The Greatest Movie Themes Films
0Ultimate List
originally by  tags 3,674 votes 274 voters 8,106 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. 38
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    ranked low on reranks
    Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Brendan Gleeson

    ) open
  2. 8
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    Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall

    ) open
  3. 3
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    Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, Lee Van Cleef

    ) open
  4. 35
    + 29
    - 12


    Alfred Hitchcock, Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh

    ) open
  5. 29
    + 36
    - 24


    Emmy Rossum, Gerard Butler, Minnie Driver

    ) open
  6. 41
    + 21
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    Alex Van Halen, Leeza Gibbons, Peter Weller

    ) open
  7. 26
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    Clint Eastwood, Gian Maria Volonté, Aldo Sambrell

    ) open
  8. 45
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    - 13


    Robert De Niro, Sean Connery, Kevin Costner

    ) open
  9. 32
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    - 11


    Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Sergio Leone

    ) open
  10. 64
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    - 3


    Jennifer Garner, Ben Affleck, Colin Farrell

    ) open
  11. 56
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    - 19


    Emma Stone, Sally Field, Martin Sheen

    ) open
  12. 62
    + 8
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    Cate Blanchett, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen

    ) open
  13. 9
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    - 27


    Michael J. Fox, Lea Thompson, Jason Hervey

    ) open
  14. 20
    + 39
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    Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Richard Harris

    ) open
  15. 67
    + 7
    - 5

    added by WarrenMitchell
    Halle Berry, Elizabeth Taylor, Rosie O'Donnell

    ) open
  16. 46
    + 15
    - 9


    Sylvester Stallone, David Caruso, Brian Dennehy

    ) open
  17. 39
    + 18
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    Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Earl Jones, Max von Sydow

    ) open
  18. 55
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    Vince Vaughn, Sean Astin, Jon Favreau

    ) open
  19. 72
    + 2
    - 2

    added by dee123
    Drew Barrymore, Rose McGowan, Courteney Cox

    ) open
  20. 27
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Harrison Ford, Daryl Hannah, Sean Young

    ) open
  21. 10
    + 88
    - 17

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

    ) open
  22. 36
    + 19
    - 16


    Sigourney Weaver, John Hurt, Ian Holm

    ) open
  23. 33
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    Emma Watson, Julianne Hough, Daniel Radcliffe

    ) open
  24. 21
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    Stephen Fry, Kenneth Branagh, Ian Holm

    ) open
  25. 66
    + 3
    - 6


    Robert De Niro, Liam Neeson, Jeremy Irons

    ) open
  26. 43
    + 15
    - 21


    Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, Vivica A. Fox

    ) open
  27. 2
    + 125
    - 18

    most listed
    Harrison Ford, Alfred Molina, Frank Welker

    ) open
  28. 63
    + 7
    - 5


    Michael Caine, Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson

    ) open
  29. 75
    + 1
    - 2

    added by Richard777
    Kirk Douglas, Daryl Hannah, Jim Belushi

    ) open
  30. 24
    + 37
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    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Bill Paxton

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  31. 1
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    the people's #1
    Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill

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  32. 47
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    Kirsten Dunst, Elizabeth Banks, James Franco

    ) open
  33. 5
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    Sylvester Stallone, Joe Frazier, Burgess Meredith

    ) open
  34. 68
    + 3
    - 1

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

    ) open
  35. 14
    + 62
    - 16


    Bill Murray, Sigourney Weaver, Dan Aykroyd

    ) open
  36. 59
    + 9
    - 19

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

    ) open
  37. 28
    + 40
    - 18


    Jennifer Morrison, Zoe Saldana, Winona Ryder

    ) open
  38. 16
    + 53
    - 26


    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Edward Furlong, Linda Hamilton

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  39. 42
    + 27
    - 23


    Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, James Cameron

    ) open
  40. 40
    + 23
    - 13


    Steve McQueen, James Coburn, Charles Bronson

    ) open
  41. 76
    + 1
    - 2

    added by Richard777
    Peter Fonda, Yul Brynner, Blythe Danner

    ) open
  42. 61
    + 9
    - 7


    Johnny Depp, Keira Knightley, Zoe Saldana

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  43. 58
    + 3
    - 7


    Keira Knightley, Clive Owen, Stellan Skarsgård

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  44. 44
    + 23
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    Tom Cruise, Meg Ryan, Val Kilmer

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  45. 53
    + 7
    - 3


    Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Graham Greene

    ) open
  46. 50
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    Liam Neeson, Helen Mirren, Patrick Stewart

    ) open
  47. 18
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    Jamie Lee Curtis, Kyle Richards, Donald Pleasence

    ) open
  48. 69
    + 3
    - 1

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

    ) open
  49. 17
    + 36
    - 15


    Steve McQueen, James Coburn, Charles Bronson

    ) open
  50. 51
    + 12
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    Jamie Lee Curtis, Kurt Russell, Ernest Borgnine

    ) open
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