24.1k voters

The Greatest Film Scores of All Time

Updated January 8, 2020 214.9k votes 24.1k voters 535.9k views557 items

List Rules"Film score" refers to the instrumental background music that plays throughout the movie, not the soundtrack

This list contains greatest movie themes and scores ever recorded, chosen by the Ranker community. (NOTE: This list is for film SCORES, the instrumental music from movies. We also have a list of The Greatest Movie Soundtracks, designed for collections of songs taken from films.) These are the most iconic, memorable themes and collections of background music ever.

Film scores also include dialogue and special effects. This means you should rank the film scores on how important you think they were in delivering the atmosphere the film was trying to achieve?
  • 1

    Forrest Gump

    Tom Hanks, Sally Field
    Forrest Gump is a 1994 American epic romantic-comedy-drama film based on the 1986 novel of the...  more

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  • 2

    The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

    Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach
    The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is a 1966 Italian epic Spaghetti Western film directed by...  more

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  • 3

    Schindlers List

    Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes
    Schindler's List is a 1993 American epic historical period drama, directed and co-produced by...  more

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  • 4

    The Last of the Mohicans

    Daniel Day-Lewis, Madeleine Stowe
    Randy Eldermann
    The Last of the Mohicans is a 1992 historical epic film set in 1757 and produced by Morgan...  more

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  • 5


    Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix
    Gladiator is a 2000 American-British epic historical drama film directed by Ridley Scott,...  more

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  • 6

    The Lion King

    Whoopi Goldberg, Jeremy Irons
    The Lion King is a 1994 American animated musical epic film produced by Walt Disney Feature...  more

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  • 7


    Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau
    Braveheart is a 1995 epic historical medieval war drama film directed by and starring Mel...  more

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  • 8

    2001: A Space Odyssey

    Arthur C. Clarke, Leonard Rossiter
    2001: A Space Odyssey is a 1968 epic science fiction film produced and directed by Stanley...  more

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  • 9


    Sylvester Stallone, Joe Frazier
    Rocky is a 1976 American sports drama film directed by John G. Avildsen. A small-time boxer...  more

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  • 10

    E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

    Drew Barrymore, Erika Eleniak
    E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is a 1982 American science fiction-family film co-produced and...  more

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  • 11

    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

    Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe
    Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (released in the United States, India and Pakistan as...  more

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  • 12
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  • 13

    Star Wars

    Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher
    Star Wars is a 1977 American epic space opera film written and directed by George Lucas. The...  more

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  • 14

    Jurassic Park

    Samuel L. Jackson, Jeff Goldblum
    Jurassic Park is a 1993 American science fiction adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg....  more

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  • 15

    Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

    Harrison Ford, Sean Connery
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  • 16
    Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is a 2003 American fantasy swashbuckler...  more

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  • 17

    The Dark Knight

    Christian Bale, Michael Caine
    The Dark Knight is a 2008 superhero film directed by Christopher Nolan, based on the DC Comics...  more

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  • 18

    Chariots of Fire

    Stephen Fry, Kenneth Branagh
    Chariots of Fire is a 1981 British historical drama film. It tells the fact-based story of two...  more

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  • 19


    Steven Spielberg, Richard Dreyfuss
    Jaws is a 1975 American thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg and based on Peter...  more

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  • 20

    The Sound of Music

    Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer
    The Sound of Music is a 1965 American musical drama film produced and directed by Robert Wise...  more

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  • 21


    Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet
    Titanic is a 1997 American epic romance and disaster film directed by James Cameron. A...  more

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  • 22

    The Godfather

    Al Pacino, Marlon Brando
    The Godfather is a 1972 American crime film directed by Francis Ford Coppola, based on the...  more

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  • 23


    Alfred Hitchcock, Janet Leigh
    Psycho is a 1960 American horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The film centers on an...  more

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  • 24

    Beauty and the Beast

    Angela Lansbury, Frank Welker
    Beauty and the Beast is a 1991 American animated musical romantic fantasy film produced by...  more

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  • 25
    The Empire Strikes Back is a 1980 American epic space opera film directed by Irvin Kershner....  more

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