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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.

The Greatest Movie Themes Films
  • 21 ReRanks
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  1. 50
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    Kirsten Dunst, Elizabeth Banks, James Franco

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  2. 49
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    added by CraigAlarm
    Charlie Sheen, Matthew Broderick, Jeffrey Jones

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  3. 48
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    20th Century Fox Fanfare

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  4. 47
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    Johnny Depp, Keira Knightley, Zoe Saldana

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  5. 46
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    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Harrison Ford, Daryl Hannah, Sean Young

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  6. 45
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    ranked low on reranks & added by slaft
    Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Eleanor Parker

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  7. 44
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    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Alex Van Halen, Peter Weller, Leeza Gibbons Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial

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  8. 43
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    added by CraigAlarm
    Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall

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  9. 42
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    John Travolta, Fran Drescher, Denny Dillon

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  10. 41
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    Kirstie Alley, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy

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  11. 40
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    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Morgan Freeman, Sean Connery, Kevin Costner

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  12. 39
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    Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Brendan Gleeson

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  13. 38
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    Will Smith, Sylvester Stallone, Steven Spielberg

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  14. 37
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    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Paxton, Linda Hamilton

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  15. 36
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    Alfred Hitchcock, Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins

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  16. 35
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    Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Sergio Leone

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  17. 34
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    Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill

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  18. 33
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    Max von Sydow, Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair

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  19. 32
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    ranked low on reranks
    Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill

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  20. 31
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    ranked low on reranks & added by CraigAlarm
    John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Stockard Channing

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  21. 30
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    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Clint Eastwood, Gian Maria Volonté, Aldo Sambrell

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  22. 29
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    Emmy Rossum, Gerard Butler, Minnie Driver

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  23. 28
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    Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn

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  24. 27
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    Daniel Day-Lewis, Madeleine Stowe, Pete Postlethwaite Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial

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  25. 26
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    Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Kathy Bates Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial

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  26. 25
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    Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Michael Sheen

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  27. 24
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    Drew Barrymore, Erika Eleniak, Debra Winger

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  28. 23
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    Zoe Saldana, Jennifer Morrison, Winona Ryder

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  29. 22
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    Stephen Fry, Kenneth Branagh, Ian Holm

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  30. 21
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    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Edward Furlong, Linda Hamilton

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  31. 20
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    Arthur C. Clarke, Leonard Rossiter, Ed Bishop

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  32. 19
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    Tom Cruise, Meg Ryan, Val Kilmer

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  33. 18
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    Jamie Lee Curtis, Kyle Richards, Donald Pleasence Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial

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  34. 17
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    Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe, Julianne Hough

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  35. 16
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  36. 15
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  37. 14
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    Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger, Michael Keaton Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial

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  38. 13
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    Tom Cruise, Jon Voight, Vanessa Redgrave

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  39. 12
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    Peter Sellers, Claudia Cardinale, David Niven

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  40. 11
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    Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve

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  41. 10
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    Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall

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  42. 9
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    Clint Eastwood, Viggo Mortensen, Mark Strong

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  43. 8
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    Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson

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  44. 7
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    Samuel L. Jackson, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough

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  45. 6
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    Bill Murray, Sigourney Weaver, Dan Aykroyd

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  46. 5
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    Steven Spielberg, Richard Dreyfuss, Roy Scheider

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  47. 4
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    Sylvester Stallone, Joe Frazier, Burgess Meredith

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  48. 3
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    Kalabhavan Mani, Indrans Surendran, Raghu

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  49. 2
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    Harrison Ford, Alfred Molina, Karen Allen

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  50. 1
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    the people's #1 & most listed
    Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill

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