My Top 6 Movie Themes

Certain songs and tunes will stick with you for years, even longer if they are associated with a movie you really like. Music in cinema plays such a pivotal part of the entire experience, Before I dive in I need to lay out the thought process that went into creating this list.

  • “Movie Theme” means the song or tune that one hears the most throughout the movie or is literally titled after the movie.
  • There is no restriction on what movie a theme can come from, it doesn’t matter if it’s Disney animation or epic Sci-Fi.
  • If your particular favorites do not feature on this list it is because I have either not heard that particular tune before or because I simply didn’t like it as much as you did.
  • No two themes from the same series, that’d be grossly unfair!
  • A theme does not have to be purely orchestral, it can feature lyrics.
  • This list is in no particular order!

“Star Wars”

Ok, let’s get this started properly!
The theme of Star Wars is arguably the most famous tune of any film series in cinematic history. Just hearing John Williams epic score not only sets a suitably epic precedence for the movie to follow but also brings sweet childhood memories flooding back.

“Now We Are Free”

Arguably the best piece ever created by the legendary Hans Zimmer, a claim easily challenged as you’ll soon see! Not only is Gladiator one of Russel Crowe’s best movies but it is, in my opinion, one of the best if not the best scored action movie to date. “Now We Are Free” features scarcely throughout the movie but my god… when you hear it the hairs on your neck and arms stand up.

“The Wrath of Khan”

What is it with Sci-Fi movies and fantastic scores? Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan succeeds on so many levels it’s not even funny; hands down the best Trek movie ever made featuring staggering performances by its’ cast, an epically engaging story, and a gut-puncher of an ending all set to James Horner’s breath-taking tunes.

“The Lord of the Rings”

You probably saw this one coming a mile off! Practically everyone who has seen Peter Jackson’s masterful adaptation of Tolkein’s Middle Earth epic has this tune committed to memory. Lord of the Rings is going to be remembered by my generation in the same vein that Star Wars was and still is by the previous generation, it’s honestly that good. Howard Shore’s score for Fellowship of the Ring and Return of the King landed him academy awards in 2002 and 2004 respectively and greatly help bringing the majesty of these stories to life.
Neil Finn’s rendition of “Song of the Lonely Mountain”, featured in “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”, also deserves an honorable mention. Check my review of The Hobbit to find it!

“The Avengers”

It has been said by some that superheroes are destined to become the new heroes of mythology, along the lines of Herakles and Odysseus. The Avengers was the culmination of an extremely ambitious project put into motion by Marvel Studios in order to put to rest the popular assumption that superheroes were “kiddy fare only” or “cheesy & comical”. Featuring an almighty ensemble cast, the Ocean’s Eleven of superheroes if you would, and directed by Geek-God Joss Whedon “The Avengers” shattered box office records and received overwhelming praise from audiences and critics alike. Alan Silvestri scored the movie and his quasi-bombastic theme not only spruces up the proceedings but in a way… sounds like it is congratulating the movie itself for what it has achieved.
It’s like it is saying “Yeah, we’ve made something awesome here, what are you gonna do about it?”…


007 has had some pretty good tunes in the past, but the overwhelming majority of them have been pretty forgettable. Adele’s enchanting and powerful contribution to the already stellar Skyfall sits atop the throne of 007’s tunes. Yes, that is a bold statement to make but I feel it is true. Adele’s song feels like a glorious throwback to the pre-Goldeneye days and for that… for making us all remember how close 007 came to dying a dishonorable death at the hands of modern music… she totally deserved that oscar!




One comment

  1. Mega love for this list! I have John Williams in my media library and I absolutely adore him. My Dad was a jerk to me because I was talking about how awesome Williams was and he was like “Oh, he died.” Then my mom asked me “Who is John Williams?” I’ll leave my indignation to your imagination. Anyway, after Dad said that, I was almost in tears until I figured out he is still very much alive. I would actually keep half of your list (Star Wars, LOTR, and Skyfall), only parting with Hans Zimmer under extreme duress. I would add Star Trek XI, any of The Dark Knight themes, and of course… Harry Potter (preferably the theme from The Goblet of Fire).

    As you can tell, I’m a huge, huge, huge classical music and film score nerd. I’d recommend Christopher Tin (Baba Yetu preferably) and E.S. Posthumus (Nara, Unstoppable, Pompeii, or Ebla) if you are already not familiar. Great post!

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