradise By The Dashboard Light depending on your taste in music. The fanbase is generally split in opinion.
- Black Sabbath's is generally considered to be Paranoid or Heaven and Hell. Ozzy Osbourne says that Sabbath Bloody Sabbath was the band's pinnacle.
- For the Barenaked Ladies, it's probably "Stunt", at least during the time that Steve Page was with the band. "Gordon" and "Barenaked Ladies Are Me" both have minority support, though.
- Tchaikovsky's fans will usually say it's the 1812 Overture, or the Nutcracker ballet. Critics will also often submit Swan Lake, or his 4th or 6th symphonies.
- Paul Simon's Graceland, which singlehandedly revitalized his career.
- Stevie Wonder's Songs In the Key of Life
- The Who has several candidates, Tommy - the first Rock Opera to be a mainstream hit, Live At Leeds- a live album considered to be one of if not the best live rock albums ever (and the newer version have most of Tommy in there), Who's Next, the source of 3 of their biggest hits and codifying the use of synthesizers in mainstream music, and Quadrophenia, a fan favourite.
- Pete Townshend has called Quadrophenia his Magnum Opus.
- Bob Dylan has several candidates just on the virtue of having taken on so many different variations of his style in his career but usually Highway 61 Revisited, Blood on The Tracks and Blonde on Blonde are given this accolade, with Bringing It All Back Home also having a claim.
- Bryan Adams: Either Reckless or Waking Up the Neighbors
- Kitchens of Distinction have one of the most acclaimed albums of 1992, The Death Of Cool and is probably one of the most underrated albums of the 1990s.
- Catherine Wheel have Ferment on their belt, though some may say Chrome is better.
- Cocteau Twins Heaven Or Las Vegas and Treasure
- Dwight Yoakam released two of the most critically acclaimed albums of the late 80s and early 90s, Buenas Notches From A Lonely Room and This Time. Both albums are extremely influential even outside their genre.
- It's looking like his most recent album 3 Pears is getting this type of recognition for his latter-half career.
- Slint's Spiderland almost single-handedly started the whole Post Rock movement.
- It's only "almost" because they share this distinction with Talk Talk, whose final two albums (Spirit Of Eden and Laughing Stock) collectively qualify as that band's Magnum Opus.
- Now there's a third artist that's considered to be one of the first Post Rock bands, Codeine whose debut album Frigid Stars LP single-handedly heavily influenced the genre and completely kick-started Slowcore
- Talking Heads' Remain In Light, one of the great albums of the Post Punk period and perhaps the band's greatest achievement. Meanwhile, Stop Making Sense is considered the greatest concert film and many fans prefer the live versions of songs from the film's soundtrack over the studio versions.
- Eminem's is The Marshall Mathers LP, or alternatively, The Eminem Show.
- Sufjan Stevens' is Illinoise. It was the album that made him a superstar of the indie scene, was (according to Metacritic) tied for the position of most-critically-praised album of 2005, and is still widely considered one of the best of that decade.
- Red House Painters have about 3 albums considered to be their masterwork. For most critics and fans the first Self-Titled Album (retitled Rollercoaster to help distinguish between this and the sister self-titled, Bridge) and Ocean Beach. However, 1997's Songs For A Blue Guitar has also been considered the band's best work, but a lot of critical opinion on it tends to split between incredibly brilliant to So Okay, It's Average.
- The only reason why Songs For A Blue Guitar got such seemingly lukewarm reviews is because it isn't a true Red House Painters album. It was intended to be a Mark Kozelek solo album but was slapped with the RHP moniker in hopes it would sell more. All fans and critics tend to agree, however, that the album is Kozelek's best solo album, surpassing everything he previously did with RHP and anything he would later do with Sun Kil Moon.
- Five Iron Frenzy wrote a song, "So Far, So Bad", humorously claiming that the greatest song they ever wrote was going to remain unpublished because the record labels and radio stations didn't like it. "We were gonna have our glorious exit, / an admonition and an encore. / We were gonna make a point to the whole world / but no one wants to hear it anymore."
- In at least one live show, Reese Roper jokingly claimed that "Pootermobile" was their magnum opus. For the record, this is "Pootermobile".
- Many fans and critics agree that Ray of Light was Madonna's best work to date.
- Like A Prayer also has been hailed as one of her masterpieces. Both albums are equally critically acclaimed.
- Janet Jackson fans are between Rhythm Nation 1814 and The Velvet Rope
- Led Zeppelin's untitled fourth album (often called Led Zeppelin IV) is considered their most accomplished.
- In a case of Magnum Opus Dissonance, the band actually considered Physical Graffiti (singling out the song "Kashmir") their finest artistic accomplishment, if only for the Genre Roulette.
- For the The Rolling Stones, it's Exile on Main Street.
- Hüsker Dü released two equally strong candidates in a row, Zen Arcade and New Day Rising. Both are brimming with excellent tunes and respectively set the precedents for post-hardcore and alternative rock.
- For Beck, it's either Odelay or Sea Change.
- Daydream Nation for Sonic Youth.
- 13 Songs for Fugazi (or, to narrow it down to a single track, "Waiting Room").
- Paradise Don't Come Cheap for New Kingdom
- The National is a rather complex case. While most argue that Boxer is their reigning masterpiece, many other people will also support High Violet and Alligator.
- For a long time Mayhem's first "proper" album, De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, was considered their best (not just of the band, but of Black Metal as a genre), but following the release of their fourth album Ordo Ad Chao, disputes began to develop.
- Burzum's third album, Hvis lyset tar oss, is frequently considered their best and the defining template for the ambient black metal sub-genre.
- Converge's fifth album, Jane Doe, is considered this, although their most recent album Axe to Fall has been called this as well.
- The Dillinger Escape Plan's debut album, Calculating Infinity, is considered this, much to the band's own chagrin.
- Dixie Chicks have two of the strongest received country albums of the late 1990s: Wide Open Spaces and Fly. Their strongest received album altogether, though, is 2002's Home, often cited as the best of the decade and sometimes even one of the best country albums of all time.
- Trout Mask Replica for most fans of Captain Beefheart.
- Aqualung and/or Thick As A Brick for Jethro Tull.
- Kanye West's is the critically acclaimed My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, which got perfect or near perfect reviews from pratically everyone upon its release (with its Metacritic score being a rare high of 94) and it ended up either very high on or topping a lot of end of year best-of lists.
- And All of the Lights (Interlude)/ All of the Lights, from the above album, is widely considered to be one of the greatest songs he's ever done.
- U2's is either their 'American' sounding The Joshua Tree or the 'European' sounding Achtung Baby.
- Faith No More has Angel Dust, widely considered a landmark of alternative rock with its weird genre mixtures. (though others go for predecessor The Real Thing, which has their Signature Song "Epic").
- The All That Remains album, The Fall of Ideals, is generally considered their best.
- September is usually considered this for Earth Wind And Fire.
- Dream Theater's magnum opus is arguably either "Metropolis Part 1: The Miracle and the Sleeper" or "A Change of Seasons". Both are grand, epic progressive pieces that truly exemplify the band's gimmick. Although, one might also argue that the Dance of Eternity is their magnum opus based solely on the immense musical complexity of the track - and that said about a band whose use of Uncommon Time is through the roof.
- The Velvet Underground's The Velvet Underground & Nico is usually cited as their greatest work, not to mention the inventor of all non-mainstream rock.
- Curtis Mayfield with his soundtrack to the Blaxploitation film Superfly.
- Asking a King Crimson fan what their best work is will vary depending on what era the fan is fond of. In The Court Of The Crimson King, Red and Discipline are among the more frequent contenders.
- Coldplay has either the Even Better Sequel A Rush of Blood to the Head or New Sound Album Viva La Vida.
- Billy Joel has Piano Man.
- Love with Forever Changes. In fact, frontman Arthur Lee was deliberately aiming for this trope, thinking he was going to die.
- For the death metal fans of Amorphis, it's Tales From the Thousand Lakes. Elegy is also regarded as a classic in '90s Finnish heavy metal. For the newer fans, Skyforger tends to stand out.
- Oceanborn is rather consistently regarded as the Nightwish album by older fans, while Once or Dark Passion Play are arguably their most well-known and successful.
- Kataklysm fans are divided on which of the band's best albums are, but Sorcery, Temple of Knowledge, Serenity in Fire, and Epic: The Poetry of War are the most commonly stated albums to be their best.
- The Mars Volta fans consider De-Loused in the Comatorium their best work, while The Bedlam in Goliath would be their most critically acclaimed album because of its slightly more mainstream sound.
- Tupac Shakur, as well as his fans, consider Me Against the World his best work.
- For Dr. Dre, not only was The Chronic his best album, but its now considered one of the most successful cross-over rap albums in music history.
- Korn albums are highly debated among fans. But it usually comes down to their Self-Titled album, Life is Peachy, Follow the Leader, or Untouchable. But if you want the opinion of a band member, Jonathan Davis claims Untouchable was their masterpiece.
- The Red Hot Chili Peppers fans will either tell you that Blood Sugar Sex Magik is their best album, or Californication.
- Alice in Chains, best album was Dirt according to most fans. Mainly, because of the perception that the whole album was a huge confession and cry for help about Layne Staley's drug addiction, which he later died from.
- White Pony is considered the best album by Deftones, while some fans will still argue that Around the Fur was their best work.
- Underworld: Beaucoup Fish.
- For most Rage Against The Machine fans, either their Self-Titled album is their best work, or Evil Empire. While Battle for Los Angeles is their most critically acclaimed album.
- Ask any Fall Out Boy fan what their favorite album is, and you're almost always going to get Take This To Your Grave.
- For Mayday Parade, it's normally A Lesson In Romantics, although some fans consider it to be Tales Told by Dead Friends.
- Hakeem Olajuwon's 1993-1994 season, winning the MVP, Finals MVP and Defensive Player of the Year awards.
- Tim Duncan's 2002-2003 season, especially the finals series against the New Jersey Nets.
- Shaquille O'Neal's 1999-2000 season, in which he captured the MVP, All-star Game MVP and Finals MVP.
- Georges St. Pierre's TKO victory against Matt Hughes.
- How can you mention Matt Hughes without citing his victory over Frank Trigg at UFC 52? Matt survived an accidental low blow, a pummeling, a near submission, then got up, PICKED UP TRIGG AND RAN ACROSS THE OCTAGON WITH HIM, threw him down, returned the pummeling, and got a submission of his own. If that's not his Magnum Opus and Crowning Moment of Awesome, I don't know what is.
- Because his comeback victory over BJ penn (a man who beat Hughes once before) is more impressive. Hughes was behind on the scorecards, getting pummeled standing up and Penn's brazilian jiu-jitsu was giving Hughes problems on the ground. And yet, Hughes finished Penn late in the fight through sheer determination.
- Chuck Liddell's first victory over Randy Couture.
- The Los Angeles Lakers 1971-1972 season, winning 33 in a row and grabbing the title.
- Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the 1995-1996 season, becoming the first team in NBA history to win 70 regular season games (they won 72 and only lost 10) and cruising to Jordan's 4th title.
- LeBron James' 2011-2012 season, winning the MVP and the finals MVP.
- You don't mind lumping chess in with sports, do you? World champion (and world-champion-caliber Jerk Ass) Bobby Fischer produced the win dubbed by commentators "The Game of The Century" when he was thirteen years old.
- Michael Phelps at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, setting the record for most golds in one Olympics (8), taking gold in every event he was in.
- In Association Football (no, we're definitely not going to be calling it "soccer"), many players, coaches and managers are considered to have been so influential on their teams that they are deemed the equivalent of cinema's "auteurs". The crowning achievements of their teams could be considered to be their magnum opus:
- For Sir Alex Ferguson, probably the greatest British manager in history, it is the 1999 league/cup/European Cup treble with Manchester United.
- For Pep Guardiola and Lionel Messi's Barcelona, it is the 5-0 ("la manita") demolition of Real Madrid in 2010.
- This mirrored the achievement of Johan Cruyff, arguably Barcelona's most influential player and manager, whose 5-0 defeat of Madrid in 1974 set the seeds for Barcelona's future success.
- The 1967-68 season is seen as this for George Best of Northern Ireland. Widely regarded as the greatest player to never play at a world cup and one of the greatest period, he rose to the forefront at Manchester United during that season, leading the team to the European Cup, becoming the fist english team to do so, and winning the equivalent of the european player of the year. Sadly he would waste his talent on booze and gambling in the years after.
- The Brazilian team that won the 1970 Fifa World Cup is often considered the best squad ever assembled.
- In 2007, Peyton Manning finally shook off the cobwebs and led his Indianapolis Colts to a Super Bowl victory after years of playoff mishaps.
- Super Bowl XLII. On one side, the undefeated Patriots, who'd soundly thrashed every team before them. On the other, the New York Giants, who came out of nowhere with an unexpected postseason run. The Giants proceeded to win the game in what's generally considered one of the defining moments of American Football.
- Muhammad Ali's brilliant tactic to beat the seemly invincible "Big" George Foreman in Zaire Africa.
- Sugar Ray Leonard making the feared Roberto Duran quit in the middle of their rematch, after losing to him in their first boxing match.
- William Shakespeare is an interesting case. The Bard wrote so many incredible, famous, and influential plays that scholars have quite a few options when debating which play was his greatest. Hamlet is a common contender, and is probably Shakespeare's most famous and most analyzed play, and is often cited as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, work of English literature ever. Meanwhile, King Lear has overtaken Hamlet in recent years in consideration for "Shakespeare's Greatest Work" as judged by the Literature Professors of the world. Overall, the title of "Shakespeare's greatest play" tends to jump back and forth between Lear, Hamlet, and Othello.
- For Cirque du Soleil, the non-touring show "O" is generally regarded as the company's greatest achievement. Among the tours, Alegria holds this position. Both were written and directed by Franco Dragone, who now works independently of the company, and will probably serve as his dual magnum opuses for years to come despite such solo successes as Celine Dion's popular Las Vegas show A New Day.
- George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess.
- For Stephen Sondheim, it's either Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, or West Side Story, although he considers his best work to be Assassins.
- The Ring of the Nibelung by Richard Wagner.
- The Mikado by Gilbert and Sullivan, notable in that rather than being especially "avant garde" it is very accessible. It also had a record setting original run of 672 consecutive performances.
- Death of a Salesman is not only Arthur Miller's greatest achievement, it is commonly considered the greatest American play.
- A Streetcar Named Desire for Tennessee Williams.
- Cat On A Hot Tin Roof is also a contender; it was Williams' personal favorite of his plays and his other Pulitzer Prize winner.
- Oscar Wilde and The Importance of Being Earnest.
- Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera. Evita is often mentioned as well. Also, we can't forget Cats
- Wicked for Stephen Schwartz
- The Sound of Music is often hailed as the frontrunner for Rodgers And Hammerstein, although Oklahoma!! wouldn't be out of the running.
- Les Misérables by Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boublil, the longest-running, most-performed work of musical theater ever written.
- Faust for Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
- Gioachino Rossini would have The Barber Of Seville as his.
- For Universal Studios park fans, to date nothing has been able to top Kongfrontation in terms of originality, production value and realism. Especially when it first opened.
- For the Disney Theme Parks, the original Pirates of the Caribbean ride is considered Imagineering's finest achievement in ride design
- Either the Super Mario Bros or The Legend of Zelda series for Shigeru Miyamoto. As for individual games, let's just say that a case could be made for many games from either series.
- Hironobu Sakaguchi's Final Fantasy series. Out of all the games, he considers Final Fantasy IX to be his favorite*. Given the fans, this is hotly debated, with Final Fantasy IV, Final Fantasy VI, and Final Fantasy VII being other contenders. Some cases also exist for Final Fantasy V, Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy XII. Yep, another hotly contested series.
- Dragon Quest V for Yuji Horii. Or, if you're willing to count team-ups, Chrono Trigger.
- Alexey Pajitnov had the original falling-block odyssey, Tetris.
- Rayman 2: The Great Escape and Rayman Origins are this for the Rayman franchise, the aforementioned games and Beyond Good And Evil are this for Michael Ancel's works, and all of those combined with Assassin's Creed are this for Ubisoft as a whole.
- Richard Garriott had Ultima.
- And from that series, Ultima IV, lauded by game developers today as a standard which has yet to be matched. This is a game from 1985.
- Ultima VII may not match it in influence, but these days it commands even more respect as a whole. Both of the games are considering some of the best PC WRPGs ever made.
- It might be easy to say Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is Koji Igarashi's magnum opus, but that honor is better stated to go to Toru Hagihara, as he served as director and producer. Hagihara was designer and/or producer of almost every Castlevania game to that point, and so Symphony is more logically the endpoint of everything he worked towards, while this was only the second game Igarashi worked on.
- Many will argue Castlevania: Rondo of Blood instead.
- Regarding Igarashi, a case could be made for Tokimeki Memorial 1. Its success in Japan was wild, and thanks to this, Igarashi was rewarded with the ability to work on the Castlevania series.
- Metal Gear Solid for Hideo Kojima.
- The fandom as a whole is largely divided between which of the series' is the better one, the debate being mainly centered around Solid, 2, 3, or 4, for vastly different reasons. Regardless of Kojima's official stand, the controversy over this tends to get out of hand. Worth mentioning is the portion of Kojima's fanbase that defends Zone Of The Enders as his Magnum Opus.
- Thanks to the Broken Base of the Sonic fanbase is, fans can't agree on which 2D Sonic game is the best: Sonic 3 & Knuckles, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, or Sonic the Hedgehog CD.
- You can also find a large section of the fanbase that considers Sonic Adventure 1 and 2 the Opus AND beginning downfall of the franchise. Opus, because it was a very excellent leap from 2D to 3D, as well as an all around great game, but downfall because of the travesties in the franchise would latter go on to have in its 3D games. Nowadays, fans can't decide if the best 3D Sonic game is Sonic Adventure 2 or Sonic Generations.
- Either the Kirby franchise or the Super Smash Bros. games for Masahiro Sakurai, depending on whom you ask. Even picking out individual games for those franchises gets iffy, although Kirby Super Star and Super Smash Bros Melee stand out.
- By the judgment of many fans, sales numbers and Word Of God, Keiji Inafune's greatest work will always be Mega Man 2.
- Mega Man 3 would be a very close second then, followed maybe by Mega Man X1 or X4 (even though Inafune said 3 was his least favorite Mega Man game).
- Meanwhile, Mega Man V is this for the Game Boy sub-series and the team from Minakuchi Engineering, the company behind most of its installments.
- Any gamer that has ever played a game on the go will agree that Gunpei Yokoi's magnum opus is the original Game Boy. And as far as software goes, his magnum opus is considered to be the Metroid series, Super Metroid in particular.
- Related to the above example, for Retro Studios the Metroid Prime trilogy was thought as this for many years until Donkey Kong Country Returns, which is said to contend heavily for that title.
- Either Portal, Portal 2, Team Fortress 2, or the Half-Life series for Valve Software.
- Critics have hailed Rock Band 3 as this for studio Harmonix: the culmination of their 15 years of making music games as well as the best music game ever.
- Cave Story for Studio Pixel (Daisuke Amaya).
- SNK has a company-wide example in the form of Garou: Mark of the Wolves, one of the last games the company released before its unfortunate bankruptcy in 2000. Considering that SNK has amassed a surprisingly large Hate Dumb by fans of the fighting genre, the fact that SNK fans and non-supporters alike consider this to be the last great SNK game should be telling within itself.
- Marvel Vs Capcom 2 for the Marvel Vs Capcom series if not for all the Capcom vs. Whatever games.
- Okami for Clover Studios (before going bankrupt, disbanding from Capcom, and forming Platinum Games).
- Earthbound and MOTHER 3 for Shigesato Itoi.
- id Software has been, especially in the 90's, a standard-setter in video games. Perhaps the best candidate for their Magnum Opus (and lead programmer John Carmack's) is Doom, their most universally acclaimed game, often considered a milestone. Quake is close behind due to its technological innovations.
- Another World for Eric Chahi. A timeless classic which made quite an impact at its time and was a pioneer of artistic games.
- Deus Ex for Ion Storm, which more than made up for their infamous failed FPS.
- Either the Baldur's Gate series or the Mass Effect trilogy for BioWare. Specifically for the latter, Mass Effect 2, by far Bioware's best reviewed and highest grossing game.
- Halo for Bungie.
- Plants vs. Zombies for PopCap Games, being their fastest-selling game and having won many awards.
- The Uncharted series for Naughty Dog.
- American McGee has American Mc Gees Alice, cult classic and great game of its time, probably even more like a Magnum Opus than its sequel Madness Returns.
- Knight Lore for Ultimate Play the Game. Set in a three-dimensional world and drawn using Isometric Projection (all of it on a ZX Spectrum), it was a revolutionary game at its time.
- The Elder Scrolls series is undoubtedly this for Bethesda Softworks.
- Either the .hack franchise or Asura's Wrath probably qualify for this for CyberConnect2.
- As for Pokémon, Pokémon Gold and Silver was for a very long time the only possible contender for the title of Magnum Opus - especially when Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver were released. Then along came Pokemon Black And White, and it suddenly became a two-way battle for supremacy.
- Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare for Infinity Ward. It's confusing because Infinity Ward (used to) develop only Call of Duty, but they rotate with Treyarch in making the individual games. Either way, the first Modern Warfare wins.
- Gunstar Heroes for Treasure.
- Chrono Cross is this for Masato Kato.
- Averted with Xenoblade Chronicles. While Tetsuya Takahasi acknowledged that many fans consider it so, he has said that it was not his Magnum Opus. The reason? He felt like it set the standard for their games and he'd continue to improve upon it.
- Either Killer7, No More Heroes, or No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle for Suda 51. Lollipop Chainsaw is also very loved too, but not as much as the others.
- Nobuo Uematsu considers the soundtrack to Final Fantasy IX his greatest work. Like the games, the soundtracks are also heavily debated.
- As with the games, you will likely find Final Fantasy IV, Final Fantasy VI, and Final Fantasy VII in that list as decided by fans, though for individual songs there is quite the split among fans for whether "One-Winged Angel" or "Dancing Mad" is the greatest of Uematsu's sons. A case can also be made for "Balance is Restored" as well.
- Similar to Shigeru Miyamoto, Koji Kondo's best work is also debated between the Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda series. And yes, inside each series you have several contenders.
- The soundtrack to Pokemon Black And White for series composer Junichi Masuda. Could be argued that it's one for Game Freak as a whole.
- The soundtrack to Donkey Kong Country 2 for David Wise.
- While Yuzo Koshiro has had an entire career of awesome music, his very best is a tie between Streets Of Rage 1 & 2 and The Revenge of Shinobi.
- For Yasunori Mitsuda it's debated between Chrono Trigger, Chrono Cross and Xenogears.
- Chikayo Fukuda's music work on Asura's Wrath is considered to be her all time best music. And this when her work on many other CyberConnect2 works (Solatorobo, The Naruto ultimate Ninja Games, and .hack amongst others) is already considered to be top notch.
- The Monty On The Run theme for Rob Hubbard.
- Motoi Sakuraba has several contenders scattered throughout the Tales Series, Star Ocean, Baten Kaitos and Golden Sun franchises, as well as Eternal Sonata.
- Felix The Cat is hands down the Magnum Opus of animation pioneer Otto Messmer.
- Peace on Earth is considered to be the best short ever made by Hugh Harman of the Harman And Ising duo. He even said it was one of the very few good cartoons he ever made.
- Disney fans and critics alike have a field day trying to determine which is the best film of the Disney's Golden Age—many say Pinocchio, others say Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, others say Fantasia, and some like John Lasseter even think Dumbo is his greatest film (and on one episode of Disneyland, Walt said it was the favorite feature his studio worked on). However, Walt himself considered Bambi his Magnum Opus, and there's probably fans out there who consider it his best as well.
- On that note, he intended Sleeping Beauty to be his Magnum Opus, but it's failure at the box office (despite being the second highest grossing film on release against Ben Hur), mixed reception upon initial release, and general story flaws kept it from being such. It has now been considered by some to be Vindicated by History and is now praised as a masterpiece of animation and design.
- When it comes to the Disney Renaissance, fans get into a lot of debate on whether Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, or Mulan is the crown jewel. The Hunchback of Notre Dame has been seen as this for the Disney Renaissance as well — a far cry from its earlier lukewarm reception.
- Pixar has this too. The debate is usually between WALL-E, Up, The Incredibles, one or all of the Toy Story movies, and Finding Nemo.
- Yet another debate involves the works of Disney Renaissance writer/director duo John Musker and Ron Clements. Although they make consistently good films, most critics and fans would pick either Aladdin or The Little Mermaid.
- And as for the modern age, Tangled or Wreck-It Ralph.
- Most fans believe that Don Bluth's best film was The Secret Of NIMH (he himself considers it the film he enjoyed working on the most), although An American Tail and The Land Before Time have their supporters.
- Gargoyles for Greg Weisman.
- Avatar The Last Airbender for co-creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, and Nickelodeon.
- Fans will debate endlessly over which installment of Bruce Timm, Paul Dini and Alan Burnett's DCAU contributions is their best, with the top contender usually Batman The Animated Series. Justice League Unlimited is often cited for Timm as well (as he was the only one of the three to have full involvement in it).
- Speaking of BTAS, the episode "Heart of Ice" is widely considered the best half-hour of television to have come out of the series. Given that it's not only an Emmy winner but the source of a Retcon for the villain featured (Mr. Freeze), it's not hard to see why.
- JLU can be considered as one for the late Dwayne McDuffie.
- Bruce Timm himself decided that his best work is Green Lantern The Animated Series
- Samurai Jack is considered this for Genndy Tartakovsky, even though the series was never finished. There's also Dexters Laboratory too.
- With the release of Hotel Transylvania, one might consider this a contender for Tartakovsky's opus.
- Invader Zim for Jhonen Vasquez. An unusual example, since the rest of his work is in comics rather than animation.
- Heavy Traffic or Coonskin for Ralph Bakshi, even though he's better known for Fritz the Cat.
- When asked, Ralph himself will always say Coonskin is his magnum opus.
- Acclaimed animator Richard Williams has literally referred to The Thief And The Cobbler (or at least his original vision for it, before it was butchered by Executive Meddling) as his magnum opus; others believe Who Framed Roger Rabbit? was his masterpiece.
- Mainframe Entertainment may be the primary source of Direct-to-Video Barbie movies today, but the big debate over its Magnum Opus boils down to either ReBoot or Beast Wars.
- Invariably, when asked what her greatest work is, fans and even the woman herself will state that My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is this for Lauren Faust. Having not only revitalized the ailing My Little Pony franchise, but also redeeming it in the eyes of the general public, as well as being the one thing Lauren is best-known for and being the source of many stories of redemption, enlightenment, inspiration and empowerment, it's rather understandable why so many people have this thought about the show.
- The Powerpuff Girls for Craig McCracken.
- Fans have argued that either The Fairly OddParents or Danny Phantom is Butch Hartman's opus. Some would say both, others would say neither.
- South Park is this for Trey Parker and Matt Stone.
- Chuck Jones has Duck Amuck, One Froggy Evening, and Whats Opera Doc.
- The Prince Of Egypt, How to Train Your Dragon, and Rise Of The Guardians (and, to a degree, Kung Fu Panda) are often considered to be Dream Works Animation's greatest animated films. Shrek may have once been a contender, but, in part due to its sequels and in part due to Seinfeld Is Unfunny, it... hasn't aged well, to say the least.
- Brad Bird has never EVER made a bad film, but the biggest contenders for his Opus are The Iron Giant and The Incredibles.
- Chris Sanders has either Lilo & Stitch, or How to Train Your Dragon.
- Most Futurama fans and staff agree that the fourth production season was the best one.
- Not a creator, but the general public considers The Genie to be the best role Robin Williams ever played. He has had far more illustrious roles, some of which he's won academy awards for, but even he admits that The Genie is probably the role for which he will be remembered even after he's gone.
- Nickelodeon's best shows from the 90's are usually considered to be The Ren & Stimpy Show, Rocko's Modern Life, and Rugrats. As for shows from the 2000s, Avatar The Last Airbender, Invader Zim, Danny Phantom, and the early seasons of Spongebob Squarepants.
- Despicable Me for Illumination Entertainment.