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The Greatest Movie Themes 

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Originally by Ranker Community
Updated February 18, 2020 82.7k votes 9.5k voters 275.8k views 395 items

List Rules 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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list ordered by
1
Star Wars is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Movie Themes
Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill

Released: 1977

Directed by: George Lucas

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2
Rocky is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Movie Themes
Sylvester Stallone, Joe Frazier, Burgess Meredith

Released: 1976

Directed by: John G. Avildsen

Rocky is a 1976 American sports drama film directed by John G. Avildsen. A small-time boxer (Sylvester Stallone) gets a supremely rare chance to fight a heavy-weight champion (Carl Weathers) in ...more

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3
Indiana Jones and the Ra... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Movie Themes
Harrison Ford, Alfred Molina, Karen Allen

Released: 1981

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

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4
James Bond Franchise is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Movie Themes
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5
Jurassic Park is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Movie Themes
Samuel L. Jackson, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough

Released: 1993

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

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6
The Good, the Bad and th... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Movie Themes
Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, Lee Van Cleef

Released: 1966

Directed by: Sergio Leone

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7
Jaws is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Movie Themes
Steven Spielberg, Richard Dreyfuss, Roy Scheider

Released: 1975

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

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8
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Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson

Released: 1985

Directed by: Robert Zemeckis

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9
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Peter Sellers, Claudia Cardinale, David Niven

Released: 1963

Directed by: Blake Edwards

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10
The Godfather is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Movie Themes
Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall

Released: 1972

Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola

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11
Forrest Gump is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Movie Themes
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Released: 1994

Directed by: Robert Zemeckis

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12
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Bill Murray, Sigourney Weaver, Dan Aykroyd

Released: 1984

Directed by: Ivan Reitman

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13
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Tom Cruise, Jon Voight, Vanessa Redgrave

Released: 1996

Directed by: Brian De Palma

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14
Chariots of Fire is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Movie Themes
Stephen Fry, Kenneth Branagh, Ian Holm

Released: 1981

Directed by: Hugh Hudson

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15
Titanic is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Movie Themes
Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Kathy Bates

Released: 1997

Directed by: James Cameron

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16
The Sound of Music is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Movie Themes
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Released: 1965

Directed by: Robert Wise

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17
Superman is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Movie Themes
Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve

Released: 1978

Directed by: Richard Donner

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18
Harry Potter and the Sor... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Movie Themes
Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe, Julianne Hough

Released: 2001

Directed by: Chris Columbus

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19
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Alfred Hitchcock, Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins

Released: 1960

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock

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20
Batman is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Movie Themes
Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger, Michael Keaton

Released: 1989

Directed by: Tim Burton

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21
The Magnificent Seven is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Movie Themes
Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn

Released: 1960

Directed by: John Sturges

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22
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Johnny Depp, Keira Knightley, Zoe Saldana

Released: 2003

Directed by: Gore Verbinski

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23
Saturday Night Fever is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Movie Themes
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Released: 1977

Directed by: John Badham

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24
E.T. the Extra-Terrestri... is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Movie Themes
Drew Barrymore, Erika Eleniak, Debra Winger

Released: 1982

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

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Released: 1952

Directed by: Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly

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