The Greatest Movie Themes Films
0Ultimate List
originally by  tags 3,840 votes 281 voters 8,328 views 180 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.

  • 9 ReRanks
    • Women
    • Men
    • Age
    • Region
  • See list ranked by
L The List
Z
B Comments
& Embed
G Options
2rerank list
  1. 1
    + 143
    - 21

    the people's #1
    Carrie Fisher, Denis Lawson, Harrison Ford

    ) open buy now
  2. 2
    + 127
    - 18

    most listed
    John Rhys-Davies, Alfred Molina, Frank Marshall

    ) open buy now
  3. 3
    + 134
    - 16

    Vani Viswanath, Kalabhavan Mani, Indrans Surendran

    ) open buy now
  4. 4
    + 94
    - 13

    Viggo Mortensen, Jason Isaacs, Steven Mackintosh

    ) open buy now
  5. 5
    + 100
    - 21

    Frank Stallone, Burgess Meredith, Thayer David

    ) open buy now
  6. 6
    + 82
    - 35

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Jackie Cooper, Trevor Howard, Terence Stamp

    ) open buy now
  7. 7
    + 94
    - 30

    Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Kiley

    ) open buy now
  8. 8
    + 86
    - 24

    Robert Duvall, Sofia Coppola, Diane Keaton

    ) open buy now
  9. 9
    + 88
    - 17

    John Searle, Steven Spielberg, Carl Gottlieb

    ) open buy now
  10. 10
    + 74
    - 27

    Billy Zane, Lea Thompson, Charles L. Campbell

    ) open buy now
  11. 11
    + 54
    - 24

    Keir Dullea, Margaret Tyzack, Leonard Rossiter

    ) open buy now
  12. 12
    + 60
    - 17

    Claudia Cardinale, Peter Sellers, Brenda De Banzie

    ) open buy now
  13. 13
    + 69
    - 29

    Kim Basinger, Michael Keaton, Billy Dee Williams

    ) open buy now
  14. 14
    + 63
    - 16

    Harold Ramis, Larry King, David Margulies

    ) open buy now
  15. 15
    + 50
    - 15

    Sandy Johnson, Jamie Lee Curtis, P. J. Soles

    ) open buy now
  16. 16
    + 68
    - 23

    Emmanuelle Béart, Kristin Scott Thomas, Henry Czerny

    ) open buy now
  17. 17
    + 55
    - 26

    Edward Furlong, S. Epatha Merkerson, Diane Rodriguez

    ) open buy now
  18. 18
    + 40
    - 21

    Erika Eleniak, Peter Coyote, Mitch Suskin

    ) open buy now
  19. 19
    + 36
    - 15

    Steve McQueen, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn

    ) open buy now
  20. 20
    + 68
    - 23
    ) open buy now
  21. 21
    + 44
    - 18

    John Gielgud, Ian Holm, Brad Davis

    ) open buy now
  22. 22
    + 40
    - 25

    Michael Sheen, Al Hunter Ashton, Russell Crowe

    ) open buy now
  23. 23
    + 48
    - 24
    ) open buy now
  24. 24
    + 39
    - 22

    Paul Winfield, Bill Paxton, William Wisher

    ) open buy now
  25. 25
    + 41
    - 18

    Eric Bana, Karl Urban, Brad William Henke

    ) open buy now
  26. 26
    + 28
    - 18

    Paul Winfield, Kirstie Alley, James Horner

    ) open buy now
  27. 27
    + 26
    - 12

    Clint Eastwood, Lee Miller, Mario Brega

    ) open buy now
  28. 28
    + 33
    - 16

    Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair, Mercedes McCambridge

    ) open buy now
  29. 29
    + 36
    - 24

    Simon Callow, Minnie Driver, Murray Melvin

    ) open buy now
  30. 30
    + 29
    - 19

    Daniel Day-Lewis, Madeleine Stowe, Jodhi May

    ) open buy now
  31. 31
    + 42
    - 22

    Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, John Hurt

    ) open buy now
  32. 32
    + 26
    - 23

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Edward James Olmos, Sean Young, M. Emmet Walsh

    ) open buy now
  33. 33
    + 22
    - 11

    Klaus Kinski, Clint Eastwood, Peter Lee Lawrence

    ) open buy now
  34. 34
    + 30
    - 12

    Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Ted Knight

    ) open buy now
  35. 35
    + 26
    - 16

    Will Smith, Vincent D'Onofrio, Tommy Lee Jones

    ) open buy now
  36. 36
    + 32
    - 17

    Brian Cox, Ian Bannen, Brendan Gleeson

    ) open buy now
  37. 37
    + 20
    - 16

    John Hurt, Ian Holm, Tom Skerritt

    ) open buy now
  38. 38
    + 27
    - 26

    Kevin Costner, Christian Slater, Geraldine McEwan

    ) open buy now
  39. 39
    + 23
    - 13

    Steve McQueen, James Coburn, James Garner

    ) open buy now
  40. 40
    + 29
    - 23

    Bernard Hill, Bill Paxton, Billy Zane

    ) open buy now
  41. 41
    + 18
    - 22

    Jorge Sanz, Max von Sydow, Ben Davidson

    ) open buy now
  42. 42
    + 22
    - 21

    Paul McCrane, Leeza Gibbons, Ray Wise

    ) open buy now
  43. 43
    + 24
    - 17

    Kelly McGillis, Anthony Edwards, Clarence Gilyard

    ) open buy now
  44. 44
    + 15
    - 9

    David Caruso, Brian Dennehy, Alf Humphreys

    ) open buy now
  45. 45
    + 15
    - 21

    Will Smith, Harvey Fierstein, Jeff Goldblum

    ) open buy now
  46. 46
    + 17
    - 13

    Kevin Costner, Patricia Clarkson, John Barrowman

    ) open buy now
  47. 47
    + 21
    - 18

    Jim Norton, Stanley Anderson, Kirsten Dunst

    ) open buy now
  48. 48
    + 19
    - 20

    Alec Baldwin, Sam Neill, Stellan Skarsgård

    ) open buy now
  49. 49
    + 20
    - 12

    James Whitmore, Paul McCrane, Bob Gunton

    ) open buy now
  50. 50
    + 12
    - 11

    Helen Mirren, Bríd Brennan, Ciarán Hinds

    ) open buy now
181 +

Something missing? Add it!

L List Options 2 Rerank List B Comments & Embed z Share Next List >

viewers of this list also saw...

more popular lists