10 Great Movie Theme Songs

Friday, March 4 by A. Hermitt

In choosing criteria to pick the 10 great movie theme songs, it was decided that the movie must be immediately recognizable from hearing just a few seconds of the song, and the song must only remind you of the movie. 

  1. "Over the Rainbow", "Wizard of Oz" (1939) – "Over the Rainbow" is the theme song of "Wizard of Oz", and probably one of the most recognizable songs of all time. This great movie theme song has been recorded by many artists, but the most recognizable version is by Judy Garland, who starred in the movie as Dorothy.
  2. "Tara's theme", "Gone with the Wind" (1939) – This epic romance-drama has an equally epic instrumental theme song that is recognizable within a few bars.
  3. "The Sound of Music", "The Sound of Music" (1965) – Sung by and starring a young Julie Andrews, this is a great movie theme song from a musical motion picture, both of which are unforgettable.
  4. "Staying Alive",  "Saturday Night Fever" (1977) - Hear the music and think of the strut of John Travolta in the opening credits of the movie.
  5. "Star Wars Theme", "Star Wars" (1977) – Also known as The Star Wars Main Theme", it is featured in all of the "Star Wars" movies where music is purposely used to anchor moods, characters, places, and plot elements to specific parts of the film.
  6. "Arthur's Theme", "Arthur" (1981) – Performed by Christopher Cross, for the film starring Dudley Moore and Liza Minnelli, "Arthur's Theme" made the list of "Hot 100 number one singles" and the list of "Number One Adult Contemporary Songs" of 1981. 
  7. "Eye of the Tiger",  "Rocky 3" (1982) - While the theme from "Rocky" (1) is quite memorable and a good anchor to the film, It is more closely tied with marching bands. "Eye of the Tiger", is a great movie theme song used for "Rocky 3", which is is a better fit lyrically and in mood.
  8. "9 to 5", "Nine to Five" (1980) – The song was written and performed by Dolly Parton and the movie starred Dolly Parton. Dolly Parton also produced 9 to 5. This great movie theme song is also used in "9 to 5 The Musical" which opened and closed in 2009.
  9. "Circle of Life", "Lion King" (1994) – From the animated blockbuster with Elton John as the composer, there can't be a more recognizable movie-song connection in popular culture.  Let's not forget the highly successful Broadway show that followed. 
  10. "Anyone Else But You", Juno (2007) – This quirky little song is perfectly matched about a quirky little movie about a pregnant young girl with a big personality. The song is by Moldy Peaches, a group that had already broken up with the title song was picked with the suggestion of the movie's star, Ellen Page.  She thought her character Juno would listen to the Moldy Peaches.
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