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.
* 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.