Soundtrack Gems

musicA well placed piece of music in a film can alter the meaning of that song for all eternity. Try and listen to Bill Conti's "Gonna Fly Now" without envisioning Rocky Balboa's run up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Some will think of Gord Martineau, but most will think of Rocky. Here are my favourite film songs from a life time of movie watching.

The Pixies' "Where Is My Mind" from Fight Club - Shortly after that memorable scene when the building collapses, Fight Club bursts into "Where Is My Mind?" and the combination is perfectly haunting.

The Crystals' "Then he Kissed Me" from Goodfellas - One of my favourite scences in cinema is that one when Henry enters the restaurant from the kitchen and the entire scene is done in one take. This is the song that plays during this fantastic scene.

The Geto Boyz' "Damn It Feels Good To Be A Gangster" from Office Space - This song juxtaposed with the white collar life of a cubicle warrior made my day when I first saw it. It's become the feel-good anthem of Dilberts everywhere.

-M-'s "Belleville Rendez-Vous" from Les Triplettes de Belleville - This is a great animated flick with an opening sequence set to this tune. It's catchy, jazzy fun that you'll be singing for weeks.

Gord Downie's "Hallelujah" from Saint Ralph - I've probably said enough about this one already.

Iggy Pop's "Lust For Life" from Trainspotting - I could have gone with Lou Reed's "Perfect Day" or Underworld's "Born Slippy", but "Lust For Life" almost seemed to have been written for this flick. Hearing it always reminds me of what a great movie Trainspotting is.

Pearl Jam's "State Of Love And Trust" from Singles - This is another movie with several notable songs on the soundtrack, but this was a song from one of my favourite bands that seemed way too good not to appear on a studio album. How much better would Vs. have been with this sucker on it?

Elton John's "Tiny Dancer" from Almost Famous - I had never heard this song until I saw Almost Famous, an almost perfect little movie. Now, whenever I hear "Tiny Dancer", I'm back on that bus singing right along.

Public Enemy's "Fight The Power" from Do The Right Thing - This song and movie made a statement, and it's difficult to imagine one without the other. Always do the right thing.

Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" from Wayne's World - Aurora, Illinois was a thinly veiled Toronto, right? The sing-a-long in Wayne's shitty hatchback to this classic is classic in its own right. Let me go!

Violent Femmes' "Blister in the Sun" from Grosse Pointe Blank - This cool flick also had a number of great tunes on the soundtrack, but none suited it better than "Blister in the Sun".

Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" from Apocalypse Now - I don't really need to explain this one, do I?

Damien Rice's "The Blower's Daughter" from Closer - I liked the movie, but when it was over I kept hearing this song in my head. It's chilling and perfect for one of the closing scenes of "Closer".

Michael Andrews' "Mad World" from Donnie Darko - Sometimes a cover of a song is more enjoyable than the original. That's the case for me and this Tears For Fears song. Donnie Darko was a dark gem of a movie and "Mad World" sums it all up perfectly.

The Beach Boys' "Surfin' U.S.A." from Teen Wolf - Okay, this is a guilty pleasure from my youth. We had Teen Wolf on tape and practically wore it out playing that last basketball game over and over again. "Surfin' U.S.A." plays while Scott as a werewolf surfs on the van and I always thought that was a pretty cool stunt to pull.

Stealers Wheels' "Stuck In The Middle" from Reservoir Dogs - This is a seriously sadistic scene that seems all the more sadistic when contrasted with this silly little Dylan-esque ditty. Try imagining this song without this scene and vice versa.

Nancy Sinatra's "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)" from Kill Bill Vol. 1 - Sure, this list is a little heavy on the Tarantino, but for my money there is no better director. Kill Bill Vol. 1 opens with this song and Kill Bill Vol. 2 wraps up shorty after The Bride's baby guns her down. Bang bang.

Eddie Vedder's "Man Of The Hour" from Big Fish - I promised myself I wouldn't cry. This song about that man... damn, I can't do this.

Leonard Cohen's "Everybody Knows" from Pump Up The Volume - For a fifteen year old kid, Pump Up The Volume seemed pretty cool. The guy ran a pirate radio station and said cool stuff like "All the great themes have been used up and turned into theme parks" and "eat your cereal with a fork and do your homework in the dark". After seeing this movie at the Humber Odeon, I felt like a changed man and Cohen's "Everybody Knows" was my theme song. Of course, all the great themes have been used up and turned into theme parks.

The Soggy Bottom Boys' "I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow" from O Brother, Where Are Thou? - I don't think this movie would have been as effective without a tune you'd believe was a hit. I believe in "I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow" and it made a great movie greater.

Dusty Springfield's "Son Of A Preacher Man" from Pulp Fiction - We'll finish things off with a song used brilliantly in my favourite movie of all time. It's one of my ten tracks and I first heard it in this flick. I'm going to spin it right now.

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Hmmm...I'm trying to think of a specific scene in "Grosse Point Blank" (the greatest film ever!) where the music went well with the scene. I'm sure there is one since the soundtrack to it was so good. But I can't recall. There was also that scene in Ghostbusters when the ghosts are released from the containmnet unit into New York City. That song was kind of a wierd choice but totally perfect for the scene in retrospect since I can't think of one without the other. "Tuesday's Gone" at the end of Happy Gilmore is one of those occasions where a great song makes the scene a whole lot better. The second scene in Ferris Bueler's Day Off after the parent leave and he says, "They bought it". There are a couple of great scenes in Empire Records with amazing musical scores, once again, I can't remember them specifically, but now I'm going to have to go out a get that DVD. And I was going to also mention the Donnie Darko scene.

July 17, 2006 @ 3:55 PM

Jill thought provoking. Are you familiar with the movie “Manhunter.” The first of the Hannibal Lector movies. There is a song played by Iron Butterfly during the scene leading up to the capture of the killer called “In-a-gadda-da-vida.” The scene is shot perfectly in time with the music.

During the film “Gladiator” Russell Crowe is walking home through wheat fields and the score done by Hans Zimmer with Lisa Gerrard (from Dead Can Dance) the music evoked so much emotion from me.

Jackson Brown singing “Somebodys Baby” plays in several scenes through Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

“ Holiday Road” by Lindsey Buckingham (Fleetwood Mac) during National Lampoons Vacation is classic.

The Song “Waterloo” during Muriels Wedding. Leaves you feeling euphoric.

Dan Hill, “It’s a long road” at the end of First Blood.

Phil Collins “ In the air tonight” during the sex on the train scene from Risky Business.

“Melt with You” by Modern English in Valley Girl.

“Beautiful Boy” being done in sign language by Richard Dreyfuss in Mr. Hollands Opus is a very moving scene.

“Sympathy for the devil” during the closing scene of Interview of the Vampire.

July 17, 2006 @ 10:14 PM


Beach Boys "I get around" - Flight of the Navigator

Little Green Bag/Stuck in the middle - Reservoir Dogs

Lust for Life - Trainspotting

Hmmm, Good call on "holiday road" and "Mad World"

July 18, 2006 @ 2:26 AM

Mike H

Blister in the Sun was good for Grosse Pointe Blank, but two other songs beat it in my opinion. The Beat's "Mirror in the Bathroom" for the fight scene in the high school hallway, and then Nena's "99 Luftballons" playing over the aftermath. Brilliant. I so need to get that soundtrack, I'm ashamed I don't own it already.

A close runner up is Moby's "God Moving Over the Face of the Waters" playing over the final scene & end credits in Heat.

July 18, 2006 @ 9:13 AM

Mike H

Oh yeah, and how could anyone forget this delicious piece of cheese:

Kenny Loggins' "Danger Zone" from Top Gun

July 18, 2006 @ 9:21 AM


"The Beat's "Mirror in the Bathroom" for the fight scene in the high school hallway"


July 18, 2006 @ 9:24 AM

Mike Boon

You guys are right about "Mirror in the Bathroom" in Grosse Pointe Blanke.

July 18, 2006 @ 12:13 PM


George Gershwin´s "rhapsody in blue" at the start of Woody Allens Manhattan is a wonderful opening sequence.

Another movie with a great and huge soundtrack was Dazed and Confused. My favourite part was when the guys enter the pool hall to the tune of "Hurricane" by Dylan.

March 7, 2008 @ 1:12 AM


all along the watchtower - hendrix is played in a few war movies but i can't specifically recall which. i can only picture the ground below from a helicopter's view.
and if anyone is interested, ken tizzard does a great "mad world" cover. ken played with the watchmen years back and recently joined them during a few "reunion" shows.
check it here
half way down. and if you like, grab his first cd from amie street music for free here

October 4, 2008 @ 9:10 PM

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