Billie Eilish’s ‘No Time to Die’ Theme Song Is an Instant Classic (And 11 Other Irresistible Movie Theme Songs)
Movies need music. Even after the storylines have faded from memory and we can’t recall actors’ names, we can still drum up the theme songs to some of Hollywood’s most unforgettable films. The latest addition to the theme song genre is Billie Eilish’s “No Time to Die” tune. The new 007 song is sultry, tortured, and dark — an instant classic, not unlike the forthcoming Bond movie is sure to be. Grammy Award-winning Eilish wrote the tune in only three days and got the coveted stamp of approval from No Time to Die star Daniel Craig for her efforts. While we await that film’s arrival in theaters, take a break from playing “No Time to Die” on repeat and reminisce about these other irresistible movie theme songs.
Cover Photo: Karwai Tang / Contributor (Getty Images)
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'Gonna Fly Now' by Bill Conti
This iconic tune by Bill Conti is instantly associated with Rocky. Can’t you just see Sylvester Stallone’s training montage, complete with his triumphant run up the stairs of the Philadelphia Museum of Art? This theme song never fails to get us psyched for an intense exercise session. (One-armed push-ups, anyone?) Listen here.
You can’t resist busting a move along with John Travolta’s Tony Manero when you hear this high-energy Bee Gees’ tune featured in Saturday Night Fever. The hip-shaking disco song captures the struggle to survive on the mean streets of New York City. Listen here.
Ray Parker Jr. wrote and performed this catchy theme song for Ghostbusters, which still has us quoting lines like “Who you gonna call?” and “I ain’t afraid of no ghosts!” from the tune 36 years later. Listen here.
It isn’t often that a hip-hop number becomes an Oscar-winning theme song still performed 18 years later, as Eminem did at the 2020 Academy Awards with "Lose Yourself," his irresistible bop from the movie 8 Mile. This rapid-fire rap tune hasn’t aged a day. Listen here.
'Eye of the Tiger'
What is it about the Rocky franchise and motivational music? This adrenaline-pumping tune by Survivor was commissioned by Stallone for Rocky III, and has been an anthem of hardcore athletes ever since. Listen here.
'When Doves Cry'
Prince wrote and recorded this edgy pop-rock theme song for his film Purple Rain in record time – just a day. It became the flagship song of the movie and the biggest single of 1984. Listen here.
Paul Simon wrote the perfect soundtrack for the runaway May-December romance in The Graduate with this song, performed with impeccable harmonies by Simon and Garfunkel. Listen here.
'Streets of Philadelphia'
Get your tissues ready because Bruce Springsteen’s song inspired by the AIDS epidemic will turn on the waterworks. The Boss wrote it for Philadelphia, the drama starring Tom Hanks in an Oscar-winning role as a man with AIDS fighting for his life and his rights in the City of Brotherly Love. Listen here.
'Everything I Do (I Do It For You)'
It’s rare that a theme song gets as much critical acclaim as this one, featured in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, received. The Oscar-nominated, Grammy-winning ballad by Bryan Adams dominated the Billboard charts in 1991. Listen here.
'I Will Always Love You'
OK, we know Dolly Parton wrote this tear-jerking breakup song in 1973, but it wasn’t until Whitney Houston resurrected it for the (woefully underrated) film The Bodyguard that it became a musical sensation and one of the best-selling singles of all time. Listen here.
'My Heart Will Go On'
Though the most cloying song on this list, we’d be remiss to exclude Céline Dion’s insanely popular ballad that accompanied the blockbuster Titanic. We’ll never let go, Jack! (Nor will this earworm ever leave our brains.) Listen here.