20 Films with the Coolest Songs

The definition of “cool” is malleable and changeable. However, if there was one agreed definition, these films would have been real contestants in winning “The Coolest Songs in a Film” award. The list only includes movies with multiple “cool” vocal songs (with lyrics) and excludes animations. In no particular order:

  1. Pulp Fiction (1994) – “You Never Can Tell” by Chuck Berry;Girl, You’ll be a Woman Soon” by Urge Overkill; “Flowers on the Wall” by the Statler Brothers, etc.  
  1. Back to the Future (1985) – “Heaven is One Step Away” by Eric Clapton; “The Power Of Love” by Huey Lewis & the News; “Johnny B. Goode” by Mark Campbell (Chuck Berry), etc.
  1. Drive (2011) – “Nightcall” by Kavinsky; “A Real Hero” by College & Electric Youth; “Under Your Spell” by Desire, etc.
  1. Django Unchained (2012) – “Django” by Rocky Roberts & Luis Bacalov; “Freedom” by Anthony Hamilton & Elayna Boynton; “I Got A Name” by Jim Croce, etc.
  1. The Great Gatsby (2013)“Love Is Blindness” by Jack White; “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody” by Fergie feat. Q-Tip & GoonRock; “Over the Love” by Florence and the Machine, etc. 
  1. The Virgin Suicides (1993) – “Playground Love” by Air; “Hello it’s Me” by Todd Rundgren; “I’m Not in Love” by 10cc , etc.
  1. Top Gun (1986)“Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins; “Take My Breath Away” by Berlin; “Playing with the Boys” by Kenny Loggins, etc.
  1. Trainspotting (1996)“Born Slippy” by Underworld; “Lust for Life” by Iggy Pop; “Temptation” by New Order, etc.
  1. Saturday Night Fever (1977)“You Should be Dancing” by Bee Gees; “Staying Alive” by Bee Gees; “Night Fever” by Bee Gees, etc.
  1. Laurence Anyways (2012) – “Fade to Grey” by Steve Strange; “Enjoy the Silence” by Depeche Mode; “The Funeral Party” by the Cure, etc.
  1. Donnie Darko (2001) –“Head Over Heels” by Tears for Fears; “Love will Tear Us Apart” by Joy Division; “West End Girls” by The Pet Shop Boys, etc.
  1. Thelma & Louise (1991) – “No Looking Back” by Kenny Loggins; “Tennessee Plates” by Charlie Sexton; “The Ballad of Lucy Jordan” by Marianne Faithfull, etc.
  1. Twenty-Four Hour Party People (2002)“Ever Fallen in Love” by the Buzzcocks; “Passenger” by Iggy Pop; “She’s Lost Control” by Joy Division, etc.
  1. American Psycho (2000) – “True Faith” by New Order; “Simply Irresistible” by Robert Palmer; “Something in the Air” by David Bowie, etc.
  1. Reservoir Dogs (1992)“Hooked on a Feeling” by Bjorn Skifs; “Little Green Bag” by George Baker Selection; “Stuck in the Middle with You” by Stealers Wheel, etc.
  1. The Blues Brothers (1980) – “Think” by Aretha Franklin; “She Caught the Katy” by the Blues Brothers; “Gimme Some Loving’” by the Blues Brothers, etc.
  1. La La Land (2016) – “Another Day of Sun” by Baxter, de Vries, Lee, Parrish & Stone; “City of Stars” by Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling; “Take on Me” by D.A. Wallach (originally by A-HA), etc.
  1. Rain Man (1988) – “Iko Iko”by the Belle Stars; “Beyond the Blue Horizon” by Lou Christie; “Scatterings of Africa” by Johnny Clegg, etc.
  1. Easy Rider (1969) “Born to be Wild” by Steppenwolf; “I Wasn’t Born to Follow” by the Byrds; “If 6 was 9” by Jimmy Hendrix, etc.
  1. Nine and a Half Weeks (1986)“Eurasian Eyes” by Corey Hart; “Savior” by Winston Grennan and the Ska Rocks Band; “Slave to Love” by Bryan Ferry, etc.

Honourable mentions:

Apocalypse Now (1979) – “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” by the Rolling Stones; “Suzie Q” by Flash Cadillac, etc.; Pretty Woman (1990) – “Real Wind Child (Wild One)” by Chris Otcasek; “King of Wishful Thinking” by Go West, etc. and Shame (2011) – “Rapture” by Blondie; “I Want Your Love” by Chic, etc.

The following films also have roughly only one main “cool” song which defines it:

Midnight Cowboy (1969) – “Everybody’s Talkin’” by Harry Nilsson

Rocky III (1982) – “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor

Ghostbusters (1984) – “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr

Leon (1994) – “Shape of My Heart” by Sting (also see “Venus as a Boy” by Bjork)

Fight Club (1999) – “Where is My Mind” by Pixies

Closer (2004) – “Blower’s Daughter” by Damien Rice

Skyfall (2012) – “Skyfall” by Adele

Her (2013) – “The Moon Song” by Karen O

What about you? Do you have a favourite song(s) in a movie which you think is (are) particularly “cool”?

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23 Responses to 20 Films with the Coolest Songs

  1. Ken Dowell says:

    The one I thought of, which is from the 90’s, is Until the End of the World. Songs include the title song by U2, Elvis Costello covering Ray Davies’ Days, What’s Good by Lou Reed and songs by Patti Smith and T-Bone Burnett.

    • dbmoviesblog says:

      I don’t know this film, but sounds like it would have been a really perfect addition to this list! Most U2 songs are really “cool”, and I really like the sound of Lou Reed “What’s Good?” Thanks!

  2. Yes, not the best movie but entertaining for what it’s worth, Blade II, I Against I by Mos Def. They do some badass slo-motion walk knowing that they are walking into trouble.

    In The Rundown with The Rock, the opening club scene is a Missy Elliot remix of Thunderstruck by AC/DC. Those are the two that popped into my mind immediately, but I know there are better songs and movies.

    • dbmoviesblog says:

      I will check out your suggestions, really appreciate you input. On a similar wave, I was thinking about putting one of the movies they made with a lot of Tupac songs in it. I don’t know what stopped me.

  3. Awesome list! I own quite a few of these soundtracks. I also enjoy “You Know My Name” by Chris Cornell used in Casino Royale.

  4. alexraphael says:

    Some great shouts. Great idea for a post. I’d include Grease.

    • dbmoviesblog says:

      Yeah, “Grease” is a great suggestion, thanks! I guess I had to draw a line somewhere since I had only 20 places. If I had put “Grease” in there I would have felt SO guilty that I didn’t include “Footloose” or even “Dirty Dancing” there as well 🙂

  5. I love this idea! It would make a great mix tape.

  6. MIB says:

    How about Scorsese’s Mean Streets? Chock full of great 60’s hits but the scene using The Stones’ “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” is class. 🙂

  7. sgliput says:

    I’d throw in the Iron Man films whenever AC/DC starts playing, but good picks, especially Blues Brothers and Back to the Future.
    By the way, I nominated you for the Mystery Blogger Award! https://sgliput.wordpress.com/2017/02/07/the-mystery-blogger-award-courtesy-of-drew/

    • dbmoviesblog says:

      The Iron Man is an excellent suggestion, thanks! For myself, I am not really a blockbuster-comics fan, so it is tricky for me to know these things! And, well, thanks a lot for the nomination! I promise to do a response “thank you” post.

  8. Lloyd Marken says:

    I got to say how can you only pick 3 for The Blues Brothers? What about Minnie the Moocha, Hold On the songs with John Lee Hooker and James Brown?

  9. Lloyd Marken says:

    Unchained Melody in Ghost?

  10. Lloyd Marken says:

    Garden State has a few good tracks.

  11. vinnieh says:

    I’m a sucker for a good soundtrack. Love when a certain song fits a movie like a glove.

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