The Greatest Movie Themes Films

The Greatest Movie Themes

13,787 votes 1,182 voters 23,186 views 212 items tags f p @

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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  • 25 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 505
    - 78
    Star Wars

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

    ;
  2. 2
    + 347
    - 70
    Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark


    Harrison Ford, Alfred Molina, Karen Allen

    ;
  3. 3
    + 339
    - 76
    James Bond


    Kalabhavan Mani, Indrans Surendran, Raghu

    ;
  4. 4
    + 289
    - 88
    Rocky


    Sylvester Stallone, Joe Frazier, Burgess Meredith

    ;
  5. 5
    + 254
    - 61
    Jaws


    Steven Spielberg, Richard Dreyfuss, Roy Scheider

    ;
  6. 6
    + 234
    - 61
    Ghostbusters


    Bill Murray, Sigourney Weaver, Dan Aykroyd

    ;
  7. 7
    + 277
    - 88
    Jurassic Park


    Samuel L. Jackson, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough

    ;
  8. 8
    + 212
    - 82
    Back to the Future


    Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson

    ;
  9. 9
    + 213
    - 89
    Superman


    Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve

    ;
  10. 10
    + 208
    - 63
    Mission: Impossible


    Tom Cruise, Jon Voight, Vanessa Redgrave

    ;
  11. 11
    + 193
    - 67
    Pirates of the Caribbean films
    ;
  12. 12
    + 193
    - 64
    The Pink Panther


    Peter Sellers, Claudia Cardinale, David Niven

    ;
  13. 13
    + 180
    - 80
    Good


    Clint Eastwood, Viggo Mortensen, Mark Strong

    ;
  14. 14
    + 208
    - 81
    The Godfather


    Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall

    ;
  15. 15
    + 171
    - 78
    Batman


    Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger, Michael Keaton

    ;
  16. 16
    + 191
    - 64
    The Lord of the Rings film trilogy

    ranked low on reranks

    ;
  17. 17
    + 119
    - 81
    Terminator 2: Judgment Day


    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Edward Furlong, Linda Hamilton

    ;
  18. 18
    + 140
    - 68
    Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone


    Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe, Julianne Hough

    ;
  19. 19
    + 93
    - 49
    Top Gun


    Tom Cruise, Meg Ryan, Val Kilmer

    ;
  20. 20
    + 119
    - 64
    Chariots of Fire


    Stephen Fry, Kenneth Branagh, Ian Holm

    ;
  21. 21
    + 102
    - 61
    E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial


    Drew Barrymore, Erika Eleniak, Debra Winger

    ;
  22. 22
    + 125
    - 73
    Halloween


    Jamie Lee Curtis, Kyle Richards, Donald Pleasence

    ;
  23. 23
    + 120
    - 69
    2001: A Space Odyssey


    Arthur C. Clarke, Leonard Rossiter, Ed Bishop

    ;
  24. 24
    + 102
    - 62


    Zoe Saldana, Jennifer Morrison, Winona Ryder

    ;
  25. 25
    + 98
    - 67
    Gladiator


    Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Michael Sheen

    ;
  26. 26
    + 70
    - 17

    ranked low on reranks
    Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill

    ;
  27. 27
    + 85
    - 57
    The Magnificent Seven


    Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn

    ;
  28. 28
    + 90
    - 61
    The Phantom of the Opera


    Emmy Rossum, Gerard Butler, Minnie Driver

    ;
  29. 29
    + 103
    - 64


    Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Kathy Bates

    ;
  30. 30
    + 63
    - 17

    ranked low on reranks & added by CraigAlarm
    John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Stockard Channing

    ;
  31. 31
    + 74
    - 63
    The Last of the Mohicans


    Daniel Day-Lewis, Madeleine Stowe, Pete Postlethwaite

    ;
  32. 32
    + 77
    - 63
    The Terminator


    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Paxton, Linda Hamilton

    ;
  33. 33
    + 59
    - 64
    Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Morgan Freeman, Sean Connery, Kevin Costner

    ;
  34. 34
    + 62
    - 49
    A Fistful of Dollars


    Clint Eastwood, Gian Maria Volonté, Aldo Sambrell

    ;
  35. 35
    + 44
    - 18

    ranked low on reranks & added by slaft
    John Travolta, Fran Drescher, Denny Dillon

    ;
  36. 36
    + 76
    - 58
    The Exorcist


    Max von Sydow, Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair

    ;
  37. 37
    + 39
    - 21

    added by CraigAlarm
    Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall

    ;
  38. 38
    + 77
    - 46
    Psycho


    Alfred Hitchcock, Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins

    ;
  39. 39
    + 70
    - 60
    Braveheart


    Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Brendan Gleeson

    ;
  40. 40
    + 55
    - 55


    Kirstie Alley, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy

    ;
  41. 41
    + 44
    - 14

    ranked low on reranks & added by slaft
    Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Eleanor Parker

    ;
  42. 42
    + 22
    - 17

    added by CraigAlarm
    Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes, Javier Bardem

    ;
  43. 43
    + 69
    - 64
    Men in Black


    Will Smith, Sylvester Stallone, Steven Spielberg

    ;
  44. 44
    + 49
    - 29
    Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

    ranked low on reranks
    Johnny Depp, Keira Knightley, Zoe Saldana

    ;
  45. 45
    + 54
    - 50
    For a Few Dollars More


    Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Sergio Leone

    ;
  46. 46
    + 52
    - 37
    The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring


    Cate Blanchett, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler

    ;
  47. 47
    + 52
    - 63
    RoboCop


    Alex Van Halen, Peter Weller, Leeza Gibbons

    ;
  48. 48
    + 28
    - 24

    added by CraigAlarm
    Charlie Sheen, Matthew Broderick, Jeffrey Jones

    ;
  49. 49
    + 43
    - 43
    Mortal Kombat


    Bridgette Wilson, Frank Welker, Talisa Soto

    ;
  50. 50
    + 51
    - 53
    Spider-Man


    Kirsten Dunst, Elizabeth Banks, James Franco

    ;
213 +

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