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. 34
    Up 24
    Down 9

    Alfred Hitchcock, Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh

    open
  2. 58
    Up 1
    Down 6

    Keira Knightley, Clive Owen, Stellan Skarsgård

    open
  3. 36
    Up 21
    Down 15

    Will Smith, Sylvester Stallone, Steven Spielberg

    open
  4. 16
    Up 48
    Down 15

    Peter Sellers, Claudia Cardinale, David Niven

    open
  5. 18
    Up 59
    Down 21

    Tom Cruise, Jon Voight, Vanessa Redgrave

    open
  6. 44
    Up 16
    Down 11

    Robert De Niro, Sean Connery, Kevin Costner

    open
  7. 74
    Up 1
    Down 1

    added by Richard777 Kirk Douglas, Daryl Hannah, Jim Belushi

    open
  8. 61
    Up 6
    Down 3

    Michael Caine, Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson

    open
  9. 69
    Up 5
    Down 4

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

    open
  10. 57
    Up 2
    Down 5

    Halle Berry, Hugh Jackman, Anna Paquin

    open
  11. 33
    Up 37
    Down 21

    Emma Watson, Julianne Hough, Daniel Radcliffe

    open
  12. 54
    Up 3
    Down 12

    Vince Vaughn, Sean Astin, Jon Favreau

    open
  13. 10
    Up 71
    Down 19

    Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall

    open
  14. 49
    Up 17
    Down 9

    Morgan Freeman, Rita Hayworth, Tim Robbins

    open
  15. 53
    Up 6
    Down 3

    Grace Kelly, Gary Cooper, Lee Van Cleef

    open
  16. 1
    Up 119
    Down 15

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

    open
  17. 70
    Up 3
    Down 2

    added by RonnCunningham Kirk Douglas, Gus Mercurio, Jack Thompson

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  18. 63
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    Johnny Depp, Keira Knightley, Zoe Saldana

    open
  19. 30
    Up 39
    Down 24

    open
  20. 40
    Up 32
    Down 17

    Stephen Fry, Kenneth Branagh, Ian Holm

    open
  21. 14
    Up 52
    Down 14

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

    open
  22. 22
    Up 37
    Down 15

    Jennifer Morrison, Zoe Saldana, Winona Ryder

    open
  23. 15
    Up 48
    Down 25

    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Edward Furlong, Linda Hamilton

    open
  24. 25
    Up 31
    Down 20

    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Bill Paxton

    open
  25. 42
    Up 23
    Down 21

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, James Cameron

    open
  26. 67
    Up 3
    Down 1

    added by dee123 Steven Spielberg, Corey Feldman, Phoebe Cates

    open
  27. 59
    Up 7
    Down 17

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

    open
  28. 26
    Up 33
    Down 22

    Emmy Rossum, Gerard Butler, Minnie Driver

    open
  29. 51
    Up 11
    Down 9

    Liam Neeson, Helen Mirren, Patrick Stewart

    open
  30. 50
    Up 12
    Down 11

    Jamie Lee Curtis, Kurt Russell, Ernest Borgnine

    open
  31. 17
    Up 41
    Down 13

    Jamie Lee Curtis, Kyle Richards, Donald Pleasence

    open
  32. 6
    Up 82
    Down 16

    Sylvester Stallone, Joe Frazier, Burgess Meredith

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  33. 46
    Up 18
    Down 18

    Alec Baldwin, Sean Connery, Jeffrey Jones

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  34. 35
    Up 17
    Down 19

    Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Earl Jones, Max von Sydow

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  35. 41
    Up 18
    Down 12

    Steve McQueen, James Coburn, Charles Bronson

    open
  36. 19
    Up 32
    Down 12

    Steve McQueen, James Coburn, Charles Bronson

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  37. 52
    Up 7
    Down 2

    Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Graham Greene

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  38. 37
    Up 22
    Down 24

    Morgan Freeman, Sean Connery, Kevin Costner

    open
  39. 56
    Up 4
    Down 17

    often listed Emma Stone, Sally Field, Martin Sheen

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  40. 62
    Up 1
    Down 0

    new! Jennifer Garner, Ben Affleck, Colin Farrell

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  41. 38
    Up 25
    Down 16

    Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Brendan Gleeson

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  42. 28
    Up 26
    Down 17

    Daniel Day-Lewis, Madeleine Stowe, Pete Postlethwaite

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  43. 21
    Up 25
    Down 16

    Kirstie Alley, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy

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  44. 39
    Up 18
    Down 19

    Alex Van Halen, Leeza Gibbons, Peter Weller

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  45. 55
    Up 16
    Down 15

    Frank Welker, Bridgette Wilson, Talisa Soto

    open
  46. 64
    Up 4
    Down 4

    Cate Blanchett, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen

    open
  47. 68
    Up 2
    Down 0

    added by Richard777 David Greenan, Myrna Matthews, Dirk Benedict

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  48. 5
    Up 72
    Down 27

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

    open
  49. 73
    Up 1
    Down 1

    added by Richard777 Peter Fonda, Yul Brynner, Blythe Danner

    open
  50. 32
    Up 17
    Down 13

    Sigourney Weaver, John Hurt, Ian Holm

    open
78 +

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