The Best Pieces Of Cinema That Have Been Defined By Music

Some of the greatest movies of all time have been made about music, or the film has an incredible soundtrack that speaks to a generation. Filmmakers have attempted to capture the pain, love, struggle, and magic of music.

There are so many ways that music can make the difference between a killer or filler in anyone’s collection. We decided to celebrate them in all of their glory.

Boyz N’ The Hood

Columbia Pictures/MovieStillsDb
Columbia Pictures/MovieStillsDb

Ice Cube and Cuba Gooding Jr. star in an intriguing coming-of-age film. It inspired brash, copycat movies, but none of them followed up to John Singleton’s masterpiece. Boyz N The Hood is a modern American classic.

It’s even more resonant considering that L.A.’s riots took place one year after the movie was released.

Guardians Of The Galaxy

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/MovieStillsDB
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/MovieStillsDB

When choosing songs, Gunn relied on the Billboard charts for all of the top hits of the ’70s. He wanted to use songs from the ’60s and ’70s that had cultural reference points.

“Hooked on a Feeling” was used to act as a way for Quill to stay connected to Earth, home, and the family he lost.

Juno

Fox Searchlight Pictures/MovieStillsDB
Fox Searchlight Pictures/MovieStillsDB

Juno is the teenager who loves Patti Smith, Iggy and The Stooges, and Mott The Hoople. Jason Bateman, who plays the adoptive dad-to-be, once opened for The Melvins, one of Kurt Cobain’s favorite bands.

Together, they dig through old mix tapes and share songs as alternative rock is played throughout the film.

Where The Wild Things Are

Warner Bros. Pictures/MovieStillsDB
Warner Bros. Pictures/MovieStillsDB

Spike Jonze took a step away from Jackass to direct Maurice Sendak’s children’s book. Jonze combined live action, animatronics, and CGI to tell the story of Max and the island full of wild things.

Yeah Yeah Yeah’s frontwoman Karen O’s soundtrack to the film got a Grammy nomination.

Blues Brothers

Universal Pictures/MovieStillsDB
Universal Pictures/MovieStillsDB

Sure, the Elwood brothers were on a mission from God. But, the comedy film is filled with a reverence for black America’s musical past. From Ray Charles to Aretha Franklin and Cab Calloway, it makes the film irresistible to watch.

With bazookas, musical numbers, and SWAT teams, there’s something for everybody.

Dazed And Confused

Gramercy Pictures/MovieStillsDB
Gramercy Pictures/MovieStillsDB

The love-note to the ’70s is filled with nostalgia. Even if you didn’t take a puff or haze a first-year student, it’s a blast from the past. It’s recognition that helped people discover the joys of girls and boys and guitars.

The best part was at the end when Mitch immerses himself with Foghat’s “Slow Ride.”

Walk The Line

20th Century Fox/MovieStillsDB
20th Century Fox/MovieStillsDB

Surprisingly, Joaquin Phoenix has an impressive performance as Johnny Cash. The biopic focused on the musician’s early wife. Reese Witherspoon’s portrayal of June Carter got her high acclaim. But, tackling the life of an artist that was as iconic and powerful as Cash was a challenge.

However, Walk the Line showed many conflicted sides from a country legend.

8 Mile

Universal Pictures/MovieStillsDb
Universal Pictures/MovieStillsDb

This is a gritty, underdog tale that’s the music version of Rocky. The boxing gloves were swapped for the microphone as our boy Rabbit fights through poverty and a broken home to reach new heights.

Eminem’s first film showcases life as a Detroit rapper that’s closely modeled after his own life.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Paramount Pictures/MovieStillsDB
Paramount Pictures/MovieStillsDB

From the “chick-a-chick-aahs” to the use of The Beat and The Smiths, Ferris Bueller is full of excitement. Like all of John Hughes’ movies, this particular film brought indie music into the mainstream.

But, there are throwbacks, like The Beatles “Twist and Shout” during the scene where Ferris lip-syncs the song in a parade.

The Last Waltz

United Arts/MovieStillsDB
United Arts/MovieStillsDB

The Band’s 1976 farewell concert at San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom was spectacular. Martin Scorsese’s film documents American folk-rock in its great romp. It was complete with the musicians living up to their rockstar lifestyles.

But, the best music moment of the film was when The Band plays “The Weight.”

Pretty In Pink

Paramount Pictures/MovieStillsDB
Paramount Pictures/MovieStillsDB

The film took inspiration from Psychedelic Furs single “Pretty In Pink.” John Hughes film is a story of teenage love, bullies, and social cliques in high school.

The film has a great display of music, especially New Order’s “Shell-Shock.” Plus, “Thieves Like Us (Instrumental)” ensured the soundtrack would age well.

Pulp Fiction

Miramax Films/MovieStillsDB
Miramax Films/MovieStillsDB

Quentin Tarantino’s film features an ensemble cast of John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, and Bruce Willis. The soundtrack was just as successful as the film, reaching Number 21 on the US Billboard charts.

The director chose rock, soul and surf tracks to accompany the movie.

High Fidelity

Buena Vista Pictures/MovieStillsDB
Buena Vista Pictures/MovieStillsDB

Nick Hornby’s book was set in London, but the American film transported us to Chicago. John Cusack’s list-making lead character is filled with warmth with this adaption.

This film speaks to anyone who’s ever obsessed over music and really show just how awkward human relationships can be.

This Is Spinal Tap

Embassy Pictures/MovieStillsDB
Embassy Pictures/MovieStillsDB

Scenes from this movie still get quoted to this day. The spoof rock doc does get stale at the odd time, but the sharpness of the performances, especially Christopher Guest’s dim-loveable Nigel Tufnel, was impressive enough.

If only Spinal Tap didn’t do a lousy reunion tour. However, they really made us want to turn it up to 11.

The Life Aquatic Of Steve Zissou

Buena Vista Pictures/MovieStillsDB
Buena Vista Pictures/MovieStillsDB

Wes Anderson’s movie features incredible David Bowie covers from Brazilian musician Seu Jorge. The soundtrack includes songs by Devo, The Zombies and The Stooges. It’s pretty fitting for Murray’s off-the-wall character.

The Jacques Cousteau-like oceanographer is suffering a tragic decline in his career, and his personal life is very messy.

Control

Momentum Pictures/MovieStillsDb
Momentum Pictures/MovieStillsDb

Joy Division’s tale is rather unfortunate. The group was a step away from international success until one of the members commits suicide. Ian Curtis’ demons and health issues got the best of him.

But, Anton Corbijn shows the band rising through the scene in local bars while making two solid albums.

Almost Famous

Dreamworks Pictures/Columbia Pictures/MovieStillsDb
Dreamworks Pictures/Columbia Pictures/MovieStillsDb

Cameron Crowe was a former writer for Rolling Stone. It’s no surprise that he wrote a script on his experiences. The film doesn’t shy away from things like Russell Hammond pulling a Robert Plant by yelling “I am a golden god!”

Oh, and the memorable scene when everyone is on the bus singing to “Tiny Dancer.”

School Of Rock

Paramount Pictures/MovieStillsDB
Paramount Pictures/MovieStillsDB

It’s Jack Black’s most significant role, and there’s no denying it. Black covertly teaches kids how to play rock music, and how to “stick it to the man.” An imposter impacted the student’s lives, but the respect for music is on display.

Kids playing rock music inspired other kids to follow that pursuit.

Wayne’s World

Paramount Pictures/MovieStillsDB
Paramount Pictures/MovieStillsDB

The heroes from Saturday Night Live are the real Bevis and Butthead. They’re long-haired burnt-out rock and roll stoners with big hearts.

The multiple ending sequences were comical to watch, but the movie’s songs were pure gold. The best part was when Wayne, Garth, and others jam out to Bohemian Rhapsody in the car.

Woodstock

Warner Bros./MovieStillsDB
Warner Bros./MovieStillsDB

The festival has so much historical significance and remains an important moment in music history. Some say the movie wouldn’t have made the event more significant, but if no film about the iconic moment were made, then Woodstock wouldn’t have won an Academy Award.

And, the film did just that, taking home the Best Documentary Oscar.