A lot of things go into making a movie great. There's the story, the casting, the cinematography. But one key element that can boost a movie over the threshold of mediocrity and into the realm of greatness is the right music. You can have a movie with all the right elements of an epic box office smash, but if the music falls flat, so will the tone of the film. Think how different The Matrix would be if the music had a classical Mozart feel? Ew.
Sometimes the whole movie soundtrack is incredible. Sometimes it's just one or two particular tunes that stand out and etch themselves into your brain as incredibly memorable. Sometimes it's just the right music for the right moment. Let's take a look at some of the most iconic, epic, and downright perfect musical themes from some of the biggest movies ever.
1. Indiana Jones Theme
Here's a classic from composer John Williams. This is one of those iconic tunes that instantly snaps your mind to the dashing teacher/adventurer/treasure hunter we all call Indy. It's epic, it invokes the feeling of heroism, it's memorable. Take a listen and just remember the good ole days before aliens ruined the franchise.
2. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy - Sauron's Forces
In fairness, all three movies had epic music, with the Hobbit trilogy pulling in familiar tunes with new compositions. I'm specifically choosing the Two Towers because of the battle at Helm's Deep. This was an incredibly epic battle and the music fit the bill perfectly. Howard Shore is the mastermind behind all six movie adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkein's masterpiece novels, and this particular moment gives us a heavy glimpse into the ominous theme that rolled out whenever Sauron's forces marched into battle.
3. Pirates of The Carribbean: Dead Man's Chest - Kraken Theme
Here's an entry by my personal favorite, Hans Zimmer. Again, all the Pirates movies had similar and equally epic theme music, but for now I'm putting them down for the haunting, masterfully creepy and yet colossal theme played for the Kraken released by villain Davey Jones.
4. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - Wonder Woman Theme
Let's just be honest: Wonder Woman stole the show when she showed up in Batman vs Superman. There are varying opinions as to how good this movie was, but no one can deny that Wonder Woman's arrival was nothing short of amazing. Take a listen to the music that played when she dropped into action and see how her striking theme sets the powerful mood. This is another score from Hans Zimmer, and I dare you not to get this awesome guitar riff stuck in your head.
5. Star Wars - Imperial March
You can't make a list of big movie music without including Star Wars. You just... can't. Here for your consideration is another title by the great John Williams. This is the iconic theme played whenever the bad guys step onto the screen, but it is probably most associated with the unequalled Darth Vader. Feel the music swell and imagine the wicked villainy portrayed in the powerful overture.
6. Pirates of the Caribbean - Main Theme
This theme is actually kinda hard to title, since the motif is used in about ten different ways in about twenty different songs over the course of four movies. (Phew!) Anyway, I chose this particular clip and version of the song because Hans Zimmer created a theme that exemplifies the adventure and action of the Pirates movies very well here. Listen to how the familiar tune takes form and rolls you through this "Wheel of Fortune" scene.
7. Batman (1989) - Batman Theme
This one's a no-brainer. Danny Elfman composed the score for this classic, and while many argue over who played the best Batman/Bruce Wayne, everybody has to agree that this musical score was not only memorable, but just plain perfect. This theme has been used in just about every Batman cartoon and video game since. You can't help but picture the caped crusader swooping in to save the day.
8. The Avengers - Avengers Main Theme
Fans everywhere screamed like little girls when the Avengers joined together for the first time on screen back in 2012. It was an iconic moment seeing Cap, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Hawkeye and Black Widow all team up to take down Loki and his alien army. Listen to the epic tune that drove on the powerful sight of these heroes banning together to save the city and make us cry with absolute joy. Skip to 1:30 in the video to hear the powerful, inspiring theme, brought to us by composer Alan Silvestri.
9. Jaws - Main Theme
Another entry by the legendary John Williams. Much doesn't need to be said for this classic title. Everyone knows that a giant, man-eating shark is on its way when this ominous, threatening theme begins to play. Take a listen to a classic theme from a clasic movie.
10. Star Wars - Main Theme
This is it, the top of the list as possibly the most iconic, well-known theme song of all time, second only to maybe the William Tell Overture (which, being a classical piece, doesn't qualify; sorry, Lone Ranger). Theaters everywhere cheer every time a new film gets to start of with this bang, written by the genius known as John Williams.
Well, there's my list. What's your favorite? Did I leave out any epic themes you'd have liked to see included? Shout it out in the comments below!