Motion pictures and songs seem to create a combination similar to peanut butter and jelly — one highlighting the other. Some of the best movie songs are found in some of the greatest motion pictures. However, mixing the two is an elaborate process, requiring a lot of creative ingenuity. Some of the best movie songs of all time can stay in line with the movie and make sure that the action comes first.
Music is a spotlight — shining bright on the story being told. Catchy songs highlight the action that happens in the scene. They dictate the action and emotions. For example, some of the best movie theme songs, like “Lose Yourself” from 8 Mile, set a very serious tone for the movie. Also, a song from a movie acts like a nostalgic tool, reminding us about the film from a few notes alone.
The good thing about movie soundtracks is that they use audio cues to evoke the needed emotions. Since there are a lot of famous movie songs to choose from, we have compiled some of the best ones below. Some of these might already be in your playlist, so be sure to upvote them. On the other hand, if there is another song you would like to share, comment it down below.
Rocky Balboa and the group Survivor seem to fit each other like two puzzle pieces. “Eye Of The Tiger” came to reality when Queen, the music group, refused permission to use “Another One Bites the Dust” for Rocky III.
Working 9 to 5 is a monotonic process that can become more interesting with Dolly Parton. “9 To 5” is the theme song of the movie 9 To 5, where Dolly Parton had a leading role. She came up with the rhythm of the song by tapping her nails on a table.
Originally written and sung by Dolly Parton, Whitney Houston took the lyrics to another level with her own vocal skills. “I Will Always Love You” skyrocketed to become one of the greatest songs in Whitney Houston’s career.
Beauty And The Beast is a beautiful movie with some catchy songs. The song “Beauty And The Beast” was performed by Angela Lansbury, the voice behind the character of Mrs. Potts. Funnily enough, Lansbury didn’t understand the lyrics at first but was able to record them in a single take.
“Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr. is a great song, no doubt about it, but the hit has some uncomfortable controversy dragging behind it. After it appeared in the movie, Huey Lewis sued Ray Parker Jr. for plagiarism. It was settled outside the courts for an unknown sum of money.
The Breakfast Club looks at the life of flawed youths, so the song by Simple Minds titled “Don’t you Forget About Me” seems to fit the movie perfectly. The song is about remembering the friends we encountered and the memories that came from the relationships.
“Singin’ In The Rain” is a classic for a reason. Performed by Gene Kelly, it showcases the emotions of the character through catchy lyrics and rhythm. It is one of the most recognizable movie songs out there.
When dancing and rock music get banned in a small town, “Footloose” (the song) seems to do as the name says — make sure that the youth is dancing and partying to it. Oddly enough, Kevin Bacon tips DJs not to play this song at the parties he attends.
Coolio was a master lyricist, and “Gangsta’s Paradise” proves this. It starts with a line from Psalm 23:4, performed in a rapping rhythm, and soon moves to some freestyled lines from Coolio himself. It is a catchy song that is heard on the radio even today.
You can “Lose Yourself” when listening to this classic Eminem song. The theme song of 8 Mile, this song earned Eminem his first Oscar nomination and award. Ironically enough, Eminem didn’t accept the award because he was at home, thinking he wouldn’t win.
A great ending requires a great song. “Flashdance… What A Feeling” was composed by a veteran of the movie music world, Giorgio Moroder, and performed by the angel-voiced Irene Cara. The song is still a hit to this day.
“Oh, Pretty Woman” might be much more popular than the movie it was in – Pretty Woman. It is a classic song inspired by the interaction between Roy Orbison, Bill Dees, and Orbison’s wife. When asked if she had enough money, Dees said — “A pretty woman never needs any money.”
While Tom Cruise might have captured our eyes, Berlin and their song “Take My Breath Away” stole our ears. This musical hit about love and its meaning was composed by Giorgio Moroder, one of the greatest composers in the entertainment world.
Titanic might not have been the romantic movie we have come to love, if not for Céline Dion and her hit song “My Heart Will Go On”. It will go down in history as one of the best songs in movies. It captures the love between Rose and Jack, the titular leads of the movie.
Since Pretty Woman is a romantic movie, you had to have a romantic song in the soundtrack. Roxette delivered it with “It Must Have Been Love” — a lyrical masterpiece. Even standing alone, it was a hit with the audience and critics.
John Travolta might have the moves in Saturday Night Fever, but The Bee Gees had the song for the movie. “Stayin’ Alive” is one of the greatest songs, as rated by Rolling Stone magazine.
“Over The Rainbow” sets up the tone of the movie right from the start. Performed by Judy Garland, who plays the lead in The Wizard of Oz, it won an Oscar for best original song and became a part of Garland’s personality.
Audrey Hepburn seems to be a magnificent vocalist, and her performance of “Moon River” proves this. Performed for Breakfast At Tiffany’s, the single won an Oscar for best original song and a Grammy for Record of the Year in 1962.
Even if you have never seen Dirty Dancing (you should), you must have heard the classic song from the movie — “The Time Of My Life”. It won an Oscar, Golden Globe, and a Grammy after it appeared as the last song in the movie.
Since Easy Rider is about freedom and a carefree attitude, “Born To Be Wild” tries to capture that essence. The song takes a deeper look at why every person is practically destined to roam the world worry-free and examines the hippie culture with a closer lens.
Who could have known that Better Midler had such a soothing voice? “Wind Beneath My Wings” is the perfect song for a movie set on a beach. The song was one of the greatest songs of 1990, recognized by Grammy’s.
As far as emotional rock music goes, Aerosmith is safely resting on the top with the song they performed for Armageddon — “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing”. The lyrics draw inspiration from an interview with James Brolin and Barbra Streisand.
Bryan Adams is not a stranger to the tops of many billboards and charts. For Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves, Adams didn’t hold back any punches and created “I Do It For You”. The song became a top-charting song in many nations.
Another hit from the Bee Gees from the movie Saturday Night Fever. “Stayin’ Alive” and “How Deep Is Your Love” are both considered to be chart-smashing songs. However, the second one is more controversial due to the 1983 lawsuit.
When the Frozen movie was released, “Let It Go”, performed by Idina Menzel, was heard everywhere, for good reasons too. During the 86th Academy Awards, “Let It Go” won an Oscar for Best Original Song.
While Grease alone is one of the best musical movies out there, “You’re The One That I Want” is the song that cemented the movie’s ending. Thanks to the chemistry between Travolta and Newton-John, it is one of the best movie songs.
“Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” — it is a tongue twister for sure and fits nicely with the Mary Poppins world. Performed by Julie Andrews and Richard Van Dyke, it was a certified silver hit in the United Kingdom.
Swae Lee and Post Malone are two great artists that skyrocketed the Spider-Man animated movie to the top with their songs. “Sunflower” is a hit that helped with its success. With catchy lyrics and a great beat, the song was nominated for many awards, winning a big part of them.
Batman is not one to shy away from the theme of romance. “Kiss From A Rose” by Seal might be more famous than the movie it first appeared in. A classic song for listening to on your own or with a couple of friends at a party.
“Kiss Me”, performed by Sixpence None The Richer, perfectly fits the romantic world of She’s All That. After its release in 1999, it became part of the Dawson’s Creek soundtrack. This song also inspired a cultural icon, Taylor Swift, as this was the first song she learned on her guitar.
Walt Disney is a veteran of creating some of the best hitters for the studio’s animated movies. “When You Wish Upon A Star” was created for Pinocchio, performed by Cliff Edwards, and heard at the start and end of the animated motion picture.
Fast & Furious 7 is the perfect tribute to Paul Walker, a fantastic actor. “See You Again”, by Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth, skyrocketed the emotional ending, making it one of the best endings in cinema and leaving many fans with a waterfall of tears.
When you combine Pink, Mya, Lil Kim, Missy Elliott, and Christina Aguilera in a single song — you’ll have a hit on your hands. After the song “Lady Marmalade” was released, it reached the number 1 spot on Billboard Hot 100 and kept it for five weeks.
When you work for a secret government agency that interacts with intraterrestrial aliens — you have to have a theme song. Will Smith created “Men in Black”, a rap song, and won a Grammy award for the best rap solo performance.
Since Mrs. Robinson is a very “interesting” person in the movie The Graduate, it is only natural to have a song written about her. Created by the duet of Simon and Garfunkel, the song captures important aspects of the character, mixing in some seductive traits too.
One of the best James Bond movies had to have one of the greatest theme songs. “Skyfall”, the song performed by Adele, won accolades from the Oscars, Grammys, and other highly respected music competitions.
Lady Gaga is already an established singer, but who could have known that Bradley Cooper had a soothing voice too? “Shallow” sees the two performing a heart-touching song, and their duet skyrocketed the movie to the top.
“La Bamba” is truly… La Bomb. Since it was a biopic about Ritchie Valens, the original author of “La Bamba”, Los Lobos covered this song for the movie. It became the fourth non-English song to dominate the Billboard Hot 100 list.
Bruce Springsteen is not afraid to touch some taboo topics. “Streets Of Philadelphia” subtly examines the problem of AIDS. Together with the movie, they brought a lot of light to the themes of homosexuality and HIV.
Iggy Pop, the king of punk, worked with David Bowie to create this hard-hitting song for Trainspotting. The record tries to analyze the meaning of life, the problems that drugs lead to, and the lust a person has for a better life.
Pharrell Williams has the strange ability to put a smile on everyone’s faces with his songs alone. “Happy”, as the name gives out, is a joyful song that seems to suit the Despicable Me 2 world. It won a Grammy and was well received by the critics.
With a title like The Lion King, you know that Elton John will create a kingly song. “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” captures the emotions of the movie perfectly. Don’t be surprised if you hear this song during the first dance of a newlywed couple.
First appearing in the movie Fame and then in the TV series with the same title, “Fame”, performed by Irene Cara, is simple in its meaning. The song talks about, you guessed it, fame. It was heard everywhere in its glory times, topping a lot of charts around the world.
While American Gigolo is a neo-noir crime movie, “Call Me” by Blondie is a more happy and upbeat song. The single was released in 1980, and after six weeks, it became a certified gold record by the RIAA. It even got nominated for a Grammy.
Stevie Wonder did a great job in delivering a leading hit single for The Woman In Red soundtrack. “I Just Called To Say I Love You” (a very romantic title indeed) is remembered today for the catchy chorus.
When Jon Voight’s character visited New York City, everybody talked about it. Harry Nilsson performed this Grammy award-winning single for the movie Midnight Cowboy. “Everybody’s Talkin’” takes a look at the harshness of the city and the chaos in it.
Justin Timberlake can create hits with NSYNC and on his own. “Can’t Stop The Feeling!”, which appeared in Trolls, was received with much praise and was nominated for the Grammy award. The song became a hit overnight.
“Young And Beautiful” works with The Great Gatsby to intensify the emotions created in the movie. The lyrics explore the love between the two main leads. It asks the male lead if he would love the female lead, even if she got old and became less beautiful.
Prince created two songs for Purple Rain. “When Doves Cry” became the first song by Prince to hit the Billboard Hot 100 number one position. “Purple Rain” hit number two on the same Billboard Hot 100. Both of them fueled Prince’s rise to stardom.
When it was released, “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” only got praise from critics. Combining Zayn and Swift’s vocal skills, the song debuted at number six on the US Billboard Hot 100. It was listened to by millions on the radio.
While the movie might have received some not-so-positive reactions from critics, the song got a different reaction from the same critics — praise and compliments. Diana Ross and Lionel Richie suit each other’s voices quite well.
Madonna, the queen of pop, is not a stranger to great songs that dominate the charts. “Crazy For You” made the critics crazy for Madonna. The song got her the first Grammy nomination in the Best Female Pop Vocal Performance category.
Boyz II Men are no strangers to creating some great songs. “End Of The Road”, part of the romantic movie Boomerang, is a heart-aching hit that explores the theme of love. It was able to reach number 1 on the Billboard charts, and was well-liked by the critics.
“We Don’t Talk About Bruno” was met with many positive reactions from critics when it appeared in Encanto. Lin-Manuel Miranda, the songwriter behind the hit, was hailed for his lyrical genius and catchy rhythm work.
Even angels are required to have their song. “Independent Women Part I”, performed by Destiny’s Child, sets up the trio of Charlie’s Angels and their skills with well-written lyrics. The song was a chart success and held the number-one spot on the Billboard charts for a long time.