My Favorite Uses of Music In Film

Posted on Tuesday, May 17th, 2011 at 1:15 pm

Dating back to the silent era when music was the only audio component to the cinema experience, save the din of depression era gossip, music has remained as important an attribute of film as butter has to popcorn. The following is what I consider to be among the best uses of music in film.
Chapter One: The Sixties and Seventies

George Gershwin – Rhapsody In Blue (Manhattan)
Machine – There But For the Grace of God (Summer of Sam)
Bee Gees – Night Fever (Saturday Night Fever)
Rolling Stones – Jumping Jack Flash (Mean Streets)
Mick Jagger – Memo From Turner (Performance)
Jimmy Hendrix – Voodoo Child (Withnail & I)
Love – Red Telephone (Taking Woodstock)
The Doors – This Is The End (Apocalypse Now)
Simon & Garfunkel – Sounds of Silence/ April Comes (The Graduate)

Chapter Two – Youth Angst

Zapp and Roger – More Bounce (La Haine)
Curtis Mayfield – Billy Jack (Electroma)
Tears For Fears – Head Over Heals (Donnie Darko)
The Creation – Making Time (Rushmore)
Arnold McCuller – Nowhere To Run (The Warriors)
Sharon Green, Lisa Counts & Debbie D – Us Girls (Beat Street)
LL Cool J – Radio (Krush Groove)
Karla DeVito – We Are Not Alone (The Breakfast Club)
Peter Gabriel – In Your Eyes (Say Anything)
Prince – Computer Blue/ Darling Nicki (Purple Rain)
Irene Cara – What a Feeling (Flashdance)
Chapter Three – Love and Happiness

Flight of the Bumblebee – (Clockwork Orange)
Nicolas Cage – Love Me (Wild at Heart)
Sylvia & Mickey – Love is Strange (Badlands)
Guitar Break – (Eagle and Shark)
Instrumental Excerpt – (All the Real Girls)
Ray Charles – Mess Around (Planes Trains and Automobiles)
Steve Martin & Bernadette Peters – Tonight You Belong To Me (The Jerk)
Cole Porter/ Christopher Walken – Let’s Misbehave (Pennies From Heaven)
Shelly Duvall – He Needs Me (Popeye)
Shelly Duvall – He Needs Me (Punch Drunk Love)
Goldie Hawn & Woody Allen – I’m Thru With Love (Everybody Says I Love You)
Marilyn Monroe – Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes)
Chapter Four – Loneliness and Despair

Kim Jong Il – I’m So Lonely (Team America)
Elliot Smith – Needle In the Hay (Royal Tennenbaums)
Aimee Mann – Wise Up (Magnolia)
The Mamas and the Papas – Dedicated to the One I Love (Morvern Callier)
Roy Orbison – In Dreams (Blue Velvet)
Taral Hicks – Sax, Cantor, Riff (Subway Stories)
Terrance Blanchard & Brandford Marsalis – Mo Better Blues (Mo Better Blues)
Dooley Wilson – As Time Goes By (Casablanca)
Pearl’s Song (Night of the Hunter)
Pete Seeger – Guantanamera (Last Night)
Vera Lynn – We’ll Meet Again (Dr. Strangelove)
Judy Garland – Somewhere Over the Rainbow (The Wizard of Oz)


Prince – Let’s Go Crazy – Film Edit (Purple Rain)
The Time – Jungle Love (Purple Rain)
Appolonia 6 – Sex Shooter – Rehearsal (Purple Rain)
Big Fun – Teenage Suicide (Heathers)
Gleaming Spires – Are You Ready For the Sex Girls? (Revenge of the Nerds)
Simple Minds – Don’t You Forget About Me (Breakfast Club)
Echo and the Bunnymen – The Killing Moon (Donnie Darko)
Mick Smiley – Magic (Ghostbusters)
Ice T – Colors (Colors)
Fat Boys – Fat Boys (Krush Groove)
Public Enemy – Fight the Power (Do the Right Thing)
Marvin Gaye – Trouble Man (Trouble Man)
Willie Hutch – Brother’s Gonna Work It Out (The Mack)
Holger Czukay – Fragrance (Morvern Callar)
Unknown Artist – She’s Got To Have It (Deep Throat)
Mello – Take Me Higher (CQ)
The Beatles – You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away (Help!)
The Kinks – Nothing In This World (Rushmore)
High Numbers – I’m the Face (Quadrophenia)
Muddy Waters – Mannish Boy (Goodfellas)
Jimi Hendrix Experience – If Six Were Nine (Easy Rider)
Ry Cooder feat. Mick Jagger – Memo From Turner (Performance)
John Hiatt – Spy Boy (Cruisin’)
Tangerine Dream – Guido the Killer Pimp (Risky Business)
Neil Young feat Bill Murray – Ode to Wild Bill (Where the Buffalo Roam)
America, Fuck Yeah – Bummer Mix (Team America)
The Kalikak Family – Top Gun
Berlin – Take My Breath Away (Top Gun)
John Carpenter – He’s Still Alive (Escape From New York)
Daft Punk – The Grid (Tron Legacy)
Mark Mothersbaugh – Ping Island (Royal Tennenbaums)
J Spaceman feat. Diego Luna – Michael’s Opening (Mister Lonely)
Kermit the Frog – Rainbow Connection (The Muppet Movie)
Sigur Ros – Staralfur (Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou)
Max Richter – On the Nature of Daylight (Stranger than Fiction)
Jon Brion –He Really Needs Me (Punch Drunk Love)
Dooley Wilson – As Time Goes By (Casablanca)
Gene Kelly – Singing in the Rain (Singing in the Rain)
George Gershwin – He Love and She Loves (Manhattan)
The Bee Gees – How Deep Is Your Love (Saturday Night Fever)
Spandau Ballet – True (Sixteen Candles)
Elton John – Tiny Dancer (Almost Famous)
David Foster – Love Theme From St. Elmo’s Fire (St. Elmo’s Fire)
The Flamingos – I Only Have Eyes For You (American Graffiti)
Cool Change – Streets of the Bronx (A Bronx Tale)
Air – Playground Love (Virgin Suicides)
Sebastian Tellier – Universe (Daft Punk’s Electroma)
Bernard Herman – Main Title (Taxi Driver)
Brad Fiedel – Terminator Love Theme (Terminator)
Vangelis – Deckard and Rachel (Blade Runner)
Giorgio Moroder & David Bowie – The Myth (Cat People)
Giorgio Moroder – Tony’s Theme (Scarface)
Pearl’s Song – Dirty Reissue (Night of the Hunter)
Trent Reznor & Atticus Rose – Hand Covers Bruise (The Social Network)
Jocelyn Pook – Masked Ball (Eyes Wide Shut)
Gyorgy Ligeti – Musica Ricercata II (Eyes Wide Shut)
Gyorgy Ligeti – Lux Aeterna (2001: A Space Odyssey)
Maria Callas – La Mamma Morta (Philadelphia)
Sonic Youth – Slambient Desire (Demonlover)
Neil Young – Why Does Thou Hide Thyself, Clouds (Dead Man)
Gabriel Yared & Underworld – Not Talking (Breaking and Entering)
Ry Cooder feat Harry Dean Stanton – Cancion Mixteca (Paris, Texas)
The Ink Spots – I Understand (Trees Lounge)
Percy Sledge – The Dark End of the Street (This is England)
Bette Midler – The Rose (The Rose)
Pinocchio – When You Wish Upon a Star (Pinocchio)
Vera Lynn – We’ll Meet Again (Dr. Strangelove)

Electric Adolescence – Music In Film – Audio Mix 120 mins/ 320 kbps/

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Bonus Material: David Lynch fans might be interested in this earlier post, which features soundtrack selections from his films and from the Twin Peaks series, with a particular appreciation for the compositions of Angelo Badalamenti.

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