VOTE The Best Oscar-Winning Scores  

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8.2k votes 534 voters 32.1k views 125 items

List Rules Vote up the best film scores that have won an Oscar for Best Score

What is best Oscar-winning musical film score? This list includes every film score that has won an Academy Award. Oscar-winning scores have come from films such as “Chariots of Fire,” “Breakfast at Tiffany’s," “The Sound of Music,” and “The Lion King.” The award for Best Score was first awarded in 1934 at the 7th Academy Awards.

Movies have the ability to make us feel. They make us want to believe, be inspired, and live vicariously through the stories we see on screen. The best of these movies are bestowed with an Academy Award nomination, and those that are truly the best take home the Oscar.

Film scores have the ability to enhance these feelings in films. They often make the movie more emotional, intense, suspenseful, or gut-wrenching. The score tells us, as viewers, what to feel and when to feel it. These best Oscar-winning film scores have done this the best. They are moving, saddening, or comical. Vote up the best Academy Award-winning scores below - based on the quality of the score, not just the quality of the film.
list ordered by

148 62
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Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill John Williams Star Wars is a 1977 American epic space opera film written and directed by George Lucas. The first release in the Star Wars franchise, it stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter ...more

149 66
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Cate Blanchett, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler Howard Shore The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is a 2001 epic fantasy film directed by Peter Jackson based on the first volume of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. It is the first ...more

155 71
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Whoopi Goldberg, Jeremy Irons, Matthew Broderick Hans Zimmer The Lion King is a 1994 American animated musical epic film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It is the 32nd animated feature in the Walt Disney ...more

188 95
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Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Kathy Bates James Horner Titanic is a 1997 American epic romantic disaster drama film directed, written, co-produced, and co-edited by James Cameron. A fictionalized account of what happened to the RMS Titanic, it stars ...more

106 50
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Steven Spielberg, Richard Dreyfuss, Roy Scheider John Williams Jaws is a 1975 American thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg and based on Peter Benchley's novel of the same name. The prototypical summer blockbuster, its release is regarded as a ...more

115 58
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Judy Garland, Margaret Hamilton, Frank Morgan Herbert Stothart The Wizard of Oz is a 1939 American musical fantasy film produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and the most well-known and commercially successful adaptation based on the 1900 novel The Wonderful ...more

96 45
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Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall Nino Rota, Carmine Coppola The Godfather Part II is a 1974 American epic crime film produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola from a screenplay co-written with Mario Puzo, starring Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. ...more

106 53
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Cate Blanchett, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler Howard Shore The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is a 2003 epic fantasy drama film directed by Peter Jackson based on the second and third volumes of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. It is ...more

104 52
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Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Eleanor Parker Irwin Kostal The Sound of Music is a 1965 American musical drama film produced and directed by Robert Wise and starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. The film is an adaptation of the 1959 Broadway ...more

95 46
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Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley John Williams Schindler's List is a 1993 American epic historical period drama, directed and co-produced by Steven Spielberg and scripted by Steven Zaillian. It is based on the novel Schindler's Ark by Thomas ...more

83 38
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Angela Lansbury, Frank Welker, Jerry Orbach Alan Menken Beauty and the Beast is a 1991 American animated musical romantic fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. The 30th film in the Walt Disney ...more

92 48
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Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, Elsa Lanchester Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman Mary Poppins is a 1964 American musical fantasy film directed by Robert Stevenson and produced by Walt Disney, with songs written and composed by the Sherman Brothers. The screenplay is by Bill ...more

76 36
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Natalie Wood, Rita Moreno, John Astin Saul Chaplin, Johnny Green, Sid Ramin, Irwin Kostal West Side Story is a 1961 American romantic musical drama film directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins. The film is an adaptation of the 1957 Broadway musical of the same name, which in turn ...more

87 46
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Jodi Benson, Christopher Daniel Barnes, Pat Carroll Alan Menken The Little Mermaid is a 1989 American animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Based on the Danish fairy tale by Hans ...more

81 49
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Audrey Hepburn, Mickey Rooney, Mel Blanc Henry Mancini Breakfast at Tiffany's is a 1961 American romantic comedy film starring Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard, and featuring Patricia Neal, Buddy Ebsen, Martin Balsam, and Mickey Rooney. The film ...more

76 45
Up is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Scores
Christopher Plummer, Ed Asner, Laraine Newman Michael Giacchino Up is a 2009 American 3D computer-animated adventure comedy-drama film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Directed by Pete Docter, the film centers on an ...more

71 45
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Stephen Fry, Kenneth Branagh, Ian Holm Vangelis Chariots of Fire is a 1981 British historical drama film. It tells the fact-based story of two athletes in the 1924 Olympics: Eric Liddell, a devout Scottish Christian who runs for the glory of ...more

63 43
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Drew Barrymore, Erika Eleniak, Debra Winger John Williams E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is a 1982 American science fiction-family film co-produced and directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Melissa Mathison, featuring special effects by Carlo ...more

54 37
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Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Robert Shaw Marvin Hamlisch The Sting is a 1973 American caper film set in September 1936, involving a complicated plot by two professional grifters to con a mob boss. The film was directed by George Roy Hill, who had ...more

58 41
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Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Charles Rocket John Barry Dances with Wolves is a 1990 American epic western film directed, produced by, and starring Kevin Costner. It is a film adaptation of the 1988 book of the same name by Michael Blake and tells ...more

56 41
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Omar Sharif, Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness Maurice Jarre Lawrence of Arabia is a 1962 British epic adventure drama film based on the life of T. E. Lawrence. It was directed by David Lean and produced by Sam Spiegel. The film stars Peter O'Toole in the ...more

53 39
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Omar Sharif, Julie Christie, Alec Guinness Maurice Jarre Doctor Zhivago is a British-American 1965 epic drama–romance film directed by David Lean, starring Omar Sharif and Julie Christie. It is set in Russia between the years prior to WWI, and is ...more

44 34
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Liza Minnelli, Michael York, Joel Grey Ralph Burns Cabaret is a 1972 musical film directed by Bob Fosse and starring Liza Minnelli, Michael York and Joel Grey. The film is set in Berlin during the Weimar Republic in 1931, under the ominous ...more

54 45
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Gérard Depardieu, Irrfan Khan, Tabu Mychael Danna Life of Pi is a 2012 adventure film written by David Magee and directed by Ang Lee.

40 31
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Grace Kelly, Gary Cooper, Lee Van Cleef Dimitri Tiomkin High Noon is a 1952 American Western film directed by Fred Zinnemann and starring Gary Cooper. In nearly real time, the film tells the story of a town marshal forced to face a gang of killers by ...more

47 39
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Paul Michael Glaser, Chaim Topol, Molly Picon John Williams Fiddler on the Roof is a 1971 American musical comedy-drama film produced and directed by Norman Jewison. It is an adaptation of the 1964 Broadway musical of the same name, with music composed ...more

39 31
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Alec Guinness, William Holden, Jack Hawkins Malcom Arnold The Bridge on the River Kwai is a 1957 WWII epic film directed by David Lean, based on the novel Le Pont de la Rivière Kwai by Pierre Boulle. The film is a work of fiction but borrows the ...more

48 41
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Deborah Kerr, Yul Brynner, Rita Moreno Alfred Newman, Ken Darby The King and I is a 1956 musical film made by 20th Century Fox, directed by Walter Lang and produced by Charles Brackett and Darryl F. Zanuck. The screenplay by Ernest Lehman is based on the ...more

45 38
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Mel Blanc, Cliff Edwards, Frankie Darro Leigh Harline, Paul J. Smith Pinocchio is a 1940 American animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Productions and based on the Italian children's novel The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi. It was the ...more

42 35
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Mel Gibson, Christian Bale, Billy Connolly Alan Menken Pocahontas is a 1995 American animated musical romantic-drama film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It is the 33rd film in the Walt Disney Animated ...more

41 34
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Sterling Holloway, Cliff Edwards, Verna Felton Frank Churchill, Oliver Wallace Dumbo is an American animated film produced by Walt Disney Productions and premiered on October 23, 1941, by RKO Radio Pictures. Sound was recorded conventionally using the RCA System. One voice ...more

41 34
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Zhang Ziyi, Michelle Yeoh, Chow Yun-Fat Tan Dun Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is a 2000 wuxia film. An American-Chinese-Hong Kong-Taiwanese co-production, the film was directed by Ang Lee and featured an international cast of Han actors, ...more

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Anne Hathaway, Jake Gyllenhaal, Kate Mara Gustavo Santaolalla Brokeback Mountain is a 2005 American epic romantic drama film directed by Ang Lee. It is a film adaptation of the 1997 short story of the same name by Annie Proulx; the screenplay was written ...more

33 27
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Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins, Hugh Griffith Miklos Rozsa Ben-Hur is a 1959 American epic historical drama film, directed by William Wyler, produced by Sam Zimbalist for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and starring Charlton Heston, Stephen Boyd, Jack Hawkins, Hugh ...more

37 32
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Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Cloris Leachman Burt Bacharach Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is a 1969 American Western film directed by George Roy Hill and written by William Goldman. Based loosely on fact, the film tells the story of Wild West ...more

33 28
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Paul Newman, Eva Marie Saint, Lee J. Cobb Ernest Gold Exodus is a 1960 epic film made by Alpha and Carlyle Productions and distributed by United Artists. Produced and directed by Otto Preminger, the film was based on the 1958 novel Exodus, by Leon ...more

31 27
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Anthony Hopkins, Katharine Hepburn, Peter O'Toole John Barry The Lion in Winter is a 1968 historical drama film made by Avco Embassy Pictures, based on the Broadway play by James Goldman. It was directed by Anthony Harvey and produced by Joseph E. Levine ...more

34 33
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Shirley Jones, Rod Steiger, Eddie Albert Robert Russell Bennett, Jay Blackton, Adolph Deutsch Oklahoma! is a 1955 musical film based on the 1943 stage musical Oklahoma!, written by composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist/librettist Oscar Hammerstein II and starring Gordon MacRae, Shirley ...more

30 29
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Gary Busey, Buddy Miles, Paul Mooney Joe Renzetti The Buddy Holly Story is a 1978 biographical film which tells the life story of rock musician Buddy Holly. It features an Academy Award-winning musical score, adapted by Joe Renzetti and ...more

34 34
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Meryl Streep, Robert Redford, Iman Abdulmajid John Barry Out of Africa is a 1985 American epic romantic drama film directed and produced by Sydney Pollack and starring Robert Redford and Meryl Streep. The film is based loosely on the autobiographical ...more

32 32
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Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison, Jeremy Brett Andre Previn My Fair Lady is a 1964 American musical film adaptation of the Lerner and Loewe stage musical of the same name based on the 1938 film adaptation of the original 1913 stage play Pygmalion by ...more

37 39
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Tommy Lee Jones, Ray Milland, Ryan O'Neal Francis Lai Love Story is a 1970 romantic drama film written by Erich Segal, who also authored the best-selling novel of the same name. It was directed by Arthur Hiller and starred Ryan O'Neal, Ali MacGraw, ...more

31 34
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Olivia de Havilland, Errol Flynn, Claude Rains Erich Wolfgang Korngold The Adventures of Robin Hood is a 1938 American swashbuckler film directed by Michael Curtiz and William Keighley, and starring Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone, and Claude ...more

27 29
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Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron, Nina Foch Johnny Green, Saul Chaplin An American in Paris is a 1951 American musical film inspired by the 1928 orchestral composition by George Gershwin. Starring Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron, Oscar Levant, Georges Guétary, and ...more

27 29
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Peter O'Toole, Joan Chen, Vivian Wu Ryuichi Sakamoto, David Byrne, Cong Su The Last Emperor is a 1987 biographical film about the life of Puyi, the last Emperor of China, whose autobiography was the basis for the screenplay written by Mark Peploe and Bernardo ...more

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Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner Jerry Goldsmith The Omen is a 1976 British/American supernatural horror film directed by Richard Donner. The film stars Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner, Harvey Spencer Stephens, Billie Whitelaw, Patrick ...more

17 17
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Bill Murray, Jude Law, Willem Dafoe Alexandre Desplat The Grand Budapest Hotel is a 2014 comedy film directed by Wes Anderson. The screenplay by Anderson is from a story by Anderson and Hugo Guinness, inspired by the writings of Stefan Zweig. It ...more

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Ron Howard, Shirley Jones, Buddy Hackett Ray Heindorf The Music Man is a 1962 musical film starring Robert Preston as Harold Hill and Shirley Jones as Marian Paroo. The film is based on the 1957 Broadway musical of the same name by Meredith ...more

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Barbra Streisand, Robert Redford, James Woods Marvin Hamlisch The Way We Were is a 1973 American romantic drama film, starring Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford, and directed by Sydney Pollack. The screenplay by Arthur Laurents was based on his college ...more

32 37
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Geoffrey Keen, Bill Travers, Virginia McKenna John Barry Born Free is a 1966 Technicolor British drama film starring Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers as Joy and George Adamson, a real-life couple who raised Elsa the Lioness, an orphaned lion cub, to ...more