Size mattered this past weekend as the Portland Symphony Orchestra presented its latest PSO Pops! concert, called “Oscars’ Biggest Hits.”

Instrumental music, mostly from epic, action-adventure films, dominated a program of well-known themes arranged into suites and overtures. Rich harmonies spiced with dramatic peaks made for an enjoyable trip down movie memory lane.

Composer John Williams, who had an entire PSO Pops! concert dedicated to his music a couple of seasons ago, was again well represented. But selections from some of his important musical forebears made for a generally more varied first half of the program.

The PSO’s take on Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s “Symphonic Suite” from “The Adventures of Robin Hood,” for example, revealed the work’s influential approach to scene setting with flourishes of action that established the template for the era of cinematic spectacle.

Even without accompanying visual images, Miklos Rozsa’s “Parade of the Charioteers” from “Ben-Hur” was stirring, helped by a touch of compositional influence from Maurice Ravel, as conductor Ken-David Masur noted. Leonard Bernstein’s “Overture to West Side Story,” with its collection of heartfelt melodies, continues to be moving.

Max Steiner’s “Tara’s Theme” from “Gone with the Wind” and the Marvin Hamlisch hit “Nobody Does It Better” from “The Spy Who Loved Me,” however, flagged a bit as repetitious thematic material wore thin in the hands of an orchestra that can do so much more. Henry Mancini’s music from “The Pink Panther,” though, engendered laughs of recognition as well as some gritty sax work.

Masur, a finalist for the PSO music director position to be vacated by Robert Moody at the end of the season, held the podium. Combining dancelike moves with firm gestures, he seemed more comfortable with the baton in his hand than with the microphone. His few musical comments were welcome, but he noticeably did not introduce orchestra soloists by name.

The second half of the program featured substantial pieces that brought out the best in the orchestra. Alan Menkin’s “Aladdin: Orchestral Suite” combined Middle Eastern flavors with early jazz cadences in a winning blend while Howard Shore’s “Symphonic Suite” from “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” introduced some darker hues to a program largely bereft of film noir tinges.

Williams’ music from “E.T.” and “Star Wars” finished the afternoon in appropriately majestic style, the orchestra ably meeting the inspirational challenge.

Hats and gloves may have taken the place of light swords as audience members made their way out into the January cold, but judging by comments overheard, the force of the mighty PSO was still with them.

Steve Feeney is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.