Listen To The 20 Best Sci-Fi Movie Orchestral Scores Of All Time

Science fiction fires the musical imaginations of composers unlike almost any other genre.

By Josh Tyler

This article is more than 2 years old

Science fiction fires the musical imaginations of composers unlike almost any other genre. It’s no accident that so many of the greatest movie soundtracks of all time were written to express the bombastic majesty of outer space, to convey the shock and awe of creatures beyond our reckoning, to blast across the screen with cars trailing fire as they rip a hole though the fabric of time. Music has become an indelible part of almost all of the greatest science fiction movies ever made, and some of the greatest music ever to appear on film has been in science fiction movies.

But which sci-fi score is the best? The GFR team spent some time listening to our favorite composers, cast votes, and came up with this list of greats. * Listen to selections from all twenty of the best orchestral scores ever composed for science fiction films, by clicking play on each item below. Let the music speak for itself.

Best Sci-Fi Movie Scores
1. Jurassic Park | composed by John Williams
2. Back to the Future | composed by Alan Silvestri
Best Sci-Fi Movie Scores
3. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home | composed by Leonard Rosenman
Best Sci-Fi Movie Scores
4. Inception | composed by Hans Zimmer
Star Trek
5. Star Trek | composed by Michael Giacchino
Best Sci-Fi Movie Scores
6. Sunshine | composed by Underworld and John Murphy
7. Stargate | composed by David Arnold
8. Star Trek: The Motion Picture | composed by Jerry Goldsmith
9. Terminator 2: Judgement Day | composed by Brad Fiedel
10. Serenity | composed by David Newman
11. Alien | composed by Jerry Goldsmith
12. Akira | composed by Geinō Yamashirogumi
13. Close Encounters of the Third Kind | composed by John Williams
14. Star Wars | composed by John Williams
15. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial | composed by John Williams
16. Total Recall | composed by Jerry Goldsmith
17. The Last Starfighter | composed by Craig Safan
18. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan | composed by James Horner
19. RoboCop | composed by Basil Poledouris
20. Tron | composed by Wendy Carlos

* Note: 2001: A Space Odyssey’s soundtrack was ineligible for this list since it doesn’t contain original material but rather uses existing commercial recordings of classic music. Additionally excellent but non-orchestral scores for movies like Tron: Legacy and The Matrix were deemed ineligible for purposes of this list.