You could say soundtracks are the make or break of a film…or maybe we’re just being dramatic…like a good soundtrack would be. Seriously though, think of an iconic movie and right behind your favourite quote, an even more iconic theme is wiggling its way into your brain.
So let’s hum our way through the nineteen greatest movie soundtracks of all time.
Her’s soundtrack will make you feel sad and happy at the same time. We’re not kidding. It’s filled with sorrow but it’s also so beautiful you can’t help but listen again and again. Where other soundtracks are simple accompaniments, this soundtrack practically runs the show. You can thank Arcade Fire and Owen Pallet. Don’t believe us? Listen to ‘Dimensions’ and prepare to feel a lot of things. #notokay
Guardians Of The Galaxy VOL. 1
Let’s just say James Gunn knew what he was doing when he put together some of the best tunes from the 70s for GOTG. And even if you’re a total Marvel h8ter, you have to appreciate a superhero who listens to David Bowie, Jackson 5, Redbone, and Rupert Holmes of our beloved ‘Pina Colada’ song. It just makes sense dude.
You may be unfamiliar with The Way, so we’ll lay out the story for you. A work-centric father, Tom (Martin Sheen) travels to France to recover the ashes of his son, Daniel. When he learns his son died walking the El Camino de Santiago—a pilgrimage to a cathedral holding Saint James—Tom abandons everything to walk the pilgrimage for his son. It’s a spiritual film with plenty of tears and laughs...and a masterful soundtrack. Composer Tyler Bates will inspire your heart places. Fun fact: Martin Sheen’s son, Emilio Estevez (Mighty Ducks yo) directed and starred as the son in the film. Now isn’t that just cute.
My Neighbour Totoro
You know it’s good when the MSO is throwing a concert at Hamer Hall dedicated to Studio Ghibli and their OP musical capabilities. ‘Nuff said. All Ghibli movies have gorgeous, piano-riven soundtracks, but Totoro is our personal fave. Get ready to feel things.
Speaking of amazing piano soundtracks...Amelie has one of the best. It’s super kitsch, romantic, and fun all at the same time. Even if you’re completely bedazzled by all the movie's lil’ quirks, we can guarantee you’ll still enjoy the music.
Kill Bill VOL. 1 + VOL. 2
Hands down, one of the most iconic tunes to come out of Kill Bill was that damn whistle. Though it may have first appeared in the film Twisted Nerve in 1968, we can defs say it’s gained most of its notoriety from when Elle Driver tries to murder Beatrice. And the best part is you can listen to the song in any mood. Are you happy or about to go on homicidal spree? Which is it?
While we're on a Tarantino kick, do soundtracks get much better than Pulp Fiction. Honestly the most random mix-up of music (everything from surf to soul) but somehow it works and somehow it’s addictive. Tarantino does it again.
Two words: Kenny bloody Loggins—okay that was three but the emphasis was needed. Two seconds into the song and you’re already thrashing your head back and forth with your imaginary mullet. But it doesn’t stop there, because Top Gun also blessed us with the ICONIC “Take My Breath Away”. Did you just sing that in your head? Because we sure did.
The Sound Of Music
Nobody can touch Julie Andrews, NOBODY.
Romeo & Juliet
If you could condense the 90s into one single movie (and one single soundtrack) it’s Romeo & Juliet. The tunes are just plain badass, that’s it. Just reliving this album makes us feel all edgy and problematic again. Younnnng hearrrrts, runn freeeee...
Far From The Madding Crowd
What could make a period drama with Carey Mulligan, Matthias Schoenaerts, and Michael Sheen better? A totally astonishing soundtrack.
Scent Of A Woman
Ngl, the film’s pretty heavy but then Al Pacino and Gabrielle Anwar dance a tango together and you suddenly have an unforgettable scene. And the song, ‘Por una Cabeza’ gives you shivers every single time, like what more could you want?
La La Land
You’re lying if you watched the epilogue to La La Land and didn’t feel something. And 80% of it was because of that music. Composer and freak of nature, Justin Hurwitz (also responsible for Whiplash), bloody spoiled us with so many enchanting songs in La La Land. Though they might not be a GOTG 70s banger, they’re still absolutely dreamy and whisk us away into Ryan Gosling’s arms Every. Single. Time.
On top of all the feelings Garden State generates, the soundtrack intensifies it by about a million punches to the heart. The soundtrack could be a standalone album purely for the amount of nostalgia it triggers with Iron & Wine, Coldplay, and Frou Frou making an appearance.
Into The Wild
Because completely leaving society isn’t intense enough, Eddie Vedder just had to give us song after song of utter beauty. Some songs will haunt you, others will make you feel loved. It’s a masterpiece that was totally robbed of an Oscar. #notpettyatall
The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty
I mean when you’ve got a soundtrack made up of David Bowie, Of Monsters and Men, Jose Gonzalez, and Rogue Wave you have very little else to complain about. Pair that with some brilliant acting and scenery and you’ve got yourself a very bad case of wanderlust.
The Wizard Of Oz
We’ve all got that one family member or friend who has sung us to sleep on ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’. It’s just one of those movie songs that have always been a part of our childhoods. And it’ll be turning 80 next year. Scary thought.
Anything With Hanz Zimmer
‘Cos you know there’s Inception, The Lion King, Interstellar Dunkirk, Pirates of the Caribbean…and about 40 more. Don't ask us to pick favourites.
The Greatest Showman
The newest kid on the block—we were a little sceptic on how this film was going to play out. And while the storyline wasn't anything new, we still adored the soundtrack. It was punchy and passionate and so damn addictive we were hitting up the Spotify on the way home. Not to mention the film’s anthem ‘This Is Me’ is so relevant to the world today and so beautiful. If you haven’t seen the studio session of ‘This Is Me’, get around it because you will cry a lot of happy tears. No really, you will cry.
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Image credit: La La Land