Top 10 Soundtracks of All Time

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We’ve looked at original scores and musical moments so now it’s time for soundtracks. How many different ways can filmmakers build the sound beds that shape their movies? Here are 10 of the best movie soundtracks of all time!

Spotify Link to (most) of the songs!

The Picks

10 – Stand In for a Score – 2001: A Space Odyssey
9 – Nostalgia – The Big Chill
8 – Familiar World – O Brother, Where Art Thou?
7 – Anachronistic – Marie Antoinette
6 – Character Based – 8 Mile
5 – Mixtape – Pretty in Pink
4 – Unfamiliar World – The Harder They Come
3 – Concept Movie – Purple Rain
2 – Built By The Story – I’m Not There
1 – Evolving Music – Forrest Gump

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40 Responses

  1. Tomás Cullen says:

    I'm so so so sad there's not even a mention or a frame for Sing Street.

  2. Dustin Kastrevec says:

    boo….just boo

  3. Rodolfo Cisneros says:

    I was really looking forward to see and hear the soundtrack of 'The Boat That Rocked'. But I really love your number 1, Forrest's got the best soundtrack

  4. Alainpbat says:

    Ray? The lady gaga and queen movies coming up?

  5. Alainpbat says:

    I woulda put the legend of 1900 onto this list

  6. Samuel Gault says:

    Barry Lyndon is set in the 18th Century; not Victorian England. It's quite integral to the plot because he's fighting in the 7 Year War, and that begins the chain of events to change his fate, etc, etc..

  7. TheHappyMadman says:

    awww no Steel Dragon 🙁

  8. zombiekiller2112 says:

    Scott pilgrim is my favorite movie of all time

  9. Michael Davanzo says:

    Marie Antoinette really does have an amazing soundtrack

  10. the mexis says:

    i'm truly thrilled that The Harder They Come made the list. good movie, great soundtrack
    "if it's your bicycle, tek it nuh"

  11. inspiredisia says:

    Not even a mention of Once?

  12. Sean Hamilton says:

    If there is not Edgar Write movies on this list I’m suing

  13. gabriel meza says:

    i Might be the onlyone in existance that remembers this but Daft Punk released an animated movie in the style of anime for one of there albums and that to me must have been on this list

  14. Ethan Sexton says:


  15. Italo Medel says:

    What’s the name of the background song at 2:18 ?

  16. Kiki C says:

    I fell crazily in love with The Royal Tenenbaums soundtrack. I love Magnolia as well. And 50 First Dates just collected favorite music of mine.
    Edit: I also really love Pride and Prejudice and The Duchess, along with Sense and Sensibility (classical and beautiful)

  17. egalomon says:

    When you said "an entire country" and pulled up Watchmen as NOT the pick, I said "oh damn what about Forrest Gump?"

  18. Johnny Doe says:

    With all the mom's spaghetti jokes people forget that Lose Yourself is one of the best written popular songs of all time, the intricate internal rhymes are insane. Also you should've mentioned Moonlight along with the Marie Antoinette segment cause you'd expect it to have a hip hop soundtrack but it had violins doing weird classical music especially that scene where Maharshala Ali is teaching the boy to swim.

  19. Marcos Ortiz says:

    Clearly you guys have no concept of what a soundtrack is or the difference between just adding already in existence songs to a movie is. Soundtrack is a composition arranged specifically for a film, like the Godfather, Cinema Paradiso, The Mission, The Matrix, The Dark Knight, to name a few. Oh, The Good, Bad and The Ugly. Yeah, your list is pretty much pointless.

  20. Tgr2k1 says:

    My choice is Goodfellas but Forrest Gump is a fine top pick as well. Glad it got a runner up mention at least.

  21. gumm cottente says:

    right on

  22. Andre Ryan says:

    That’s Jimmy Page, Led Zeppelin’s guitarist at 12:45

  23. Jake Evans says:

    EVERYONE look up The Raveups if you like pretty in pink. They're one of the bands in the bar scene and they're great. The singer wouldnt sell the songs rights for the album so they're very unknown.


    High Fidelity is one of my Fav Movies

  25. James Draper says:

    In the #2 slot, the soundtrack, Iain Softley's Backbeat deserves a mention. It does a subtle but very clever thing while telling the story of The Beatles in Hamburg. If recordings from that era existed, they would probably sound rather tame to a lot of modern ears, so the producers assembled a band of leading players from the contemporary alternative scene (including Dave Grohl in his Nirvana days and Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth) for the actors to mime to, thus capturing the excitement of experiencing early rock'n'roll in its heyday. In a similar way as Marie Antoinette's soundtrack uses new wave music to make the story feel contemporary, turning Backbeat's soundtrack up to 11 makes it instantly understandable to the viewer why the band were such a big deal in those early days, but without it ever feeling so obviously anachronistic as Sophia Coppola's film.

  26. Mr. Space! says:

    Yay scott pilgrim vs the world

  27. Nia Wohl says:

    At the time Stand By Me was made those songs were supposed to remind audiences of the ones popular during their own childhoods, not the ones that their parents listened to.

  28. Corey Mike says:

    Must give a mention to Alexis dos Santos’ 2009 movie, ‘Unmade Beds’ for category 4.

  29. Ross Carlson says:

    Here's the entire list in order of the video, GREAT picks guys, amazing

    Moulin Rouge 2001
    Mad Max: Fury Road 2015
    Ray 2004
    High Fidelity 2000
    Scott Pilgrim vs the World 2010
    Back to the Future 1985
    Almost Famous 2000
    The Fast and Furious 2000
    Donnie Darko 2001
    Heat 1995
    28 Days Later 2002
    The Shining 1980
    Eyes Wide Shut 1999
    *2001: A Space Odyssey 1968
    A Streetcar Named Desire 1951
    Drive 2011
    Fast Times as Ridgemont High 1982
    500 Days of Summer 2009
    Back to the Future 1985
    Father of the Bride 1991
    The Graduate 1967
    Stand by Me 1986
    Grosse Point Blank 1997
    Reservoir Dogs 1992
    *The Big Chill 1983
    Straight Outta Compton 2015
    Dazed and Confused 1993
    Almost Famous 2000
    Saturday Night Fever 1977
    American Graffiti 1973
    Juice 1992
    Barry Lyndon 1975
    *O Brother, Where Art Thou 2000
    The Great Gatsby 2013
    Pulp Fiction 1994
    McCabe and Mrs. Miller 1971
    The Lost Boys 1987
    Romeo and Juliet 1996
    A Knight's Tale 2001
    *Marie Antoinette 2006
    Guardians for the Galaxy 2014
    High Fidelity 2000
    Pump up the Volume 1990
    Baby Driver 2017
    The Crow 1994
    Natural Born Killers 1994
    Lost in Translation 2003
    Clueless 1995
    Shaft 1971
    8 Mile 2002
    Empire Records 1995
    The Bad Batch 2017
    Rushmore 1998
    The Royal Tenenbaums 2001
    Vanilla Sky 2001
    Easy Rider 1969
    500 Days of Summer 2009
    The Graduate 1967
    Space Jam 1996
    The Breakfast Club 1984
    Sixteen Candles 1984
    *Pretty in Pink 1986
    Trainspotting 1996
    Blow Up 1966
    Singles 1992
    Hackers 1995
    Buena Vista Social Club 1999
    Wild Style 1982
    *The Harder They Come 1972
    Quadrophenia 1979
    Pink Floyd – The Wall 1982
    The Monkeys – Head 1968
    Ramones – Rock 'n' Roll High School 1979
    The Beatles – Hard Day's Night 1964
    The Beatles – Help! 1985
    *Prince – Purple Rain 1984
    Eddie and the Cruisers 1983
    Amadeus 1984
    Straight Outta Compton 2015
    The Doors 1991
    Sid & Nancy 1986
    Walk the Line 2005
    *I'm Not There 2007
    Project X 2012
    24 Hour Party People 2002
    Goodfellas 1990
    Watchmen 2009
    **Forrest Gump 1994

  30. Max Carter says:

    I love the your lists a lot but as has already been mentioned by a few people the fact that Tarantino didn't get a spot pains me to the core. I know he's divisive but god damn his soundtracks are half of what makes his movies great pieces of art.

    Also no mention for The Blues Brothers is a travesty

  31. Lodle says:

    top 10 live action/animated movies

  32. The Eth says:

    Much like many people in the comments I was wondering why "The Blues Brothers" didn't get a mention. After some thinking this is my proposal: they sing the wrong kind of blues. For a movie that is very much a Chicago movie, much of the guest stars and music isn't Chicago blues. There's no Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Howlin' Wolf, etc. Its mostly more Southern influenced blues. Doing so doesn't help to invoke the "place-ness" of Chicago or add to the Blues Brothers as Chicago based musicians. These are just my random thoughts though. It still is a fantastic soundtrack though (and movie). Also, this list (like always) was super solid and yet another reason for me to go on a movie binge of all the films that were mentioned.

  33. Susan Heard says:

    The Commitments.

  34. Wayne Chapman says:

    If I were to build a soundtrack for a film, I'd go Greta Gerwig one better and focus solely on Sacramento bands and musicians like Anton Barbeau, Agent Ribbons, Daisy Spot, Dog Party, Groovie Ghoulies, Public Nuisance, Dutch Falconi and His Twisted Orchestra, Didley Squat, Knock Knock, Baby Grand, Pets, etc. There's a whole city here just waiting to be heard and worshiped for its considerable musical talent!

  35. DropNinety says:

    #2 should’ve been Sing Street

  36. Stephen H. Koontz says:

    I would have liked to have seen One-Artist Soundtracks as a category, Eddie Vedder for “Into the Wild”, e.g.
    Also, more than one Scorsese mention would have been nice.

  37. Stephen H. Koontz says:

    I’m very surprised ‘Tommy’ wasn’t even mentioned for #3

  38. Stephen H. Koontz says:

    So happy to see that chosen. It truly is the greatest soundtrack.

  39. 123haninhk says:

    School of Rock?

  40. Charles Gaskell says:

    One category not covered is the "antithesis" category, where the soundtrack played is totally at odds with what your eyes are seeing – and yet it works perfectly.It can be used to anesthetise the audience against the horrors of what they are watching – like the use of Free Bird in the ultra-violent Church scene in the original Kingsman, or heighten the horror that is being played out Barber's Adagio in Apocalypse Now, or Satchmo singing "What A Wonderful World" in Good Morning Vietnam, or possibly my favourite of all time that is so wonderfully incongruous and absolutely spot on, tying together multiple strands in a most unexpected way, "Blue Moon" at the end of An American Werewolf In London.

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