The best movie soundtracks of all time

Soundtracks are an essential part of a movie or TV show because they can trick your brain into immediately associating the movie with the soundtrack if heard outside of the movie, making you want to rewatch or encourage others to review. There are also different types of soundtracks attached to film franchises, for example, the soundtrack of a musical versus a film score.

Movie soundtrack

Film/film scores are traditionally instrumental and are among the most influential types of music. They add emotion to scenes where, without the addition of music, emotions are usually not felt. They can also guide you to a certain feeling – sad music can make you cry, or upbeat music can trigger feelings of tension and happiness.

They also make the film easily identifiable. In the case of major film franchises, such as The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and Pirates of the Caribbean, each film has its own soundtrack and score that can allow for immediate association with the film when the music is played.

Musical comedies

Musicals have different types of soundtracks, which are actually sung by the characters instead of being added in post-production to trigger emotional responses. Musical soundtracks are typically used to convey characters’ emotions and feelings, and can spark a different kind of engagement with the film. Since they are not instrumental, people remember song lyrics and associate them with movies.

Movies like The Greatest Showman, Grease, and Les Miserables have characters singing the songs to add emotion and express their feelings about certain events.

Non-instrumental soundtracks

Soundtracks with lyrics can also have these effects, as in the case of songs like Hungry Eyes, All Star and Girl, and You’ll Be A Woman Soon, all of which are associated with a particular movie, like Dirty Dancing, Shrek or Pulp Fiction.

What are the best movie soundtracks by genre?

Movie genres are another influential part of a movie because not only do they help categorize movies, but they also indicate the type of soundtrack that is likely to be added to the movie. The soundtrack helps set the tone and mood of certain scenes. The genre of the film is therefore important in order to prevent the soundtrack from seeming out of place or random.

Adventure / Fantasy

In this genre we see the world famous movie franchises like Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter and the Chronicles of Narnia series. These films, while successful in their own right, have famous soundtracks that help increase recognition and association.

According, the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack, written by renowned composer Hans Zimmer, has sold over 220,000 copies worldwide. Moreover, based on the findings of Classic.FMThe Lord of the Rings soundtrack earned composer Howard Shore “no less than four Grammys, three Oscars, two Golden Globes and a host of other accolades.”

sci fi

The Sci-Fi genre has introduced us to some of the most beloved films of all time, including Star Wars, Jurassic Park, The Matrix, and most recently, Interstellar. During their box office reign, each of these films received critical and international acclaim and won numerous awards and accolades. However, one film in this category recently saw its soundtrack reappear on the charts, decades after its original release.

Excerpt from a 2015 article by Initiatedwe see that, “twenty-two years after the release of “Jurassic Park”, the memorable theme song from the 1993 film found its way to the top of a Billboard chart. After the release of the “Jurassic World” reboot, the Jurassic Park theme song trilogy, sales and streams increased. This proves the power of sequels, as they can rekindle the association or memories of a theme song or soundtrack, encouraging fans of the original series to dig back into their music archives and listen to the soundtrack again. .

Also in this genre, we see the very famous film Inception, which featured music by Hans Zimmer, as does the 2014 film Interstellar. Both of these films earned Hans Zimmer a plethora of awards, including a BAFTA and an Oscar. The most notable of the soundtracks produced is Time, which featured on Inception. This score is definitely in the ranks of the best movie soundtracks of all time.


In this category, the most notable films include Titanic, Romeo and Juliet and La La Land, among others. Both Titanic and La La Land won Oscars, however, to this day, the Titanic soundtrack is still talked about and remembered.

“The score to the 1997 hit film Titanic, composed by the late James Horner, is the best-selling classic album of the past 25 years, according to the Ultimate Classic FM Chart, the biggest countdown of classical music album sales in the UK. When we watch Titanic, the song that sticks with us the most is that of Celine Dion my heart Will Go Onwhich won him an Oscar in 1998, the same year the film was released.


Thrillers are suspenseful and impactful, especially if they feature some kind of twist or a compelling plot. There are also different subgenres related to it, namely psychological thrillers and horror thrillers. This genre has spawned some of the best movies with equally good soundtracks. These include Jaws, Joker, Get Out, and Escape Room.

Steven Spielberg’s Jaws ended up with three Oscars, including two for Best Original Dramatic Score and Best Sound. The Jaws soundtrack remains to this day, one of the most iconic, with an immediate association and heart-pounding sensation felt when played.

Joker, perhaps one of the most successful cinematic interpretations of the original Joker, has also won awards for its film score. Fork states that “Hildur Guðnadóttir won Best Soundtrack for Visual Media today at the 2021 Grammy Awards. The Icelandic composer’s Oscar-winning score for Joker got the win over Max Richter (Ad Astra), Kamasi Washington (Become), John Williams (Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker) and Thomas Newman (1917).” Joker’s creepy and haunting soundtrack has deservedly earned accolades and accolades.

Why are soundtracks important?

With all of these internationally acclaimed, Oscar-winning soundtracks, what exactly makes a soundtrack worthy of the name?

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Of course, soundtracks should match the scene they are in the background. Instrumental music is great in the background of a sad scene, just as upbeat, upbeat music is great in the background of a fast-paced or action-packed scene.


Having a soundtrack specifically associated with a movie or franchise means it’s much easier to identify the movie when the soundtrack is played. If you have a favorite movie, you’ll also be more likely to download the album or songs from the soundtrack, ranking them higher in the best soundtracks list.

Create the character

Sometimes individual characters can have their own themes, which usually play in the background of every scene they find themselves in. According,Soundtracks are such an essential part of creating and watching a movie – it helps the director set the tone of a scene and helps the viewer empathize with a character. The music also sets the mood of the scene, allowing us to feel relief for the characters or closure, as if they’ve finally achieved their goals.

The best movie soundtracks to work on

Many studies suggest that listening to classical music while studying is helpful for more effective brain stimulation and information processing. If so, here are the best instrumental soundtracks we recommend adding to your study or work playlist.

  • Time, Hans Zimmer
  • Requiem for a dream, Clint Mansell
  • The Lord of the Rings, Howard Shore
  • The Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Gregson Williams
  • AT THE TOP, Michael Giacchino

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