Some movies stick with us for a lifetime; we relate to characters, find ourselves intrigued by twists and turns within the plot and are in awe of unique aspects in cinematography. There are plenty of elements needed to make a great film—amazing actors, directors with an eye for detail and, of course, the soundtrack. The soundtrack plays a major role in making or breaking a movie. Just think back to some of your favourite movies and the scenes you will never forget. Do you remember the song that was playing in the background? Of course you do, because it intensified the moment!
We decided to compile a list of some of our favorite movie song moments for you to revisit and perhaps plan your next movie marathon around!
50. K-911 – “I Feel Good” by James Brown
Ok, so K-911 wasn’t Jim Belushi’s best work, but that doesn’t matter because his four-legged pal Jerry Lee made up for it. Spotting a snazzy-looking poodle in a car, Jerry Lee makes his move and enjoys a few romantic minutes with her, doggy-style.
When he’s finally finished doing his deed, he gets out of the car feeling reaaaal good, and lets the whole world know by doing a bit of a victory run through the park.
49. 10 Things I Hate About You – “Hypnotize” by Notorious B.I.G
As far as High School movies go, 10 Things I Hate About You wasn’t half bad. Sure, it has the exemplary, preppy Miss Popular fighting over her reign with Miss I’m-Pissed-Off-At-The-World, but the balance here is just right.
The shallow experience of Bianca (Larisa Oleynik), aka Miss Popular, can work on our nerves sometimes, but her sister, Kat (Julia Stiles), is actually pretty entertaining in all her gloomy glory. We wouldn’t have described her as particularly sexy though … that’s until she climbs up on a table and works some ’90s twerking magic to Biggie’s “Hypnotize.”
48. Crazy – “Temper” by Pelzig
Crazy is a German film based on the book by Benjamin Lebert. The book and film recount his experiences as a teenager in boarding school. His left arm and leg are paralyzed, but it doesn’t stop him from tagging along with the other guys when they go jumping off of diving boards, and sneaking out to see strippers.
He makes a few good friends in his roommate Janosch (Tom Schilling), and the silent Troy (Can Talyanlar). Troy doesn’t really speak at all, and mostly stays in his own little world. That’s what makes this scene so perfect—he’s still not talking but in the way he’s pounding his air guitar he’s making it pretty damn clear what he’s feeling.
47. Lords of Dog Town – “Fire” by Jimi Hendrix
Lords of Dog Town gave us an authentic feel of the Californian skateboard culture; we really felt the characters and the adrenaline as we watched them grinding rails, skating empty pools and turning tricks on their decks.
We also felt Emile Hirsch, shirtless and charming as ever, performing some kind of mating dance in an attempt to woo Kathy (Nikki Reed). Busting some tribal moves to the purple hazing master of the electric guitar, he really knew how to spark a “Fire” in her, à la Hendrix.
46. Footloose – “Never” by Moving Pictures
We often find ourselves having to adapt to new cultures, beliefs and traditions when moving to a new town. In most cases, we readily accept and perhaps even embrace these changes. What if you moved to a town where dancing was strictly prohibited, though? Would you fight the law or would you forever walk the streets with itchy feet?
In this scene of Footloose, we get to see just how much frustration the no-dancing-law is causing Ren McCormack (Kevin Bacon), and how he finds release in an abandoned warehouse, accompanied by Moving Pictures. 45. Risky Business – “Old Time Rock and Roll” by Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band
The scene in Risky Business, in which Tom Cruise dances around to “Old Time Rock and Roll,” really isn’t anything new—we do it all the time. And still it remains one of the most memorable scenes in the movie.
We especially like his make-shift microphone—we can tell he’s really feeling it when he gets down on his knees in a moment of pure lead-singer theatrics.
44. Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood – “Freak it Out!” by Doug E. Fresh
Ashtray (Shawn Wayans), Loc Doc (Marlon Wayans), Crazy Legs (Suli McCullough) and company’s strange fashion choices and daily struggles make for a highly entertaining hood movie—one with hardly any sense and few subtle parodies.
Marlon Wayan’s acting was priceless, but the ones who really stole the show were the two OG’s competing for God’s blessing by floor rocking and swiping B-Girl style.
43. Inglorious Basterds – “Cat People (Putting Out Fire)” by David Bowie
We are so used to Tarantino’s films focusing on super stylish mobsters it took us a while to wrap our heads around the uniformed SS officers in Inglorious Basterds. This doesn’t mean to say it wasn’t filled with Tarantino-esque dialogues and violence, though.
Having moved on from the theme of revenge (Kill Bill), Quentin hit the screens withInglorious Basterds in 2009 to prove a new theory: Karma really is a bitch.
42. Shrek – “Bad Reputation” by Halfcocked
Didn’t think we’d be covering animation movies, as well? Well, you thought wrong! A lot of Disney and DreamWorks movies have really cool soundtracks, includingShrek. Our grumpy ol’ Ogre marched Duloc to the sounds of Smash Mouth’s “All Star,” and their version of “I’m a Believer,” but our favorite moment in the film is when he takes out Lord Farquaad’s army, thus proving his “Bad Reputation.”
41. Stranger Than Fiction – “Whole Wide World” by Wreckless Eric
We don’t often get to see Will Ferrell in vulnerable, genuinely likable roles because he’s usually too busy playing a goofball. In Stranger Than Fiction, we experience a different side of Ferrell; still quirky yet incredibly uptight and anal—he finds it hard to relax and give in to flirtation.
It’s not until he’s gently strumming a guitar and quietly humming “Whole Wide World” that we see him let his guard down—much to his love interest’s liking…. 40. Beetlejuice – “Day-O (Banana Boat Song)” by Harry Belafonte
Tim Burton is known for his weirdness; he baffles us with beautiful imagery (Big Fish) and leads us deeper into his wonky darkness. Yet nothing has quite compares to his 1988 classic, Beetlejuice. What trip must he have been on?
If you were a child of the nineties, this whacky ghost movie was either in your VCR or on your shit-list for being a tad too crazy. Whether you loved it or hated it, weknow you spent the next few weeks singing “Daaaaaay-O, Daaaaaaaay-O! Daylight come and me wan’ go home!”
39. Moulin Rouge – “Roxanne” by Jose Feliciano
Baz Luhrmann is famous for his extravagant, colourful movies, but the one that was most spectacular in terms of music, costumes and choreography was most definitelyMoulin Rouge. Full of classics such as “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “Children of the Revolution” and “Nature Boy,” it has truly made its mark in the history of musicals.
A beautifully intense scene, which gives us a true understanding of the power punters hold over ladies of the night, is that of the “Roxanne” tango. The rapid pace between the scenes and Ewan McGregor’s emotional pleads are fantastic.
38. Saturday Night Fever – “Stayin’ Alive” by Bee Gees
If ever there was an actor who knows how to walk in order to prove he’s the man, it’s John Travolta. He has his swagger down as Danny the greaser (Grease), and walks the sidewalks of Brooklyn like the king of disco in Saturday Night Fever.
The opening credits show him cruising the street and the girls of New York before finally ending in a discotheque, where he gets to show off much more than his über-cool walk.
37. Pulp Fiction – “You Never Can Tell” by Chuck Berry
Vince (Travolta) is still busy floating through his heroin dreams when Mia (Thurman) gets him into joining the “Jack Rabbit Slim Twist Contest.” We can hardly believe he makes it to the stage, let alone bust a move.
But their little performance to You Never Can Tell really was a treat, and ever since, we are incapable of laying down a twist in any other way than “Pulp Fiction Style.”
36. Armageddon – “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing” by Aerosmith
Any proud father will be delighted to hear his daughter has been cast in a science fiction thriller, next to Bruce Willis and Billy Bob Thornton. Even more so when daddy gets to write the main theme song for the movie!
The roles have reversed: In the early nineties, Liv Tyler explored her acting skills in Aerosmith’s video for “Crazy”; in the late nineties, Aerosmith caused for a lot of tears with Armageddon’s theme song “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing.” Funnily enough, the director of “Crazy,” Marty Callner, had no idea Liv and Steven were related when he cast her! 35. Human Traffic – “Build it Up, Tear it Down” by Fatboy Slim
Human Traffic is by far the best depiction of your typical raver’s weekend; it portrays the peak and crash of club candy better than anything we’ve seen before, and the actors are downright amazing. It hits us with the type of dry sarcasm only the Brits are capable of, and despite its festive anticipations and highlights, it stays grounded.
Justin Karrigan’s masterpiece opens up to Fat Boy Slim’s “Build it Up, Tear it Down” and footage from people spreading the love at street raves and clubs, and gets us ready to party like it’s 1999!
34. Cruel Intentions – “Bitter Sweet Symphony” by The Verve
Let’s be honest, we all wanted the evil stepsister (Sarah Michelle Gellar) to go down, but when she finally does, the circumstances surrounding her demise are rather dramatic.
Luckily, The Verve’s “Bitter Sweet Symphony” accompanies Annette (Reese Witherspoon) driving out of the city in a Jaguar, giving us a moment to let the surprising ending to Cruel Intentions sink in.
33. The Doors – “The End” by The Doors
Val Kilmer did a fine job slipping into the role of Jim Morrison in Oliver Stone’s 1991 biopic about The Doors and their troubled, yet genius lead singer. And what about Kyle MacLachlan as Ray Manzarek? He looks great in his ’70s wardrobe! One of the most gripping music moments in this film was Val/Jim performing The End; at first the audience is hypnotized by his sensual manner, but as he dives deeper into his own philosophy behind the song, fans are left shocked and somewhat bewildered.
32. Billy Elliot – “Cosmic Dancer” by T-Rex
Who could resist this freckled, sweet little Irish kid and his love for dancing? Billy Elliot turned into an instant Christmas classic—the type of film you watch snuggled up with the entire family, readily embracing guaranteed laughter and perhaps an odd tear.
The film features a few T-Rex classics such as “I Love to Boogie,” “Get it On” and “Children of the Revolution,” but the song that best provides the overall feeling of Billy and what he’s all about is “Cosmic Dancer.” Just look at that wee face, those tapping feet, happily bouncing up and down on the bed—how is that not a scene to remember?
31. Breakfast at Tiffany’s – “Moon River” by Audrey Hepburn
Loosely based on a Truman Capote’s novella, Breakfast at Tiffany’s became an instant classic after its release in 1961. Audrey Hepburn is infamous for her portrayal of society-girl Holly Golightly, as it was the one she felt most challenged by.
Sitting on her window-sill singing “Moon River,” her eyes, her expression and her voice couldn’t get any dreamier. 30. Reservoir Dogs – “Stuck in the Middle with You” by Stealers Wheel
If there was ever a man who knows how to cut off a hostage’s ear in style, it’s Mr. White (Michael Madsen) in Reservoir Dogs. While the hostage sits bleeding and crying, bound to his chair, Mr. White takes his sweet time about choosing the perfect song to help him stay in the zone whilst showing off his skilled knifing technique.
At least he offers his hostage a little entertainment by really getting into the groove of “Stuck in the Middle with You.”
29. Desperado – “Canción del Mariachi” by Antonio Banderas y Los Lobos
Robert Rodriguez knows how to set a tone in his films, especially those set in Texas and Mexico, like his Mexico Trilogy. We all know that Antonio Banderas is a pure bred Malagueño, but he pulls off being a Mexican Mariachi pretty well inDesperado.
His passionate “guitar face” is priceless and his performance with Los Lobos in the opening credits of the film is entirely convincing, even as he adds some choreographed, theatrical violence with a simple whack of his guitar.
28. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – “Somebody to Love” by Jefferson Airplane
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas graced us with a lot of classics from the ’60s and ’70s era, such as “One Toke over the Line” and “Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again,” but nothing quite compared to the Jefferson Airplane moments of this film.
When Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp) finds himself in a disco high on … well, everything, he finally realizes he is a “victim of the drug explosion,” while everyone around him is getting groovy to “Somebody to Love.”
27. Grease – “You’re the One that I Want” by Olivia Newton-John & John Travolta
Oh, come on, you knew this one had to be coming! Stop whining already, we know it’s an oldie and a musical, but it’s a classic. The sudden transformation from pastel-toned preppy girl to leather-clad rocker chick was a shock to our systems—an electrifying one at that—and Danny’s jock boy desperation sent multiple chills up and down our spine.
So how the hell could we leave “You’re the One that I Want” out?
26. 8 Mile – “Lose Yourself” by Eminem
If ever there was a song that can encourage you to do anything you’ve ever dreamed of, this is it. Really, 8 Mile is just another hood movie, only it’s focused on the trailer park side of town. But we finally get to see Eminem’s vulnerable side as Jimmy “Rabbit.”
When Rabbit sets his mind to grabbing his next rap battle at the local “Shelter” by the balls, he starts scribbling rhymes on a messy notepad, while his sister Lily (Chloe Greenfield) paints him a picture. Awww!