Pick Six: Songs That Remind You of Movies

Have you ever been driving down the road, listening to the radio, when all of a sudden a song pops on that immediately reminds you of a movie? Without even a second hesitation, your first recollection is of a particular scene or character, and you immediately find yourself with a nagging desire to watch said film. Music in film does a lot more than many give it credit for, and just as the images dancing across the screen get embedded into your consciousness, so does the accompanying score and soundtrack. Without further ado, here are six songs that immediately remind you of a movie. Please keep in mind, these are not songs originally written for the film, as that would include dozens of Disney films, but instead, existing songs used at just the right time.

Note: There are spoilers littered throughout this post. 

“Where is My Mind” by The Pixies- Fight Club

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The song that inspired this list on my way home the other day, Where is My Mind is the perfect finale to the wild ride that is David Fincher’s Fight Club. Not only is the song a wonderfully eerie accompaniment to an entire skyline exploding in front of our eyes, but it encapsulates the entire story of a film about a man, indeed, losing his mind.

“Twist and Shout” by The Beatles- Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

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Perhaps the greatest form of lip syncing to ever grace the silver screen, Ferris Bueller’s parade stealing performance of “Twist and Shout” is one of the highlights of one of the best films to come out of the 80s. As old as the song was at the time and as iconic as The Beatles may be, whenever Twist and Shout comes on the radio, Ferris is usually the first to come to mind. It’s fun, it’s carefree, and it’s the cherry on top of a day where playing hooky meant anything could happen.

“Stuck In The Middle With You” by Stealers Wheel- Reservoir Dogs

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We could really make this list a bunch of songs featured in Quentin Tarantino movies, but when it comes to the end of the day, there is no question that this scene from Reservoir Dogs, the director’s first film, showcases his twisted sense of humor and style better than anything else. Featuring a sadistic yet wonderful performance from Tarantino regular Michael Madsen, the “bubble gum favorite of 1974″ takes an entirely new life of its own. And it’s brilliant.

 “New Slang” by The Shins- Garden State

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Garden State is a film whose soundtrack elevated the movie much further than any other on this list. Without its incredible compilation of music hand picked by director/writer/star Zach Braff, the film would be nowhere as effective as it is and choosing just one song proved very difficult. However, this particular scene stands out as its the moment that Andrew (Braff) meets the beautiful Sam (Natalie Portman). Not only do we immediately fall in love with Sam, but the incredible soundtrack becomes a part of the plot, which gives an added level of personality to the film.

“Tiny Dancer” by Elton John- Almost Famous

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Cameron Crowe is another filmmaker who heightens all of his films with great soundtracks, with Almost Famous being the cream of his crop as it is all about rock and roll. It’s no surprise then that the film features one of rock and roll’s greatest legends and (arguably) his most famous song, with Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer”. Facing a rather hard time on the road, the band Stillwater come together on their tour bus in song, in one of the film’s best scenes.

 “Hip to be Square” by Huey Lewis and the News- American Psycho

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There’s not a lot more you can say about the song that Christian Bale did not already state in the clip. It’s a wild, goofy, song that has its own underlying meanings just as Bale’s Patrick Bateman has his own underlying secrets and psychoses. Capped off with Bale’s twisted, genius performance, the film, which features a handful of its own memorable scenes, stands out the most as Mr. Lewis himself blasts on the radio.

Honorable Mentions:

“Day-O” by Harry Belafonte- Beetlejuice
“In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel- Say Anything
“For What Its Worth” by Buffalo Springfield- Apocalypse Now
“Mad World” by Gary Jules- Donnie Darko
“My Sharona” by The Knack- Reality Bites
“Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen- Wayne’s World
“Tequilla” by The Champs- Pee Wee’s Big Adventure

What are some songs you hear that immediately remind you of movies? Let us know below!

Written By Nick

Nick is a man obsessed with all things related to film. From the most obscure to the very popular, he’s seen it all and hopes to one day turn his obsession into a career that makes a lot of money so he can buy a monkey, a bulldog, and a full size Batman suit.

  • Vivek Subramanyam

    HOW DARE YOU NOT INCLUDE _____________!!!! Just kidding. Nice list! :D

  • http://life-between-films.tumblr.com/ Shala

    Nick! How could you not list “Bittersweet Symphony” (Cruel Intentions)! :) That’s always number one in my book and one of my favorite songs ever.

  • Brittani

    SugarHigh – Empire Records. I think of it every time!

  • fernandorafael_c2c

    Nice list. I’d have to go with “Bang Bang (My baby shot me down)” by Nancy Sinatra from Kill Bill.

  • Rodney

    Ditto. Good call.

  • Rodney

    Oh man, yes!!! That final sequence is killer!!

  • Rodney

    The only one that sticks out to me is Stealer’s Wheel. I always think of Reservoir Dogs when I hear that…. And “Little Green Bag”. Tarantino is such a master at matching music and imagery and making it stick.

  • fernandorafael_c2c

    It’s such a great song

  • http://www.cinekatz.com/ Nick Powell

    It’s all too personal anyway lol. Some songs hit others more than they do for some people.

  • http://www.cinekatz.com/ Nick Powell

    It’s all too personal anyway lol. Some songs hit others more than they do for some people.

  • http://www.cinekatz.com/ Nick Powell

    It’s all too personal anyway lol. Some songs hit others more than they do for some people.

  • http://www.cinekatz.com/ Nick Powell

    It’s all too personal anyway lol. Some songs hit others more than they do for some people.

  • http://www.cinekatz.com/ Nick Powell

    Good call indeed. Such a 00s movie lol.

  • http://www.cinekatz.com/ Nick Powell

    Ooh good choice. That entire film has a great soundtrack.

  • http://www.cinekatz.com/ Nick Powell

    It was hard to just include one QT film on the list.. but Stuck in the Middle With You definitely… sticks with you.

  • http://www.cinekatz.com/ Nick Powell

    It was hard to just include one QT film on the list.. but Stuck in the Middle With You definitely… sticks with you.

  • http://www.cinekatz.com/ Nick Powell

    It was hard to just include one QT film on the list.. but Stuck in the Middle With You definitely… sticks with you.

  • http://www.cinekatz.com/ Nick Powell

    He really is a master of it. Him, Cameron Crowe, and Paul Thomas Anderson all do incredible jobs.

  • http://www.cinekatz.com/ Nick Powell

    He really is a master of it. Him, Cameron Crowe, and Paul Thomas Anderson all do incredible jobs.

  • http://www.cinekatz.com/ Nick Powell

    He really is a master of it. Him, Cameron Crowe, and Paul Thomas Anderson all do incredible jobs.

  • http://www.cinekatz.com/ Nick Powell

    He really is a master of it. Him, Cameron Crowe, and Paul Thomas Anderson all do incredible jobs.

  • rich

    things like this depend on the scene in the film. i bet that any really strong scene can have a variety of songs attached, and it will all still work as long as the scene is strong enough. the problem is that once your mind has attached a song to a scene, and it works, you can’t undo it. it’s like when someone refers to an actor as “perfectly cast” for a particular role. what it really means is that actor did a great job, but that doesn’t mean others can’t have done equally well. it’s just not possible to imagine someone else after the actual actor cast has already put a stamp on the role.

    either way – lists are always fun. for my recollections, i’d put the rolling stones “gimmie shelter” from “Goodfellas.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/YayMovies Nate Yetman

    Gotta go with Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen from Shaun of the Dead.