films The Greatest Movie Themes  

Originally by
34k votes 3.3k voters 123k views 224 items Follow Embed

List Rules 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.

1
+ - 1,228 418
Ranker Video v
Star Wars Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill

The Best James Bond Movie Theme Songs The Best Comedy Films On Amazon Prime

2
+ - 822 363
Ranker Video v
Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark Harrison Ford, Alfred Molina, Karen Allen

3
+ - 720 393
Ranker Video v
Rocky Sylvester Stallone, Joe Frazier, Burgess Meredith

4
+ - 782 384
Ranker Video v
James Bond Kalabhavan Mani, Indrans Surendran, Raghu

5
+ - 561 295
Ranker Video v
Jaws Steven Spielberg, Richard Dreyfuss, Roy Scheider

6
+ - 715 352
Ranker Video v
Jurassic Park Samuel L. Jackson, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough

7
+ - 449 259
Ranker Video v
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Clint Eastwood, Viggo Mortensen, Mark Strong

8
+ - 489 261
Ranker Video v
The Pink Panther Peter Sellers, Claudia Cardinale, David Niven

9
+ - 535 278
Ranker Video v
Ghostbusters Bill Murray, Sigourney Weaver, Dan Aykroyd

10
+ - 488 292
Ranker Video v
Back to the Future Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson

11
+ - 465 283
Ranker Video v
Superman Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve

12
+ - 449 292
Ranker Video v
The Godfather Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall

13
+ - 596 312
Ranker Video v

14
+ - 453 259
Ranker Video v
Mission: Impossible Tom Cruise, Jon Voight, Vanessa Redgrave

15
+ - 467 229
Ranker Video v

The Best Songs in the History of South Park 75+ Easter Eggs from Every Marvel Movie

16
+ - 351 267
Ranker Video v
Batman Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger, Michael Keaton

17
+ - 277 271
Ranker Video v
Terminator 2: Judgment Day Arnold Schwarzenegger, Edward Furlong, Linda Hamilton

18
+ - 368 255
Ranker Video v
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe, Julianne Hough

19
+ - 265 219
Ranker Video v
Chariots of Fire Stephen Fry, Kenneth Branagh, Ian Holm

20
+ - 255 214
Ranker Video v
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial Drew Barrymore, Erika Eleniak, Debra Winger

21
+ - 237 260
Ranker Video v
Top Gun Tom Cruise, Meg Ryan, Val Kilmer

22
+ - 251 252
Ranker Video v
Gladiator Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Michael Sheen

23
+ - 248 230
Ranker Video v
Halloween Jamie Lee Curtis, Kyle Richards, Donald Pleasence

24
+ - 226 240
Star Trek is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Movie Themes
Star Trek Zoe Saldana, Jennifer Morrison, Winona Ryder

25
+ - 248 218
Ranker Video v
2001: A Space Odyssey Arthur C. Clarke, Leonard Rossiter, Ed Bishop

26
+ - 303 270
Titanic is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Movie Themes
Titanic Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Kathy Bates

27
+ - 173 9
Forrest Gump is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Movie Themes
Forrest Gump Tom Hanks, Kurt Russell, Sally Field

28
+ - 211 201
Ranker Video v
The Magnificent Seven Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn

29
+ - 229 116
Return of the Jedi is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Movie Themes
Return of the Jedi Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill

The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time The Biggest Turn Ons in a Person

30
+ - 177 209
Ranker Video v
The Last of the Mohicans Daniel Day-Lewis, Madeleine Stowe, Pete Postlethwaite

31
+ - 139 195
Ranker Video v
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves Morgan Freeman, Sean Connery, Kevin Costner

32
+ - 154 98
The Sound of Music is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Movie Themes
The Sound of Music Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Eleanor Parker

33
+ - 153 120
Grease is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Movie Themes
Grease John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Stockard Channing

34
+ - 157 166
Ranker Video v
The Terminator Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Paxton, Linda Hamilton

35
+ - 145 156
Ranker Video v
Braveheart Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Brendan Gleeson

36
+ - 164 158
Ranker Video v
The Phantom of the Opera Emmy Rossum, Gerard Butler, Minnie Driver

37
+ - 171 79
Philadelphia is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Movie Themes
Philadelphia Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Julius Erving

38
+ - 150 120
Ranker Video v
Psycho Alfred Hitchcock, Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins

39
+ - 109 150
Ranker Video v
A Fistful of Dollars Clint Eastwood, Gian Maria Volonté, Aldo Sambrell

40
+ - 116 103
Saturday Night Fever is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Movie Themes
Saturday Night Fever John Travolta, Fran Drescher, Denny Dillon

41
+ - 116 105
The Breakfast Club is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Movie Themes
The Breakfast Club Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall

42
+ - 99 113
Skyfall is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Movie Themes
Skyfall Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes, Javier Bardem

43
+ - 155 105
Ranker Video v
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Cate Blanchett, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler

21 Most Annoyingly Over-Used Movie Trailer Songs The Ugliest Cars In The World

44
+ - 71 74
The Sting is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Movie Themes
The Sting Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Robert Shaw

45
+ - 127 122
Ranker Video v
The Exorcist Max von Sydow, Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair

46
+ - 116 143
Ranker Video v
Men in Black Will Smith, Sylvester Stallone, Steven Spielberg

47
+ - 75 56
Ranker Video v
Dances with Wolves Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Charles Rocket

48
+ - 77 71
Ferris Bueller's Day Off is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Movie Themes
Ferris Bueller's Day Off Charlie Sheen, Matthew Broderick, Jeffrey Jones

49
+ - 77 49
Live and Let Die is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Movie Themes
Live and Let Die Jane Seymour, Roger Moore, Yaphet Kotto

50
+ - 75 99
Ranker Video v
Conan the Barbarian Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Earl Jones, Max von Sydow