Culture / Film

30 film soundtracks that will stay with you for days

It's time to acknowledge that not all film soundtracks are made equal. Music, when paired with the right scene, can evoke feelings so visceral, the film will attach itself to your heart for weeks. It's able to bolster any shot and inject it with new meaning à la American Beauty's plastic bag sequence. On the other hand, in rare but nonetheless potent instances, a perfectly coupled song/scene can mean the end of that song as you know it. From this point on, you will always associate it with Cameron Diaz dancing in a night club or Kate Hudson cajoling a whole tour bus into singing the chorus of Tiny Dancer. So now that we've recognised some soundtracks have more staying power than others, here are 30 of the most memorable film soundtracks according to the team at RUSSH.

1. Almost Famous (2000)

As has been mentioned above, the Tiny Dancer scene has been burned into our collective memory. Although, The Wind by Cat Stevens and Simon and Garfunkel's America definitely make us feel a certain way.


2. Amélie (2001)

We've only recently acknowledged how a teenage girl audience is the real litmus test for quality music. Seeing as every fifteen year old has cited Amélie's soundtrack as their favourite at some point, we're sure we've found a classic.


3. Call Me By Your Name (2017)

Swoon. The film that launched a thousand streams of Sufjan Steven's Visions of Gideon. 


4. 20th Century Women (2016)

The world really is just split into two categories; those who love Black Flag and those who listen to Talking Heads.


5. Love (2015)

Love's sedated and sensual lineup of songs is the backbone to all the intimate scenes we adore.


6. Two Hands (1999)

Two Hands is currently experiencing somewhat of a revival ever since Netflix added the film to its programme. We're not complaining though, we love a bit of Powderfinger, especially during these times.


7. Mid 90s (2018)

Here at RUSSH we're submitting to the age of Jonah Hill. You can start by plunging yourself into the sounds of his 2018 skate film, Mid 90s. 


8. Garden State (2004)

We'd share headphones with Natalie Portman any day, the fact that New Slang by The Shins is playing makes the whole dynamic even sweeter.


9. Purple Rain (1984)

To be a musical is to be inherently camp — a sensibility close to our hearts. Add Prince and his music into the picture and now you're just spoiling us.


10. Cruel Intentions (1999)

Who could forget Kathryn's face as copies of Sebastian's journal is handed out as The Verve's Bitter Sweet Symphony plays. Not me.


11. Looking for Alibrandi (2000)

If you grew up with migrant parents in Sydney, you probably already harbour a soft spot for this film. Throw in some early naughties Aussie bands and a tearful scene featuring With Or Without You by U2 and you've won us over.


12. Pretty Woman (1990)

Roy Orbison's Pretty Woman was always a given. But it's the Roxette, Tears for Fears and Prince that keep us listening.


13. Muriel's Wedding (1994)

Muriel's Wedding is basically an ABBA tribute film and we're here for it! Mamma Mia — who?


14. Charlie's Angels (2000)

So many tracks to mention! But who knew Marvin Gaye's Got To Give It Up (Part 1) was perfect for a villain?


15. Forrest Gump (1994)

If the film had you on the fence, let the soundtrack steer you through the zeitgeist instead.


16. Pulp Fiction (1994)

Where to start? There's the famous Chuck Berry scene, but we all know the real kicker is Urge Overkills cover of Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon.


17. Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961)

Audrey Hepburn's rendition of Moon River is so romantic, it's no wonder the song continues to be played at weddings the world over.


18. Black Panther (2018)

The Black Panther soundtrack is a lesson in Black excellence and we're taking notes.


19. Pretty In Pink (1986)

Everyone has been sleeping on Duckie's impression of Otis Redding in the record store and it shows.


20. Trainspotting (1996)

It's no coincidence that Lou Reed's Perfect Day plays as Mark overdoses, still, it gives us chills every time.


21. The Graduate (1967)

If it weren't for The Graduate we wouldn't have Simon and Garfunkel's Mrs Robinson or Scarborough Fair and that's a world I'm not willing to live in.


22. Blue Velvet (1986)

Blue Velvet marked the beginning of David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti’s fruitful partnership, one that would deliver us Laura Palmer's theme.


23. High Fidelity (2000)

Before we were gifted Zoe Kravitz, there was John Cusack as Rob; a washed up record store owner, with little passions besides his love for music. Thank god the soundtrack is good.


24. The Virgin Suicides (1999)

Just as Lux begged her mother not to throw away her records, we're begging Spotify to guard this playlist forever. Sofia Coppola never misses.


25. 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' (2000)

This one's for those among us with nothing but folk on our minds. The cover of I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow is truly iconic and plays nicely with icons, Gillian Welch and Emmylou Harris.


26. Dazed and Confused (1993)

Dazed and Confused managed what so many have struggled to do, that is, distil the seventies for our ears.


27. (500) Days of Summer (2009)

It would be remiss of me not to mention (500) Days of Summer. Regina Spektor, The Smiths and Feist ⁠— a well-observed lineup befitting all manic, pixie dream-girls.


28. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

We all want to be Gwyneth Paltrow, exiting a Greyhound, wind-in-hair as These Days by Nico plays.


29. Palo Alto (2013)

With a score by Dev Hynes, a Mac De Marco cameo and the first of many Blood Orange You're Not Good Enough inclusions, what's not to love?


30. Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003)

Give us Nancy Sinatra and we'll gladly call it a day.


Stay inspired, follow us.