Hollywood Movie Themes that Became Iconic Over Time

by Shoubhik Sen

A Movie plays a very important role in our lives. It’s an object of leisure, entertainment & knowledge. A theme in it’s background is what enhances it. Thus, our focus today will be on 5 of these themes, which over time, have become iconic in their own right.

It should be noted, that this is a subjective list. Additionally, due to limitations, we cannot list each and every theme here.


Perhaps the movie that took the superhero/comic book film genre to the next level, was 2012’s THE AVENGERS. A major component for that success was Alan Silvestri’s awesome score. Indeed such was the impact that today, a mere mention of this franchise evokes the iconic circle shot of our heroes with this theme playing in the background.

Firstly, the theme evokes a SPY-ish atmosphere as it begins. This part suits the people working behind the scenes, like Nick Fury and Maria Hill as well as S.H.I.E.L.D & now, S.W.O.R.D. It also evokes a sense of fear and uncertainty along with an escalating base.

Secondly, the transition in between symbolizes “The Avengers Initiative”, when the agents recruit the help of our heroes. But here, the theme doesn’t reach full glory as our heroes haven’t united yet.

Finally, the most memorable part of the theme comes, which has become the hook of the whole soundtrack. The main bars of the track are in this portion. The theme comes in full glory and evokes those goosebumps which we all felt in theatres.


GREAT SCOTT!!!!! How could we not talk about B.T.T.F while discussing iconic movie themes????

Back To The Future didn’t just revolutionize sci-fi films but even gave us one of the most iconic soundtracks. We can all remember Marty escaping Biff and his cronies, sometimes on a skateboard and sometimes on a Hover Board. The theme has played a significant role in making that scene memorable.

Additionally, what makes this theme so iconic that it created it’s own identity despite the movie having a number of pop hits. This is because the theme was skillfully placed only in scenes featuring Marty and those with the DeLorean. Secondly, composer Alan Silvestri ensures that this theme is played is all variants……..from fast to slow, from high octane to relaxed romantic.

Thus, as an audience, we are made to associate this theme with every emotion, which sticks.


Any list of iconic sport films is incomplete without the mention of this masterpiece. The Rocky movies did not just bolster Sylvester Stallone’s career, it even gave us the ultimate workout song.

Composer Bill Conti ensures this theme sticks. He employs trumpets since the very beginning, that lends a majestic feel to the theme. The beginning trumpets gives us room to get inspired and start warming up. Consequently, the base drops at just the right moment and brings gravitas to the music.

The theme continues to escalate throughout, which in 1 way, signifies Rocky Balboa’s character progression. It signifies his rise to the top, his journey from being an underdog to be the greatest champion and boxing legend. Finally towards the end, the theme shifts from being a training montage to being a victory theme of sorts. This is achieved through the use of Violins.


Before there was The Avengers, before the M.C.U & D.C.E.U, one the few gems holding the comic book film genre together was Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films. Tobey Maguire’s portrayal has become iconic in his own right, such that many even consider him the quintessential web head.

Major props of this success goes to composer Danny Elfman. This theme is the reason that Spider-Man’s final swing feels so triumphant. The fine use of violins, trumpets and “minor” percussion blends in nicely to ensure that one of the most legendary superhero feels exactly that………..A LEGEND!!!!

Additionally, what makes this theme stick more, is the fact that we get to hear many versions of it. So apart from the triumphant Spider shit that he does, this theme even makes us mourn Uncle Ben’s death, with it’s sad version. Also, the version of this theme that plays when Peter decided to return to being the true Spider-Man again, evokes a feeling of a triumphant comeback. IT FEELS BIG!!!! This is the reason it IS big today.


Ennio Morricone is considered a legend in the industry. Among his may iconic themes, the one for THE GOOD THE BAD THE UGLY stands out the most. Undoubtedly, the character of Clint Eastwood can owe his bad-sassery on screen to Morricone’s theme.

This theme knows what it needs to do…….make Eastwood look badass. Consequently, it employs bass drums to establish the fact that Eastwood is a grounded character, a man with gravitas. The main theme, resembling the howling of a coyote, is a two-note melody that is a frequent motif, and is used for the three main characters, with a different instrument used for each one: flute for Blondie (Man with No Name), arghilofono (Ocarina) for Angel Eyes, and human voices for Tuco.