12 Movies with the Most Rockin’ Soundtracks Ever
See if your favorite made our list of films with the greatest chart-topping songs, biggest hits, and most popular tunes ever!
Saturday Night Fever
Saturday Night Fever‘s soundtrack was a disco lover’s dream. When it hit the scene in 1977 it was just what the masses wanted, selling 15 million copies, and remaining the best-selling movie soundtrack of all time until another movie on our list knocked it off the top spot. The iconic album features boogie classics that are essential for any disco party dance floor. The BeeGees croon “Stayin’ Alive” and “More than a Woman,” and you’ll also hear 70s club scene standards like “Disco Inferno” and “Boogie Shoes.” Get out your mirror ball, and give it another listen!
Pretty in Pink
The soundtrack to this teenage romance was put together by John Hughes himself. The movie captures the 80s era with its new wave sensibility and music that matches Molly Ringwald’s signature style—a mash-up of vintage and modern with a dash of punk. The Psychedelic Furs sing the title hit and the soundtrack also features tracks by Echo & The Bunnymen, New Order, and The Smiths. It also includes the famous hit, “If You Leave.” And no one can forget Jon Cryer’s iconic turn as Duckie, lipsyncing his heart out to Otis Redding’s “Try a Little Tenderness.” That track didn’t make it onto the album, but the musical score captures all the heart and soul of teenage angst and first time heartbreak. These are the best 80s movies to watch—and re-watch.
The soundtrack to Prince’s semi-autobiographical movie Purple Rain held the number-one spot on the Billboard 200 chart for 24 weeks. Music critics still consider this album one of the great examples of why Prince is a rock god. In 2007, Vanity Fair called it the best soundtrack of all time. The key songs are “Let’s Go Crazy” and “I Would Die 4 U” with The Revolution. Everybody loves the spare, haunting, “When Doves Cry,” and of course, the chart topper, “Purple Rain.” (Check out these movies that are worth watching for the clothes alone.)
The Big Chill
This ensemble drama is about a group of college friends who gather at a big country house for a weekend of nostalgia and reminiscing. They need some classic tunes to help them along, so the soundtrack is filled with songs that signify the 60s era. Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” gets things rolling when it plays over the credits as the friends learn of a death that affects them all. The hits continue with “My Girl,” and “The Tracks of my Tears.” One of the film’s famous scenes features stars Glenn Close, Kevin Kline, William Hurt and Jeff Goldblum dancing to “Ain’t to Proud Beg” as they clean up the dishes. The music carried the movie’s soul and underscored all the characters’ bittersweet emotion. These are some of the best movies about friendship.
The movie itself didn’t make a huge splash, but the soundtrack is one of the best-selling albums of all time, and the best-selling soundtrack ever—with 45 million copies in circulation. The film features Whitney Houston as a superstar being stalked by a psychopath—so she needs a great bodyguard. Kevin Costner steps in as her security detail, and he ends up falling in love with her. Sparks fly, but the music steals the show. You’ve probably heard the gargantuan hit, written by Dolly Parton, “I Will Always Love You,” but the Grammy-winning album also features “I’m Every Woman,” “I Have Nothing,” and “Run to You.” These are the best movies about breakups.
Guardians of the Galaxy
The soundtrack to this Marvel Studios action movie hit number one on the Billboard 200 chart for 11 straight weeks. Audiences loved the throwback hits from the 70s and 80s that provided the backdrop to the space adventures. Chris Pratt as Quill has a Walkman mixed tape that keeps everyone connected to earth culture. Signature tunes by David Bowie, The Jackson 5, and The Runaways score the action. Blue Swede’s “Hooked on a Feeling,” as well as the nostalgic hits “O-o-h Child” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” keep earth pop culture in the galactic mix.
Pulp Fiction landed on American cinema-goers with a bang. Movies would never be the same after Quentin Tarantino’s frenetic redux of genre, form and pop culture. The film’s use of music is just as influential as the cinematography and writing. The film uses surf classics and other sixties throwbacks like “Son of a Preacher Man” and “Flowers on the Wall.” Another unexpected tune was Urge Overkill’s ironic cover of Neil Diamond’s “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon.” The soundtrack also featured dialogue clips: Samuel L. Jackson’s notorious “Ezekiel” speech and his famous convo with John Travolta about “Royales with cheese.”
Rolling Stone considers the soundtrack to this Beatles comedy romp to be the greatest movie soundtrack of all time. The screwball plot takes a backstage and instead showcases the fab four’s pop hits. Some of the boy band’s best songs were released on this soundtrack at the height of Beatlemania. The soundtrack included “Ticket to Ride,” “You’re Going to Lose that Girl,” “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away,” and of course, the upbeat number one hit “Help!,” reportedly one of John Lennon’s personal faves.
Dustin Hoffman rose to stardom in this artsy 60s film about rebellion against mainstream norms. Hoffman plays Benjamin Braddock, a recent college grad who doesn’t want to go into “plastics” or follow his expected path. Anne Bancroft famously stars as the older woman who helps him break free, but this movie is just as famous for its innovative use of music that captured the soul of the time period. Simon & Garfunkel score the romance and drama, and their songs stand in for the counterculture sensibility taking the nation by storm. The album charted at number one and features the iconic “The Sound of Silence,” as Benjamin’s haunting anthem. And don’t forget the other classic hit, here’s to you, “Mrs. Robinson.”
Titanic wasn’t just one of the most epic blockbusters of all time, its soundtrack also made huge splashes on the pop charts. Anchored by Celine Dion’s extravagant ballad “My Heart Will Go On,” the song and movie swept audiences off their feet. The soundtrack is one of the best-selling of all time with over 30 million copies sold. It’s also the best-selling soundtrack featuring, mostly, the orchestra—conducted by James Horner who won the Oscar for Best Score. Dion’s hit also won for Best Song and the beloved tune stayed number one on the pop charts across the world, won several Grammys, and remains Dion’s signature hit. Check this list of top romantic flicks.
Dirty Dancing is one of those movies that everyone watches over and over and again—and not just to see Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey shimmy it up on the dance floor. This movie’s music moved audiences across the nation. Business Insider ranks the Dirty Dancing soundtrack as the fifth best-selling of all time with over 30 million copies sold and spending 18 weeks at number one. “She’s Like the Wind” and “Hungry Eyes” were chart-toppers, but the Jennifer Warnes and Bill Medley hit, “The Time of My Life,” was a certifiable smash. It won several awards, including the Academy Award for best song. Just hearing it makes you think of Swayze’s Johnny Castle saying “Nobody puts Baby in the corner,” then lifting Grey up in the legendary dance move from the film’s end. These are the movies that get your toes tapping.
Are you sure you don’t want to hear “Let it Go” from Frozen just one more time? Little kids across the nation fell in major love with Frozen and talked their parents into buying the soundtrack. It was the first movie soundtrack since Titanic to spend the most number one weeks topping the charts. As far the movie goes, it outdid The Lion King‘s commercial success. Idina Menzel’s version of “Let it Go,” rocketed the artist to superstardom. People loved Demi Lovato’s pop version too. The Frozen soundtrack was the top global digital album of 2014. “Let it Go” is Disney’s top song to be recorded in multiple languages—and one of the many soundtrack editions features the international versions. And kids dressed up as Elsa sang along to all of them! Check out more great movies about sisters.