The Greatest Movie Themes Films
0Ultimate List
originally by  tags 3,949 votes 292 voters 11,191 views 193 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. 50
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    James Whitmore, Paul McCrane, Bob Gunton

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  2. 49
    + 19
    - 15

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  3. 48
    + 15
    - 21

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  4. 47
    + 17
    - 13

    Kevin Costner, Patricia Clarkson, John Barrowman

    ) open buy at  
  5. 46
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    - 11

    Helen Mirren, Bríd Brennan, Ciarán Hinds

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  6. 45
    + 15
    - 9

    David Caruso, Brian Dennehy, Alf Humphreys

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  7. 44
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    - 18

    Jim Norton, Stanley Anderson, Kirsten Dunst

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  8. 43
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    - 21

    Paul McCrane, Leeza Gibbons, Ray Wise

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  9. 42
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    - 22

    Jorge Sanz, Max von Sydow, Ben Davidson

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  10. 41
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    - 24

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  11. 40
    + 23
    - 13

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  12. 39
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    - 17

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  13. 38
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    John Hurt, Ian Holm, Tom Skerritt

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  14. 37
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  15. 36
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    Klaus Kinski, Clint Eastwood, Peter Lee Lawrence

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  16. 35
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    Kevin Costner, Christian Slater, Geraldine McEwan

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  17. 34
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  18. 33
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  19. 32
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  20. 31
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    Brian Cox, Ian Bannen, Brendan Gleeson

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  21. 30
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  22. 29
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  23. 28
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  24. 27
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  25. 26
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
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  26. 25
    + 44
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  27. 24
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  28. 23
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  29. 22
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    Michael Sheen, Al Hunter Ashton, Russell Crowe

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  30. 21
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    John Gielgud, Ian Holm, Brad Davis

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  31. 20
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  32. 19
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    Erika Eleniak, Peter Coyote, Mitch Suskin

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  33. 18
    + 39
    - 15

    Steve McQueen, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn

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  34. 17
    + 54
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    Sandy Johnson, Jamie Lee Curtis, P. J. Soles

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  35. 16
    + 55
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    Edward Furlong, S. Epatha Merkerson, Diane Rodriguez

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  36. 15
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    Emmanuelle Béart, Kristin Scott Thomas, Henry Czerny

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  37. 14
    + 54
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    Keir Dullea, Margaret Tyzack, Leonard Rossiter

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  38. 13
    + 63
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  39. 12
    + 66
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    Harold Ramis, Larry King, David Margulies

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  40. 11
    + 73
    - 29

    Kim Basinger, Michael Keaton, Billy Dee Williams

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  41. 10
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    - 27

    Billy Zane, Lea Thompson, Charles L. Campbell

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  42. 9
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    - 17

    John Searle, Steven Spielberg, Carl Gottlieb

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  43. 8
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    - 24

    Robert Duvall, Sofia Coppola, Diane Keaton

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  44. 7
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    Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Kiley

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  45. 6
    + 85
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    Jackie Cooper, Trevor Howard, Terence Stamp

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  46. 5
    + 103
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  47. 4
    + 95
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  48. 3
    + 137
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  49. 2
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  50. 1
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    the people's #1
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