Movies with Good Soundtracks

Thursday, March 18, 2010 at 11:33 am

Movies with good soundtracks offer more bang for your entertainment buck. Not only does the on-screen action provide a satisfying way to pass a few hours, but you can also listen to the songs from the film in your car or on your iPod. Below, I’ve put together a list of some movies with good soundtracks, but there are plenty more where that came from. If you love music and cinema, be sure to keep an eye out for similar topics in the future.

For those of you looking for a place to buy good movie soundtracks, I’d recommend Amazon. Not only do they carry the music from the films, but they also offer the movies on DVD and Blu-ray disc. Shipping is easy, prices are low, and the overall experience is impossible to beat. Yes, we receive a commission for sending you there, but we’re also loyal Amazon customers.

Jackie Brown (1997) – Quentin Tarantino movies are known for their good soundtracks, and this film about an airline stewardess (Pam Grier) trying to outwit a murderous drug dealer (Samuel L. Jackson) is no different. In fact, the film lacks an actual score, with all the music coming from other cinematic sources. Songs include “Tennessee Stud” by Johnny Cash, “Midnight Confessions” by The Grass Roots, and “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time)” by the Delfonics.

Oklahoma! (1955) – A cowboy (Gordon MacRae) romances a farm girl (Shirley Jones) in this first musical ever written by the powerhouse duo of Rodgers and Hammerstein. Favorites in both the stage and screen versions include “Oklahoma!”, “Oh What a Beautiful Mornin,’” and “The Surrey with the Fringe on Top.”

This Is Spinal Tap (1984) – While all the original songs in this Rob Reiner mockumentary are meant as a sly parody of the heavy metal genre, the lyrics and music by Michael McKean, Harry Shearer and Christopher Guest also manage to be infectiously catchy. Watch the movie or pick up the soundtrack and rock out to the strains of “Big Bottom,” “Sex Farm,” and “Tonight I’m Gonna Rock You Tonight.”

My Fair Lady (1964) – It’s been called “the perfect musical,” and anyone who’s seen this story of Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn), a simple Cockney flower girl trying to pass herself off as a lady with the help of phonetics professor Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison), will know why. It should be noted, however, that Hepburn’s singing was dubbed by Marni Nixon. Popular numbers include “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face,” “I Could Have Danced All Night,” and “The Rain in Spain.”

Do the Right Thing (1989) – Dealing with issues of racial conflict in a Brooklyn neighborhood, this breakout Spike Lee joint features music from Guy (“My Fantasy”), Perri (“Feel So Good”) and Take 6 (“Don’t Shoot Me”). And then, of course, there’s Public Enemy’s incendiary “Fight the Power,” which is featured prominently thanks to Radio Raheem (Bill Nunn) and his boombox.

Super Fly (1972) – One of the few soundtracks to ever make more money than the film it accompanied, Super Fly was a landmark album (and movie) about drug use, poverty and self-liberation. Both “Superfly” and “Freddie’s Dead” sold over a million copies, and composer Curtis Mayfield would be getting work for years to come. The movie’s not bad, either, with Ron O’Neal portraying Youngblood Priest, a drug dealer trying to turn his life around. Two sequels would follow, although the first remains the best.

Stop Making Sense (1984) – Both Leonard Maltin and Roger Ebert have raved about this Talking Heads concert film directed by Jonathan Demme. David Byrne is on fire as he rips through songs such as “Psycho Killer,” “Once in a Lifetime,” and “Burning Down the House,” and you won’t want to miss the oversized suit he wears while performing “Girlfriend is Better.”

Easy Rider (1969) – As bikers Billy (Dennis Hopper, who also directed) and Wyatt (Peter Fonda) travel across the American South on a spiritual journey, viewers are treated to such counterculture classics as “The Pusher,” “The Weight,” and “Born to Be Wild.”

The Harder They Come (1973) – Reggae singer Jimmy Cliff plays Ivanhoe Martin, an aspiring musician who turns to dealing marijuana in order to achieve the wealth he’s always dreamed of. The soundtrack helped make reggae popular within the United States, and tracks such as “The Harder They Come,” Many Rivers to Cross,” and “Pressure Drop” have influenced and been covered by everyone from John Lennon to Willie Nelson.

O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) – The Coen brothers loosely adapt Homer’s Odyssey into this tale of three convicts (George Clooney, John Turturro and Tim Blake Nelson) on the run in 1933 Mississippi. The soundtrack, produced by the Oscar-winning T-Bone Burnett, combines folk, gospel and bluegrass music to accurately recreate the hardships and spiritual faith of the times. Standouts include “In the Jailhouse Now” and “I am a Man of Constant Sorrows.” The soundtrack reached the top spot on both the Country and Billboard 200 charts.

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