An amazing movie soundtrack can leave as big an impression on us as the images on the big screen itself. As our very own Boiler Man is a huge fan of heartwarming cinematic moments and iconic movie music, we decided to combine our twin passions and share our picks for the 15 greatest movie soundtracks of all time.
Jiving to some of the tracks on our list will do a pretty good job of keeping your house warm, but don’t forget to reach for the thermostat if some of our picks send a chill down your spine. Read on and see if you agree with our choices!
Saturday Night Fever (1977)
Why not start things off with a true classic? Defining the age of disco and laying out a template for dads’ dance moves that has proved truly timeless, the unstoppable combination of the Bee Gees’ funky falsettos and John Travolta’s legendary footwork sets this soundtrack apart.
La La Land (2016)
Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling’s chemistry lit up the screen in this love letter to the golden age of Hollywood, but the music truly stole the show. Two of its original songs were nominated for Best Original Song at 2017’s Oscars, with the magical City of Stars coming out on top.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
Delivering class and sophistication in spades, it’s hard to pick out what’s more iconic in this movie — Audrey Hepburn’s timeless turn as Holly Golightly, or the unfiltered romance that glistens and courses its way through the unforgettable ballad Moon River.
A Star Is Born (2018)
An intoxicating soundtrack that blends grainy realism with transcendent movie magic is the essential heartbeat of this third adaptation of the 1937 classic. Who can forget Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s electric duet of the film’s breakout hit Shallow at the 2019 Oscars?
We love this soundtrack so much we took inspiration from it for one of our Ideal heartwarming moments! The iconic clay modelling scene in this romantic fantasy set heartbeats racing as star-crossed lovers Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze were all-too-briefly reunited.
A list of the greatest movie music wouldn’t be complete without an appearance from 007. Paul McCartney, Adele and Tina Turner have all penned themes for James Bond’s adventures, but Shirley Bassey’s unforgettable turn for this Sean Connery classic remains the gold standard.
The Lion King (1994)
Hakuna Matata — need we say more? It means no worries, and that’s exactly how we feel when we revisit this animated Disney masterpiece. Elton John and Tim Rice worked magic on its sparkling soundtrack, collaborating on memorable numbers like the rousing Circle of Life.
When it comes to movie scores that make us feel ready for anything, this sports drama wins by a knockout. The soaring, triumphant horns of Rocky’s main theme always inspire us to go the distance in whatever we do — especially providing you with the very best in central heating.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
A refreshing blast of colour and fun amidst the darker-hued superhero movies of recent years, this animated adventure features an outrageously fresh soundtrack to match. Post Malone and Swae Lee’s Sunflower still holds up as one of the catchiest pop tunes of recent years.
9 to 5 (1980)
When your theme song ends up becoming shorthand for the ups and downs of the average working day, you must be doing something right. Dolly Parton starred in and wrote the anthemic title track for this rousing feminist comedy, which has since been adapted into a hit musical.
Pulp Fiction (1994)
John Travolta and Uma Thurman slipping off their shoes and bringing their finest moves to a Chuck Berry-soundtracked dance-off made for unfiltered movie magic. Add enduring tunes from superstars like Al Green and Dusty Springfield to the mix and you have a true classic of the form.
Mamma Mia! (2008)
A feel-good flick that came ready equipped with stone-cold classic anthems, there was no way we were leaving this one off our list. Packed to the rafters with certified hits from Swedish pop legends ABBA, there’s nothing more to say than Thank You for the Music.
8 Mile (2002)
One of the biggest rap stars of all time told the story of his rise to success in this semi-autobiographical drama. The movie’s high-energy anthem Lose Yourself secured Eminem an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2003 and still never fails to turn up the heat.
Purple Rain (1984)
Not just one of the most celebrated soundtracks on our list, Purple Rain is also a credible contender for the greatest LP of all time. The film itself is full of charm if a little messy, but it’s the incredible tunes and unbridled star power of Prince that make it one for the ages.
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
It doesn’t get more iconic than Judy Garland and friends marching down the yellow-brick road to meet the wonderful Wizard of Oz. This beloved family adventure has a deserved reputation as one of the greatest films of all time — with an impeccable set of tunes to match.
Have we done a disservice to any classic movie soundtracks by leaving them off the list? Get in touch to share your favourite toe-tapping themes on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook to let us know which iconic movie music should have made the cut.