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The Best Oscar-Winning Scores

Updated April 27, 2021 7.6k votes 702 voters 36.8k views101 items

List RulesVote 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.
  • 1

    Star Wars

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

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  • 2

    The Lion King

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

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  • 3


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

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  • 4

    The Wizard of Oz

    Judy Garland, Margaret Hamilton
    Herbert Stothart
    The Wizard of Oz is a 1939 American musical fantasy film produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and...  more

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  • 5


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

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  • 6
    Howard Shore
    The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is a 2001 epic fantasy film directed by...  more

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  • 7

    Schindler's List

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

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  • 8

    Beauty and the Beast

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

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  • 9

    West Side Story

    Natalie Wood, Rita Moreno

    Saul Chaplin, Johnny Green, Sid Ramin, Irwin Kostal

    Scoring of a Musical Picture

    West Side Story is a 1961 American romantic musical drama film directed by Robert Wise and...  more

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  • 10
    Howard Shore
    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is a 2003 epic fantasy drama film directed by...  more

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  • 11

    Mary Poppins

    Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke
    Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman
    Mary Poppins is a 1964 American musical fantasy film directed by Robert Stevenson and produced...  more

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  • 12

    The Little Mermaid

    Jodi Benson, Christopher Daniel Barnes
    Alan Menken
    The Little Mermaid is a 1989 American animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney...  more

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  • 13


    Christopher Plummer, Ed Asner
    Michael Giacchino
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  • 14

    Sunset Boulevard

    William Holden, Buster Keaton

    Franz Waxman

    Music Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture

    Sunset Boulevard—stylized onscreen as SUNSET BLVD.—is a 1950 American film noir directed and...  more

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  • 15

    Breakfast at Tiffany's

    Audrey Hepburn, Mickey Rooney

    Henry Mancini

    Music Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture

    Breakfast at Tiffany's is a 1961 American romantic comedy film starring Audrey Hepburn and...  more

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  • 16

    The High and the Mighty

    John Wayne, Robert Stack

    Dimitri Tiomkin

    Music Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture

    The High and the Mighty is a 1954 American "disaster" film directed by William A. Wellman and...  more
  • 17

    The King and I

    Deborah Kerr, Yul Brynner

    Alfred Newman, Ken Darby

    Scoring of a Musical Picture

    The King and I is a 1956 musical film made by 20th Century Fox, directed by Walter Lang and...  more

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  • 18

    Dances with Wolves

    Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell
    John Barry
    Dances with Wolves is a 1990 American epic western film directed, produced by, and starring...  more

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  • 19


    Shirley Jones, Rod Steiger

    Robert Russell Bennett, Jay Blackton, Adolph Deutsch

    Scoring of a Musical Picture

    Oklahoma! is a 1955 musical film based on the 1943 stage musical Oklahoma!, written by...  more

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  • 20


    Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins

    Miklos Rozsa

    Music Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture

    Ben-Hur is a 1959 American epic historical drama film, directed by William Wyler, produced by...  more

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  • 21

    Doctor Zhivago

    Omar Sharif, Julie Christie
    Maurice Jarre
    Doctor Zhivago is a British-American 1965 epic drama–romance film directed by David Lean,...  more

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  • 22


    Sterling Holloway, Cliff Edwards

    Frank Churchill, Oliver Wallace

    Scoring of a Musical Picture

    Dumbo is an American animated film produced by Walt Disney Productions and premiered on...  more

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  • 23

    The Bridge on the River Kwai

    Alec Guinness, William Holden
    Malcom Arnold
    The Bridge on the River Kwai is a 1957 WWII epic film directed by David Lean, based on the...  more

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  • 24


    Mel Blanc, Cliff Edwards
    Leigh Harline, Paul J. Smith
    Pinocchio is a 1940 American animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Productions...  more

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  • 25

    Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

    Paul Newman, Robert Redford
    Burt Bacharach
    Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is a 1969 American Western film directed by George Roy Hill...  more

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