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The Best Oscar-Winning Scores 

Ranker Film
Updated July 27, 2020 10.2k votes 673 voters 36.2k 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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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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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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3
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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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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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5
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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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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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7
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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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8
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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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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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10
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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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#29 of 358 The Best Movies Based On Books #29 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guyslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

11
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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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Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, Elsa Lanchester

Released: 1964

Directed by: Robert Stevenson

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Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall

Released: 1974

Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola

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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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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

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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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17
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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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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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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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20
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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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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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22
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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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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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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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25
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Shirley Jones, Rod Steiger, Eddie Albert

Released: 1955

Directed by: Fred Zinnemann

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

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