Vote for your favourite movie theme music of all time

Have your say in the Classic FM Movie Music Hall of Fame in partnership with Radio Times

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Voting in The Classic FM Movie Music Hall of Fame is now closed. Don’t forget, Classic FM are counting down the nation’s Top 100 favourite movie scores of all time over the weekend – listen from Saturday 29 to Monday 31 August to find out how your favourite film scores fared.

For more information on the countdown to the winner this weekend, and for a peek at the Classic FM presenters’ favourite movie soundtracks, click here.


Radio Times is delighted to be partnering with Classic FM for its inaugural three-day Movie Music Hall of Fame. As Andrew Collins (RT Film Editor and Classic FM host) takes us through a selection across the decades in the list below, reminisce in some of the finest screen music ever and, more importantly, vote for your favourite.

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The full list includes vital scores from across nine decades (see below for the Radio Times shortlist), from King Kong to Hans Zimmer’s pounding heartbeat for Dunkirk. Composers like John Williams, Bond inheritor David Arnold, Pixar favourite Michael Giacchino and the late Ennio Morricone have brought films to life. Whatever your taste, vote by following the instructions below. But if you don’t see your favourite here, head to the voting site at classicfm.com/moviemusic to see the full list, or if you think something is missing, suggest your own…

By voting, you will be entered into a prize draw for the chance to win £500, an iPad, or a Sony Sound Bar. To vote and for full terms and conditions, see How to Vote below.

And don’t miss the chance to test your knowledge with our film music quiz, based on Andrew Collins’ cryptic descriptions from the recent edition of Radio Times. Call yourself a movie expert? Have a go.

How to Vote

Read our 60 suggestions below then register your vote at classicfm.com/moviemusic. Tune in to Classic FM over the final weekend in August (Sat 29 to Mon 31) for the results and a countdown of the top 100 through to the winning film theme. If your favourite isn’t on the list you can elect it as your wild-card choice when you register your vote. Voting open from 9am on Tuesday 4 August to 11.59pm on Sunday 23 August. Voting open to UK residents, aged 18 and above. Full terms and conditions can be found here.

The Radio Times Shortlist

1930s

KING KONG Max Steiner 1931
Honorary first full-length symphonic film score; Austrian émigré made a monkey magnificent

MODERN TIMES Charlie Chaplin 1936
Musically adept, multitasking “little tramp” fills the silence with sounds of industry

THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD Erich Korngold 1938
Austrian founding father brings majesty and romance to Sherwood Forest

GONE WITH THE WIND Max Steiner 1939
Torrid plantation romance whipped into glorious Steiner melodrama affected in 20-hour shifts

1940s

CITIZEN KANE Bernard Herrmann 1941
Future Psycho iconoclast makes big impact with dance-filled Orson Welles classic

CASABLANCA Max Steiner 1942
The peak of Steiner’s “noir” years, he begged to drop As Time Goes By but was overruled

IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE Dmitri Tiomkin 1946
Jingle bells and hot-toddy warmth in a musical Christmas card from Russian arrival

1950s

ALL ABOUT EVE Alfred Newman 1950
Battling Broadway belles Bette Davis and Anne Baxter ennobled by Newman ups and downs

SUNSET BOULEVARD Franz Waxman 1950
Unhinged Hollywood provides grist to Silesian Waxman’s pitch-black mill

ON THE WATERFRONT Leonard Bernstein 1954
Stage titan Bernstein’s only straight orchestral score brings the bongos and paranoid brass

THE DAMBUSTERS Eric Coates, Leighton Lucas 1955
Flag-waving fly-past favourite to this day, played at the 2012 Olympics

VERTIGO Bernard Herrmann 1958
Queasily lit, sexually complicated Hitch classic taken to next notch by Herrmann

1960s

THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN Elmer Bernstein 1960
A defining example of the shelf-life of a truly hummable signature

PSYCHO Bernard Herrmann 1960
Eerie score understandably thumbnailed for its terrifying “shower scene” stabs

LAURENCE OF ARABIA Maurice Jarre 1962
David Lean’s French talisman scores first Oscar of three with aromatic travelogue sweep

THE PINK PANTHER Henry Mancini 1963
Written to introduce live-action Panther franchise, cartoon epitome of swinging cool

GOLDFINGER John Barry 1964
Bold, brash, brassy, first of a dozen iconic espionage capers

THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY Ennio Morricone 1966
Late, lamented Italian experimentalist rewrote western manual with twangy guitar, coyote and ocarina

1970s

THE GODFATHER Nino Rota 1972
Matched Morricone with 150 scores, but Rota’s old-country lament lingers

THE STING Marvin Hamlisch 1973
Ragtime makes brief comeback for Redford/Newman Depression-lifter

CHINATOWN Jerry Goldsmith 1974
Sexy, sultry trumpet is the star of Goldsmith’s sunbaked 30s noir

JAWS John Williams 1975
Dur-dum, dur-dum

STAR WARS John Williams 1977
Williams channels Holst and afore-listed Korngold with big motifs for a big saga

SUPERMAN John Williams 1978
A good 70s cemented into immortality with JW’s airborne comic-book flourish

ALIEN Jerry Goldsmith 1979
Spare, minimalist space opera with that unnerving “cuckoo” signature

1980s

CHARIOTS OF FIRE Vangelis 1981
For period 1924 Olympics set drama, Greek keyboard god breaks the rules

RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK John Williams 1981
A call to arms from Saturday morning cinema clubs everywhere

BLADE RUNNER Vangelis 1982
Further ambient mood-board synth, this time throwing forward to future

ET John Williams 1982
Whistle Williams’s theme right now – you’ll feel better

OUT OF AFRICA John Barry 1985
007 man stretches wings across Kenya; delivers widescreen romance

THE MISSION Ennio Morricone 1986
Robbed of first non-honorary Oscar by Round Midnight, this defines the decade

1990s

THE PIANO Michael Nyman 1993
Mid-19th century romance between mute and illiterate revolves around upright Joanna

JURASSIC PARK John Williams 1993
Necks automatically crane upwards when we hear this awe-striking symphony

SCHINDLER’S LIST John Williams 1993
An emotional pause, every time, for Spielberg’s turning-point movie

THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION Thomas Newman 1994
Newman dynasty (Alfred, Randy, David) spawns Thomas’s complex prison break

APOLLO 13 James Horner 1995
Late crowd-pleaser summons patriotic fervor with orchestral lift-off

BRAVEHEART James Horner 1995
Lorryload of Irish pipes and whistles pulls up to Abbey Road

EMMA Rachel Portman 1996
First female composer to win an Oscar for delightful, lively reels

INDEPENDENCE DAY David Arnold 1996
A man from Luton shows the world how to summon an apocalypse

TITANIC James Horner 1997
More whistles echo Celtic steerage jollity before ice stops play

WILDE Debbie Wiseman 1997
Imperious, cello-downbeat inner workings of Oscar Wilde bring him to doomed life

AMERICAN BEAUTY Thomas Newman 1999
Truly original percussive experimentalism heralds the coming decade

2000s

CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON Tan Dun 2000
Sparse flute, insistent strings, Dun creates an18-Century epic for all

GLADIATOR Hans Zimmer 2000
Hans Zimmer on storming form, mixes afterlife, battles and emotion

THE LORD OF THE RINGS: FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING Howard Shore 2001
Its leitmotifs last for the entire trilogy; an actual meisterwork about elves

HARRY POTTER AND THE PHILOSOPHER’S STONE John Williams 2001
Chimes and tinkles let light in on magic, before JW whisks us away

THE AVIATOR Howard Shore 2004
Howard Hughes biopic blends JS Bach and Tchaikovsky into Shore’s Hollywood tragedy

LADIES IN LAVENDER Nigel Hess 2004
Gorgeous, beloved suite conjures 1930s Cornwall in strings

ATONEMENT Dario Marianelli 2007
Rich, moving paean to the winds of war, echoes Dunkirk beach profoundly

AVATAR James Horner 2009
Wonder and bioluminescence combine in Horner’s most complete world-builder

UP Michael Giacchino 2009
Pixar fable about love and loss soon aloft like house on balloons

2010s

INCEPTION Hans Zimmer 2010
Bombast set aside to make room for esoteric layering

GRAVITY Steven Price 2013
Airless setting, thundering action momentum from Oscar-bagging Price

INTERSTELLAR Hans Zimmer 2014
More space-is-awesome endeavour played against human fragility

CAROL Carter Burwell 2015
Gentle emotional rollercoaster in 1950s New York for star-crossed love

FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD Craig Armstrong 2015
Agriculturally infused 1870s soap opera allows hearts to sing

JACKIE Mica Levi 2016
Boldly iconoclastic, ad-jingle approach to plight of JFK widow

DUNKIRK Hans Zimmer/Benjamin Wallfisch 2017
Initially subconscious score behind Dunkirk evac heaves into Elgar-esque salute

MOONLIGHT Nicholas Britell 2016
Sexual secrets plays out against Floridian shore in Britell’s woozy score

JOKER Hildur Gudnadottir 2019
Echo-chamber introspection from searching Icelandic star-in-waiting

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Remember, you can cast your vote for your favourite film theme at classicfm.com/moviemusic.