The 50 Best Movie Soundtracks of the Past 50 Years

On Thursday, Ringer Films will debut the latest episode of its HBO Music Box series, Mr. Saturday Night, on the legendary manufacturer Robert Stigwood. Before that film examines the man who constantly changed the way music and movie interact with his work on Saturday Night Fever, The Ringer will spend the day celebrating the world of movie soundtracks that he so heavily influenced .
Before we get to the list of the best movie soundtracks—and argue the qualities of Pulp Fiction over, say, The Muppet Movie—there are a copulate of things to point out :

  • This ranking was composed by polling the Ringer staff and aggregating their personal lists.
  • There were two rules that voters had to follow: First, they had to stick to the past 50 years, from 1971 onward. Our humblest apologies to The Graduate and The Wizard of Oz. Second, in the spirit of Saturday Night Fever, only pure soundtracks were permitted—no scores. A tough beat for John Williams, to be sure.

now that that ’ randomness covered, here are the 50 best soundtracks from the past 50 years .

50. 8 Mile

There ’ s a lot of baggage around this, so I ’ megabyte going to try to tread lightly. The 8 Mile soundtrack is a good soundtrack. It ’ s a set like most Eminem albums, but with more features. It ’ s got a Freeway verse on “ 8 Miles and Runnin ’ ” where the Philly MC is at his barrelling point ( Hov manages to stretch his legs out for a bite on the chase excessively ). “ Wanksta ” may have looked like a mixtape-cut from 50 Cent ’ s “ How to Rob ” days, but it still holds up. “ Lose Yourself ” won an academy award. It ’ mho fair that the cultural trappings of the record, like everything with Eminem, are so souped-up on testosterone, so acidic and sometimes merely homely gross, that it no longer gets to be merely a piece of music. 8 Mile is technically bright. It can besides be appalling. It ’ s a soundtrack that functions as legend-building at its most audacious. If you asked Em, he ’ five hundred probably swear it was worth it. —Lex Pryor

49. High School High

The ’ 90s marked the Golden Age of the tap soundtrack. As hip-hop was becoming a titanic commercial military unit early in the decade—both on the Billboard charts and at the box office—heralded movies like Boyz n the Hood and Menace II Society enlisted a bevy of established stars while unearthing new talents for their company albums, and sold a boatload of copies in the process. later in the ten, projects for The Nutty Professor and Bullworth produced massive hits that have far outlived the vehicles that showcased them. Long-forgotten movies like Soul in the Hole, Sunset Park, and Don ’ metric ton Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your juice in the Hood were all accompanied by minor-classic soundtracks, while Hype Williams ’ s Belly and its music have both endured as fad favorites .
There ’ s no better model of the exponent of the ’ 90s knock soundtrack than the one for High School High, the 1996 Jon Lovitz–helmed parody of inner-city-schools-as-a-war-zones flicks like The Substitute and Dangerous Minds. The movie itself was a square turkey ( though I ’ m still partial to the “ Rhinestone Cowboy ” scenery ), but the soundtrack tracklist reads like a rap purist ’ mho fever dream : Two Wu-Tang Clan songs ! A large Professor and Pete Rock collaboration ! De La Soul ! The best angstrom Tribe Called Quest deeply cut post–Midnight Marauders ! besides mix in : some of the biggest R & B stars of the era in Faith Evans, D ’ Angelo, Erykah Badu, and Jodeci, plus a gigantic R & B radio hit in the Braids ’ cover of “ Bohemian Rhapsody ” and a Quad City DJ ’ s remix. A soundtrack this stuffed for a movie this forgettable couldn ’ metric ton exist today. But High School High wasn ’ t an anomaly in its era—it was one of its define documents. —Justin Sayles

48. Judgment Night

Is there any greater chasm between the reception of a movie and its soundtrack than Judgment Night ? ( possibly a better question : Has anyone who adores the Judgment Night soundtrack actually seen the movie ? ) The plot to the movie is fairly standard menu as 1993 action thrillers go : Some dudes ( Emilio Estevez, Cuba Gooding Jr., Jeremy fuckin ’ Piven ) witness some drug dealers ( led by Denis Leary ) kill person, so they go on the run. The soundtrack, however, offered a concept that was daring at the time : getting rap and rock candy acts to collaborate. Just a few years after “ Walk This Way ” —and barely a few before “ Nookie ” —the Judgment Night soundtrack envisions a rap-rock future where Helmet and House of Pain, Biohazard and Onyx, and Pearl Jam and Cypress Hill are not merely contemporaries but peers working in bicycle-built-for-two, with raps exploding over pulverizing licks. ( The best song here, however, remains De La Soul and Teenage Fanclub ’ s “ Fallin ’, ” the alone track that feels like a home game for the rap artist. ) The album posits the intersection of riffs and rhymes as an aesthetic option to aspire to, not a catch for nu-metal creep. We would ’ ve been better off if this translation of rap-rock won out, but as it stands, the Judgment Night OST remains a testament to experiment and dare choices, even if the film does not. —Sayles

47. American Honey

I can ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate demerit anyone for not seeking out this humble indie from 2016—after all, it ’ s about three hours retentive. But I will implore you to dive into american Honey ’ south digress, motley soundtrack with every luck I get. Scoring a narrative of lost, disillusioned adolescent dirtbags who travel through the blue corners of the United States selling magazines door-to-door, the soundtrack is in kind a noteworthy picture of both America and mid-2010s adolescence. Rae Sremmurd sits following to the Raveonettes ; ILoveMakonnen mixes company with tribe singer Steve Earle. If the road tripper of American Honey ever feels transcendent, it ’ sulfur thanks to the contributions of the music. Watch these two scenes if you don ’ t have three hours : the kids rapping E-40 ’ sulfur “ Choices ” in harmony as a “ fail sell some bullshit ” pump-up ; and much later, belting out Lady A ’ south “ american Honey ” in a moment of weird bonding that ’ s excessively beautiful to put into words. —Andrew Gruttadaro

46. The Breakfast Club

With one needle dismiss and a fist in the vent, Jack Antonoff ’ s career was born. badly, the fecund producer has talked at length about John Hughes ’ s influence on his music, and he even once performed an original mark for The Breakfast Club. While Antonoff has surely beaten those ’ 80s synths to end, he ’ s not wrong in admiring the director creditworthy for possibly the most iconic ending birdcall of all time. Yes, Emilio Estevez hurdle over bookshelves to Keith Forsey ’ s “ I ’ m the Dude ” and the subsequent dance collage to Karla DeVito ’ s “ We Are not Alone ” are memorable moments in their own right. But it ’ s Simple Minds ’ “ Don ’ thyroxine You ( Forget About Me ) ” that leaves us with the lingering adolescent joy of last feeling understand. Whether you blame Hughes or thank him for inventing Jack Antonoff is up to you. —Julianna Ress

45. Grease

tied the most tempered Broadway musical skeptics can ’ t help oneself singing along to the Grease soundtrack. every birdcall, from the Barry Gibb–written, Frankie Valli–crooned deed track, to John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John ’ s climactic chart-topping pas de deux “ You ’ re the One That I Want, ” is about painfully attention-getting. lone “ hopelessly Devoted to You ” got an Academy Award nomination, but there were several more that could ’ ve earned that appointment. “ Summer Nights, ” “ Greased Lightnin, ’ ” “ Beauty School Dropout, ” and “ Sandy ” are all karaoke staples to this sidereal day. With Grease, Robert Stigwood assembled a blockbuster movie/soundtrack jazz band for the second straight class. Like 1977 ’ randomness Saturday Night Fever, which he besides masterminded, the record went on to become one of the best-selling albums of all time. —Alan Siegel

44. The Muppet Movie

There are nine original songs in The Muppet Movie, and seven of them are stone-cold, 9/10-or-better masterpieces. From the iconic “ The Rainbow Connection ” to the road-trip anthem “ Movin ’ Right Along ” to the bibulous ( it ’ second implied, this is a kids ’ movie ) barroom piano dirge “ I Hope That Something Better Comes Along, ” there ’ s not a bad musical moment in this 1979 classical. not to put excessively fine a point on it, but if you haven ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate wept openly to “ I ’ thousand Going to Go bet on There Someday, ” you shouldn ’ thymine be allowed to vote .
The Muppet Movie is operating on such a gamey level it just throws away the cool dance band name of all time—the Electric Mayhem—on a drollery band of puppets created to spoof Dr. John. And their song, “ Can You Picture That, ” is not equitable a throwaway but a frolic, saxophone-blaring giant. This is, to paraphrase Electric Mayhem frontman Dr. Teeth, a soundtrack of very heavy-duty proportions. —Michael Baumann

43. Moulin Rouge!

Moulin Rouge ! ride thus many cultural waves just as they were cresting—jukebox musicals, pop music tie-ins for movie soundtracks, that eldritch six-year period when Baz Luhrmann got a blank discipline for some reason—and rode all of them to shore with delightful happiness. The cover of “ Lady Marmalade, ” produced by Missy Elliott and sung by a murderer ’ second row of ’ 90s pop chanteuses, is a heater, a throng, and a bop .
This being a Luhrmann movie, sometimes Moulin Rouge ! poured it on a little dense. ( medical infomercial voice-over : If you lived in a college dormitory between 2001 and 2007, or were exposed to theater kids singing “ Elephant Love Medley ” or “ El Tango de Roxanne, ” you may be entitled to fiscal compensation. ) But it ’ second hard to find demerit with the soundtrack ’ s exclusive original number, “ Come What May, ” which brought tears to audiences ’ eyes and hapless Ewan McGregor to his tippy-toes as he tried to belt out those gamey notes, and about 20 years late, convinced the world that two canadian calculate skaters were more than just teammates. The greatest love you ’ ll ever learn is for this one duet from Moulin Rouge ! —Baumann

42. Boogie Nights

What else would you expect with Paul Thomas Anderson directing a movie called Boogie Nights ? With a style like that, the soundtrack plainly had to to be good. From the three-plus-minute track that opens the movie, the spectator is viscerally transported to the ’ 70s with credibly the best use of the Emotions ’ iconic “ Best of My Love ” put to movie. Marvin Gaye ; the Commodores ; Electric Light Orchestra—Boogie Nights drops classical after classical to infuse its scenes with the mood of ’ 70s disco, dancing, drugs, and beyond. What ’ mho indeed great about this soundtrack is not plainly how infectious the songs are, but besides how vital they are to establishing the pace and energy of the movie. The film could ’ ve been average had the music disappointed ; it ’ second one of PTA ’ s all-time bests because the soundtrack absolutely delivers. —Aric Jenkins

41. Trainspotting

The best soundtracks somehow capture the sensibility of the movie and something about the universe into which the movie is released. With this in judgment, Trainspotting is rightfully some ace shit : at once a mixtape you could imagine the criminally mind junkies of Danny Boyle ’ s kinetic masterpiece listening to, adenine well as a soundtrack for the rise of a second british invasion. The first sound you hear is the cacophonous drums of Iggy Pop ’ sulfur “ Lust for Life, ” and from there we drift into Saturday nights ( New Order ’ s “ Temptation ” ) and Sunday mornings ( Lou Reed ’ s “ Perfect Day ” ; Brian Eno ’ s “ Deep Blue Day ” ). At the same fourth dimension, this is a bantering snapshot of the best british music happening at the time of Trainspotting ’ s 1996 publish, with entries from Blur, Primal Scream, Elastica, and the club sounds of Leftfield and Underworld. —Chris Ryan

40. Top Gun

When remembering the Top Gun soundtrack, I and credibly most people think of two songs : Kenny Loggins ’ s “ Danger Zone ” and Berlin ’ s “ Take My Breath Away, ” both of which are used in the film three or more times. While there are other playfulness music cues in the film—most notably the karaoke rendition of “ You ’ ve Lost That Lovin ’ Feelin ’ ” by Maverick and his wingmen—those two songs represent the peer parts action and love affair that defined Top Gun and the now-obsolete “ date night ” movie writing style that thrived in the 1980s and ’ 90s. top Gun, though, is still very much alert, and hopefully the constantly delayed sequel will have a many memorable music moments. For now, I ’ thousand merely glad they didn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate habit a game cover of “ Danger Zone ” in the Maverick dawdler. —Ress

39. Batman

Who else would Tim Burton choose to curate the 1989 revival of Batman ? Prince already won an Academy Award ( Best Original Music Score ) for Purple Rain in 1985 ; four years subsequently, he delivered a far-out, eclectic mix of soul, flinch, rock, and ballads for Burton ’ s blockbuster movie. “ Batdance ” held the no. 1 spotlight on the Billboard 200 for six back-to-back weeks, becoming Prince ’ s foremost no. 1 song since “ Kiss. ” The soundtrack contains songs that give listeners an epinephrine rush and an apology to dance ( “ Batdance, ” “ Trust, ” “ Partyman ” ) and bob their heads ( “ The Future, ” “ Electric Chair ” ; “ Vicki Waiting ” ), angstrom good as animal ballads to vibe to ( “ Lemon Crush, ” “ Scandalous ” ). As a Black man, we have to address the nuance in our lives. Watching the “ Batdance ” video recording, you see the many facets of prince : His identity as an artist, the POV of both Batman and the Joker. Prince never worried about identity. He confidently and unapologetically performed as himself every time he picked up an instrument. He never gave a damn about what people thought, which is a trait that was always ahead of its prison term. —Logan Murdock

38. The Royal Tenenbaums

Wes Anderson ’ s magnum musical composition about successful children stunted by the disappointments of adulthood is soundtracked by a longing for the past. Paul Simon ’ sulfur “ Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard ” plays while Gene Hackman ’ s Royal teaches his discipline grandsons the importance of childhood recklessness ; an implemental adaptation of “ Hey Jude ” accompanies introductions to the family ; and the theme from A Charlie Brown Christmas recurs with Gwyneth Paltrow ’ s sulking Margot. But the best needle drop of all most effectively evokes the Tenenbaums ’ affecting nostalgia. As Margot steps off a bus to see her ( adopted, and besides lovestruck ) brother, Anderson ’ s common whirlwind footstep slows as the tender guitar plucks of Nico ’ s “ These Days ” enter. “ These days I seem to think a lot about the things that I forgot to do / And all the times I had the find to ” sums up not fair the two siblings ’ kinship, but the accurate feeling that brought the Tenenbaum family back in concert. —Ress

37. The Prince of Egypt

Like the movie itself, The Prince of Egypt ’ s soundtrack starts throwing heating system from the identical first frame of animation, and it does not relent until the identical end. The film ’ sulfur showstopping number, “ When You Believe, ” became a mainstream radio hit in the phase of a pas de deux by Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston, but—at the risk of blaspheming against two-thirds of the godhead—the film ’ randomness version, sung by Michelle Pfeiffer and Sally Dworsky, carries far more emotional system of weights. And even that might not be the best song in the movie. few movie musicals, if any, bounce from the despairing ferociousness of “ Deliver Us ” to the conflict of “ All I always Wanted ” to Brian Stokes Mitchell ’ mho elated baritone moderate in “ Through Heaven ’ s Eyes. ” The Prince of Egypt is not only a big soundtrack, but it ’ randomness pivotal to the aroused heave of the movie ; Disney has never done anything this estimable. —Baumann

36. Trouble Man

perturb Man always takes me back to Marvin Gaye ’ s performance of the title song during his 1974 concert at the Oakland Coliseum. Years after the death of his erstwhile lover Tammi Terrell, he sought to conquer his stage fright on a winter even in front of a backpack Bay Area crowd. Throughout the night, he powered through his most celebrated tracks, including a epicurean 11-minute “ Fossil Medley, ” while fighting through his ill-famed invagination. To understand Gaye ’ s performance that night is to understand his personal country of affairs during the time menstruation : his serious battles with the IRS, his budding, disruptive love affair with Janis Hunter, and his complicate relationship with fame. But his operation of “ Trouble Man, ” the third gear issue of that 1974 evening, gives a glance of his fortitude. The song chronicles the life sentence of a James Bond–like supporter named Mr. T, who fights crime with a distinct level of cool. furthermore, T is a symbol of prevail for Black cinema in the 1970s, showing that melanin clamber has means in a predominantly white Hollywood. At the Coliseum, Gaye is attempting to achieve the lapp feat in his first on-stage performance in years. And with his infinite-octave voice inactive momentarily intact, he belts out a exultant message two minutes into “ Trouble Man ” that doubles as a conflict cry that will resonate for all eternity : “ I come up hard, I had to win. then start all over and win again. ” —Murdock

35. The Big Chill

It ’ mho no surprise that Lawrence Kasdan ’ second 1983 elegy for a generation fueled by sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll ’ n ’ roll would have a bang soundtrack. As Kasdan ’ sulfur stacked vomit of pamper boomers gather together after the funeral of their supporter, the feel-good Motown hits from their youth underscore the cynicism of their adulthood. The film ’ s most iconic scene, an ad-lib kitchen dance issue, has everyone in their WASPiest sweaters and khakis grooving down to the Temptations ’ “ Ain ’ t Too Proud to Beg. ” In a time before mixtapes took off and playlists evening existed, this soundtrack—assembled by Lawrence ’ s Detroit-born wife, Meg Kasdan, and featuring Marvin Gaye, Three Dog Night, Aretha Franklin, and Procol Harum—was such a nostalgia-fueled reach with child baby boomer audiences that it inspired a sequel : More Songs From the Original Soundtrack of the Big Chill. The original, an enduring best seller, has been certified platinum six times. In early words, The Big Chill soundtrack walked sol the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack could fly. —Joanna Robinson

34. Juno

2007 : the year defined by side bangs, cryptic V-neck T-shirts, the craze of Facebook, and the Diablo Cody indie cut Juno. This film catapulted the exploitation of ( hawaii, MTV ! ) and interest in adolescent pregnancy. Oh, and hamburger phones. It besides simultaneously turned all 12-year-olds into Moldy Peaches fans. This soundtrack is the precursor to the roll of lo-fi indie rock candy to come, full of sweet songs that accurately depict the coming-of-age story Elliot Page therefore brilliantly portrays. Cat Power, the Velvet Underground, and Sonic Youth explain the grief and confusion that comes with being a self-deprecating adolescent. “ All I Want Is You ” by Barry Louis Polisar is unforgettable in a Napoleon Dynamite–esque opening sequence in which Juno chugs Sunny D. I besides truly loved Michael Cera in those tight-ass shorts running to the Kinks ’ “ A Well Respected Man. ” It was hot then. possibly not thus much now. —Lani Renaldo


33. Friday

deoxyadenosine monophosphate much as 1995 ’ mho Friday has been deified as one of the greatest stone comedies of all time, it ’ randomness often forgotten how a lot of the movie unfolds like a coming-of-age fib. Fittingly, Friday ’ s soundtrack mirrors the arrested development of its protagonists, as if Craig ’ s fabricated collection of new G-Funk and gangsta rap classics ( Ice Cube ’ s “ Friday, ” Dr. Dre ’ mho “ Keep Their Heads Ringin ’ ” ) sits one ring below his father Willie ’ s funk and soul vinyl. At times the soundtrack marries the two periods—like the movie ’ mho opening total, “ Tryin ’ to See Another Day ” by the Isley Brothers, which is in the run for well song to sum up the entire plot of a movie and silent sound good. But the film is at its funniest when it juxtaposes Craig and Smokey ’ s childish antics—getting high on a Friday afternoon, catcalling Nia Long—with the type of ex post facto music their parents were credibly listening to as they did the same years before ( Rick James ’ s “ Mary Jane, ” Rose Royce ’ s “ I Wan na Get Next to You ” ). Some things are dateless. —Charles Holmes

32. Donnie Darko

today, using era-appropriate modern wave bangers to set the climate of an angsty ’ 80s adolescent menstruation piece might seem run-of-the-mill. But when future cult classic Donnie Darko was released in 2001, that genre hadn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate, well, become cool again. “ We were just in that here and now where people were not clamoring to license those songs yet, ” director Richard Kelly told The Ringer in January. “ Three, four years late, everyone started coming after ’ 80s songs. ”
Donnie Darko features needle drops by Echo & the Bunnymen, Duran Duran, the Church, and, most memorably, Tears for Fears, whose “ Head Over Heels ” scores a captivating trailing nip through Donnie ’ s high school. But the film is actually best known for another Tears for Fears song, one that they didn ’ t even sing. Gary Jules and Michael Andrews ’ s stripped adaptation of “ Mad World, ” which plays over the close sequence, became an international hit. “ It deep-rooted Gary and I into the fabric of acculturation, and kind of became about like a verb, ” Andrews said. “ Like, ‘ Oh, let ’ s “ Mad World ” that. ’ Where you take something and you kind of turn it on its head. ” —Siegel

31. Juice

Tupac Shakur was an actor before he was a knocker. A scholar at the Baltimore School for the Arts in the 1980s, he was known for the capture and ardent volume he would late bring to wax. This is crucial to the mythology surrounding the rapper : When he auditioned for the function of Bishop in Juice, he wasn ’ t the ace who would become one of his genre ’ randomness defining artists ; he was an unknown, fine-looking pull the leg of who had to beat out a score of others for the share. He won the character and turned in a world-historically great nefarious performance, which helped catapult him into fame, both at the cineplex and on the radio. But he ’ randomness wholly absent from the Juice soundtrack, a completely defendable decision at the time which seems like an enormous missed opportunity in review .
In Pac ’ randomness stead, the Juice soundtrack includes some of the most important pat acts of 1991 : bad Daddy Kane, EPMD, Queen Latifah, Too $ hort, Cypress Hill, etc. Those artists all turn in hearty, if not precisely earth-shattering tracks. But Juice makes this list off the strength of two songs : blue by Nature ’ s “ Uptown Anthem, ” which despite what the Billboard charts say may be their finest sung, and Eric B. & Rakim ’ s “ Know the Ledge. ” The latter will go down arsenic one of the best moments from the original God MC—over menacing upright bass and neck-snapping violate, Rakim spits pure bragaddocio and street smarts for four minutes. It ’ s a blame staple—an ode to both the five boroughs and shit-talking—and the most crucial musical artifact from one of tap ’ s most authoritative big-screen excursions ( not counting the much-derided, but however lovable, DJ battle fit ). That ’ s enough to secure this album ’ mho bequest, even with the absence of Pac. —Sayles

30. Do the Right Thing

american samoa much as the vicinity, the color palettes, and the versatile dramatic spectacles, the soundtrack for Do the Right Thing enshrines the themes in the film. Transmitted by Samuel L. Jackson ’ s bang-up We-Love Radio ( 108 FM ), the music manages to convey the very climate at hand. so when Steel Pulse ’ s crooning reggae serenade “ Can ’ t Stand It ” appears about a third gear of the way into the movie, what we know is that the block is hot in more than one way—it is steaming outside and people are boiling inside. What truly sets the soundtrack apart, however, is how it ’ s able to wield the currents of beloved and hate simultaneously—how the most effective revolutionary anthem in the history of rap, Public Enemy ’ s “ Fight the Power, ” appears perfectly in concert with Al Jarreau ’ s satiny ballad “ Never Explain Love. ” On the soundtrack for Do the Right Thing, as in the film itself, the distance between love and hate is nonexistent. —Pryor

29. Space Jam

WELCOME TO THE JAM, IT ’ S YOUR CHANCE. From early ’ 90s house to techno to R & B, whoever curated this soundtrack know and profoundly understood the assignment. The beloved soundtrack features Seal, Quad City DJs, even Monica—and that scantily covers the glare of this absolutely packaged hour and four minutes. ( There ’ s an iconic song here that will go unmentioned, sullied as it is by its creator. But you know it, and credibly remember your first prison term hearing it. ) I ’ ll never forget the bliss of naively thinking Seal ’ mho version of “ Fly Like an Eagle ” ( in the first place by Steve Miller ) was the best thing he ’ five hundred ever penned. not to mention, this is a children ’ second film that has a D ’ Angelo deep cut and an integral number whose sole aim is to make fun of Charles Barkley. ultimately, can person please get “ Buggin ’, ” the four-minute Bugs Bunny rap ghostwritten by Jay-Z, on Spotify ? —Renaldo

28. Good Will Hunting

“ I think tied before we started shooting I was thinking in terms of Elliott ’ s music, ” Good Will Hunting film director Gus Van Sant told Boston Magazine about the multiple alcoholic, melancholic songs by the late Elliott Smith that underlie Van Sant ’ sulfur 1997 movie. “ No Name # 3 ” plays during the “ how do you like them apples ? ” scene. “ Angeles ” makes it even sadder when Minnie Driver hangs up a pay earphone and convulses with just-dumped devastation. “ Miss Misery, ” which Smith wrote for the movie, kicks up right as Robin Williams reads the note that his client has gone to go see about a girl. ( Smith performed the song at the Oscars that year, though it didn ’ metric ton acquire, falling to Celine Dion ’ second “ My Heart Will Go On. ” )
The music in Good Will Hunting besides includes other work, like the rollicking “ Fisherman ’ second Blues ” and the seamy “ Baker Street, ” ampere good as Danny Elfman ’ s tinkling score. But it ’ second Smith ’ second music that defines some of the film ’ s most involve moments and traces the moody, aspirant relationship between the characters of Will and [ highly Boston stress ] Skylar. —Katie Baker

27. Black Panther

If the academic degree of hype surrounding Black Panther ’ s release—the dashiki upon arrival, the children entranced, the idolize acclaim—has dulled in recent years, the film ’ s soundtrack stands as an indelible repository to that moment. A collection of songs that grew into a stand-alone project, Kendrick Lamar ’ s Black Panther : The Album, was a herculean undertaking. It is a record made by the most critically acclaim knocker of his generation and a stir accessory to the most well-received come out of the closet of the most democratic film franchise always. And it ’ s excellent, by the room, even if its excellence differs from Kendrick ’ s standard fare. The Album understands all the ways a barrel can talk. It conveys the countless formats of african being. It ’ mho got a great verse from Future. Most of all, you can ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate listen to it without thinking that if the album has all this, the film must be boundless. —Pryor

26. Marie Antoinette

Sofia Coppola ’ s diachronic play about the end queen of France is a stylistic display of monarchal degeneracy, from immaculately decorated pastries, to intricate pastel gowns, to a soundtrack of forte bum and indie rock candy. The film opens with Kirsten Dunst as the nominal queen in a bombastic feather headstall, sticking a finger in coat frost while Gang of Four ’ s “ Natural ’ s not in It ” blares in the background. But Marie Antoinette is more than just lavish style—it besides deals with themes of aloneness and adolescence, which are reflected in the music : The Strokes ’ “ What Ever Happened ? ” plays as Marie Antoinette longs for the adulterous matter that precisely ended, and the lavish New Order cut “ Ceremony ” fades in over her 18th birthday party. Through it all, the Marie Antoinette soundtrack proves that adolescent angst is dateless. —Ress


25. Forrest Gump

The Forrest Gump soundtrack international relations and security network ’ t the soundtrack of a movie ; it ’ s the soundtrack of America in the twentieth hundred. It ’ sulfur now That ’ s What I Call music : goat Classics. Everyone who ’ s anyone is on here. Aretha Franklin. Bob Dylan. Fleetwood Mac. Gladys Knight. Shoot, even Elvis, excessively ( hilarious that he co-opts Forrest ’ s leg brace dance for “ Hound Dog ” ; the King has a habit of stealing ideas from marginalize people. ) If a movie is going to document the ebb and flow of american company over the path of 40 years, the music has to be integral—and Forrest Gump gets it topographic point on. From the “ Fortunate Son ” entrance into Vietnam to the subsequent “ Turn ! twist ! call on ! ” peace protest, Forrest Gump systematically pairs the right tunes to the right scenes. And despite the huge range of emotion present in this movie, reasonably much every song save for Joan Baez ’ s “ Blowin ’ in the Wind ” is a banger ( distillery a firecracker, in a unlike way ). Go ahead and put on the Forrest Gump soundtrack at your adjacent cookout or something—see if anyone in truth complains. —Jenkins

24. Inside Llewyn Davis

The Coen brothers reunited with O Brother, Where Art Thou ? super-producer T Bone Burnett to dig into the ’ 60s tribe explosion in Greenwich Village. As with O Brother, the Inside Llewyn Davis soundtrack is packed with lesser-known traditional songs reimagined by modern performers like bluegrass legend Chris Thile and Marcus Mumford. Unlike O Brother, this album features multiple performances by its star, a pre-mega-fame Oscar Isaac, arsenic well as vocally gifted supporting players Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, and Adam Driver. From the alone original cut, the goofy “ Please Mr. Kennedy, ” to Isaac ’ s wailing solo on “ Fare Thee Well ( Dink ’ mho Song ), ” the soothing folk music harmonies blanket over the disruptive conflict of trying to make it as an artist. The album could stand on Isaac ’ s emotional vocals alone, but Burnett sneaks in preexisting gems like Llewyn Davis ’ s real-life inhalation Dave Van Ronk on “ Green, Green Rocky Road ” and an unreleased studio record of Bob Dylan ’ s “ Farewell. ” —Robinson

23. Dirty Dancing

You put a sung from the Wall of Sound era on a soundtrack and I ’ m in ( plunderer : Goodfellas is coming ). But beyond including the Ronettes ’ “ Be My Baby, ” the Dirty Dancing OST pulls off the noteworthy feat of capturing the vibration of both the time the movie ’ sulfur set in and the time when it was released. The Five Satins ’ “ In the silent of the Night ” and Maurice Williams & the Zodiacs ’ “ Stay ” firm place Dirty Dancing in the era precisely before music would change teendom everlastingly, while Eric Carmen ’ s “ Hungry Eyes ” and the Patrick Swayze/Wendy Fraser collab “ She ’ s Like the Wind ” evoke the soft-rock glory of the 1980s. And is there any movie song bigger than “ ( I ’ ve Had ) The time of My Life ” ? No one puts that birdcall in a corner. —Gruttadaro

22. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

Fake movie music is a perplex genre. real musicians can barely manage to conjure a adequate hit on their best days, so the summons of watching an actor try to accomplish the like feat onscreen is frequently brutal. If filmmakers are golden, they might stumble into an Oscar-winning tune like Three 6 Mafia ’ s “ It ’ s Hard Out here for a Pimp, ” but normally you end up with a monstrosity like Ally ’ s wyrd pop birdcall “ Why Did You Do That ” in 2018 ’ s A asterisk Is Born. That ’ s what makes 2010 ’ s Scott Pilgrim vanadium. The World, a movie apparently about a battle of the bands, such a particular artifact .
Based on Bryan Lee O ’ Malley ’ s successful graphic novels, Scott Pilgrim vanadium. The World is a rom-com centered on a conflict of the bands where most of the characters have the fighting talents of a shonen manga. Through all of this, it ’ sulfur Scott Pilgrim ’ s music that possibly ages the best. Most of the bands in Scott Pilgrim vanadium. The World are played by very musicians from 2000s-era indie rock : Beck created Sex Bob-Omb ’ sulfur coarse and amateurish fathom within 72 hours after being approached by film director Edgar Wright and music producer Nigel Godrich. But Metric ’ s “ Black Sheep, ” played by the fictional Clash at Demonhead, is the film ’ s pennant jewel. Sung in the movie by a pre–Captain Marvel Brie Larson, “ Black Sheep ” is the rare talk through one’s hat movie song that ’ s angstrom full as the genre it ’ s riffing on. The world didn ’ thymine need a movie wide of the type of early-aughts indie rock that ’ five hundred make a Pitchfork critic salivate, but we got it. And Scott Pilgrim v. The World is the best version of what could ’ ve been an impossible timeline. —Holmes

21. Hustle & Flow

It got Triple Six an Oscar. That ’ s very all that needs to be said. We could talk about the fact that the soundtrack to Hustle & Flow contains some of the few becoming knock performances by an actor ever ( courtesy of Terrence Howard ). We could discuss the solicitation of features from Juvenile, T.I., Trina, and 8Ball & MJG that furnish the record, one of which even charted in the Billboard Top 100. But actually, all that matters when it comes to this soundtrack is that Three 6 Mafia, the Memphis polymaths behind “ Slob on My Knob, ” went up on stage at the 78th Academy Awards and deservedly accepted the Best original Song loot for the birdcall “ It ’ s Hard Out here for a Pimp. ” —Pryor

20. The Harder They Come

Years before Bob Marley ’ s Legend introduced a by and large white american audience to reggae, there was The Harder They Come, the 1972 Jamaican movie starring Jimmy Cliff and its blockbuster soundtrack featuring Cliff and Trojan Records staples like Toots and the Maytals, Desmond Dekker, and the Melodians. arguably, the soundtrack has had a bigger influence than the movie over the past five decades : While the noir lives on largely as a film-school and cult refer, the OST routinely places in historical best – album lists, holds a place in the Library of Congress, and has been the recipient of massive deluxe reissues. That ’ s a credit to Cliff ’ second aching, all-time bang-up performance on the title track, but besides the infectious riffs of album cuts like “ 007 ( Shanty Town ). ” Reggae didn ’ thymine need The Harder They Come in order to break out in the States, but it gave many listeners their first—and for many, their most enduring—taste of music from the Island. —Sayles

19. Velvet Goldmine

They say necessity is the beget of invention, and for his jukebox musical about the rise and fall of glam rock, director Todd Haynes faced quite the constriction : While he initially set out to make a square David Bowie biopic, Bowie famously refused his bless, leaving the film director without the right to use his muse ’ sulfur name—or, crucially, any of his songs .
Haynes has since proved himself one of our finest living chroniclers of crop up legends, actually matching the creative genius of his subjects rather of merely depicting them. I ’ thousand not There cast Cate Blanchett, among others, as a aspect of Bob Dylan ; the objective The Velvet Underground uses a scarcity of actual footage to its advantage, using abstraction that does John Cale gallant. Before either of these projects, though, there was Velvet Goldmine, which used Bowie ’ s absence to tell a history at once more oblique and more denotative than an overt Bowie protection. Jonathan Rhys Meyers ’ s Brian Slade is a bit Bowie and a bit Jobriath ; Ewan McGregor ’ mho Curt Wild has bits of Iggy Pop and Lou Reed. The fictional songs they play include works by both Reed and Bowie producer Brian Eno, plus contemporaries like Roxy Music and T. Rex, with originals artfully woven in between. ( “ The Ballad of Maxwell Demon, ” named for Slade ’ s in-text interpolate ego, has Ziggy Stardust written all over it. ) As a movie about music, Velvet Goldmine ’ s soundtrack was constantly going to be crucial to its achiever. But without any one source to lean on, it became a proxy for the film ’ second roving curio and cagey conceit. Bowie didn ’ metric ton realize it at the time, but he did us all a favor. —Alison Herman

18. Lost in Translation

The soundtrack of Sofia Coppola ’ sulfur Lost in Translation is a model for line. Squarepusher, Air, Death in Vegas, the Jesus and Mary Chain, and Phoenix provide the synth-pop vibes that paint such a full video of and give huge meaning to Bob and Charlotte ’ mho “ Is this it ? ” wanderings through Tokyo. It ’ s the music video recording for a whole sub-era of music starring Scarlett Johansson. Elsewhere, Patti Smith, Carly Simon, the Pretenders, and Roxy Music lend the soundtrack an breeze of maturity and wisdom of solomon ( and stand alone as great karaoke picks ). But it ’ s all beautiful and pensive and light. Until, of course : “ suckin ’ on my titties like you wanted me. ” The Peaches needle drop in Lost in Translation is fabled, in large character because of the sonic context it ’ mho forced into. “ Fuck the Pain Away ” international relations and security network ’ thyroxine about american samoa triumphant if it ’ s not future to “ More Than This. ” —Gruttadaro

17. Romeo + Juliet

It ’ randomness safe to say critics were divided on Baz Luhrmann ’ s made-for-MTV spin on Shakespeare ’ s most celebrated love report. The movie ’ s bequest merely grew as its devoted adolescent female fans sent its soundtrack up the charts. Album producers Nellee Hooper and Marius de Vries remixed a lesser-known Garbage B-side, “ # 1 Crush, ” into the ring ’ s merely no. 1 one. Bouncy pop hit “ Lovefool ” made swedish rockers the Cardigans a family appoint. Des ’ ree ’ randomness show-stopper, “ Kissing You, ” performed during Claire Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio ’ s electric pisces tank fitting cute, may be the song most iconically associated with the film. But, controversially, a lead written for the film, Radiohead ’ s “ Exit Music ( For a Film ) ” international relations and security network ’ t on the album at the band ’ s request—they saved it for 1997 ’ s OK Computer rather. No worries, though : Hooper ’ s remix of Radiohead ’ s “ Talk Show Host ” is more than a consolation pry. —Robinson

16. Garden State

Look, you just had to be there, OK ? ! This legend of LimeWire, this dean of the dormitory room, this setlist of indie infamy : It ’ mho Zach Braff ’ s ambient and once-omnipresent 2004 Garden State soundtrack, which the then-man-child himself described as “ a mix certificate of deposit with all of the music that I felt was scoring my biography at the prison term I was writing the screenplay. ” ( He even went sol far as to send prospective actors a replicate of an actual shuffle cadmium along with said screenplay. )
Featuring dark Coldplay, multiple Shins songs, trippy Zero 7 and Thievery Corporation, and older tracks by Nick Drake and Simon & Garfunkel, the Garden State album sounded the way a blue, clammy New Jersey basement with brassy gunpowder room wallpaper near an abandoned pit felt. Braff ’ second choice of music, like his movie itself, is frequently discussed in a emotional state of retrospective parody and embarrassment, but it was highly popular—even perceived by some, uh, friends of mine as heavy ! —at the meter. And it has a lasting bequest : You got tantalum see this one meme. It will change your life, I swear. —Baker

15. Shaft

Isaac Hayes is a slightly odd embodiment for Blaxploitation soundtracks. By the time he penned his first gear, he was already a massive mainstream success, with two Billboard top-10 albums and a third barely a few months away. A composer today with a exchangeable résumé wouldn ’ metric ton be pigeonholed in Black, largely belowground cinema. But the times being what they were, Hayes was tapped for his beginning soundtrack for Shaft, Gordon Parks ’ sulfur movie that punched its way out the trappings of its genre and became one of the biggest movies of 1971. At least function of that success can be traced to Hayes ’ s omnipresent soundtrack, which included an iconic composition and possibly the most immediately recognizable hi-hats in record history. The birdcall would top the singles chart and former win an Academy Award. ( Another birdcall, the vocal number “ Do Your Thing, ” would land in the peak 40. ) The Shaft score cemented Hayes as one of the key figures of the Blaxploitation world—three years former, he ’ five hundred both create the music for and ace in Tough Guys and Truck Turner, which both failed to reach Shaft ’ s heights at the box position or the music charts but live on as samples for authoritative rap tracks. In the years that followed, the Blaxploitation genre fell out of privilege and by and large disappeared. The Black Moses would never helm another soundtrack again. But with one a enormous as shaft under his belt, he didn ’ t need to in rate to go down vitamin a one of the greatest of all time, Blaxploitation or otherwise. —Sayles

14. Drive

It ’ second heavily to flesh out a fictional character who doesn ’ triiodothyronine evening have a name, but as Ryan Gosling prepared for his lead function in Nicolas Winding Refn ’ s Drive, he clued into how the Driver was basically a caricature of brooding antiheroes. “ This is a guy that ’ south seen besides many movies, and he ’ second started to confuse his life for a film, ” Gosling told Rotten Tomatoes in a 2011 interview. “ He ’ randomness lost in the mythology of Hollywood and he ’ mho become an amalgamation of all the characters that he admires. ” That philosophy surely extends to Drive ’ randomness soundtrack : a solicitation of Europop and synthwave tracks that, along with Cliff Martinez ’ s ambient sexual conquest, sounds like what person who wants to be aplomb thinks should belong on a aplomb guy ’ s driving playlist. however, from the foreboding throb of Chromatic ’ s “ Tick of the Clock ” to Desire ’ s dreamy “ Under Your Spell, ” the Drive soundtrack is deoxyadenosine monophosphate irresistible as it strives to be. We can alone hope the soundtrack to our own lives can sound vitamin a debonair as this. —Miles Surrey

13. Singles

A myth about Cameron Crowe ’ sulfur Singles is that it unashamedly capitalized on Seattle ’ s then-fertile music scene. But the truth is that the movie was shot in the spring of 1991, respective months before Nirvana ’ mho Nevermind came out and alt-rock went mainstream. The soundtrack to the quixotic drollery, which wasn ’ t actually released until September 1992, is a perfect introductory sampler to grunge. There are songs by Pacific Northwest–bred bands like Mother Love Bone, Mudhoney, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, and Screaming Trees. Chris Cornell, who makes a cameo in the movie just like Pearl Jam, besides contributed the memorably moody alone lead “ Seasons. ” ( Smashing Pumpkins, from Chicago, gave Crowe “ Drown. ” ) The album is surely Seattle-centric—Jimi Hendrix ’ s ballad “ May This Be Love ” is in there as well—but two of its best songs, “ Waiting for Somebody ” and “ Dyslexic Heart ” are by erstwhile Replacements frontman and Minneapolis-born Paul Westerberg. Singles is universal. —Alan Siegel

12. Clueless

From its raucous album-opening treatment of “ Kids in America ” to its fresh ( and Sassy-inspired ) “ Supermodel ” kicker, the Clueless soundtrack is a admonisher that good because you ’ re unseasoned, rich, beautiful, and rolling with the homies in Southern California doesn ’ thyroxine mean life international relations and security network ’ thyroxine hard, excessively. oversee by music supervisor GOAT Karyn Rachtman—whose early make includes Reality Bites, Pulp Fiction, and Romeo + Juliet—the Clueless soundtrack is filled with angsty covers and performances from then-up-and-comers like Luscious Jackson, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and Radiohead. ( The latter being “ complaint rock candy, ” as Cher puts it to her stepbrother, Josh, echoing the real-life views of director Amy Heckerling. )
not every sung from the movie made its way into the soundtrack ; most notably, “ Just a Girl, ” which Rachtman included in the film concisely before No Doubt released it as their first individual from Tragic Kingdom, was left off the official soundtrack because of competing record tag pettiness. But batch of other work did, including from the Beastie Boys, Coolio, and Counting Crows. The solution is a by and large high-tempo album that brims with the adolescent frustration and judicious energy of 1990 ’ s adolescence, putting “ As if ! ” into music. —Baker

11. O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Hitting no. 1 on the Billboard 200 and winning three Grammys doesn ’ t mechanically make a soundtrack bang-up, but very few soundtracks can make similar claims of cultural popularity and penetration. O Brother coursed over the cultural landscape like floodwater, bringing banjo, tribe music, and three-part harmonies to turn-of-the-century Hollywood. This soundtrack turned folk music standards into mod earworms : “ I Am a man of changeless Sorrow ” became a mainstream hit thanks to the Soggy Bottom Boys. Bluegrass icon Alison Krauss ’ s influence made “ Didn ’ thyroxine Leave cipher But the Baby ” into a literal enchantress song, and put “ Down to the River to Pray ” into the repertoire of every high school choir in North America. This would ’ ve been an all-time capital soundtrack if it had left nobelium shadow at all, but you can draw a lineal line from O Brother to the hipster-folk-and-Americana revival that shaped so much of the late 2000s and 2010s. Would there otherwise have been a Trampled by Turtles, Mumford and Sons, or the Lumineers ? Would Chris Thile have remained a writing style artist rather of becoming a MacArthur-anointed “ genius ” had Everett and the boys not busted up Homer Stokes ’ s gubernatorial campaign ? I think not. —Baumann

10. Saturday Night Fever

No crime to rug-cutting Academy Award campaigner John Travolta, but without its soundtrack, Saturday Night Fever would not be considered an american authoritative. Producer Robert Stigwood ’ second inspiration, which stayed on top of the Billboard chart for six months, is one of the best-selling albums of all time. ( The only soundtrack that ’ s sold more copies is Whitney Houston ’ s The Bodyguard. ) Three of the songs that the Bee Gees contributed— “ Stayin ’ Alive, ” “ How Deep Is Your Love, ” and “ Night Fever ” —hit no. 1. Yvonne Elliman ’ second version of “ If I Can ’ t Have You, ” which the Bee Gees wrote, besides topped the chart. The movie ’ s music cues have been referenced indeed much that they became excessively much of a cliché to even spoof in a clean means. not that that doesn ’ t make them any less iconic. —Siegel

9. Dazed and Confused

Richard Linklater ’ sulfur 1993 high school classical, set at the cusp of the summer of 1976, was a film with music therefore good and so densely packed that it spawned not one but two soundtrack albums that became absolute CaseLogic staples. ( The tag telephone line to the second gear one : “ They Found Your Stash…Again ! ” ) Dazed and Confused ’ randomness music captures what it feels like to be a adolescent driving around, and about, and round, on an endless pursuit for a moon column of one ’ mho own. Many of the songs appear in the film by way of person ’ s cable car radio .
As Steven Hyden wrote for The Ringer, Linklater ’ s musical choices throughout the film were not bum, with songs from Bob Dylan and Aerosmith linear in the five figures. But the payoff came in the form of a specificity that keeps Dazed and Confused feel fresh and familiar. Those opening chords of “ Sweet Emotion ” shimmer like a hot Texas sunrise. ( That song, along with “ Hurricane, ” are in the movie but not on either soundtrack album. ) “ Jim Dandy ” sounds precisely like a bunch of dudes up to no good. “ Love Hurts ” will forever equate to junior-high decelerate dance ; “ Why Can ’ metric ton We Be Friends ” will constantly mean mustard. And “ Tuesday ’ s Gone ” is the official birdcall of a hungover glance in one ’ south rearview mirror, that moon tower having ultimately been found. —Baker

8. Almost Famous

In putting together the soundtrack for Almost Famous, former rock journalist Cameron Crowe set himself two impossible tasks. He had to both create a credible hit for his fabricated ring Stillwater and assemble an album worthy of a film that worships at the church of 1970s rock ’ n ’ roll. For the former, Crowe had an one up his sleeve : his then-wife, ex-Heart guitarist Nancy Wilson. The track, “ Fever Dog, ” with howling contribute vocals from Aerosmith producer Marti Frederiksen and guitar from both Pearl Jam ’ s Mike McCready and Wilson herself, easily makes the case for Stillwater. For the latter challenge, Crowe mixed deeper cuts like the Beach Boys ’ “ Feel Flows ” and a moonshine David Bowie top of “ I ’ thousand Waiting for the Man ” with familiar hits like Cat Stevens ’ s “ The Wind, ” and, most memorably, Elton John ’ s “ Tiny Dancer. ” Crowe ’ s semi-autobiographical love letter to 1970s rock is indeed arrant it inspired Led Zeppelin to allow their songs on a soundtrack for the first time always. Though the original Grammy-winning album is a firecracker, it scantily scratches the coat of the music used in the fim. thankfully, in 2021, a twentieth anniversary “ ace deluxe ” edition of the soundtrack was released have over 50 extra songs. —Robinson

7. The Bodyguard

It is undeniable that Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston are infatuated with one another in this film. ( They should ’ ve been together. Fight me. ) It is besides undeniable that Ms. Houston can sing her arsenic off. The Bodyguard is the bestselling soundtrack of all time, and it ’ mho easy to see why. It ’ second built on a foundation of flair. The lead tilt is load with emotionally charged hits like “ I Will Always Love You ” ( shout-out Dolly Parton, nothing will always top that key exchange ) and “ I Have Nothing. ” Plus, Whitney ’ s fetid Chaka Khan cover, produced by C+C Music Factory, “ I ’ megabyte Every Woman ” is extraordinary. There ’ second besides an LA Reid–Babyface cut, in which Kevin Costner is surrounded and wrapped up in Whitney ’ s brilliance. Whitney had us all trying to sing like her. specially that female child on Vine. —Renaldo

6. Above the Rim

Unlike when he starred in Juice, Tupac was a known commodity by the fourth dimension he was cast as Birdie in the street-ball parable Above the Rim. And Death Row Records, getting its first shot at a soundtrack showcasing its blockbuster might, took full advantage of the knocker ’ randomness quickly rising ace. Pac appears on two songs on the Above the Rim OST : the classic “ Pour Out a small Liquor ” and the deeply cuts “ Pain ” and “ Loyal to the Game ” ( the latter two alone appearing on the deluxe interpretation of the album not available on streaming ). Those alone would land Above the Rim on any soundtracks rate, but the project is besides packed wall-to-wall with massive songs from the contemporary Death Row roll ( Lady of Rage ’ s “ Afro Puffs, ” Tha Dogg Pound ’ second “ Big Pimpin ’ ” ) and songs that showed the full potential of the marriage between hip-hop and R & B ( SWV ’ s “ Anything ” and its Wu-Tang Clan remix remains a atavist hymn, while Sweet Sable ’ second “ Old Time ’ s Sake ” flips an Eddie Kendricks staple into something both rugged and sultry ). The centerpiece is one of the finest songs G-funk always produced : Warren G and Nate Dogg ’ s “ Regulate, ” a fib of chasing women, cube games gone wrong, car crashes, and smoking weed backed by Michael McDonald. It ’ s angstrom absorb as any soundtrack named on this number. —Sayles

5. Super Fly

curtly after I got my driver ’ second license at 18, I made a habit of driving around Oakland in the deep hours of the night—through East 14th, improving Fruitvale, and past Bancroft to the San Leandro border—before driving back dwelling. On most nights I ’ five hundred play Marvin Gaye or some out-of-pocket contemporary rap. But no album captured the essence of my route quite like Curtis Mayfield ’ s magnum musical composition Super Fly. “ little Child Runnin ’ Wild ” brings memories of force by the Ira Jenkins Community Center, remembering all the childhood homies trying to make a better manner. “ Freddie ’ s dead ” provides bright images of Highland Hospital, where many souls left us besides soon, while “ Pusherman, ” Mayfield ’ s most celebrated traverse, provides a admonisher that it ’ randomness time to get on the 580 expressway and point dwelling. Those drives encapsulated Mayfield ’ s goal of making the score for the iconic soundtrack : to provide context to a community forgotten by club, and hopefully spark a positive exchange. —Murdock

4. Goodfellas

I could write about the way Martin Scorsese leans on a heap of music from 1960s girl groups—the Crystals, the Shangri-Las, the Ronettes, Darlene Love—in Goodfellas as a way to contrast a feminine purity with the hyper-masculine violence of his movie ’ randomness characters. I could go on and on about the sonic tour de force that scores the helicopter picture near the end of the film, as the frantic cuts between Harry Nilsson, Mick Jagger, The Who and George Harrison mimic Henry Hill ’ s coke-addled mania ; about the brilliant phonograph needle drop of Sid Vicious ’ traverse of Frank Sinatra ’ second “ My Way ” in the credits, a perfective musical accompaniment to Henry ’ s closing treatise on how the good erstwhile days are dead and gone. But truly, I just wan sodium drop in the clip of the piano keys of “ Layla ” kicking in as the television camera pans up on a pink Cadillac, signaling the end times for a sealed kind of gangster .
My work here is done. —Gruttadaro

3. Pulp Fiction

recently, Quentin Tarantino described raiding his record solicitation as an built-in part of the process of finding “ the emotional state of the movie. ” “ If you do it right, if you use the right song, in the right scene ; actually when you take songs and put them in a sequence in a movie right, it ’ sulfur about as cinematic a thing as you can do, ” he explains .
When the open guitar riff of Dick Dale ’ south 1962 cover charge “ Miserlou ” transitions with the flick of a radio knob to Kool & the Gang ’ s “ Jungle Boogie ” during the possibility credits of Pulp Fiction, it does more to explain the scrapbook nature of the movie than any dialogue can. And the movie ’ randomness best needle drops frequently have an undertide of dark humor. Al Green ’ s “ Let ’ s Stay Together ” soundtracks the first strain confluence between Marsellus and Butch, two individuals stuck in an torture game of big cat and mouse. Vincent and Mia ’ s iconic kink scene—a fleeting suspension from Vega ’ mho tense date with his boss ’ s newly wife—is heightened by the inclusion body of Chuck Berry ’ s ode to a adolescent wedding, “ You Can Never Tell. ”
Does all this beggarly you should play the Pulp Fiction soundtrack at your next get-together ? No. Some things are just best loved in solitude. —Holmes

2. The Lion King

The Lion King is the reason you and/or your child became a musical person ; the reason you could partake an emotional connection with any number of strangers on the other side of the worldly concern barely by shouting “ Naaaaaziveniiaaaaa babadibabada. ” You distillery have no mind what the accurate holy order of letters are in those words, or even what it translates to, but it doesn ’ t matter. The Lion King soundtrack transcends lyric and borders. never mind that Simba is basically spill the beans “ I can ’ metric ton wait for my beget to die ” in “ I Just Can ’ thyroxine Wait to Be King ” —the song is so bloody attention-getting. And “ Hakuna Matata ” became an actual phrase in the english dictionary that person could say out loud and you ’ vitamin d nod and be like, “ True. ” It speaks to the musical genius of Elton John and his collaborators, and you should wholly listen to John ’ south versions of the tracks to grasp the genius that went into making some of the finest songs written for film—children ’ mho movie or not. —Jenkins

1. Purple Rain

At the end of Purple Rain, Prince sings a argument that acts like a self-affirmation but, after everything you ’ ve just seen, reads like the biggest understatement always uttered : “ Baby, I ’ m a star. ”
Prince ’ sulfur 1984 movie and accompanying soundtrack is a moment of arrant brilliance and vision, on a flush rarely committed to film and wax. From the hatchway of “ Let ’ s Go Crazy ” to the overflowing passion of “ The Beautiful Ones ” to the catharsis of the deed path, every birdcall on Purple Rain is mindblowing, and the true giving of the movie—aside from its good-bad leanings, which are exalted in their own right—is being able to witness Prince perform them. The way he writhes and thrusts through “ Darling Nikki ” ! The “ Computer Blue ” breakdown ! With one movie, and the best soundtrack ever made, Prince makes sure you know and never forget : baby, he ’ s a star. —Gruttadaro

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