Sponsored
23.7k voters

The Greatest Film Scores of All Time

Updated January 8, 2020 216.9k votes 23.7k voters 534.6k 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?
 
Photo:
...more
  • Forrest Gump1
    3,896
    1,681

    Forrest Gump

    Tom Hanks, Sally Field

    Released1994

    Directed byRobert Zemeckis

    Forrest Gump is a 1994 American epic romantic-comedy-drama film based on the 1986 novel of the...  more
    Amazon buy button

    More Forrest Gump 

    16 Extremely Messed Up Things About Forrest Gump That'll Change How You See It#27 of 1,189 Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

  • Jurassic Park2
    3,241
    2,007

    Jurassic Park

    Samuel L. Jackson, Jeff Goldblum

    Released1993

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

    Jurassic Park is a 1993 American science fiction adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg....  more
    Amazon buy button

    More Jurassic Park 

    20 Things You Didn't Know About the Jurassic Park Franchise#14 of 14 Movies That Threw Book Endings Out The Window Completely

  • The Good, The Bad & The Ugly3
    2,773
    2,107

    The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

    Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach

    Released1966

    Directed bySergio Leone

    The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is a 1966 Italian epic Spaghetti Western film directed by...  more
    Amazon buy button

    More The Good, the Bad and the Ugly 

    #10 of 28 Civil War Movies List#51 of 103 The Very Best Movie Franchises

  • The Lion King4
    2,560
    1,586

    The Lion King

    Whoopi Goldberg, Jeremy Irons

    Released1994

    Directed byRob Minkoff, Roger Allers

    The Lion King is a 1994 American animated musical epic film produced by Walt Disney Feature...  more
    Amazon buy button

    More The Lion King 

    'The Lion King' Fan Theories That Just Might Be True#1 of 9 The Best Soundtracks and Scores by Elton John

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey5
    1,099
    663

    2001: A Space Odyssey

    Arthur C. Clarke, Leonard Rossiter

    Released1968

    Directed byStanley Kubrick

    2001: A Space Odyssey is a 1968 epic science fiction film produced and directed by Stanley...  more
    Amazon buy button

    More 2001: A Space Odyssey 

    #87 of 230 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time#33 of 178 The Best Dystopian And Near Future Movies

  • Braveheart6
    1,668
    1,089

    Braveheart

    Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau

    Released1995

    Directed byMel Gibson

    Braveheart is a 1995 epic historical medieval war drama film directed by and starring Mel...  more
    Amazon buy button

    More Braveheart 

    #10 of 275 The Best Movies Based On True Stories#23 of 340 The Best Political Films Ever Made

  • E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial7
    1,540
    1,067

    E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

    Drew Barrymore, Erika Eleniak

    Released1982

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

    E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is a 1982 American science fiction-family film co-produced and...  more
    Amazon buy button

    More E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial 

    The Dark Story Behind The Canceled Sequel To 'E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial'#35 of 522 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked

  • Gladiator8
    2,162
    1,323

    Gladiator

    Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix

    Released2000

    Directed byRidley Scott

    Gladiator is a 2000 American-British epic historical drama film directed by Ridley Scott,...  more
    Amazon buy button

    More Gladiator 

    Gladiator Might Be One of The Most Historically Inaccurate Movies Ever#37 of 46 Movies That Won Best Picture at the Oscars and Golden Globes

  • Rocky9
    2,064
    1,513

    Rocky

    Sylvester Stallone, Joe Frazier

    Released1976

    Directed byJohn G. Avildsen

    Rocky is a 1976 American sports drama film directed by John G. Avildsen. A small-time boxer...  more
    Amazon buy button

    More Rocky 

    #9 of 553 The Best '70s Movies#26 of 150 The Most Inspirational Sports Movies

  • Schindlers List10
    1,682
    1,177

    Schindlers List

    Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes

    Released1993

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

    Schindler's List is a 1993 American epic historical period drama, directed and co-produced by...  more
    Amazon buy button

    More Schindler's List 

    #3 of 221 The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time#1 of 170 The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made

  • The Last of the Mohicans11
    1,379
    754

    The Last of the Mohicans

    Daniel Day-Lewis, Madeleine Stowe

    Released1992

    Directed byMichael Mann

    Randy Eldermann
    The Last of the Mohicans is a 1992 historical epic film set in 1757 and produced by Morgan...  more
    Amazon buy button

    More The Last of the Mohicans 

    #31 of 399 The Best Western Movies Ever Made#94 of 126 The Greatest Date Movies Of All Time

  • Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark12
    3,234
    2,224

    Released1981

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

    Raiders of the Lost Ark is a 1981 American adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg. The...  more
    Amazon buy button

    More Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark 

    12 Stories That Prove The Making Of 'Raiders Of The Lost Ark' Was An Adventure Behind The Scenes Too#2 of 33 The Best Steven Spielberg Movies

  • Star Wars13
    5,216
    3,749

    Star Wars

    Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher

    Released1977

    Directed byGeorge Lucas

    Star Wars is a 1977 American epic space opera film written and directed by George Lucas. The...  more
    Amazon buy button

    More Star Wars 

    The Most Hated Star Wars Villains#2 of 167 The Best Science Fiction Action Movies

  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone14
    2,184
    1,541

    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

    Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe

    Released2001

    Directed byChris Columbus

    Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (released in the United States, India and Pakistan as...  more
    Amazon buy button

    More Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone 

    Subtle Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone Details Fans Noticed#11 of 84 Great Movies That Take Place in Autumn

  • The Dark Knight15
    2,109
    1,189

    The Dark Knight

    Christian Bale, Michael Caine

    Released2008

    Directed byChristopher Nolan

    The Dark Knight is a 2008 superhero film directed by Christopher Nolan, based on the DC Comics...  more
    Amazon buy button

    More The Dark Knight 

    Fan Theories About Heath Ledger's Joker#1 of 177 The Greatest Comic Book Movies Of All Time

  • Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl16
    2,364
    1,716

    Released2003

    Directed byGore Verbinski

    Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is a 2003 American fantasy swashbuckler...  more
    Amazon buy button

    More Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl 

    The Best Characters in the Pirates of the Caribbean Movies#682 of 922 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films

  • Chariots of Fire17
    908
    678

    Chariots of Fire

    Stephen Fry, Kenneth Branagh

    Released1981

    Directed byHugh Hudson

    Chariots of Fire is a 1981 British historical drama film. It tells the fact-based story of two...  more
    Amazon buy button

    More Chariots of Fire 

    #60 of 204 The Best Sports Movies Ever Made#20 of 91 The Best Movies With Christian Themes

  • Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back18
    2,064
    1,109

    Released1980

    Directed byIrvin Kershner

    The Empire Strikes Back is a 1980 American epic space opera film directed by Irvin Kershner....  more
    Amazon buy button

    More Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back 

    20 Subtle Details You Likely Missed When Watching 'Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back'#2 of 154 The Best Movie Sequels Ever Made

  • Titanic19
    1,715
    1,313

    Titanic

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet

    Released1997

    Directed byJames Cameron

    Titanic is a 1997 American epic romance and disaster film directed by James Cameron. A...  more
    Amazon buy button

    More Titanic 

    20 Small But Poignant Details From 'Titanic' That Make Us Never Want To Let Go#7 of 50 The 50 Highest Grossing '90s Movies, Ranked

  • The Sound of Music20
    765
    552

    The Sound of Music

    Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer

    Released1965

    Directed byRobert Wise

    The Sound of Music is a 1965 American musical drama film produced and directed by Robert Wise...  more
    Amazon buy button

    More The Sound of Music 

    12 Facts We Learned About 'The Sound of Music' That Just Became A Few Of Our Favorite Things#55 of 782 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made

  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade21
    1,413
    884

    Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

    Harrison Ford, Sean Connery

    Released1989

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

    Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is a 1989 American adventure film directed by Steven...  more
    Amazon buy button

    More Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade 

    The Best Characters in the Whole Indiana Jones Franchise, Ranked#11 of 541 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies

  • Jaws22
    2,244
    1,617

    Jaws

    Steven Spielberg, Richard Dreyfuss

    Released1975

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

    Jaws is a 1975 American thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg and based on Peter...  more
    Amazon buy button

    More Jaws 

    Behind The Scenes Of Every Death In ‘Jaws’#43 of 1,540 The Most Rewatchable Movies

  • The Godfather23
    2,505
    1,940

    The Godfather

    Al Pacino, Marlon Brando

    Released1972

    Directed byFrancis Ford Coppola

    The Godfather is a 1972 American crime film directed by Francis Ford Coppola, based on the...  more
    Amazon buy button

    More The Godfather 

    How 'The Godfather' Became An American Classic Even Though It Was 'Nightmarish' Behind The Scenes#4 of 369 The Best Movies Based On Books

  • Psycho24
    1,020
    829

    Psycho

    Alfred Hitchcock, Janet Leigh

    Released1960

    Directed byAlfred Hitchcock

    Psycho is a 1960 American horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The film centers on an...  more
    Amazon buy button

    More Psycho 

    #8 of 24 The Best Movies with Twist Endings#24 of 114 The Best Intelligent Horror Movies

  • Inception25
    2,482
    1,674

    Inception

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy

    Released2010

    Directed byChristopher Nolan

    Inception is a 2010 science fiction thriller film written, produced, and directed by...  more
    Amazon buy button

    More Inception 

    10 'Inception' Fan Theories That Left Us More Confused Than We Already Were#1 of 19 The Best Movies Coming to Netflix in February 2021