He worked with Alfred Hitchcock on Topaz (1969); though Hitchcock's experiences on the film were unhappy he was satisfied with Jarre's score telling him "I have not given you a great film but you have given me a great score. He left the Sorbonne against his father's will and enrolled at the Conservatoire de Paris to study composition and harmony and chose percussion as his major instrument. Notable scores include The Train (1964) Mohammad Messenger of God (1976) Witness (1985) and Ghost (1990).
Jarre was a three time Academy Award winner for Lawrence of Arabia (1962) Doctor Zhivago (1965) and A Passage to India (1984) all of which were directed by David Lean. Jarre was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He was Oscar nominated a total of eight times.