The Greatest Movie Themes Films
0Ultimate 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. 53
    + 6
    - 4

    Grace Kelly, Gary Cooper, Lee Van Cleef

    ) open
  2. 34
    + 28
    - 11

    Alfred Hitchcock, Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh

    ) open
  3. 17
    + 34
    - 14

    Steve McQueen, James Coburn, Charles Bronson

    ) open
  4. 40
    + 23
    - 13

    Steve McQueen, James Coburn, Charles Bronson

    ) open
  5. 13
    + 53
    - 17

    Peter Sellers, Claudia Cardinale, David Niven

    ) open
  6. 24
    + 26
    - 12

    Clint Eastwood, Gian Maria Volonté, Aldo Sambrell

    ) open
  7. 32
    + 21
    - 11

    Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Sergio Leone

    ) open
  8. 3
    + 83
    - 12

    Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, Lee Van Cleef

    ) open
  9. 11
    + 50
    - 23

    Arthur C. Clarke, Leonard Rossiter, Ed Bishop

    ) open
  10. 7
    + 78
    - 21

    Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall

    ) open
  11. 27
    + 33
    - 15

    Max von Sydow, Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair

    ) open
  12. 10
    + 82
    - 16

    ranked low on reranks Steven Spielberg, Richard Dreyfuss, Robert Shaw

    ) open
  13. 75
    + 1
    - 2

    added by Richard777 Peter Fonda, Yul Brynner, Blythe Danner

    ) open
  14. 5
    + 91
    - 18

    Sylvester Stallone, Joe Frazier, Burgess Meredith

    ) open
  15. 1
    + 131
    - 19

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

    ) open
  16. 69
    + 2
    - 1

    added by Richard777 David Greenan, Myrna Matthews, Dirk Benedict

    ) open
  17. 16
    + 48
    - 14

    Jamie Lee Curtis, Kyle Richards, Donald Pleasence

    ) open
  18. 6
    + 78
    - 31

    Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve

    ) open
  19. 76
    + 1
    - 2

    added by Richard777 Kirk Douglas, Daryl Hannah, Jim Belushi

    ) open
  20. 37
    + 18
    - 16

    Sigourney Weaver, John Hurt, Ian Holm

    ) open
  21. 72
    + 2
    - 2

    added by dee123 Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers

    ) open
  22. 21
    + 40
    - 17

    Stephen Fry, Kenneth Branagh, Ian Holm

    ) open
  23. 50
    + 12
    - 12

    Jamie Lee Curtis, Kurt Russell, Ernest Borgnine

    ) open
  24. 51
    + 11
    - 11

    Liam Neeson, Helen Mirren, Patrick Stewart

    ) open
  25. 2
    + 116
    - 17

    most listed Harrison Ford, Alfred Molina, Frank Welker

    ) open
  26. 28
    + 25
    - 22

    Harrison Ford, Daryl Hannah, Sean Young

    ) open
  27. 38
    + 18
    - 21

    Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Earl Jones, Max von Sydow

    ) open
  28. 15
    + 38
    - 20

    often listed Drew Barrymore, Erika Eleniak, Robert MacNaughton

    ) open
  29. 46
    + 14
    - 9

    Sylvester Stallone, David Caruso, Brian Dennehy

    ) open
  30. 65
    + 6
    - 2

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

    ) open
  31. 73
    + 1
    - 1

    new! & added by EricLeblanc Sylvester Stallone, Hulk Hogan, Mr. T

    ) open
  32. 25
    + 26
    - 18

    Kirstie Alley, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy

    ) open
  33. 70
    + 3
    - 3

    added by RonnCunningham Kirk Douglas, Gus Mercurio, Jack Thompson

    ) open
  34. 14
    + 59
    - 15

    Bill Murray, Sigourney Weaver, Dan Aykroyd

    ) open
  35. 68
    + 3
    - 2

    added by dee123 Steven Spielberg, Corey Feldman, Phoebe Cates

    ) open
  36. 78
    + 2
    - 6

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

    ) open
  37. 23
    + 36
    - 21

    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Bill Paxton

    ) open
  38. 9
    + 66
    - 26

    Michael J. Fox, Lea Thompson, Jason Hervey

    ) open
  39. 66
    + 2
    - 6

    Robert De Niro, Liam Neeson, Jeremy Irons

    ) open
  40. 45
    + 22
    - 17

    Tom Cruise, Meg Ryan, Val Kilmer

    ) open
  41. 41
    + 20
    - 21

    Alex Van Halen, Leeza Gibbons, Peter Weller

    ) open
  42. 44
    + 17
    - 12

    Robert De Niro, Sean Connery, Kevin Costner

    ) open
  43. 12
    + 64
    - 27

    Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger, Michael Keaton

    ) open
  44. 52
    + 7
    - 3

    Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Graham Greene

    ) open
  45. 47
    + 19
    - 19

    Alec Baldwin, Sean Connery, Jeffrey Jones

    ) open
  46. 36
    + 25
    - 25

    Morgan Freeman, Sean Connery, Kevin Costner

    ) open
  47. 18
    + 50
    - 26

    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Edward Furlong, Linda Hamilton

    ) open
  48. 31
    + 27
    - 18

    Daniel Day-Lewis, Madeleine Stowe, Pete Postlethwaite

    ) open
  49. 61
    + 7
    - 4

    Michael Caine, Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson

    ) open
  50. 8
    + 84
    - 28

    Samuel L. Jackson, Jeff Goldblum, Laura Dern

    ) open
79 +

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