The best filmmakers make content that lives on through the passage of time, and music can play a large role in ensuring that it will happen. Most of the timeless films have killer soundtracks, ones that just stick with you. Movies are meant to stir emotion and a good soundtrack is able to teleport you right back to that first viewing. The 90s is truly one of the most influential decades of the past. These movies and their unforgettable music are further proof of the decades staying power.
10. Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen – Wayne’s World:
Who hasn’t headbanged their way through the chorus of this Queen classic? The placement of Queen’s song “Bohemian Rhapsody,” fueled a new interest in the band Queen at the time. “Bohemian Rhapsody,” had originally been released in 1976 on Queen’s A Night At The Opera album. In the early 1990’s, the song was placed in a movie that had originally started as a Saturday Night Live skit. In 1992, actors Mike Meyer and Dana Carvey unleashed their television characters onto the silver screen in a major motion picture entitled Wayne’s World.
Wayne’s World was a fun, wacky journey. The song was perfectly placed in one of the most memorable scenes in the film. It’s one of those moments in cinematic history in which the music defines the scene completely. It’s not adding to the scene, it is the scene.
09. I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing by Aerosmith – Armageddon:
This heart wrenching Aerosmith classic rock ballad certainly summed up the entire film. While mostly an action-packed thriller, it was also layered with several different love storylines. That was what made this featured song so special. The mood can fit a number of different scenarios. The true love of your soulmate, the love of a father to his daughter, of good friends, this movie, and the soundtrack has it all. It is a fantastic, emotional journey, one in which you will not ‘wanna miss a thing’.
08. Pretty Woman by Roy Orbison – Pretty Woman
This song was not written for the movie, however, you would be forgiven for thinking that it had. It punctuates the momentous moment when our beloved Vivian becomes the ‘pretty woman’ we all knew her to be (not to mention when those snotty saleswomen get their comeuppance). It is an upbeat, sweet, great tune from one of classic rocks’ original patrons, Mr. Orbison. He may be gone, but his obsession with a beautiful woman lives on and Julia Roberts is the one we think of when we hear it. Mercy!
07. Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon by Urge Overkill
Uma Thurman’s pivotal performance in this 90s cult classic was perfectly punctuated by this unique cover. The irony, the danger, the grittiness, all make for a momentous scene that stands out in a way only Tarantino could craft. Covers dominated 90s movie soundtracks and Urge Overkill has gifted us with one of the best in this particular one. They really pull it off and Uma Thurman most certainly helps cement the scene’s iconic nature.
06. Secret Garden by Bruce Springsteen – Jerry Maguire:
This won’t be the only time our beloved Jersey boy makes the list. This is the climactic scene when Jerry first proclaims his (true) love for Dorothy and she utters one of the most memorable lines of the entire movie, “You had me at hello…”. The velvety smooth baritone voice of Bruce Springsteen blends perfectly with the softness and heartfelt feel of the moment we are seeing. You had us at Tom Cruise… Sigh. P.S: Did you know the human head weighs 8 pounds?
05. Blister in the Sun The Violent Femmes
From Grosse Pointe Blank
A fun song for a fun movie. That about sums it up. This song is played in multiple pivotal scenes and truly catches the mood of the movie. Irony is definitely one of the themes of the film and Blister in the Sun really seems to highlight it all. John Cusack WAS the 90s and whenever I am strung out, strutting my stuff, I think of this awesome movie.
04. Schools Out for Summer by Alice Cooper – Scream:
The Ghostface Killer is for the 90s kids, what Michael Meyers was for their parents back in the late 70s. Scream was THE slasher film of the decade and this particular song, from the godfather of rock and roll himself, Alice Cooper sets up the scene leading to the climax of the film. The local high school has closed due to the rising teenager body count, so what are the surviving (so far, anyway) kids to do? Party of course! Somewhat predictably, it is the bash to die for and ends in bloodshed.
03. For What it’s Worth by Buffalo Springfield –
From Forrest Gump:
“I’m Forrest Gump, people call me Forrest Gump.” Seriously, has there ever been a more lovable character? With everything that guy went through, it was his life-changing fight in Vietnam that really started him on his path. “For What it’s Worth” not only captures the era but also reminds us of a simple man, in a simpler time, just hanging out with Bubba, talking about shrimp boats.
02. Lust for Life by Iggy Pop – Trainspotting:
Nothing says classic rock quite like Iggy Pop featuring The Starman himself, David Bowie. These two musical geniuses are destined to make magic when mixed together, and this song was no exception. It was the standout star of an outstanding soundtrack from a celebrated movie.
01. Streets of Philadelphia by Bruce Springsteen
If ever there was a song that transcends time and space, with the ability to bring you back to a certain cinematic place, it is ‘Streets of Philadelphia’ by Bruce Springsteen. The movie Philadelphia is, in and of itself, an absolute rollercoaster of emotion and the song elevates it from a simple experience to one that stays with you. Whenever it comes on you feel the pain and hopelessness from the movie all over again.