The Greatest Movie Themes Films
Ultimate List
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The Greatest Movie Themes

List Criteria: Theme music for films

A memorable movie theme song is an underrated crucial element that helps turn a great movie into an iconic one. At its core, a movie score is supposed to capture the mood and set the tone of what's going on in a particular scene. But the theme song if done right, can be as iconic as the film itself. Many film score composers set out to write a theme that fully encapsulates what a film is going for, but only a handful have become the greatest.

Perhaps the most famous film composer is John Williams, who is well represented on this list. Williams is the musical mind behind some of the greatest movie themes like Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones, Superman, Jaws and the Star Wars movies. These film scores are as memorable and iconic as the films.

Great movie themes are often instrumentals that when played, can be easily recognized. Themes from Rocky, Batman, The Godfather franchise, 2001: A Space Odyssey, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Psycho are among the most recognizable songs and have long since established their place in pop culture. You can hear these songs on commercials and often times at sporting events as well.

The key element to remember as you vote on your favorite theme song is that we are only voting on the theme, not the entire score or soundtrack. This is the Ultimate List specifically for theme songs, so vote on what you think is the greatest movie them of all time. If you think a movie theme is missing, feel free to add it.

To vote on the movies with the best "mix tape" style soundtracks, not scores, check out Movies with the Best Soundtracks. For best all-around sound, vote on The Greatest Soundtracks in Film History.
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  1. 1
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    the people's #1 Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill

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    most listed Harrison Ford, Alfred Molina, Frank Welker

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  3. 3
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    Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, Lee Van Cleef

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  4. 4
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    Kalabhavan Mani, Indrans, Raghu

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  5. 5
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    Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve

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    Sylvester Stallone, Joe Frazier, Burgess Meredith

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    Samuel L. Jackson, Jeff Goldblum, Laura Dern

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    Michael J. Fox, Lea Thompson, Jason Hervey

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    Steven Spielberg, Richard Dreyfuss, Robert Shaw

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    Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger, Michael Keaton

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    Arthur C. Clarke, Leonard Rossiter, Ed Bishop

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    Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall

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    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Edward Furlong, Linda Hamilton

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    often listed Drew Barrymore, Erika Eleniak, Robert MacNaughton

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    Steve McQueen, James Coburn, Charles Bronson

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    ranked low on reranks Bill Murray, Sigourney Weaver, Dan Aykroyd

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    Peter Sellers, Claudia Cardinale, David Niven

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    Jamie Lee Curtis, Kyle Richards, Donald Pleasence

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    often listed & ranked high on reranks Kirstie Alley, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy

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  20. 20
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    Tom Cruise, Jon Voight, Vanessa Redgrave

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    Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Richard Harris

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    Jennifer Morrison, Zoe Saldana, Winona Ryder

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    Clint Eastwood, Gian Maria Volonté, Aldo Sambrell

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    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Bill Paxton

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    often listed & ranked high on reranks Harrison Ford, Daryl Hannah, Sean Young

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  26. 26
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    Max von Sydow, Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair

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  27. 27
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    Emmy Rossum, Gerard Butler, Minnie Driver

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    Daniel Day-Lewis, Madeleine Stowe, Pete Postlethwaite

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    Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Sergio Leone

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    Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Earl Jones, Max von Sydow

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    Alfred Hitchcock, Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh

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    Morgan Freeman, Sean Connery, Kevin Costner

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    Sigourney Weaver, John Hurt, Ian Holm

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    Alex Van Halen, Leeza Gibbons, Peter Weller

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    Emma Watson, Julianne Hough, Daniel Radcliffe

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    Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Brendan Gleeson

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    Steve McQueen, James Coburn, Charles Bronson

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    often listed & ranked high on reranks Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, Vivica A. Fox

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  41. 41
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    Stephen Fry, Kenneth Branagh, Ian Holm

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    Robert De Niro, Sean Connery, Kevin Costner

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    Will Smith, Sylvester Stallone, Steven Spielberg

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  44. 44
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    Alec Baldwin, Sean Connery, Jeffrey Jones

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    Tom Cruise, Meg Ryan, Val Kilmer

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    Kirsten Dunst, Elizabeth Banks, James Franco

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    Sylvester Stallone, David Caruso, Brian Dennehy

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  48. 48
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    Jamie Lee Curtis, Kurt Russell, Ernest Borgnine

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  49. 49
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    Morgan Freeman, Rita Hayworth, Tim Robbins

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    Liam Neeson, Helen Mirren, Patrick Stewart

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  51. 77 +

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