Musical moments in movies can oftentimes become as iconic as the movies themselves, and in some cases maybe even more. We as viewers get attached to films that bring to life our favorite songs in a way that the radio or iTunes or Spotify could never do. For example, can anyone hear Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" — especially the part where the guitar riff starts rocking out — without immediately thinking of the headbanging car scene from Wayne's World?
But that's not the only pop song that's become synonymous with a movie. So, to honor the movie moments that rocked our socks off, here's a list of the top ten musical moments that completely defined their movies.
10. Hocus Pocus (1993) - "I Put A Spell On You"
- Original musician: Screamin' Jay Hawkins
- Original album: At Home with Screamin' Jay Hawkins
- Release date: November 1956
I don't know how this scene couldn't be included. It's one of Bette Midler's most memorable performances and one of the best uses of the song in any film or TV series. Sure, maybe it's a little on the nose (okay, a lot), but it's memorable and people always seem to be able to connect the dots right back to this Disney cult classic whenever we hear this delightfully spooky tune.
9. Cruel Intentions (1999) - "Bittersweet Symphony"
- Original musician: The Verve
- Original album: Urban Hymns
- Release date: June 1997
Who can forget this film's righteous climax? I've never gotten such a rush from a film's ending in my entire life. The song fit so well with the look on Kathryn's (Sarah Michelle Gellar) face when she realizes that every little nasty detail of her sordid life has been made public and the reputation she worked for years to protect and grow means absolutely nothing. A rather...bittersweet...ending, if you will.
8. Resevoir Dogs (1992) - "Stuck In The Middle With You"
- Original musician: Stealers Wheel
- Original album: Stealers Wheel
- Release date: February 1973
Quentin Tarantino hand picked the song to play during the infamous torture scene in Reservoir Dogs. When actors came to audition, he told them they could pick any song they wanted and some did. However, the majority came back with this classic Stealers Wheel tune saying it was the only one that seemed like a perfect fit. Some have even called it the best scene in the entire movie, and one of Tarantino's best scenes ever.
7. Pee-Wee's Big Adventure (1985) - "Tequila"
- Original musician: The Champs
- Original album: Train to Nowhere B-side
- Release date: January 1958
Who could forget Pee-wee Herman taking the stage...err bar, in the classic Pee-wee's Big Adventure? The hitchhiking scene with Large Marge may be one of the most terrifying in children's movies, but the goofiness of Pee-wee here balances it out. His unique, one of a kind dance moves, combined with his instantly-recognizable costume, leave a mark that can never be erased from the memories of viewers - not that we'd want it to be.
6. Say Anything (1989) - "In Your Eyes"
- Original musician: Peter Gabriel
- Original album: So
- Release date: September 1986
"The boombox scene" from Say Anything is probably one of the most parodied — and honored — scenes in movie history, and for good reason. It became the fantasy of nearly every teenage girl in the '80s and still remains as relevant now as it was then. In fact, when Emma Stone's Easy A was released in 2010, the ending mimicked the iconic scene with the boombox, but updated it for the modern audience. That's how synonymous the song and movie are to this day.
5. Silence Of The Lambs (1991) - "Goodbye Horses"
- Original musician: Q Lazzarus
- Original album: N/A (single)
- Release date: 1988
In a movie full of scenes that have imprinted themselves into our pop culture psyche, this one has become one of the most memorable. Whether you love the film or not, you can't deny Buffalo Bill stands out as the most horrendous and creepy displays of rocking out ever. It ruined the song for me; I can't ever listen to it without being taken back to the one and only time I've ever sat all the way through Silence of The Lambs. If you can't stomach the original scene, you can just watch Jay and Silent Bob's now-famous parody of it in Clerks II.
4. Beetlejuice (1988) - "Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)"
- Original musician: Harry Belafonte
- Original album: Calypso
- Release date: 1956
Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice! This scene still cracks me up. From the witty remarks at the dinner table from the other guests to the quiet laughter of the young Winona Ryder, this is definitely one of Tim Burton's most beautifully crafted scenes as a director. The fact that the song just comes completely out of nowhere is a gift to audiences new and returning alike. Burton must have really been into Harry Belafonte while filming, because the second-most famous musical moment of the movie is the end scene where Belafonte's cover of "Jump in the Line (Shake, Senora)" plays as Lydia (Rider) levitates and dances around the house.
3. The Breakfast Club (1985) - "Don't You (Forget About Me)"
- Original musician: Simple Minds
- Original album: The Breakfast Club
- Release date: February 1985
The Breakfast Club has, without a doubt, one of the best soundtracks ever selected for a film. And that wasn't an easy feat to accomplish in the '80s. I mean, let's face it, the music was so much better then. This scene in particular stands out because of the proud and defiant fist pump of Bender (Judd Nelson) as the song subtly hints to all of the characters that had previously stereotyped one another to not forget the lessons they learned.
2. Dirty Dancing (1987) - "(I've Had) The Time Of My Life"
- Original musician: Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes
- Original album: Dirty Dancing
- Release date: September 1987
There really is no better way to honor the great legacy that Patrick Swayze left behind than including one of the best dance scenes ever recorded in film history. And certainly the most memorable, as Baby and Johnny finally show their chemistry off for everyone to see. It's romantic, it's heartfelt, it's just downright beautiful in every aspect. Cheers to a truly wonderful film and to a performance that can never be replaced.
1. Wayne's World (1992) - "Bohemian Rhapsody"
- Original musician: Queen
- Original album: A Night at the Opera
- Release date: October 1975
Of course you knew this would be at the top spot. The wackiness of Freddy Mercury's lyrics perfectly matched the zany, fun-loving spirit of both Wayne and Garth and the early '90s in which the film is set. The song was already iconic by the time it was used for this road trip scene in Wayne's World. But Mike Myers and crew brought the song to a whole new medium that solidified it as a significant pop culture moment that makes us unable to resist thrashing our heads back and forth whenever the song comes on the radio.
If you, like me, haven't watched it in a while and feel the urge to revisit it in all its flannel-clad glory, you're in luck. It's now on Hulu, so you can rewatch the scene as many times as you want. Or find more movies with memorable music scenes. Party on, dudes.
What's your favorite musical movie moment? Share them with me in the comments section below.