The 20 Most Memorable Songs of FilmMusic and film have long played off of each other to transport the beholderthrough a spectrum of emotions, from sympathy to anger, love, fear, andeverything in between. The following is a snapshot of such pictures that haveshaped our lives and ultimately, our perception of the world.Nine (2009)From its tension-riddled start to a gratifying finish, Nine recounted the story ofItalian film director Guido Contini with a versatile set of balladic numbers. Thefilm starts with a despondent Guido, creative abilities hampered by a massiveblock, which informs the first piece. As he ponders the prospects of his latest work,“Overture Delle Donne” accompanies the audience. Some dozen numbers follow,from “Guidos Song,” which arises from a daydream that the director entertained toevade paparazzi, to “Finale,” in which his creative revolution is complete.Juno (2007)Not a musical by classification, Juno integrated a couple of songs to add abeautiful dynamic to its pithy plot. The soundtrack employed such numbers asBarry Louis Palisar’s “All I Want is You,” played at the beginning as Ellen Pagediscovered that she was pregnant. The main musical feature, however, was“Anyone Else But You” by Moldy Peaches, a mellow call and response song thatMichael Cera and Ellen Page sang to relieve the tension and express their feelingsfor each other.Dreamgirls (2006)It’s no surprise that the Broadway-based tale of a trio of soulful singers,Dreamgirls, would use a dozen and a half songs to demonstrate the immaculatepower and style of Beyonce’s voice. As the three rising stars overcome alladversity in this epic chronicle, “Move,” “Cadillac Car,” Dreamgirls,” “Patience,”“One Night Only,” “Listen,” and a dozen other songs emanate from the stage withmore and more electricity each time.Walk the Line (2005)
One of the most prolific figures in country music history, Jonny Cash’s legacylived in his triumphant tirades through Memphis’s musical community, and thenthe world. Walk The Line, a modern re-telling of his story, took a reverent audiencethrough Cash’s upbringing, challenges, and eventual success. With JoaquinPhoenix playing Cash, the film re-invigorated the country champion’s deep timberin “Ring of Fire,” “I Walk The Line,” and “Folsom Prison Blues.”School of Rock (2003)Hard-rocking jokester Jack Black plays Dewey Finn, a washed out musician whofinds a chance to live vicariously through a group of young students that a twist offate has left him in charge with. Featuring classic hard rock songs like AC/DC’s“Back in Black,” The Clash’s “Stay Free,” Metallica’s “The Wait,” and more,Black and company lit up a school’s music department as the audience reminiscedof a golden era in rock music.A Mighty Wind (2003)Christopher Guest’s A Mighty Wind was both a commemoration of a deceased folklegend, Irving Steinbloom, and a tribute to the genre of folk itself. AfterSteinbloom’s passing, his children recruit The Folksmen, Mitch & Mickey, andThe New Main Street Singers to perform a memorial concert featuring “Old Joe’sPlace,” “Fare Away,” “Skeletons Of Quinto,” “The Ballad Of Bobby And June,”and more than a dozen other iconic folk songs.Chicago (2002)Rob Marshall’s modern rendition of the Broadway hit Chicago turned out 15unforgettable performances, from “All That Jazz” to “Roxie’s Suite.” When pairedwith an explosive plot involving murder, seduction, and stardom, Chicago carvedits own niche in musical productions in both the original as well as the remadeversions.Moulin Rouge (2001)Ewan McGregor’s character in Moulin Rouge, Christian, finds himself smitten by acourtesan named Satine in the dodgy Parisian underground of the late 19th century.
Soon after, the two become ensnared in a love triangle as a Duke aims to courtSatine. With such drama woven through the plot, the musical score had to match.With “Your Song,” “One Day I’ll Fly Away,” “Like A Virgin,” and others, it didjust that,10 Things I Hate About You (1999)10 Things I Hate About You incorporates a similar tension into the plot, exceptinstead of a triangle, it’s an overbearing father who makes dating life hard forHeath Ledger’s character, Cameron. The most popular song is when Heath Ledgeractually sings “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” in an attempt to win over JuliaStiles’ character, Bianca. Other soundtrack hits include “FNT” by Semisonic,Cheap Trick’s “I Want You to Want Me,” “Even Angels Fall” by Jessica Riddle,and more.The Wedding Singer (1998)In classic Adam Sandler form, The Wedding Singer poked fun at the mega-hits ofthe 80s and early 90s with wedding singer Robbie Hart’s comical renditions ofthem. The most memorable musical moments in the film were the opening song,“You Spin Me Like a Record,” and “Grow Old With Me,” in which Billy Idolhimself appeared to help Mr. Hart woo his sweetheart as she prepared to leave on aplane.Velvet Goldmine (1998)A stunning account into the lives of glam rock stars, Velvet Goldmine starringEwan McGregor and Jonathan Rhys Meyers took the world into the realm ofglitter, sexual exploration, and rock that was the 70s fad. Christian Bale, who playsreporter Arthur Stuart, unveiled the true lifestyles of rocker Brian Slade, played byJonathan Rhys Meyers. Based off of Ziggy Stardust, Slade took the audiencethrough “Needle In The Camel’s Eye,” “The Whole Shebang,” “Satellite of Love,”“Velvet Spacetime,” and many others.My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997)The 1997 date movie My Best Friend’s Wedding saw Julia Roberts trapped in alove triangle with very little time before her beloved Michael marries a different
woman, Kimberly. The introduction song, Ani DiFranco’s “Wishin’ and Hopin’,”neatly summarizes the plot: “all you gotta do is kiss him, and hug him… show himthat you care.” The rest of the picture continued to reflect the lyrics of “You Don’tKnow Me,” “Tell Him,” “I’ll Be Okay,” and others.Love Jones (1997)Of that same year, Love Jones tells the story of poet Darius Lovehall, played byLaurenz Tate, and Nia Long’s character, Nina Moseley. Darius is a poet and Longis a photographer, so when they meet and begin to fall in love, there is no shortageof creative expression. The soundtrack was no exception, featuring “Brother to theNight,” sung by Tate himself, “The Sweetest Thing,” “Inside My Love,” “Can’tGet Enough,” and several others.Waiting for Guffman (1996)A modest Missouri town is celebrating its 150th anniversary in a musical theaterproduction. Employing a cast of travel agents, waitresses, and car repairmen, theproduction is expected to be more of a fun attempt than a truly artfulcommemoration. When the vaguely connected director, however, calls in an oldBroadway friend to sit in on the show, the cast is frenzied to master “A Penny ForYour Thoughts,” “Nothing Ever Happens On Mars,” “Stool Boom” and more.Evita (1996)Madonna’s character in Evita, Eva Duarte de Peron, received a highly polarreaction by the Argentinean people through her philanthropic efforts and her powerover her husband, the president of Argentina. Loved by the lower class anddespised by the military, Evita’s plight came out through “Don’t Cry for MeArgentina,” “Rainbow High,” and “You Must Love Me,” which was composedspecifically for the film.The Cable Guy (1996)Creator of one of the most hilarious scenes in film history, The Cable Guy pittedthe animated antics of comedic powerhouse Jim Carrey with the conservative styleof Matthew Broderick. Carrey played a quirky, lonely cable guy that befriendedBroderick and clung like a mollusk thereafter. The hilarious, musical scene is when
Carrey’s character and “Steven” battled at a Medieval Times restaurant while thecable guy sang the star trek theme song.The Newsies (1992)Newsies chronicled a historic strike that took place at the very end of the 19thcentury, when Joseph Pulitzer raised the price of paper, financially cripplingnewsboys even more. Jack Kelly, played by Christian Bale, led his fellownewsboys on a massive strike to liberate the financially oppressed workers.Perhaps the most memorable song in the movie, played at the beginning, is“Carrying the Banner,” in which all of the newsies unite in song.Beetle Juice (1988)When the ghosts of a deceased husband and wife enlist the help of a “reverseexorcist” to kick the living out of their old house, Beetle Juice graces the screenwith his dark but comedic presence. Instead of haunting the Deetz family out of thehouse, however, Beetle Juice ends up becoming a big hit with them. Musically,“Banana Boat Song” accompanied a hilarious scene in which Bettle Juice defiledthe family’s dinner in an attempt to scare them, and “Step in the Line” at theresolution of the movie ushered the audience out.Beaches (1988)Beaches describes the unlikely union of two best friends, debutante Hillary Essexand young entertainer Cecilia Bloom through a heartwarming and hilariousfriendship. Bette Midler re-enlivens a cluster of memorable songs, such as “BabyMine,” “I’ve Still Got My Health,” and “The Glory of Love.”Top Gun (1986)Finally, in a memorable account of the fiery competition between fighter pilots“Maverick” and “Iceman,” played by Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer, Top Gunsported a soundtrack full of 80s hits such as “Danger Zone,” “Mighty Wings,” and“Heaven in Your Eyes.”