Have you ever watched a movie and had its song stuck in your head afterwards? Have you sung along an old classic you'd totally forgotten about, or have you fallen in love with a completely new song whilst watching a film? Then this list is for you! We'll take a look at some of the greatest movies from the '90s and their chart-topping soundtracks.
So put your old Looney Toons sweater on, grab that Lion King mug you've got in the back of the cabinet and let's travel down memory lane with the 25 Best Surprising Hits From '90s Movie Soundtracks!
1. When A Man Loves A Woman (1994)
Andy Garcia and Meg Ryan star as the troubled couple Michael and Alice, going through some rough times because of Alice's alcohol abuse. 'When A Man Loves A Woman' is a song by Calvin Lewis and Andrew Wright, and it was covered by singer Michael Bolton in 1991 for his album 'Time, Love & Tenderness'. It serves as a reflection of what Andy's character has to endure because of his love for Alice.
2. Romeo+Juliet (1996)
Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes play the star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet in this contemporary adaptation by Baz Luhrmann. The soundtrack features music heavyweights such as Radiohead, Garbage and The Cardigans. In one of the most emblematic scenes — when Romeo sees Juliet for the first time — Kym Mazelle's 'Young Hearts Run Free' gets the party started. The song reached #20 in the UK charts.
3. Pretty Woman (1990)
Julia Roberts gained star recognition playing Vivian, the prostitute from Hollywood Boulevard who falls in love with Richard Gere's millionaire Edward Lewis. Roy Orbinson's eponymous song has become a staple not only for the movie, but for every pretty woman out there.
4. Pulp Fiction (1994)
In the movie that brought John Travolta back into his Hollywood prime, no scene is more epic than the one in which he dances with Uma Thurman. At a twist competition, Travolta and Thurman rock away to the sound of 'Never Can Tell', performed by Chuck Berry.
5. Sister Act (1992)
Whoopi Goldberg's Deloris is a lounge singer who enters the witness protection after she sees her mobster boyfriend executing a man. Deloris is put in a convent and becomes Sister Mary Clarence, the convent's choir director. In the end, Deloris/Mary Clarence does her job so well that the choir gets to perform 'I Will Follow Him' for the Pope! "I Will Follow Him" is a popular song that was first recorded in 1961 by Franck Pourcel.
6. The Bodyguard (1992)
Whitney Houston plays a famous performer with crazy stalker fans, who therefore needs Kevin Costner's protection as her bodyguard. The movie has become the highest-selling soundtrack ever, and 'I Will Always Love You' alone sold over 12 million copies worldwide. Whitney Houston recorded her version of Dolly Parton's classic specifically for the movie.
7. The Commitments (1991)
Evita's director Alan Parker was the head of this Irish-British-American musical, in which Jimmy Rabbitte (Robert Arkins) dreams of managing a big soul band. He succeeds in putting a band together — naming them The Commitments — and the movie follows them as they work through their differences while playing gigs. The soundtrack is full of '60s hits, including a live version of 'Mustang Sally' sung by Andrew Strong, who played Deco Cuffe - the singer of The Commitments.
8. The Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert
For the millennials out there, this movie is a must-watch, as you'll see The Matrix's very own Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) as a pretty cute drag queen! Weaving and Guy Pearce perform a couple of iconic songs in the movie, including 'I Will Survive' by Gloria Gaynor, which makes the day of some Aboriginal Australians.
9. The Birdcage (1996)
From one drag queen-filled flick to another, we've got this classic remake, starring Robin Williams and Gene Hackman. Discussing the heavy prejudice faced by drag queens and homosexuals in the '90s, The Birdcage manages to offer a positive twist in the end. Sister Sledge's 'We Are Family' plays as the cast exits the club together. The movie features the original version from 1979; the actors simply lip-sync to it.
10. The Full Monty (1997)
This British production was a huge cult hit back in the '90s. Led by Robert Carlyle's Gary Schofield, a group of friends - who had recently been laid off - make a bold decision to strip for money. They rehearse and practice to perfection and, with Joe Cocker's 'You Can Leave Your Hat On' setting the mood, they finally go "full monty" (that's no clothes at all, in case you're wondering) at the end of the film. The song itself is considered a strip tease anthem, and is still being used by strippers to this day.
11. Ghost (1990)
Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore gave us the ultimate love story in this classic. After Sam's (Swayze) untimely death, Molly (Moore) has to process her grief, while Sam must acknowledge he is dead and make peace. The Righteous Brothers' 'Unchained Melody' provides the perfect soundtrack for this story of love and loss. It plays in the end scene, as Sam says goodbye to his love Molly.
12. Wayne's World (1992)
Mike Myers takes the lead in this American comedy — which was based off a sketch from Saturday Night Live — as Wayne. In a wildly popular scene, Wayne and his friends go on a ride around Aurora, Illinois, while listening to Queen's very own 'Bohemian Rhapsody'. Interestingly enough, the song almost didn't feature in the movie; but Mike Myers went as far as threatening to walk out if the producers went with a different song! The film propelled the song to #2 in Billboard singles charts 17 years after its first release.
13. Batman Forever (1995)
In this adaptation, Val Kilmer plays Bruce Wayne — and the Batman, of course — with Chris O'Donnell as his wing-man Robin. Tommy Lee Jones and Jim Carrey play Two-Face and the Joker respectively. Batman Forever features in this list for springing not one, but two hits with its soundtrack: Seal's 'A Kiss From A Rose' and 'Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me' from U2.
14. Fallen (1998)
In Fallen, Denzel Washington plays detective John Hobbes , who chases the ghost of an executed serial killer around Philadelphia. He later discovers that the dead serial killer had been possessed by a fallen angel/demon. He begins to recognize the ghost as it jumps from body to body because the possessed victims sing Rolling Stones' 'Time Is On My Side' over and over.
15. My Best Friend's Wedding (1997)
Julia Roberts plays the worst friend ever, as she declares her love for her long-time friend in the day of his wedding. Michael (Dermot Mulroney) and Kimmy (Cameron Diaz) look positively in love, and during a rehearsal dinner, the guests sing Diana King's version of the Diana Ross hit 'I Say A Little Prayer (For You)'. The song also features in the ending sequence, after the wedding is finally done.
16. Something To Talk About (1995)
In this film Julia Roberts gets to play the other part - a married woman who gets cheated on by her husband (played by Dennis Quaid). The title song is from Bonnie Raitt's 'Something To Talk About', and pretty much summarizes what's like to live in a small town and be the subject of gossip (like Robert's and Quaid's characters are).
17. Hurricane (1999)
The story of Rubin 'The Hurricane' Carter is a pretty famous one among sports fans - specially boxing ones. Denzel Washington plays Carter in this underrated flick, depicting the life of the former middleweight boxer who was wrongly accused of triple homicide. Bob Dylan's 'Hurricane', which is exactly based on the life of Rubin Carter, is the title song in the soundtrack.
18. Reality Bites (1994)
Ben Stiller directed and acted in this American romantic-drama, accompanied by Winona Ryder and Ethan Hawke. Although not very well-received by the critics upon its release, the movie has achieved cult status, especially for the way it showcased the grunge '90s scene. In a meta-moment, Stiller's character explains the origins of Big Mountain's 'Baby I Love Your Way', which features on the movie's soundtrack.
19. Days Of Thunder (1990)
In Days Of Thunder, a very young Tom Cruise stars as the NASCAR driver Cole Trickle. On his way to becoming an accomplished and recognized driver, he suffers a serious crash and is taken to a Hallifax hospital, where he meets Dr. Claire Lewicki. The doctor is played by Nicole Kidman, making this the first of three movies the couple would star in together. Although not the title song for the movie, Gun's 'n' Roses' 'Knocking On Heaven's Door' deserves to make the list, since it went on to be even more successful than the original version.
20. The Cable Guy (1996)
Starring Jim Carrey, this now-cult movie wasn't well received upon its release. The story and its humor were considered too dark; The Cable Guy is certainly darker than most of Carrey's previous works. Its most memorable scene is the one in which the Cable Guy (Carrey) gives a perfect karaoke performance of 'Somebody To Love', making his audience go wild! Jim Carrey's version of Jefferson Airplane's song - which was performed by him in the film - is included in the original soundtrack.
21. My Girl (1991)
This heart-wrenching coming-of-age movie tells the story of Vada and Thomas — a young girl and a boy, who form a beautiful friendship over the summer. 'My Girl' is the title song by The Temptations, and it perfectly embodies the innocence and sweetness of Vada's and Thomas's friendship.
22. The Lion King (1994)
With Elton John at the forefront of the original score, The Lion King's soundtrack features some amazingly beautiful songs, including 'The Circle Of Life' and 'Can You Feel The Love Tonight'. In this list, it's 'The Lion Sleeps Tonight' that grabs the top hit spot. Although in the movie, the song is performed by Timon (Nathan Lane) and Pumbaa (Ernie Sabella), the 1961 version by The Tokens is more commonly associated with the film.
23. Interview With A Vampire (1994)
This adaptation of Anne Rice's Lestat story made millions of young teenage girls incredibly happy by casting Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Antonio Banderas and Christian Slater in the same movie. As the movie draws to a close, Guns n' Roses's 'Sympathy For The Devil' plays in the background, while Lestat makes his final appearance.
24. Stepmom (1998)
Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon give some of their best performances in this drama. Sarandon's Jackie is the mother of two young children and ex-wife of Luke (Ed Harris) — who starts the movie by proposing to his girlfriend Isabel (Roberts). As Jackie receives the news of her terminal cancer, she begins to make her peace with the fact that Isabel will have to replace her as her children's mom. In a very emotional moment, as Jackie makes one last fun memory with her kids, singing 'Ain't No Mountain High', and dancing around their home.
25. 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
The then-rising star Heath Ledger appears opposite Julia Stiles in this teen-romance of a boy and a girl who initially dislike each other, but later fall in love. Patrick (Ledger) is hired to take Kat (Stiles) to the prom, and he manages to convince her to go out with him by serenading her with 'Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You' in the middle of soccer practice. Heath Ledger actually sang the song himself in the scene but, unfortunately his version isn't included in the original soundtrack.
Some of these songs have become pop culture anthems and others had their moment and faded away, but all of them are forever etched in cinematic history. Try going to a '90s themed party and not listening at least half of these gems! I double dare you!
Did I leave out any of your favorites? Comment below and tell me about it!