There's a beautiful violin theme in the movie Highlander, after Connor MacLeod has been driven out of his village and is now with his new wife. It's a 6-note riff that is played very high, then an octave lower, then another lower, then finally by cello or bass another octave lower.

It's nearly identical to the New Line Cinema theme. They just dropped 2 of the notes, but kept the instrumentation and the fact that it cascades through 4 octaves.

Does anyone know whether it was by the same composer, or whether New Line Cinema just "lifted" it and made a minor modification, or what the story is behind it? I believe the Highlander theme came first (though I'm not certain).

  • 1
    Which Tristar theme are you referring to? There are at least 3 variants that I know of. Can you link a sample?
    – JohnP
    May 16, 2014 at 22:41
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    And Columbia-Tristar has been around a bit longer than Highlander, as well. How do you know Highlander didn't "lift" it from Columbia-Tristar? May 16, 2014 at 22:47
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    Columbia TriStar credit spot has gone through several revisions. Could you please point out the time index you're referring to from the following link (assuming it's included): youtube.com/watch?v=-G6DglB4LrA
    – yelxe
    May 17, 2014 at 0:21
  • Just glad I'm not the only one who ever noticed this. It's a great piece of music.
    – user19413
    Mar 4, 2015 at 22:10
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    Upon reading the title, I thought that New Line Cinema had suddenly started using "Princes of the Universe" as their theme. Here we are, born to be kings!
    – KSmarts
    Mar 6, 2015 at 22:07

1 Answer 1


You're thinking of New Line Cinema, but your instinct is spot-on! ;)

According to film composer Michael Kamen's wikipedia page,

New Line's corresponding theme is the opening segment of a track from Highlander.

This information is not annotated, but Kamen remarks in an interview with Soundtrack Magazine in 2000,

New Line is a company that I’ve known for roughly 22 years, since I first started in the business with Bob Shaye, who still runs New Line.

The music in question appears at 35:40 in Highlander (1986) and on the film's limited print and/or bootlegged 2-disc album, track #15, "Heather - Enter Ramirez". This music seems to have been rescored for the New Line logo in the 1990s. (I'm unable to find an earlier example than 1991 on Youtube.)

Evidence points to Kamen scoring Highlander, and through his association with Shaye adapting it for use with the New Line logo.

  • Wow, now that you say it, of course that sounds like Highlander. How could I never notice?
    – Napoleon Wilson
    May 17, 2014 at 21:47
  • @rbsite Thanks for the research! And Napoleon, I'm glad I pointed out that connection for you! It's a beautiful theme in both places. Can't decide which one I like better. :) May 19, 2014 at 17:03

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