Top Five Movie Soundtracks


Here’s a time-waster that my wife and I came up with to chat about on a long road-trip this past weekend: What’s your top-5 movie soundtracks?

To be clear here, I’m talking about the “music from the motion picture” type of soundtracks, not the “motion picture score” soundtracks. So a movie soundtrack made up of various “radio-friendly” tracks. “Star Wars” absolutely has great music on it and John Williams is amazing, but I’m not talking about the background music. Think “Guardians of the Galaxy” — soundtracks with licensed or original songs.

As soon as we started listing stuff off, my wife and I found we had to narrow stuff down with some simple rules:

  1. All the songs can’t be by the same artist. “Purple Rain” is a great soundtrack, but it’s disqualified.

  2. No ex-Broadway musicals made into movies. “Grease” has some wonderful music. So does “Rocky Horror” and “Little Shop of Horrors”. But no.

  3. No movies made to be built around existing albums. Most films in this category would also fall afoul of rule #1, but it’s best to be sure. So no “Mamma Mia” or “Sgt. Pepper” soundtracks. “The Wall” is likewise disqualified.

  4. Flowing out of #3, the movie can’t be a biopic of a singer or band. I’m sure that “Bohemian Rhapsody” has a fantastic soundtrack, but it doesn’t count for this purpose.


Here’s my list, with 1-4 being pretty nailed down and #5 kind of switching between four or five different options.

  1. Oh Brother Where Art Thou?

Ye gods I love all the music on this album. Audience-friendly Bluegrass. It’s what inspired me to learn the banjo.

  1. Until the End of the World

Just a great sampling of 1991. U2, Lou Reed, Taling Heads, Depeche Mode, REM.

  1. Lost Boys

This probably hasn’t aged well, but I think I wore out a couple cassettes of this. Lou Gramm, Echo & the Bunnymen; a bunch of good covers combined with some originals.

  1. The Matrix

Lots of great instrumentals, electronica and some light Industrial to boot. I think it holds up pretty well too. Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, Rammstein, Rage Against the Machine. Kind of the polar opposite of Oh Brother, but I love them both.

  1. Pitch Perfect

I have some songs from all the above albums on my iPod that I have perma-wired into my ancient car stereo, but I have ALL the songs from Pitch Perfect on there. Amusingly, I probably heard these acapella versions of half the songs there before I ever heard the originals.


Bullshit. The Fifth Element belongs on every soundtrack list.

The Fifth Element
The Crow

I don’t care about the rest.


The Crow is one of the ones that vied for my #5 slot.


Lost Boys
Guardians of the Galaxy 1/2
Rocky III/IV


Not confusing at all dude.


O Brother Where Art Thou
The Graduate
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Those are the ones off the top of my head


Off the top of my head (based on those interesting rules in the OP):

Mortal Kombat
Pulp Fiction
Kill Bill Vol 1
Strange Days
So I married an axe murderer

Those are ones I own because I saw the movie and had to have the soundtrack. Well, not true for Axe Murderer, since at the time the movie came out, those were already popular tunes that had been on the radio all the time. It was only when I saw the movie a few years later that I said “wow, this soundtrack is full of really great songs that I haven’t heard in years”.


1 - 4 Singles
5. Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording)
EDIT: I guess this wouldn’t count since it is a musical and not a movie, so just swap in Singles for my #5


In no particular order:

High Fidelity
Pulp Fiction
O Brother Where Art Though
Almost Famous


These rules disqualify Tron: Legacy, which is the best soundtrack ever, so I disqualify your rules.


"Those* kind of soundtracks? And no single artists?

Hmm… Only two popped into my head: Saturday Night Fever (that wasn’t ALL the Bee Gees or was it?) and The Lost Boys which is the only soundtrack of this type I’ve ever owned.

Not a huge fan of these types of soundtracks just like I don’t like GREATEST HITS albums. But the Lost Boys one just flowed really well and held up as a complete album rather than a random collection of songs by various artists.

Oh, I didn’t buy it but I liked some of the music on the 28 Days Later soundtrack. Never thought Godspeed You Emperor would give permission to use their music in a soundtrack.


I’ll start with Pump Up the Volume, then I’ll have to consider my other four.



1-5: Transformers: The Movie.


I totally agree, now if only the rules would allow me to add Labyrinth to the list for a little variety!


Inside Llewyn Davis


Tron Legacy


I’ll play. I only have one to add which has not been mentioned:

Natural Born Killers soundtrack

The cover of Sweet Jane by Cowboy Junkies is worth a mention all by itself.


Number 1 hands down is Good Morning Vietnam.

Great songs, and the fantastic Robin Williams monologue intros.

Others which have seen heavy rotation:

Pulp Fiction
Pump up the Volume
Veronica Mars (ok, a TV soundtrack, but still great)
The Blues Brothers


In no particular order:
Repo Man
Austin Powers (first one)
Valley Girl
Until the End of the World
O Brother Where Art Thou


Times Square
Mortal Kombat
Rocky Horror Picture Show
Full Metal Jacket
Xanadu, because FUCK YOU, THAT’S WHY

special mention: The Last Action Hero