20 Unforgettable Movie Soundtrack Moments

Andrew Buckle,

Inspired by the joyous garden party sequence in S.S Rajamouli’s extraordinary RRR, which I enjoyed immensely, I started thinking about some other uses of music in movies that took my breath away and have since become synonymous, at least to me, with their presence in that movie. How many tracks do you hear on the radio that immediately remind you of a movie scene where that track has been used? There are likely more than you think. I have attempted to curate a selection of some of these most unforgettable moments.

Now, there has to be some criteria in place in order to select from such an extraordinary range. First of all, these are just from movies. I have tried not to include many songs that solely accompany the opening or closing credits. While these may be iconic to the film (such as “Danger Zone” in Top Gun), I was more interested in music – and to put it simply ‘good songs’ – that characters interact with or are part of a key sequence within the body of the film. Original music created for the movie (haunting tracks like “The Masked Ball” in Eyes Wide Shut for example) has also been less weighted in the consideration too. Some tracks, like “Staying Alive” in Saturday Night Fever, are just too monumental in significance to ignore on either of these fronts. If some of your favourites are missing from the list, this might explain why.

So, check out some of my favourite needle-drop moments below. These are in no particular order. I hope you have enjoyed these sequences as much as I have, and if you haven’t seen the movies that inspire the selections they are well worth seeking out. They offer more than just a magical musical moment, but are outstanding films in general.

Warning: many of the following clips contain spoilers of the movies, and some included clips contain strong adult content.


“Come On Eileen” by Dexys Midnight Runners in The Perks of Being a Wallflower

“Cat People (Putting Out Fire)” by David Bowie in Inglourious Basterds

“Hip to Be Square” by Huey Lewis and the News in American Psycho (WARNING – strong content)

“Diamonds” by Rhianna in Girlhood

“Roxanne” by Jose Feliciano in Moulin Rouge

“Strangers” by The Kinks in The Darjeeling Limited

“I Want It That Way” by The Backstreet Boys in Magic Mike XXL (WARNING – Strong Content)

“Staying Alive” by The Bee Gees in Saturday Night Fever

“Fight the Power” by Public Enemy in Do the Right Thing

“Vitamin C” by Can in Inherent Vice

“Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)” by The First Edition in The Big Lebowski

“California Dreamin” by The Mamas & The Papas in Chunkgking Express

“Genesis” by Justice in The Square

“Rapture” by Blondie in Shame

“Experience” by Ludovico Einaudi in Mommy

“The End” by The Doors in Apocalypse Now

“Let my Baby Ride” by R.L Burnside in Holy Motors

“Annie’s Song” by John Denver in Free Fire (WARNING – Strong Content)

“Orinoco Flow (Sail Away)” by Enya in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) (WARNING – Strong Content)

“Naacho Naacho” by Rahul Sipligunj and Vishal Mishra in RRR

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