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12 Aug

The 40 biggest film soundtracks, from Black Panther to

The 40 biggest film soundtracks, from Black Panther to

The music that features in a movie could be as moving, essential or memorable as any line of dialogue or actor’s performance. An incredible soundtrack often transcends the film it first appeared in, whether it was comprised of pre-recorded songs by known artists, or original tracks that went on to turn out to be long-lasting hits.

Since 2019, film soundtracks have turn out to be as synonymous with the Top 10 charts as Ed Sheeran, Drake or Ariana Grande. But before The Best Showman and A Star is Born, there have been scores which have turn out to be etched into the cultural zeitgeist because they captured moments that spoke to us long after the ultimate credits roll.

Whether it’s moody guitars of Seattle’s grunge scene that served because the backdrop for Cameron Crowe’s Singles, the euphoric trance in The Beach, or the teenage angst of British post-punk rock on Pretty in Pink: so many movies can be nowhere near pretty much as good without the music that accompanied them.

From Pulp Fiction to Guardians of the Galaxy, listed below are the 40 biggest film soundtracks of all time:

40. High Fidelity (2000)

Before Garden State and 500 Days of Summer, the team behind the variation of Nick Hornby’s novel compiled 15 tracks like a mixtape. It was one its picky lead character would have approved of. As with most of the soundtracks on this list, High Fidelity’s success lies in a balance between old-school gems from The Kinks and Elvis Costello to Noughties newcomers including Stereolab and Royal Trux.

39. Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights (2004)

This may increasingly appear to be sacrilege on condition that the primary Dirty Dancing soundtrack is undeniably the more iconic of the 2. And yes, the sequel (essentially a remake set in Cuba throughout the Nineteen Fifties), starring Romola Garai and future Rogue One star Diego Luna, suffered from a plot loaded with clichés and lack of chemistry between its two lead actors. However the soundtrack – featuring the Grammy-nominated Latin fusion band Yerba Buena, Colombian rock band Aterciopelados, and the Cuban hip hop group Orishasis – is what draws me back to this guilty pleasure of a movie. Dirty Dancing 2 didn’t really deserve such a soundtrack, nevertheless it adds some actual heat to a movie that, asides from the superb dance routines, leaves you cold.

38. Goodfellas (1990)

Martin Scorsese had strict rules for the soundtrack to his film Goodfellas: each song needed to have been around throughout the time through which the scene was set, and the tracks needed to make some type of comment on the scene or character in query “in an oblique way”. A staggering 48 songs are heard throughout the film, including classics by Dean Martin, Fred Astaire and The Drifters, Sid Vicious, The Who and The Rolling Stones. Some of the unforgettable moments is when Bobby Darin’s “Beyond the Sea” plays because the Smart Guys cook dinner, which was “all the time a giant thing” in prison.

37. Scott Pilgrim vs The World (2010)

With regards to soundtracking your movie, it helps if the director is an enormous music nerd. After all, music was all the time going to play an enormous part in a movie a few boy in a band and his video game quest to win the girl of his dreams. But Edgar Wright, a former music video director, found a solution to seamlessly integrate his soundtrack into Scott Pilgrim vs the World’s narrative. Beck, who wrote the music for Scott Pilgrim’s garage band Sex Bob-omb, was an ideal match for his or her chaotic, DIY approach, while Metric’s song “Black Sheep” was used for a performance by ex-girlfriend Envy Adams’s (Brie Larson) band The Clash at Demonhead.

36. Drive (2011)

Drive wouldn’t have worked in addition to it did without the soundtrack. Steven Soderbergh’s go-to composer Cliff Martinez assembled the songs for Nicolas Winding Refn’s ambitious indie project, showing an understanding that essentially the most effective soundtracks are sometimes those that transport you into the movie without you realising. Through the use of a set of mostly female vocalists, all of whom sing over stark, often ominous electronic beats, Martinez achieved a sonic portrayal of Drive’s startling juxtaposition between beauty and violence.

35. The Bodyguard (1992)

It’s the largest movie soundtrack of all time and the fifteenth best-selling album within the US. Whitney Houston breathed latest life into songs by Dolly Parton (“I Will All the time Love You”) and Chaka Khan (“I’m Every Woman”). Five of the songs performed by Houston were hits: “I Will All the time Love You”, “I’m Every Woman”, “I Have Nothing”, “Run to You” (each Oscar-nominated), and “Queen of the Night”

34. Magical Mystery Tour (1976)

Yes, it was the Fab 4’s worst film, however the soundtrack is full of a few of their best songs: “I’m the Walrus”, “She Loves You” and “Hello, Goodbye”. Where A Hard Day’s Night, Yellow Submarine and Help were undoubtedly more influential on popular culture, Magical Mystery Tour is essentially the most fun to take heed to – no matter how much effort is required to look at.

33. Belly (1998)

Belly’s soundtrack captured the East Coast rap scene because it stepped towards a grittier sound and underwent one of the vital necessary transitions for any genre in music history – with contributions from the likes of D’Angelo, members of the Wu-Tang Clan, Nas and Jay-Z.

32. Donnie Darko (2001)

(Dale Robinette/Flower/Gaylord/Adam Fields Prod/Kobal/Shutterstock)

Richard Kelly’s dark and gloomy film starring a young Jake Gyllenhaal stays one in every of the few to actually capture what it meant to be a confused, alienated teenager. With composer Michael Andrews, Kelly picked some one of the best songs from an era that dealt in existential angst via upbeat synth-pop: Echo and the Bunnymen, Duran Duran, Tears for Fears, The Pet Shop Boys and more. By selecting to shut the film on Michael Andrews’ cover of Tears for Fears’ “Mad World”, Kelly underpins each the self-absorbed attitude of teenagers convinced that their favourite musicians were the one ones who truly understood them.

31. Midnight Cowboy (1969)

Midnight Cowboy – the primary X-rated film to win the Oscar for Best Picture – took original material and pre-existing songs to enhance the theme of a naïve cowboy/wannabe sex employee attempting to survive in a giant city, and the juxtaposition between Jon Voight’s character Joe Buck and dying con artist “Ratso” (Dustin Hoffman). Fred Neil’s song “Everybody’s Talkin’”, which underscores the primary act, won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Vocal Performance, Male (for Harry Nilsson).

30. Lost Highway (1997)

Trent Reznor’s work on David Lynch’s 1997 neo-noir movie is loaded with stark electronics and instrumentals by Angelo Badalamenti. In between, you have got Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails and, after all, This Mortal Coil’s “Song to the Siren” – a track that caught Lynch’s attention and inspired him to co-write two albums for Twin Peaks singer Julee Cruise.

29. The Last Days of Disco (1998)

Whit Stillman’s 1998 indie-classic starred then-virtual unknowns Kate Beckinsale and Chloë Sevigny as friends and roommates in early-Eighties Latest York. Add that to a wall-to-wall disco soundtrack and also you’ve got an intoxicating film with classic dancefloor anthems from Chic, Diana Ross, and Sister Sledge belted out one after the opposite.

28. Singles (1992)

In the summertime of 1992, the soundtrack to a movie that flopped on the box office offered the masses the gateway they needed into the Seattle grunge scene. Cameron Crowe wanted the Singles soundtrack to be “more like an easy mixtape of Seattle’s finest”, and ended up with a veritable who’s-who of each necessary band from that moment: Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Smashing Pumpkins, Soundgarden and Mudhoney… everyone other than Nirvana. Almost three many years after the film’s release, the soundtrack serves as a musical landmark.

27. Cruel Intentions (1999)

Adapting classic literary texts into modern-day high-school scenarios was a giant thing within the Nineties. Cruel Intentions got here from Pierre Choderlos de Laclos’s 18th-century work, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, and starred Sarah Michelle Gellar and Ryan Phillippe as Kathryn and Sebastian: two spoilt, bored wealthy kids toying with the naïve and virtuous Annette (Reese Witherspoon). John Ottman was originally enlisted to compose the rating, but producers decided that wouldn’t sit well with the teenage demographic it was going for and as an alternative plumped for a soundtrack of Placebo, Blur, Skunk Anansie, Aimee Mann and Counting Crows.

26. Flashdance (1983)

Flashdance, the primary collaboration between producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, is essential since it actually modified how a number of the hottest movies of the Eighties were shot. For every song featured within the film there may be a scene presented in the identical way as a music video, like using “Maniac” as Alex (Jennifer Beals) trains for her dance audition, or the lead song of the film “What a Feeling”, which plays throughout the opening montage of the steel mill. The latter, written by Italian composer Giorgio Moroder, Keith Forsey and Irene Cara (who performed the track), became the singer’s first and only primary hit. It also won the Academy Award for Best Original Song, a Golden Globe, and a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. Michael Sembello’s “Maniac”, meanwhile, went on to turn out to be one in every of the highest-grossing songs ever written for a movie.

25. Half Nelson (2006)

While Half Nelson isn’t as highly considered Lars and the Real Girl or Drive, it’s the one which helped Ryan Gosling break away from his status because the heartthrob from The Notebook. It also has an exceptional soundtrack steered by Broken Social Scene, whose good collection of B-sides proved indispensable for this film a few drug-addicted middle-school teacher struggling to cope with the aftermath of a breakup. In between those tracks you’ve got gritty hip hop that shows Dan’s crossover into the world of his pupil, the stoic Drey (Shareeka Epps) – from Latest York collective Dujeous to Rhymefest.

24. Lost in Translation (2003)

Sofia Coppola is a queen of the needle-drop. The Lost in Translation soundtrack was so influential that several critics actually suggested it had something to do with the rebirth of shoegaze within the mid-Noughties. Either way, there a couple of higher songs to shut a movie than Jesus and Mary Chain’s “Just Like Honey”, that plays just after the kiss goodbye between Bob (Bill Murray) and Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) and that indecipherable whisper.

23. Romeo + Juliet (1996)

Former Massive Attack producer Nellee Hooper is the brainchild behind one in every of the best film soundtracks of all time. Working with composers Craig Armstrong and Marius de Vries, he beta-tested most of the tracks that ended up on the album by playing them at 5am to afterparty guests at his house in London. Others took direct inspiration from Shakespeare’s original text, with Justin Warfield of One Inch Punch and Art Alexakis of Everclear each allowed to look at early edits of scenes from the film to encourage them. Just like the soundtracks for Kill Bill, Trainspotting and Marie Antoinette, it’s the vast eclecticism of the songs featured in Romeo + Juliet that make you remember each, and the scene where each is used, for years after first seeing the film.

22. The Harder They Come (1973)

In addition to making a star of reggae singer Jimmy Cliff, each the film and soundtrack for The Harder They Come exposed mainstream audiences to the emerging Kingston recording industry. Only the title track was an original recorded by Cliff for the movie; the remainder were singles released in Jamaica between 1967 and 1972, including Cliff’s superb “You Can Get it if You Really Want”, plus songs from greats similar to Toots and the Maytals and Desmond Dekker.

21. The Beach (2000)


The Beach soundtrack is what gives this film starring a fresh-faced Leonardo DiCaprio its vitality, capturing the essence of the trance music heard during Thai beach parties. Music supervisor Pete Tong said the songs, including Moby’s “Porcelain” and Dario G’s “Voices”, are what make the film “watchable time and time again”. The way in which the music progresses mirrors the grit and darkness that begin to make themselves known in what at first seemed to be paradise.

20. Pretty in Pink (1986)

John Hughes nailed the formula for teen movies soundtracked by angsty British post-punk rock. Echo & the Bunnymen, The Smiths, Orchestral Manoeuvres within the Dark and Latest Order all appeared on what is basically Hughes’s checklist of what the cool kids jammed to within the Eighties.

19. Black Panther (2018)

Curated and co-executive produced by Kendrick Lamar, the Black Panther soundtrack enlisted a select group of extraordinary talent that will understand the themes within the film, from Anderson .Paak to Earl Sweatshirt. Leading this group is Lamar himself, undoubtedly one of the best selection of artist for a movie that explores responsibility, black power, family dynamics and loyalty. Where Jay-Z didn’t step aside on the Great Gatsby soundtrack and let other artists do their thing, Lamar is more keen on highlighting the talents of his fellow artists, like South African singer Babes Wodumo, or Jorja Smith. It’s true that the Black Panther album pales compared to most of Lamar’s solo work, nevertheless it’s rare to see a soundtrack that so deeply considers the material it has been presented with.

18. Dazed and Confused (1993)

With the Dazed and Confused soundtrack, director Richard Linklater highlighted an era of raucous butt-rock anthems and stoner jams, from Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out” to Ted Nugent’s “Stranglehold”.

17. Marie Antoinette (2006)

(Sony Pictures Releasing)

In a 12 months that was saturated with period dramas, from a remake of Jane Eyre to The Queen, Marie Antoinette stood out for its highly stylised depiction of a widely known historical figure. Director Sofia Coppola includes The Strokes, Latest Order, Adam and the Ants and The Cure amongst her needle-drop moments, together with period music by Baroque composers Vivaldi and Couperin. By doing so, Coppola gave her audience something to relate to, and a soundtrack that suits Marie Antoinette’s rebellious teenage spirit. Using “I Want Candy” by Bow Wow Wow for the famous shopping scene (complete with purple Converse) drew a comparison between contemporary Western consumerism and the outrageous decadence at Versailles within the 18th century.

16. Call Me By Your Name (2017)

The Call Me By Your Name soundtrack wins for its three songs by Sufjan Stevens alone. The American singer-songwriter remixed his 2010 track “Futile Devices” and likewise wrote two latest songs specifically for the film, “Visions of Gideon” and “Mystery of Love”, the latter of which was nominated for the Best Original Song Oscar. Director Luca Guadagnino worked with film editor Walter Fasano and music supervisor Robin Urdang, with all of them understanding that music would play a “vital role” within the movie. Guadagnino wanted the music to offer the film a “precise identity” that will act as a “voice” within the movie, he told Billboard. “That’s when I believed of Sufjan Stevens.” Other tracks, just like the buoyant “Love My Way” by The Psychedelic Furs, captured the wistful, heady nature of hot, countless summers in Italy.

15. Straight Outta Compton (2015)

A biopic concerning the rise and fall of gangsta rap collective NWA was all the time going to be good – especially if its former members were involved in its production. Even so, the meticulous care with which the soundtrack for Straight Outta Compton was assembled is impressive, and provides backdrop for an origin story about a number of the most influential and necessary artists of the Eighties and Nineties.

14. 500 Days of Summer (2009)

This offbeat romantic comedy has developed cult status over time and stood out on the time for its original tackle the “boy meets girl” genre. Music is what first drew characters Summer (Zoe Deschanel) and Tom (Joseph Gordon Levitt) together (they begin talking after Summer overhears The Smiths playing on Tom’s MP3 player). Each song mirrors the assorted highs and lows the characters undergo, helped by director Marc Webb’s background making music videos for indie pop artists. Regina Spektor’s song “Hero” is the proper backdrop for the scene where Tom realises his hopes of getting back with Summer are futile. The track closes on the lyric “nobody’s got all of it”, a really literal way of mentioning that not everyone gets the fairytale ending they hope for.

13. Baby Driver (2017)

A veritable smorgasbord for any self-respecting music nerd: Baby Driver is a superb example of the proper movie soundtrack. Ansel Elgort stars as “Baby”, a talented getaway driver who relies on a gradual stream of music in an effort to counteract the results of tinnitus.There are vintage cuts from The Beach Boys, Beck and Barry White, and Seventies rock gems by Queen and Golden Earring. Yet it’s “Bellbottoms” from the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion album Orange that originally inspired the film. A then 21-year-old Edgar Wright was sitting in his bedroom, “completely broke”, when he began to visualise a automotive chase set to the songs on that album. “It was almost just like the closest thing to having action-movie synesthesia, [where] I’d take heed to that song and picture this automotive chase.” he said.

12. American Graffiti (1973)

George Lucas managed to amplify the already-nostalgic mood on his “summer of 62” film by selecting songs from the mid-to-late Fifties because the lead tracks on the American Graffiti soundtrack. Songs from Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry to The Beach Boys are all presented by legendary disc jockey Wolfman Jack.

11. 10 Things I Hate About You

If Pretty in Pink captured teenage angst within the Eighties, 10 Things I Hate About You achieved it for the last decade that followed. Unlike many movies of the Nineties, which attempted to capitalise on the foremost rock stars of the day, 10 Things managed to pick what is basically a listing of flash-in-the-pans, from Letters to Cleo and Semisonic to Save Ferris. After all, there was loads of Riot Grrl music to compound Kat’s (Julia Stiles) tempestuous nature. Whenever you watch the film today, it only serves to fuel that feeling of nostalgia and add to its ever-growing cult status.

10. Do the Right Thing (1989)

Spike Lee’s Brooklyn-based masterpiece is about to a wide ranging jazz rating conducted and composed by his father, Bill Lee. It’s also punctuated by summer jams and blissful ballads, together with the urgency of Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power”, which is played from Radio Raheem’s boombox.

9. Eden (2014)

French filmmaker Mia Hansen-Love’s character Paul (Felix de Givry) is predicated on the experiences of her brother Sven – a comparatively popular DJ who needed to look on as his peers, including Daft Punk, achieved global fame by pioneering the early EDM scene. Its soundtrack offers a comprehensive have a look at the home, jungle and garage music that was the lifeblood of Paris youth culture within the Nineties, but can be fastidiously chosen to match the situation of the film’s characters. Daft Punk’s “Veridis Quo” signals a mood-change at a celebratory dinner, while “Blissful Song” by Charles Dockins conveys Paul’s euphoria as his hero Tony Humphries works the decks in a Latest York club.

8. The Graduate (1968)

An early example of a movie that got here to be defined by its music. Simon & Garfunkel’s music was the proper fit when it got here to music that will highlight Dustin Hoffman’s character’s feelings of isolation, particular every time “The Sounds of Silence” was used.

7. Super Fly (1972)

Curtis Mayfield’s third studio album was released because the soundtrack to the Blaxploitation film of the identical name. It was groundbreaking for its themes of poverty and drug abuse which made the record stand out among the many less socially aware music of its time. It will go on to influence everyone from TV rating composers to soul singers within the many years that followed.

6. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Chris Pratt in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy, vol 2′

(©Marvel Studios 2017)

How do you make a movie with aliens, a talking tree and an anthropomorphic tree feel believable? That is the query director James Gunn asked himself during production for Guardians of the Galaxy, before deciding on a mixtape of Sixties and Seventies classics, lots of which can be played on the lead character’s Walkman. Arguably one of the best moment is correct firstly of the movie, where Quill [Chris Pratt] dances through a deserted temple on a post-apocalyptic planet to Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love”, using a really offended lizard like you’d a hairbrush for lip-syncing in front of the mirror. “The music and the Earth stuff is one in every of those touchstones that we’ve to remind us that, yeah, Quill is an actual person from planet Earth who’s identical to you and me,” Gunn explained. “Except he’s on this big outer space adventure.”

5. Trainspotting (1996)

The soundtrack for Danny Boyle’s adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s novel was so popular it promoted a release of a second soundtrack a 12 months later, in 1997. After twenty years, it still holds up as one in every of the best and most lovingly curated collections of songs in music history. Using “Lust for Life” within the opening scene triggered something of a profession renaissance for Iggy Pop. There’s a romanticised overdose set to Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day”, and Heaven 17 soundtrack a club scene with “Temptation”. A very disgusting toilet scene is about to Brian Eno’s “Deep Blue Day” and French composer Georges Bizet’s “Carmen Suite No 2”.

4. Pulp Fiction (1994)

Quentin Tarantino didn’t commission a conventional film rating for what’s arguably his most adored film, 1994’s Pulp Fiction. Instead, he mixed American surf music and classic rock and roll, including the late Dick Dale’s “Misirlou” in the long-lasting opening scene. The track was suggested to Tarantino by musician Boyd Rice via their mutual friend Allison Anders. The soundtrack had such an impact – reaching No 21 on the Billboard 200 and selling greater than two million units by 1996 – that it was credited with “reinvigorating” surf rock and sparking a trend by advertisers to make use of it of their commercials, “to assist sell all the pieces from burritos to toothpaste”. Chuck Berry’s song “You Never Can Tell”, also generally known as “C’est la Vie”, also enjoyed a resurgence in popularity because of its use within the famous dance scene with Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) and Vincent Vega (John Travolta).

3. Almost Famous (2000)

Patrick Fugit and Kate Hudson in ‘Almost Famous’


Neither Cameron Crowe nor his music coordinator Danny Bramson desired to pander to the charts for this story based on the director’s years as a teenage rock journalist. If anything, the duo avoided tracks that gave the impression of potential radio favourites, selecting lesser-known songs like “Sparks” from The Who’s album Tommy because the theme for Crowe’s alter-ego William Miller. The music is basically an entire other character – a narrator who offers running commentary on the scenarios the others find themselves in. And there are few scenes more uplifting than the one in Almost Famous where, having retrieved guitarist Russell Hammond (Billy Crudup) from a medicine and alcohol-fuelled party, the fictional band Stillwater and their crew take up a rowdy singalong to Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer”.

2. Purple Rain (1984)

Prince’s acting debut just so happened to supply a few of his best music. The concept for the plot, a few talented but tortured frontman of a band in Minneapolis, was developed by Prince during his 1999 tour. Purple Rain was one in every of the ten highest-grossing movies of 1984 and shows Prince as his most outrageous self.

1. Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003)

The Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA worked with director Quentin Tarantino on the gathering of music that will accompany Uma Thurman’s character The Bride on her gory quest for revenge. What is especially good is the alternation between non-diegetic sound and the silence that precedes (and is sustained during) a number of the most tense motion sequences. With regards to essentially the most crucial battle between O-Ren Ishii and The Bride at the top of the film, they first selected the disco flamenco intro from Santa Esmeralda’s Latin arrangement of “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”. On the bloody conclusion, where O-Ren falls, RZA and Tarantino used Meiko Kaji’s “The Flower of Carnage”, the lyrics for which might have been written especially for The Bride. The song was first utilized in the 1973 martial arts film Lady Snowblood, through which Kaji starred. She sings: “I’m a lady who walks on the brink of life and death/ Who emptied my tears many moons ago” after which: “I’ve immersed my body within the river of vengeance.”

This text was originally published in 2019

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