The Greatest Movie Themes Films
Ultimate List
3,125 votes 5,878 views more info

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.
  • 8 ReRanks
    • Region
  • See list ranked by
The List
Comment
Embed
Options
rerank list
  1. 10
    Up 71
    Down 19

    Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall

    open
  2. 46
    Up 18
    Down 18

    Alec Baldwin, Sean Connery, Jeffrey Jones

    open
  3. 39
    Up 18
    Down 19

    Alex Van Halen, Leeza Gibbons, Peter Weller

    open
  4. 34
    Up 24
    Down 9

    Alfred Hitchcock, Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh

    open
  5. 15
    Up 48
    Down 25

    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Edward Furlong, Linda Hamilton

    open
  6. 35
    Up 17
    Down 19

    Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Earl Jones, Max von Sydow

    open
  7. 25
    Up 31
    Down 20

    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Bill Paxton

    open
  8. 11
    Up 46
    Down 21

    Arthur C. Clarke, Leonard Rossiter, Ed Bishop

    open
  9. 14
    Up 52
    Down 14

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

    open
  10. 64
    Up 4
    Down 4

    Cate Blanchett, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen

    open
  11. 4
    Up 74
    Down 10

    Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, Lee Van Cleef

    open
  12. 24
    Up 23
    Down 11

    Clint Eastwood, Gian Maria Volonté, Aldo Sambrell

    open
  13. 31
    Up 19
    Down 10

    Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Sergio Leone

    open
  14. 66
    Up 4
    Down 1

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

    open
  15. 28
    Up 26
    Down 17

    Daniel Day-Lewis, Madeleine Stowe, Pete Postlethwaite

    open
  16. 68
    Up 2
    Down 0

    added by Richard777 David Greenan, Myrna Matthews, Dirk Benedict

    open
  17. 13
    Up 34
    Down 18

    often listed Drew Barrymore, Erika Eleniak, Robert MacNaughton

    open
  18. 72
    Up 2
    Down 1

    added by dee123 Drew Barrymore, Rose McGowan, Courteney Cox

    open
  19. 56
    Up 4
    Down 17

    often listed Emma Stone, Sally Field, Martin Sheen

    open
  20. 33
    Up 37
    Down 21

    Emma Watson, Julianne Hough, Daniel Radcliffe

    open
  21. 26
    Up 33
    Down 22

    Emmy Rossum, Gerard Butler, Minnie Driver

    open
  22. 55
    Up 16
    Down 15

    Frank Welker, Bridgette Wilson, Talisa Soto

    open
  23. 53
    Up 6
    Down 3

    Grace Kelly, Gary Cooper, Lee Van Cleef

    open
  24. 69
    Up 5
    Down 4

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

    open
  25. 57
    Up 2
    Down 5

    Halle Berry, Hugh Jackman, Anna Paquin

    open
  26. 2
    Up 105
    Down 14

    most listed Harrison Ford, Alfred Molina, Frank Welker

    open
  27. 1
    Up 119
    Down 15

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

    open
  28. 27
    Up 21
    Down 21

    Harrison Ford, Daryl Hannah, Sean Young

    open
  29. 12
    Up 61
    Down 23

    Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger, Michael Keaton

    open
  30. 71
    Up 2
    Down 1

    added by dee123 Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers

    open
  31. 77
    Up 2
    Down 4

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

    open
  32. 50
    Up 12
    Down 11

    Jamie Lee Curtis, Kurt Russell, Ernest Borgnine

    open
  33. 17
    Up 41
    Down 13

    Jamie Lee Curtis, Kyle Richards, Donald Pleasence

    open
  34. 62
    Up 1
    Down 0

    new! Jennifer Garner, Ben Affleck, Colin Farrell

    open
  35. 22
    Up 37
    Down 15

    Jennifer Morrison, Zoe Saldana, Winona Ryder

    open
  36. 63
    Up 5
    Down 6

    Johnny Depp, Keira Knightley, Zoe Saldana

    open
  37. 3
    Up 112
    Down 11

    Kalabhavan Mani, Indrans, Raghu

    open
  38. 58
    Up 1
    Down 6

    Keira Knightley, Clive Owen, Stellan Skarsgård

    open
  39. 52
    Up 7
    Down 2

    Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Graham Greene

    open
  40. 74
    Up 1
    Down 1

    added by Richard777 Kirk Douglas, Daryl Hannah, Jim Belushi

    open
  41. 70
    Up 3
    Down 2

    added by RonnCunningham Kirk Douglas, Gus Mercurio, Jack Thompson

    open
  42. 48
    Up 17
    Down 16

    Kirsten Dunst, Elizabeth Banks, James Franco

    open
  43. 21
    Up 25
    Down 16

    Kirstie Alley, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy

    open
  44. 42
    Up 23
    Down 21

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, James Cameron

    open
  45. 51
    Up 11
    Down 9

    Liam Neeson, Helen Mirren, Patrick Stewart

    open
  46. 5
    Up 72
    Down 27

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve

    open
  47. 29
    Up 28
    Down 14

    Max von Sydow, Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair

    open
  48. 38
    Up 25
    Down 16

    Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Brendan Gleeson

    open
  49. 61
    Up 6
    Down 3

    Michael Caine, Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson

    open
  50. 9
    Up 60
    Down 24

    Michael J. Fox, Lea Thompson, Jason Hervey

    open
78 +

Something missing? Add it!

think you can do better?

Rerank This List

got a blog or website?

embed this list

viewers of this list also saw...

more popular lists