Ron Goodwin was born in Plymouth, England, on February 17, 1925. He took piano lessons from the age of five and later took up the trumpet. He studied trumpet, orchestration, and composition at the Guildhall School of Music in London, but much of his musicality was self-taught. After working as a copyist and arranger for several music publishing companies in England, Goodwin began conducting, eventually forming his own orchestra. His collaborations on the Peter Sellers' recordings garnered him notice and he began composing scores for documentary films. His first feature-length effort was for the 1958 film Whirlpool. After Village of the Damned, he produced the score for the 1962 science fiction classic Day of the Triffids.
There followed a string of mostly memorable scores, among them Lancelot and Guinevere (1963), Of Human Bondage (1964), Operation Crossbow (1965), Where Eagles Dare (1969), and The Selfish Giant (1971). In the 1980s Goodwin devoted less time to film scores and turned to writing more serious works, like the aforementioned Drake 400 and New Zealand. Goodwin, despite being plagued by asthma throughout life, remained active to the end, dying suddenly on January 8, 2003.