Best music in cinema: ‘Inception,’ ‘Harry Potter’ rank as the most iconic film scores

NEW YORK — There are plenty of iconic movie scenes throughout Hollywood’s history. However, there are also many film fans who can recognize their favorite flicks by the musical score alone. A new survey reveals “Harry Potter,” “Titanic,” and “Inception” top the charts as the three most recognizable film scores of all time.

A study of 2,000 respondents played clips of movie scores and had respondents choose which movie they corresponded with. When it comes to the most iconic movie themes of all time, “West Side Story” and “Gone with the Wind” finish high on the list too. The themes from “Psycho” and “Star Wars” instantly caught some respondents’ attention and made it into the top ten.

The majority of respondents bragged that they can identify movies on the music alone. However, researchers say they may need to check their ears, as the results of the film score quiz had some puzzling results.

Americans have some trouble placing famous film tunes

Despite “Star Wars” being among the list of most recognizable themes, 45 percent of respondents actually didn’t know what film that soundtrack belongs to. Many also misidentified the iconic, ear-piercing theme from the horror classic “Psycho,” with 17 percent believing it was the score from “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

The survey, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of OPPO Find X3, finds many respondents need to work on their pop culture detective skills. When researchers asked them to listen to the theme from “Sherlock Holmes,” 31 percent said they simply didn’t have a clue. Three in 10 respondents listening to the theme from “Inspection” thought they were taking a trip to Hogwarts and incorrectly guessed this was the theme to “Harry Potter.”

A quarter of the poll mistakenly thought Indiana Jones was about to snatch another artifact while listening to the theme for Batman’s “The Dark Knight” – misidentifying this theme as “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

Acclaimed composer Hans Zimmer said when it comes to creating an iconic score, “you’re supposed to do something new and you’re supposed to do something inventive. You’re supposed to put all these things together into two notes.”

Walking to the beat of their own drum, literally

No matter where a song’s cinematic origins come from, two in three (63%) wish a movie score could punctuate their own lives too. Some have already tried to make this a reality. Forty-five percent of respondents say they blast film scores in their headphones and listen to movie soundtracks while going about their daily lives.

For those pressing play on movie themes on the daily, the “Inspection” soundtrack is the top film score to listen to. Researchers add that film’s score tops the chart for best scores to listen to while cleaning, working, and even exercising.

One in three (37%) pretend they’re swimming (or running) away from Jaws while exercising. Meanwhile, another 32 percent catapult themselves into an imaginary adventure with Indiana Jones while they clean.

How important is a movie’s score?

A film’s score can truly make or break the movie experience. In fact, 59 percent of respondents agree a poor score ruins the movie for them. Conversely, a good score can make a bad film a bit more bearable according to 62 percent of the poll.

Zimmer also commented on his recent ringtone collaboration with OPPO.

“We are living in this very digital, very electronic age. Now your phone rings everywhere and everyone else’s phone rings everywhere. We suddenly have the opportunity to actually make the world sound a little bit nicer.”