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The Greatest Movie Themes

Updated July 27, 2020 82.5k votes 10.5k voters 281.7k views382 items

List RulesTheme 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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    Released1994

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  • The Godfather3
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    Released1963

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  • Back to the Future7
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    Released1985

    Directed byRobert Zemeckis

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  • James Bond Franchise8
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    Daniel Craig, Pierce Brosnan

    Released1962 - Present

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  • Star Wars9
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    Star Wars

    Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher

    Released1977

    Directed byGeorge Lucas

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  • Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark10
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    Released1981

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

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    Vidal Parker-Caldera

    Released2015

    Directed byCal Evans

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    The Lion King

    Whoopi Goldberg, Jeremy Irons

    Released1994

    Directed byRob Minkoff, Roger Allers

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  • Singin' in the Rain13
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    Singin' in the Rain

    Debbie Reynolds, Gene Kelly

    Released1952

    Directed byStanley Donen, Gene Kelly

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  • Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl14

    Released2003

    Directed byGore Verbinski

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    Bill Murray, Sigourney Weaver

    Released1984

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  • Pinocchio16
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    Pinocchio

    Mel Blanc, Cliff Edwards

    Released1940

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  • Superman17
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    Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman

    Released1978

    Directed byRichard Donner

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  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone18
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    Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe

    Released2001

    Directed byChris Columbus

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  • The Sound of Music19
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    Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer

    Released1965

    Directed byRobert Wise

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  • Jurassic Park20
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    Released1993

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

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  • Rocky21
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    Sylvester Stallone, Joe Frazier

    Released1976

    Directed byJohn G. Avildsen

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  • Titanic22
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    Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet

    Released1997

    Directed byJames Cameron

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  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring23
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    Released2001

    Directed byPeter Jackson

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  • Jaws24
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    Jaws

    Steven Spielberg, Richard Dreyfuss

    Released1975

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

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  • The Little Mermaid25
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    The Little Mermaid

    Jodi Benson, Christopher Daniel Barnes

    Released1989

    Directed byRon Clements, John Musker

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