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The Best Oscar-Winning Scores 

Ranker Film
Updated February 10, 2020 9.9k votes 658 voters 35.9k views 127 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.
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1
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Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Kathy Bates

Released: 1997

Directed by: James Cameron

James Horner Titanic is a 1997 American epic romance and disaster film directed by James Cameron. A seventeen-year-old aristocrat (Kate Winslet) falls in love with a kind but poor artist (Leonardo DiCaprio) ...more

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#39 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies Weird But True Behind-The-Scenes Stories From The Set Of 'Titanic'listed on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill

Released: 1977

Directed by: George Lucas

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

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#6 of 190 The Best Alien Movies Ever Made The Most Hated Star Wars Villainslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

3
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Whoopi Goldberg, Jeremy Irons, Matthew Broderick

Released: 1994

Directed by: Rob Minkoff, Roger Allers

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

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#30 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies 'The Lion King' Fan Theories That Just Might Be Truelisted on The Highest Grossing 90s Movies

4
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Cate Blanchett, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler

Released: 2001

Directed by: Peter Jackson

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

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#49 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #24 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guyslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

5
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Steven Spielberg, Richard Dreyfuss, Roy Scheider

Released: 1975

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

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

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#47 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies Behind The Scenes Of Every Death In ‘Jaws’listed on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

6
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Judy Garland, Margaret Hamilton, Frank Morgan

Released: 1939

Directed by: Mervyn LeRoy, Norman Taurog, King Vidor, George Cukor, Victor Fleming

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

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#25 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies Strange Things You Definitely Didn't Know About 'The Wizard of Oz'listed on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

7
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Cate Blanchett, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler

Released: 2003

Directed by: Peter Jackson

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

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#39 of 363 The Best Movies Based On Books #23 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guyslisted on Movies That Won Best Picture at the Oscars and Golden Globes

8
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Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Eleanor Parker

Released: 1965

Directed by: Robert Wise

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

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#143 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies Every Song in The Sound of Music, Ranked by Singabilitylisted on Movies That Won Best Picture at the Oscars and Golden Globes

9
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Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley

Released: 1993

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

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

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#3 of 363 The Best Movies Based On Books #508 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

10
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Angela Lansbury, Frank Welker, Jerry Orbach

Released: 1991

Directed by: Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise

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

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#93 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #36 of 449 The Best Duos of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

11
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Jodi Benson, Christopher Daniel Barnes, Pat Carroll

Released: 1989

Directed by: Ron Clements, John Musker

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

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#183 of 363 The Best Movies Based On Books #18 of 598 The Best Animated Films Everlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

12
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Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, Elsa Lanchester

Released: 1964

Directed by: Robert Stevenson

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

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#51 of 363 The Best Movies Based On Books Behind The Scenes, The Making Of 'Mary Poppins' Was Not As Magical As You'd Thinklisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

13
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Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall

Released: 1974

Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola

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

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#18 of 363 The Best Movies Based On Books #32 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guyslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

14
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Natalie Wood, Rita Moreno, John Astin

Released: 1961

Directed by: Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise

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

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#303 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies The Behind-The-Scenes Of 'West Side Story' Was Plagued With More Hatred Than The Movie Itselflisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

15
Up is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Scores
Christopher Plummer, Ed Asner, Laraine Newman

Released: 2009

Directed by: Pete Docter

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

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#5 of 598 The Best Animated Films Ever The Most Adventurous Quotes From Disney and Pixar's 'Up'listed on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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Audrey Hepburn, Mickey Rooney, Mel Blanc

Released: 1961

Directed by: Blake Edwards

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

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#455 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #43 of 803 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

17
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Stephen Fry, Kenneth Branagh, Ian Holm

Released: 1981

Directed by: Hugh Hudson

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

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#21 of 581 The Greatest Film Scores of All Time #136 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Starslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

18
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Drew Barrymore, Erika Eleniak, Debra Winger

Released: 1982

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

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

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#41 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies The Dark Story Behind The Cancelled Sequel To E.T. The Extra-Terrestriallisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Charles Rocket

Released: 1990

Directed by: Kevin Costner

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

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#18 of 394 The Best Western Movies Ever Made #247 of 363 The Best Movies Based On Bookslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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Omar Sharif, Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness

Released: 1962

Directed by: David Lean

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

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#14 of 374 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #802 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

21
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Deborah Kerr, Yul Brynner, Rita Moreno

Released: 1956

Directed by: Walter Lang

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

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#12 of 373 The Best Musical Movies of All Time #32 of 213 Musical Movies With the Best Songslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

22
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Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Robert Shaw

Released: 1973

Directed by: George Roy Hill

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

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#393 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #288 of 1,199 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

23
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Paul Michael Glaser, Chaim Topol, Molly Picon

Released: 1971

Directed by: Norman Jewison

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

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#12 of 373 The Best Musical Movies of All Time Every Song in Fiddler on the Roof, Ranked by Singabilitylisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

24
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Omar Sharif, Julie Christie, Alec Guinness

Released: 1965

Directed by: David Lean

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

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#76 of 374 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #79 of 363 The Best Movies Based On Bookslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

25
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Mel Gibson, Christian Bale, Billy Connolly

Released: 1995

Directed by: Eric Goldberg, Mike Gabriel

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

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#58 of 598 The Best Animated Films Ever #88 of 373 The Best Musical Movies of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever