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. 35
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    ) open
  2. 58
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    - 7


    Keira Knightley, Clive Owen, Stellan Skarsgård

    ) open
  3. 34
    + 26
    - 16


    Will Smith, Sylvester Stallone, Steven Spielberg

    ) open
  4. 13
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    - 17


    Peter Sellers, Claudia Cardinale, David Niven

    ) open
  5. 19
    + 67
    - 23

    ranked low on reranks
    Tom Cruise, Jon Voight, Vanessa Redgrave

    ) open
  6. 45
    + 17
    - 13


    Robert De Niro, Sean Connery, Kevin Costner

    ) open
  7. 75
    + 1
    - 2

    added by Richard777
    Kirk Douglas, Daryl Hannah, Jim Belushi

    ) open
  8. 63
    + 7
    - 5


    Michael Caine, Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson

    ) open
  9. 67
    + 7
    - 5

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

    ) open
  10. 57
    + 4
    - 7


    Halle Berry, Hugh Jackman, Anna Paquin

    ) open
  11. 33
    + 42
    - 22


    Emma Watson, Julianne Hough, Daniel Radcliffe

    ) open
  12. 55
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    - 13


    Vince Vaughn, Sean Astin, Jon Favreau

    ) open
  13. 8
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    - 24


    Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall

    ) open
  14. 49
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    Morgan Freeman, Rita Hayworth, Tim Robbins

    ) open
  15. 54
    + 6
    - 4


    Grace Kelly, Gary Cooper, Lee Van Cleef

    ) open
  16. 1
    + 141
    - 21

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

    ) open
  17. 71
    + 3
    - 3

    added by RonnCunningham
    Kirk Douglas, Gus Mercurio, Jack Thompson

    ) open
  18. 61
    + 10
    - 7


    Johnny Depp, Keira Knightley, Zoe Saldana

    ) open
  19. 24
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    - 24
    ) open
  20. 21
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    - 18


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    ) open
  21. 14
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    - 16


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    ) open
  22. 27
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    Jennifer Morrison, Zoe Saldana, Winona Ryder

    ) open
  23. 16
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    - 26


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    ) open
  24. 25
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    - 22


    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Bill Paxton

    ) open
  25. 42
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    - 23


    Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, James Cameron

    ) open
  26. 70
    + 3
    - 2

    added by dee123
    Steven Spielberg, Corey Feldman, Phoebe Cates

    ) open
  27. 59
    + 9
    - 19

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley

    ) open
  28. 29
    + 36
    - 24


    Emmy Rossum, Gerard Butler, Minnie Driver

    ) open
  29. 50
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    - 11


    Liam Neeson, Helen Mirren, Patrick Stewart

    ) open
  30. 51
    + 12
    - 13


    Jamie Lee Curtis, Kurt Russell, Ernest Borgnine

    ) open
  31. 18
    + 49
    - 15


    Jamie Lee Curtis, Kyle Richards, Donald Pleasence

    ) open
  32. 5
    + 98
    - 21


    Sylvester Stallone, Joe Frazier, Burgess Meredith

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  33. 48
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    - 20


    Alec Baldwin, Sean Connery, Jeffrey Jones

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  34. 39
    + 18
    - 22


    Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Earl Jones, Max von Sydow

    ) open
  35. 40
    + 23
    - 13


    Steve McQueen, James Coburn, Charles Bronson

    ) open
  36. 17
    + 36
    - 15


    Steve McQueen, James Coburn, Charles Bronson

    ) open
  37. 53
    + 7
    - 3


    Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Graham Greene

    ) open
  38. 36
    + 27
    - 26


    Morgan Freeman, Sean Connery, Kevin Costner

    ) open
  39. 56
    + 6
    - 19


    Emma Stone, Sally Field, Martin Sheen

    ) open
  40. 64
    + 1
    - 3


    Jennifer Garner, Ben Affleck, Colin Farrell

    ) open
  41. 38
    + 32
    - 17

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

    ) open
  42. 31
    + 29
    - 19


    Daniel Day-Lewis, Madeleine Stowe, Pete Postlethwaite

    ) open
  43. 23
    + 28
    - 18

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

    ) open
  44. 41
    + 21
    - 21


    Alex Van Halen, Leeza Gibbons, Peter Weller

    ) open
  45. 52
    + 19
    - 15


    Frank Welker, Bridgette Wilson, Talisa Soto

    ) open
  46. 62
    + 9
    - 6


    Cate Blanchett, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen

    ) open
  47. 69
    + 3
    - 1

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

    ) open
  48. 6
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    - 34


    Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve

    ) open
  49. 76
    + 1
    - 2

    added by Richard777
    Peter Fonda, Yul Brynner, Blythe Danner

    ) open
  50. 37
    + 19
    - 16


    Sigourney Weaver, John Hurt, Ian Holm

    ) open
79 +

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