Best Movie Theme Songs?

So… I want to create a compilation of the best Movie main theme songs…

so far I’ve got Road To Perdition, A Beautiful Mind, and Gladiator and Usual Suspects.

Any other ideas along those lines?

Blade Runner is one of my favorites, along with Office Space. ;)

Whatever happened to Vangelis?

His career quickly evaporated after he released that album of instrumental disco covers arranged entirely on an Ensoniq ESQ1, entitled “Greek Out”.

I think this topic begins and ends with “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.”

Uh…also The Godfather. And Vertigo and North By Northwest.


For Vangelis fans, Chariots of Fire.

Well first off we have to distinguish between theme songs and scores.

I agree with Jeff that Vertigo’s score by Bernard Herrmann is superb – in fact I’d call it probably the best movie score I’ve ever heard.

Runners up – Good Bad Ugly, Star Wars/Empire, Raiders, Star Trek TMP, Lawrence of Arabia, Pink Panther, Psycho, Tron, Jaws, Batman, Taxi Driver, Godfather. I’m mostly just picking obvious orchestral stuff here. I’m blanking on the less conventional themes and arrangements.

Special mention to the amazing zither score in “The Third Man,” which practically constitutes an extra character.

Now, as for song-songs, I’d give a mention to: Pretty much anything by Mancini, but let’s say “Moonriver” from Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Live & Let Die and You Only Live Twice from the movies of the same name.

I’m sure I’ve neglected all sorts of great entries.

I gotta go with ‘Goonies’, followed by ‘Indiana Jones’.

Kelly’s Heros

What, no love for Olivia Newton-John 's “Xanadu”?

Special mention to the amazing zither score in “The Third Man,” which practically constitutes an extra character.

No kidding. An extra character who wandered in from another movie. Ugh.

And, Gordon, come on, Tron? Have you heard how well that score holds up when it’s not the 80s anymore?

I should probably put this in the other thread, but as long as I’m being a musical curmudgeon, I have to say I didn’t care for all the orchestration in Spirited Away. I don’t know if that was part of its Disneyfication, but I really could have done without a musical cue to explain how I’m supposed to feel about every scene.


The Day The Earth Stood Still.


It was. They redid the score for exactly that reason (Japanese movies tend to use moments of silence that American film producers find awkward). They got the same guy that did the Japanese score to make the new American one, though. That said, I thought the American score in Spirited Away was mostly quite good.

Fantasia had a great score, although I guess that’s sort of cheating.

Star Wars was memorable.

I really dug David Bowie’s score for Labyrinth (one of the few movie soundtracks that I’ve ever purchased). Of films that I recently watched, I liked the score for O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Original Star Wars Trilogy (Imperial March, Imperial Attack, Opening Title, Snow Battle to name a few), Ghost and The Darkness, Batman

Glory, The Wall, anything by Michael Nyman, almost anything by Michael Oldfield, Passion by Peter Gabriel (the score from Last Temptation of Christ)

My favorite John Williams scores are Jaws (best use of just two notes since Beethoven) and Close Encounters, a score that just fit the movie beautifully.

Another favorite is Bill Conti’s score for The Right Stuff.

Oh Yes, Glory! Totally forgot about that one - great great score.

Not the theme to Life of Brian, but the closing number, a real toe-tapper!