Top 10 memorable movie scores

Going to the movies is a fully immersive experience. Audience members arrive in their seats, popcorn in hand and are able to disappear into other worlds, galaxies and times. Movies such as Harry Potter and Star Wars have helped to define entire generations but what helps to define these classic films even more is the score behind them. From John Williams to James Horner, these composers have helped to make that movie going experience truly unforgettable for the audience members.

From the few notes that made audiences afraid to go in the water after Jaws was released to the emotional score behind The Lord of the Rings trilogy, movie scores help the audience to connect with the film on an emotional and memorable level. With the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack topping the charts, it is clear that music plays a huge roll in any film.

image courtesy of is counting down the top ten most memorable movie scores. From the gates of Jurassic Park first opened to when the Delorean hits 88 MPH for the first time, these movie moments are made unforgettable because of the score which helped to take the scene into movie history. Did your favorite movie score not make the list? Comment below and add your favorite.

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10. Jurassic Park

When the gates of Jurassic Park first open, a swell of music builds and John Williams score is heard in all of it’s glory. This was the twelfth time that Williams had worked with Spielberg and their chemistry was felt once again, as fans went on a movie journey that included seeing a Tyrannosaurus and Velociraptors.

The film is known for its incredible special effects that were used to create the life-like dinosaurs but it’s Williams’s score that pulls the film together and is memorable from the first notes. When the gates open to Jurassic Park is a movie score moment that is immortalized in movie history.

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9. Harry Potter

Harry Potter was the movie franchise of generation and brought a best-selling book series to life on the big screen. It was the score that was created by John Williams, which became instantly recognizable with the films. Hearing that music takes audiences back to Hogwarts and to a time when three teenagers could change the fate of the world.

The first ten seconds of the score, which is whimsical and has a light, magical, have become forever immortalized as a part of movie and Harry Potter history.

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8. Back to the Future

Back to the Future is a great example of how popular music and movie scores could blend together to really help bring a film to life. Alan Silvestri was behind the score but the film also featured hits like “The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis and the News and “Johnny B. Goode.”

The way the score was composed has the high energy of the film and the incredible instrumentals that will not soon be forgotten. When audiences go back and listen to the soundtrack, it’s like they are riding next to Marty McFly in the Delorean.

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7. Indiana Jones

Indiana Jones starred a young Harrison Ford and a movie theme song that would become iconic with a franchise that stands the test of time. A great movie score can take the audience right back to that seat in the theater watching the film for the first time. The Indiana Jones theme does that and more. The score created tension, emotion and helped to bring to life that famous scene of Indy trying out run a larger than life boulder.

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6. Jaws

It only took two notes to have people terrified in their seats watching Steven Spielberg’s Jaws. The notes are simply E and F, yet the soundtrack helped to bring one of Spielberg’s masterpieces to life in a way that no many fans planned on.

The theme builds onsite and slowly starts to get at the audience, much like an actual shark attack. Never in the history of film have two notes back to back been so powerful.

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5. Lord of the Rings

Lord of the Rings was released as three separate films but told the story of a complete journey. From the Fellowship of the Ring to Return of the King the storytelling was completed with the score bringing added emotion and making the three films feel as though they were one.

The score takes the time to connect with each character and pulls the audience into the quest of a lifetime.

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4. E.T: the Extra-Terrestrial

The score for E.T: the Extra-Terrestrial earned John Williams his third Oscar. The composer has been nominated 41 times throughout the course of his career. The score that was written for E.T. at times felt supernatural, upbeat and completely original. It was another pairing of Williams and Spielberg that would result in movie history.

The score of the film soars when E.T. and Elliott are trying to escape on their bikes, which suddenly become airborne. The music is light yet powerful and helps the audiences take off right along side E.T. and Elliott.

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3. Gone With The Wind

The score for Gone With The Wind was composed and conducted by Max Steiner. Steiner wrote over three hours of music for the film and most of that creation was featured in this romantic story. It was clear that Steiner had a vision and was careful with every note that he wrote for this film. The music provided elements of emotion that really helped to move the story forward. The score built the audience up and helped to engage them in this one of a kind romance.

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2. Lawrence of Arabia

Maurice Jarre is the mastermind behind the score for films like Doctor Zhivago and Dead Poets Society but he also is the mastermind behind Lawrence of Arbaia. The film was released back in 1962 and stands the test of movie scores today.

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1. Star Wars

Star Wars has become more than a film saga, it has become a way of life for many fans. The music behind Star Wars has become as famous as the films themselves. The score is truly unforgettable.

From the opening notes to the grand scale that is felt in the opening main title that was created by John Williams. From “The Imperial March” to each characters theme, the music within Star Wars was a key element to telling the story of the light and the dark side. The score feels like it is out of this world and transports the audience to a galaxy far far away.

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