A few classical commissions and USC student films aside, Beltrami scored his first feature in 1994, the thriller Death Match for Director Joe Coppolletta, and reached a higher level of public acclaim in 1996 when he wrote the score for Wes Craven's smash hit shocker Scream. Since then, Beltrami has become firmly entrenched as a Composer of choice for the horror/thriller and action genre, with the Scream sequels and hit films such as Mimic (1997), The Faculty (1998), Angel Eyes (2001), Joy Ride (2001), Resident Evil (2002), which he co-composed with Marilyn Manson, Blade II (2002), Hellboy (2004), I, Robot (2004) and Red Eye (2005) featuring prominently in his resume. Apart from horror/thriller and action, he also scores certain independent films such as The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys and Tommy Lee Jones' The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada. He was nominated for an Emmy Award for his score for the film David and Lisa in 1998, indicating a Desire to spread his musical wings beyond the bounds of his genre pigeonholing.
It was reported in October 2002 on Beltrami's official website that he had worked on orchestral arrangements for "Thyme", "The General" and "Leave Me Alone" from the then-unreleased Guns N' Roses album Chinese Democracy. While none of those tracks appear on the final track listing of the album, they were confirmed as being recorded during the sessions with a chance of release in the Future. However, he was credited officially for providing arrangements on "Street of Dreams", "Madagascar", "There Was a Time", "This I Love" and "Prostitute". As a sidenote, "Chinese Democracy" is also the name of a track on Beltrami's score for 3:10 to Yuma.
He has composed the recent entries in the Die Hard saga, Live Free or Die Hard and A Good Day to Die Hard, taking over from Michael Kamen from whom Beltrami used some of the original themes from the previous three films due to Kamen's death in 2003. Beltrami earned an Academy Award nomination for his work on James Mangold's acclaimed 2007 western remake, 3:10 to Yuma. Despite having met a mixed critical response, he was also nominated, alongside Buck Sanders, for the 2010 Academy Award for Best Original Score for his score to The Hurt Locker. In 2011, he was met with critical praise and won a Satellite Award for Best Original Score for his score to the drama film Soul Surfer. Beltrami composed the Soundtrack for Pierce Brosnan's 2014 spy film November Man.
Beltrami co-composed the score for the 2015 Fantastic Four film with Philip Glass.