The Greatest Movie Themes Films
0Ultimate List
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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.
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  2. 9
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    ) open
  3. 53
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  4. 10
    + 81
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  5. 68
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    ) open
  6. 21
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  7. 37
    + 18
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    ) open
  8. 58
    + 2
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    Keira Knightley, Clive Owen, Stellan Skarsgård

    ) open
  9. 57
    + 2
    - 7

    Halle Berry, Hugh Jackman, Anna Paquin

    ) open
  10. 48
    + 18
    - 17

    Kirsten Dunst, Elizabeth Banks, James Franco

    ) open
  11. 7
    + 83
    - 28

    Samuel L. Jackson, Jeff Goldblum, Laura Dern

    ) open
  12. 19
    + 61
    - 23

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

    ) open
  13. 45
    + 16
    - 12

    Robert De Niro, Sean Connery, Kevin Costner

    ) open
  14. 5
    + 78
    - 30

    Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve

    ) open
  15. 72
    + 2
    - 2

    added by dee123 Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers

    ) open
  16. 47
    + 19
    - 19

    Alec Baldwin, Sean Connery, Jeffrey Jones

    ) open
  17. 78
    + 2
    - 6

    added by WarrenMitchell Jamie Lee Curtis, Jeff Goldblum, Ellen Barkin

    ) open
  18. 35
    + 24
    - 15

    Will Smith, Sylvester Stallone, Steven Spielberg

    ) open
  19. 8
    + 77
    - 21

    Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall

    ) open
  20. 49
    + 19
    - 11

    Morgan Freeman, Rita Hayworth, Tim Robbins

    ) open
  21. 23
    + 35
    - 21

    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Bill Paxton

    ) open
  22. 1
    + 130
    - 18

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

    ) open
  23. 69
    + 2
    - 1

    added by Richard777 David Greenan, Myrna Matthews, Dirk Benedict

    ) open
  24. 27
    + 25
    - 22

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Harrison Ford, Daryl Hannah, Sean Young

    ) open
  25. 14
    + 59
    - 15

    Bill Murray, Sigourney Weaver, Dan Aykroyd

    ) open
  26. 42
    + 25
    - 22

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, James Cameron

    ) open
  27. 18
    + 50
    - 26

    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Edward Furlong, Linda Hamilton

    ) open
  28. 40
    + 22
    - 13

    Steve McQueen, James Coburn, Charles Bronson

    ) open
  29. 61
    + 7
    - 4

    Michael Caine, Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson

    ) open
  30. 44
    + 22
    - 17

    Tom Cruise, Meg Ryan, Val Kilmer

    ) open
  31. 30
    + 34
    - 23

    Emmy Rossum, Gerard Butler, Minnie Driver

    ) open
  32. 51
    + 11
    - 11

    Liam Neeson, Helen Mirren, Patrick Stewart

    ) open
  33. 16
    + 48
    - 14

    Jamie Lee Curtis, Kyle Richards, Donald Pleasence

    ) open
  34. 50
    + 12
    - 12

    Jamie Lee Curtis, Kurt Russell, Ernest Borgnine

    ) open
  35. 70
    + 3
    - 3

    added by RonnCunningham Kirk Douglas, Gus Mercurio, Jack Thompson

    ) open
  36. 76
    + 1
    - 2

    added by Richard777 Kirk Douglas, Daryl Hannah, Jim Belushi

    ) open
  37. 20
    + 37
    - 24

    Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Richard Harris

    ) open
  38. 34
    + 28
    - 11

    Alfred Hitchcock, Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh

    ) open
  39. 54
    + 17
    - 15

    Frank Welker, Bridgette Wilson, Talisa Soto

    ) open
  40. 71
    + 2
    - 2

    added by dee123 Drew Barrymore, Rose McGowan, Courteney Cox

    ) open
  41. 2
    + 115
    - 16

    most listed Harrison Ford, Alfred Molina, Frank Welker

    ) open
  42. 59
    + 8
    - 19

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

    ) open
  43. 32
    + 21
    - 11

    Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Sergio Leone

    ) open
  44. 4
    + 81
    - 12

    Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, Lee Van Cleef

    ) open
  45. 64
    + 1
    - 2

    Jennifer Garner, Ben Affleck, Colin Farrell

    ) open
  46. 65
    + 6
    - 2

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

    ) open
  47. 13
    + 53
    - 17

    Peter Sellers, Claudia Cardinale, David Niven

    ) open
  48. 15
    + 38
    - 20

    often listed Drew Barrymore, Erika Eleniak, Robert MacNaughton

    ) open
  49. 52
    + 7
    - 3

    Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Graham Greene

    ) open
  50. 46
    + 14
    - 9

    Sylvester Stallone, David Caruso, Brian Dennehy

    ) open
79 +

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