This is a real head-scratcher as there are some classic movie themes out there and to choose just one is pretty much impossible but let’s look at some of the all-time greats.
The Rambo series by Jerry Goldsmith is a work of genius as he does so much with the main theme tune. One minute it can sound sad and wistful but in the next scene it can sound heroic which is a real talent. Goldsmith has provided the music to many other movies like Total Recall, The Edge, The Challenge and more but First Blood: Part II I think is my favourite of his (especially escape from Torture).
Terminator 2: Judgment Day by Brad Fiedel is just incredible; I enjoy the original Terminator music but it does sound incredibly dated now. The opening theme to T2 is one of the all-time greatest both aurally and visually with the kid’s playground engulfed in nuclear fire. The industrial music pounds away but it also has a feeling of threat and sadness climaxing in the endoskeleton coming out of the flames to the triumphant finale.
I also really love the Con Air soundtrack by Trevor Rabin; that electric guitar theme is so totally heroic that I just want to grow a mullet and run in slow motion from explosions.
Speed by Mark Mancina is another beauty which is tense and exciting; he’s a composer I wish we’d seen more of but he’s only done a few other memorable scores.
You could also list pretty much everything by John Williams like The Raiders March from the Indiana Jones movies, the Superman Theme and many more.
Hans Zimmer is pretty much the God of action scores with The Rock, Broken Arrow, Crimson Tide, Gladiator, Mission: Impossible 2, King Arthur, The Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception… the list is endless.
Alan Silvestri’s score to Predator is pretty iconic too and he also did The Delta Force; he’s another composer who is up there with Jerry Goldsmith and has done some great music in his time.
Basil Poledouris provided some great scores to RoboCop and Conan the Barbarian as well as Seagal’s On Deadly Ground.
Let’s not forget Aliens with classic tracks like ‘Bishop’s Countdown’ which is exciting enough to get anyone’s pulse pounding. James Horner also provided the score to Avatar, Commando and Braveheart as well as the 48 Hrs. movies.
OK clearly I can’t make up my mind what the best music score is so I’ll leave it up to you; what is your favourite action movie theme tune?