I've mentioned before how much I love movies. I love to watch them, I love to buy them, I love to discuss them with my friends. Some of my favorite social gatherings end up with discussions about favorite movies. One of the things that makes a great movie to me is the soundtrack. The perfect soundtrack can thrill you, break your heart and make you feel like you're right there with the main characters. Here are my top 10 favorite movie soundtracks of all time (in no particular order).
This soundtrack (along with No. 3 on this list) began the "hippie phase" of my youth, where I ran around in a pair of bellbottoms and flashed peace signs at everyone. One of my favorite parts of this soundtrack is how the songs evolve along with the movie—in the beginning, you have Elvis Presley's "Hound Dog"; and by the end, you're listening to Diana Ross's "Stoned Love." Favorite track: "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In."
"Romeo + Juliet"
My husband hates this movie. I, on the other hand, do not. This movie came out when I was about 13, and I was head over heels in love with Leonardo DiCaprio. Not only do I love Baz Luhrmann's vision of the classic love story, but the soundtrack is awesome, as well. There are actually two soundtracks, but the first one is my favorite. Tracks by Everclear, Radiohead and Garbage make it one of the quintessential soundtracks of the '90s. Favorite track: "Talk Show Host."
"Jesus Christ Superstar"
This is kind of cheating because "Jesus Christ Superstar" is a rock opera and was on the stage long before it was ever made into a movie. But it was made into a movie, and the music from "Superstar" helped shape my taste in music for years to come. I had a massive crush on Ted Neely (he played Jesus), and the role of Judas is still one of the roles that would be a dream for me to play. Favorite track: "Heaven on Their Minds."
OK, so ... this might not be one of the greatest soundtracks ever, but when this movie came out, I was obsessed with it. To this day I cannot hear "Bohemian Rhapsody" without thinking of the scene in the car. I was far too young to really understand this movie when it came out (I was about 8), but that didn't stop me from loving it just the same. I took a trip up to the House on the Rock in Wisconsin with family one year, and I listened to this soundtrack nonstop while we drove. Favorite track: "Bohemian Rhapsody." Duh.
"O Brother, Where Are Thou?"
This. Soundtrack. There is so much to love on this soundtrack. It was produced by T-Bone Burnett and is pure magic. It has bluegrass, gospel, blues, country, folk ... It's got a little something for everyone, and I've honestly never met anyone who didn't love this soundtrack. The music from this movie was like my bluegrass gateway drug. I wasn't really raised with bluegrass, so when I heard the harmonies and music, I was hooked. Favorite track: "Didn't Leave Nobody But the Baby."
This is another one that was produced by T-Bone Burnett. The songs on this soundtrack include tracks by Alison Krauss; Tim Eriksen; and several by Jack White, who also had a role in the movie. This was another collection of songs that further exposed me to bluegrass/folk and deepened my love for the music. Favorite track: "I Wish My Baby Was Born."
"A Hard Day's Night"
The No. 1 band that defined my childhood and adolescence: The Beatles. My mother was a bona fide Beatlemaniac, and she passed her love for the Fab Four onto me. When I saw "A Hard Day's Night" for the first time, I fell in love. Hard (particularly with young Paul McCartney). This movie is funny, charming and full of some of The Beatles' best music. Favorite track: OK, I had a hard time choosing (as I usually do with all Beatles albums), so I guess I'd have to say my favorite is a tie between "If I Fell" and "Tell Me Why."
"Pulp Fiction" is not only one of my favorite movies, but it has one of the best soundtracks ever. I'm a huge Quentin Tarantino fan, and one of the things that I love most about his movies is how he always manages to choose the perfect song for a scene. "Pulp Fiction" features tracks by Dusty Springfield, Al Green and The Statler Brothers. Favorite track: "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon."
The Beatles again. Surprise! "Help!" is a great movie. It's even funnier than "A Hard Day's Night" (it has more random, off-the-wall, almost Monty Python-esque humor) and—dare I say it—has an even better soundtrack. I watched this movie so much as a young teenager I think I even wore my Beatlemaniac mother out. Favorite track: "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away."
I avoided watching this movie for a while because, well, it's about pornography. I wondered how a movie about the porn industry in the 1970s could possible be worth watching. Well, once I watched it, I stopped wondering. "Boogie Nights" is a fantastic film, and it has a great soundtrack (with a second volume that's just as great). Favorite track: "Brand New Key."
I didn't mention movie scores here, because while essential to a film, a movie score isn't really something you just put on and add to your usual music rotation (at least not me). There are, of course, iconic movie scores ("Jurassic Park," "Indiana Jones," "Jaws," "Star Wars" and more recent things like "Inception"), but they're not my particular cup of tea to just listen to, so I did not include them here.
Here is what the Twitter world is saying about their favorite movie soundtracks. What're yours?
Natalie Green is a Chicago girl living in Chattanooga with her husband and their 3-year-old daughter. When she’s not working full time outside of the home, she enjoys reading, writing, singing, zombies and running. From zombies. And also beer. You can stalk her blog, Mommy Boots, or follow her on Twitter @mommyboots; or you can email her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.