When it comes to iconic film scores, what comes to mind? Raiders of the Lost Ark, certainly. Star Wars, obviously. Chariots of Fire, naturally. The Godfather, irrefutably. In the pantheon of film composers (Italian or otherwise) Nino Rota certainly takes his rightful place, especially with his work on that last little film listed and with The Godfather Part II, which earned Rota an Oscar.

Creating memorable scores and working with a multitude of directors, Rota created one of his more enduring scores, however, for Franco Zeffirelli’s 1968 film, Romeo and Juliet. The film garnered worldwide attention and praise, while Rota’s love theme—hauntingly capturing the pathos of the star-crossed lovers—arguably represents the greatest love theme in film. Henry Mancini also put his touch on the theme, a lush arrangement that topped the charts in 1969 and forever emblazoned this melody in our minds and hearts, a testament, once again, to the timeless soundtracks that enhance Italian cinema.

What’s your favorite Italian film theme or score? What makes it stand apart for you?

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