What’s the Most Memorable Film Score Ever?

scoring star warsEver since I learned to play the Star Wars theme on the piano when I was, oh, five years old, I’ve been fascinated with the delicate art of film scoring. You see, film scores are kind of like perfume: You want to spray on just enough to enhance your essence, but you don’t want to drown your audience in the aroma.

A good film score complements the mood the director wants to convey, but does so without the audience even noticing.

A bad film score sticks out. It overpowers the scene, turning it melodramatic and even cartoonish. Or worse, it doesn’t fit the mood at all.

And then, there’s the fantastic film score. This score complements the movie, and you walk out of the theater humming it to yourself.

So, I thought it would be fun to play a little game of Can You Hum That Film Score?

The rules of the game are simple. I’m going to name off a bunch of films with notable scores, and you’re going to check off the ones you can hum from memory. Not ones where you hear it, and you go, “Oh, that’s from this-and-this movie.” No, the melody must already be embedded in your conscious brain. If you can’t hum it from memory, then you can’t vote for it. Simple enough, right?

To double-check, click on each film title, and you’ll to be taken to a clip of its score, cued up to its most memorable part. But again, this is just to verify that you already know the score. It doesn’t count if you weren’t able ot hum it, but went, “Ohhhhh, now I remember” after listening to it. The way I see it …

It’s only considered a memorable film score if you can actually remember it.

Before we even begin, I’m already going to predict Star Wars to be the winner. But hey, let’s see how the voting goes …

Oh, if I missed any scores, please comment below, and if it gets enough upvotes, I’ll add it to the poll.

Addendum: Based on some of the Facebook comments I’ve received, I want to clarify one thing. The point of this post is to judge movie scores on the merit of the music itself. Pop songs that appear in movies get radio airplay and exposure outside of the movie. As such, it wouldn’t be fair to compare the memorability of, say, the song “Stand By Me” to the Star Wars theme. That’s why I’ve only included scores and no singles in this list.

2 thoughts on “What’s the Most Memorable Film Score Ever?

    1. I wrestled with that one. Titanic is borderline, because it most definitely has a pop song associated with it. At the same time, the score does incorporate the melody of the pop song (unlike most scores), so … that makes it … really hard to judge the score on its own merits, since it had the benefit of a Celine Dion song to boost its memorability.


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