The Greatest Movie Themes Films
0Ultimate List
originally by  tags 3,693 votes 275 voters 8,137 views 78 items f p @

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. 8
    + 85
    - 24


    Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall

    ) open
  2. 48
    + 19
    - 20


    Alec Baldwin, Sean Connery, Jeffrey Jones

    ) open
  3. 41
    + 21
    - 21


    Alex Van Halen, Leeza Gibbons, Peter Weller

    ) open
  4. 35
    + 29
    - 12


    Alfred Hitchcock, Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh

    ) open
  5. 16
    + 53
    - 26


    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Edward Furlong, Linda Hamilton

    ) open
  6. 39
    + 18
    - 22


    Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Earl Jones, Max von Sydow

    ) open
  7. 25
    + 37
    - 22


    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Bill Paxton

    ) open
  8. 11
    + 53
    - 24


    Arthur C. Clarke, Leonard Rossiter, Ed Bishop

    ) open
  9. 14
    + 62
    - 16


    Bill Murray, Sigourney Weaver, Dan Aykroyd

    ) open
  10. 62
    + 9
    - 6


    Cate Blanchett, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen

    ) open
  11. 3
    + 93
    - 13


    Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, Lee Van Cleef

    ) open
  12. 26
    + 26
    - 12


    Clint Eastwood, Gian Maria Volonté, Aldo Sambrell

    ) open
  13. 32
    + 22
    - 11


    Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Sergio Leone

    ) open
  14. 65
    + 6
    - 3

    added by dee123
    Craig T. Nelson, Heather O'Rourke, Zelda Rubinstein

    ) open
  15. 31
    + 29
    - 19


    Daniel Day-Lewis, Madeleine Stowe, Pete Postlethwaite

    ) open
  16. 15
    + 40
    - 21

    often listed
    Drew Barrymore, Erika Eleniak, Robert MacNaughton

    ) open
  17. 72
    + 2
    - 2

    added by dee123
    Drew Barrymore, Rose McGowan, Courteney Cox

    ) open
  18. 56
    + 6
    - 19


    Emma Stone, Sally Field, Martin Sheen

    ) open
  19. 33
    + 42
    - 22


    Emma Watson, Julianne Hough, Daniel Radcliffe

    ) open
  20. 29
    + 36
    - 24


    Emmy Rossum, Gerard Butler, Minnie Driver

    ) open
  21. 52
    + 19
    - 15


    Frank Welker, Bridgette Wilson, Talisa Soto

    ) open
  22. 54
    + 6
    - 4


    Grace Kelly, Gary Cooper, Lee Van Cleef

    ) open
  23. 67
    + 7
    - 5

    added by WarrenMitchell
    Halle Berry, Elizabeth Taylor, Rosie O'Donnell

    ) open
  24. 57
    + 4
    - 7


    Halle Berry, Hugh Jackman, Anna Paquin

    ) open
  25. 2
    + 126
    - 18

    most listed
    Harrison Ford, Alfred Molina, Frank Welker

    ) open
  26. 1
    + 141
    - 21

    the people's #1
    Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill

    ) open
  27. 28
    + 26
    - 23


    Harrison Ford, Daryl Hannah, Sean Young

    ) open
  28. 12
    + 68
    - 29


    Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger, Michael Keaton

    ) open
  29. 73
    + 2
    - 2

    added by dee123
    Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers

    ) open
  30. 78
    + 2
    - 6

    added by WarrenMitchell
    Jamie Lee Curtis, Jeff Goldblum, Ellen Barkin

    ) open
  31. 51
    + 12
    - 13


    Jamie Lee Curtis, Kurt Russell, Ernest Borgnine

    ) open
  32. 18
    + 49
    - 15


    Jamie Lee Curtis, Kyle Richards, Donald Pleasence

    ) open
  33. 69
    + 3
    - 1

    added by Richard777
    Saga of a Star World Jane Seymour, Rick Springfield, Ed Begley, Jr.

    ) open
  34. 64
    + 1
    - 3


    Jennifer Garner, Ben Affleck, Colin Farrell

    ) open
  35. 27
    + 41
    - 18


    Jennifer Morrison, Zoe Saldana, Winona Ryder

    ) open
  36. 61
    + 10
    - 7


    Johnny Depp, Keira Knightley, Zoe Saldana

    ) open
  37. 4
    + 132
    - 16


    Kalabhavan Mani, Indrans, Raghu

    ) open
  38. 58
    + 3
    - 7


    Keira Knightley, Clive Owen, Stellan Skarsgård

    ) open
  39. 53
    + 7
    - 3


    Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Graham Greene

    ) open
  40. 75
    + 1
    - 2

    added by Richard777
    Kirk Douglas, Daryl Hannah, Jim Belushi

    ) open
  41. 71
    + 3
    - 3

    added by RonnCunningham
    Kirk Douglas, Gus Mercurio, Jack Thompson

    ) open
  42. 46
    + 21
    - 18


    Kirsten Dunst, Elizabeth Banks, James Franco

    ) open
  43. 23
    + 28
    - 18

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

    ) open
  44. 42
    + 28
    - 23


    Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, James Cameron

    ) open
  45. 50
    + 12
    - 11


    Liam Neeson, Helen Mirren, Patrick Stewart

    ) open
  46. 6
    + 82
    - 34


    Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve

    ) open
  47. 30
    + 33
    - 16


    Max von Sydow, Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair

    ) open
  48. 38
    + 32
    - 17

    ranked low on reranks
    Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Brendan Gleeson

    ) open
  49. 63
    + 7
    - 5


    Michael Caine, Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson

    ) open
  50. 9
    + 73
    - 27


    Michael J. Fox, Lea Thompson, Jason Hervey

    ) open
79 +

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