The Greatest Movie Themes Films
0Ultimate List
originally by  tags 3,696 votes 276 voters 8,156 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. 11
    + 53
    - 24


    Arthur C. Clarke, Leonard Rossiter, Ed Bishop

    ) open
  2. 60
    + 18
    - 9

    ranked low on reranks
    20th Century Fox Fanfare

  3. 26
    + 26
    - 12


    Clint Eastwood, Gian Maria Volonté, Aldo Sambrell

    ) open
  4. 37
    + 19
    - 16


    Sigourney Weaver, John Hurt, Ian Holm

    ) open
  5. 9
    + 73
    - 27


    Michael J. Fox, Lea Thompson, Jason Hervey

    ) open
  6. 12
    + 68
    - 29


    Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger, Michael Keaton

    ) open
  7. 28
    + 26
    - 23


    Harrison Ford, Daryl Hannah, Sean Young

    ) open
  8. 38
    + 32
    - 17

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

    ) open
  9. 21
    + 43
    - 18


    Stephen Fry, Kenneth Branagh, Ian Holm

    ) open
  10. 39
    + 18
    - 22


    Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Earl Jones, Max von Sydow

    ) open
  11. 53
    + 7
    - 3


    Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Graham Greene

    ) open
  12. 64
    + 1
    - 3


    Jennifer Garner, Ben Affleck, Colin Farrell

    ) open
  13. 15
    + 40
    - 21

    often listed
    Drew Barrymore, Erika Eleniak, Robert MacNaughton

    ) open
  14. 51
    + 12
    - 13


    Jamie Lee Curtis, Kurt Russell, Ernest Borgnine

    ) open
  15. 50
    + 12
    - 11


    Liam Neeson, Helen Mirren, Patrick Stewart

    ) open
  16. 47
    + 15
    - 9


    Sylvester Stallone, David Caruso, Brian Dennehy

    ) open
  17. 32
    + 22
    - 11


    Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Sergio Leone

    ) open
  18. 76
    + 1
    - 2

    added by Richard777
    Peter Fonda, Yul Brynner, Blythe Danner

    ) open
  19. 14
    + 62
    - 16


    Bill Murray, Sigourney Weaver, Dan Aykroyd

    ) open
  20. 20
    + 40
    - 25


    Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Richard Harris

    ) open
  21. 70
    + 3
    - 2

    added by dee123
    Steven Spielberg, Corey Feldman, Phoebe Cates

    ) open
  22. 18
    + 49
    - 15


    Jamie Lee Curtis, Kyle Richards, Donald Pleasence

    ) open
  23. 33
    + 42
    - 22


    Emma Watson, Julianne Hough, Daniel Radcliffe

    ) open
  24. 54
    + 6
    - 4


    Grace Kelly, Gary Cooper, Lee Van Cleef

    ) open
  25. 43
    + 15
    - 21

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, Vivica A. Fox

    ) open
  26. 2
    + 126
    - 18

    most listed
    Harrison Ford, Alfred Molina, Frank Welker

    ) open
  27. 4
    + 132
    - 16


    Kalabhavan Mani, Indrans, Raghu

    ) open
  28. 10
    + 88
    - 17

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

    ) open
  29. 7
    + 92
    - 30


    Samuel L. Jackson, Jeff Goldblum, Laura Dern

    ) open
  30. 58
    + 3
    - 7


    Keira Knightley, Clive Owen, Stellan Skarsgård

    ) open
  31. 34
    + 26
    - 16


    Will Smith, Sylvester Stallone, Steven Spielberg

    ) open
  32. 19
    + 68
    - 23

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

    ) open
  33. 52
    + 19
    - 15


    Frank Welker, Bridgette Wilson, Talisa Soto

    ) open
  34. 24
    + 48
    - 24
    ) open
  35. 61
    + 10
    - 7


    Johnny Depp, Keira Knightley, Zoe Saldana

    ) open
  36. 65
    + 6
    - 3

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

    ) open
  37. 35
    + 29
    - 12


    Alfred Hitchcock, Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh

    ) open
  38. 36
    + 27
    - 26


    Morgan Freeman, Sean Connery, Kevin Costner

    ) open
  39. 41
    + 21
    - 21


    Alex Van Halen, Leeza Gibbons, Peter Weller

    ) open
  40. 5
    + 98
    - 21


    Sylvester Stallone, Joe Frazier, Burgess Meredith

    ) open
  41. 68
    + 3
    - 1

    added by EricLeblanc
    Sylvester Stallone, Hulk Hogan, Mr. T

    ) open
  42. 55
    + 4
    - 13


    Vince Vaughn, Sean Astin, Jon Favreau

    ) open
  43. 69
    + 3
    - 1

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

    ) open
  44. 72
    + 2
    - 2

    added by dee123
    Drew Barrymore, Rose McGowan, Courteney Cox

    ) open
  45. 59
    + 9
    - 19

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

    ) open
  46. 46
    + 21
    - 18


    Kirsten Dunst, Elizabeth Banks, James Franco

    ) open
  47. 27
    + 41
    - 18


    Jennifer Morrison, Zoe Saldana, Winona Ryder

    ) open
  48. 25
    + 28
    - 18


    Kirstie Alley, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy

    ) open
  49. 1
    + 141
    - 21

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

    ) open
  50. 6
    + 82
    - 34


    Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve

    ) open
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