Entertainment
10.6k voters

The Greatest Movie Themes

Updated March 22, 2021 71.8k votes 10.6k voters 284.3k views306 items

List RulesVote up your favorite theme music for these 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
    1,244
    784

    The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

    Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach

    Released1966

    Directed bySergio Leone

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  • 2
    2,761
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    Star Wars

    Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher

    Released1977

    Directed byGeorge Lucas

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  • 3
    143
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    The Lion King

    Whoopi Goldberg, Jeremy Irons

    Released1994

    Directed byRob Minkoff, Roger Allers

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  • 4
    963
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    Mission: Impossible

    Tom Cruise, Jon Voight

    Released1996

    Directed byBrian De Palma

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  • 5
    958
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    The Godfather

    Al Pacino, Marlon Brando

    Released1972

    Directed byFrancis Ford Coppola

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  • 6
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    Back to the Future

    Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd

    Released1985

    Directed byRobert Zemeckis

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  • 7
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    Ghostbusters

    Bill Murray, Sigourney Weaver

    Released1984

    Directed byIvan Reitman

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  • 8
    1,428
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    James Bond Franchise

    Daniel Craig, Pierce Brosnan

    Released1962 - Present

    Directed byTerence Young, Guy Hamilton, Lewis Gilbert, Sam Mendes, Peter R. Hunt

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  • 9
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    The Pink Panther

    Peter Sellers, Claudia Cardinale

    Released1963

    Directed byBlake Edwards

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  • 10
    585
    225

    Pirates of the Caribbean

    Johnny Depp, Keira Knightley

    Released2003

    Directed byGore Verbinski

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  • 11
    231
    113

    Singin' in the Rain

    Debbie Reynolds, Gene Kelly

    Released1952

    Directed byStanley Donen, Gene Kelly

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  • 12
    918
    487

    Harry Potter

    Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe

    Released2001

    Directed byChris Columbus

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    #6 of 65 The Best Adventure Movies for Kids#69 of 197 The Best Adventure Movies

  • 13
    1,640
    1,036

    Released1981

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

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  • 14
    175
    92

    Pinocchio

    Mel Blanc, Cliff Edwards

    Released1940

    Directed byWilfred Jackson, T. Hee, Bill Roberts, Hamilton Luske, Ben Sharpsteen

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  • 15
    467
    283

    The Sound of Music

    Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer

    Released1965

    Directed byRobert Wise

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  • 16
    583
    414

    Chariots of Fire

    Stephen Fry, Kenneth Branagh

    Released1981

    Directed byHugh Hudson

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  • 17
    891
    513

    Superman

    Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman

    Released1978

    Directed byRichard Donner

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  • 18
    1,499
    1,177

    Rocky

    Sylvester Stallone, Joe Frazier

    Released1976

    Directed byJohn G. Avildsen

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  • 19
    1,540
    992

    Jurassic Park

    Samuel L. Jackson, Jeff Goldblum

    Released1993

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

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  • 20
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    Titanic

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet

    Released1997

    Directed byJames Cameron

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  • 21
    473
    194

    The Lord of the Rings

    Cate Blanchett, Ian McKellen

    Released2001

    Directed byPeter Jackson

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  • 22
    121
    31

    The Little Mermaid

    Jodi Benson, Christopher Daniel Barnes

    Released1989

    Directed byRon Clements, John Musker

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  • 23
    1,087
    702

    Jaws

    Steven Spielberg, Richard Dreyfuss

    Released1975

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

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  • 24
    185
    119

    Lawrence of Arabia

    Omar Sharif, Peter O'Toole

    Released1962

    Directed byDavid Lean

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  • 25
    232
    157

    Schindler's List

    Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes

    Released1993

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

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