Jarre's most successful works were collaborations with director David Lean. All three earned him Oscars.
Suite from Lawrence of Arabia. The majestic, exotic-sounding main theme (inspired by one of the main themes from Edouard Lalo's Piano Concerto in F minor) succinctly captures the vastness of the desert, and how it engulfs even the extraordinary things Lawrence and his followers do there.
Suite from Doctor Zhivago, especially the lush romance of "Lara's Theme". Jarre struggled to write a suitable score at first, so Lean told him to take his girlfriend to his mountain cabin in Switzerland and spend a passionate weekend with her. The result remains one of his most unforgettable melodies.note Although Jarre felt that Lean and producer Carlo Ponti placed too much emphasis on the theme in the final cut of the film. It was later given lyrics by Paul Francis Webster as "Somewhere, My Love", becoming a hit in the United States for Ray Conniff and internationally for Connie Francis.
The Longest Day theme (together with Beethoven's DA DA DA DAA!!! DA DA DA DAA!!!)
Just as notable are his collaborations with Peter Weir. The films on which the composer collaborated would not have been even half as good without his music.
Conceptually speaking, Jarre's score to Witness shouldn't work as it's played entirely on synthesisers (particularly the New England Digital Synclavier) and the Amish wouldn't go near a synth, and yet it's uplifting without being sentimental.