20 Popular Movie Themes

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What makes a great movie? A stellar cast, an excellent script, sharp direction, and yes, a theme that will keep on playing in the heads of moviegoers long after they have left the theater.

OK, so some of the films listed below are not exactly Oscar Best Picture material. But one thing’s for sure: they’ve all got kick-ass themes that have become just as popular and memorable as the movies themselves. Sort of like the TV theme songs I'll never forget, stuck in my head for all time.

1. Harry Potter theme

One word: magical.

2. Rocky theme

I just love how this whole theme starts with fanfare reminiscent of gladiator-themed movies, then evolves into a full-blown funk orchestra. Cool.

3. Halloween theme

This theme made me feel like Michael Myers is gonna come right out of nowhere and stab me with that big-ass knife of his.

4. James Bond theme

One of the most recognizable guitar licks ever.

5. Star Wars theme

John Williams is a movie theme god, and this one’s the proof.

6. Superman theme

Not a few people have confused this one with the Star Wars theme, but the Superman theme is an entirely different John Williams creation, and just as rousing.

7. Mission Impossible theme

Have you ever heard a bass line that is more recognizable? Probably not.

8. Jaws theme

If there’s one movie theme that perfectly conveys that feeling of impending doom, this has got to be it.

9. The Godfather theme

One unforgettable tribute to this theme from The Godfather is that Paulie Walnuts from "The Sopranos" had his car horn rigged to play this tune.

10. Jurassic Park theme

Another John Williams masterpiece.

11. Pink Panther theme

This theme has been remade and remixed countless times, but nothing beats the Henry Mancini original.

12. Pirates of the Caribbean theme

It was fun listening to Johnny Depp and Keira Knightley sing their own drunken version of that "Yo Ho" pirate song in the first movie.

13. Indiana Jones theme

This is one theme that absolutely captures the swashbuckling nature of this film series.

14. Lord of the Rings theme

Great theme music from what is probably the greatest film series of all time.

15. Terminator theme

You can tell this is one action-packed flick by its theme music alone.

16. Back to the Future theme

If John Williams is to Steven Spielberg films, then Alan Silvestri is to Robert Zemeckis movies. The Back to the Future trilogy is just the first in a long line of Zemeckis films Silvestri has composed music for.

17. Austin Powers theme

Silly, carefree music at its best.

18. Psycho theme

The shower scene where Janet Leigh gets skewered wasn’t all that scary, but it’s the accompanying ominous music that never fails to make anyone cringe.

19. Beverly Hills Cop theme

I remember spending hours as a kid trying to play this tune on my dad’s keyboard.

20. Titanic theme

Celine Dion’s voice was everywhere for more than a year after this gigahit premiered, right to a point where it just became sickening.

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3 Responses to “20 Popular Movie Themes”

  1. [...] TV shows come and go (well, maybe with the exception of COPS and The Simpsons), but television theme songs will always stay with us, be it nostalgic or just plain annoying. On more than one occasion, I’ve caught myself humming most of the TV show theme songs listed below, the way I hum popular movie themes. [...]

  2. Have you ever heard of Ennio Morricone? He’s the man behind the great themes from the spaghetti westerns like “A Fistfull of Dollars”, “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” and “Once Upon a Time in the West”. Not to forget “Once Upon a Time in America”.

  3. You forgot the exorcist theme! I think most ppl recognize that chilling music.

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