Isn’t it just impossible to imagine some of our favorite movies without their soundtracks and music scores!
A movie soundtrack can be as crucial as dialogues in communicating and connecting with the viewers or building a relationship with the movie or its characters. Music scores have the power to set the tone of the scene and can support the on-screen emotions or mood. Having said that, a lot of soundtracks are able to offer a complete experience even when played separately from the film.
A list of favorite movie soundtracks is definitely a personal choice, but here’s a list of some of the popular and iconic movie soundtracks that are loved by many!
1. The Bodyguard (1992)
The Bodyguard is one of the best-selling movie soundtracks of all time featuring Whitney Houston’s iconic and most notable cover of “I Will Always Love You.” The album features six pop songs performed by Houston, and her songs “I Have Nothing” and “Run to You” both received Oscar nominations. Other songs garnering popularity from this album are “Queen of the Night” and “Jesus Loves Me.” The soundtrack album sold more than a million copies within a week and eventually earned the Grammy Award for Album of the Year. It was also ranked number 1 in the Top Billboard 200 Album, 1993 Billboard year-end charts, and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Album.
2. Black Panther (2018)
The soundtrack of this 2018 superhero film based on Marvel Comics character was co-produced by multi-Grammy award winner Kendrick Lamar. He collaborated with composer Ludwig Göransson to integrate the soundtrack with an orchestral score as seamlessly as possible. It also features rap heavyweights SZA, 2 Chainz, Future, Khalid, and Jorja Smith, among others. Ludwig’s African-inspired score was praised for its uniqueness among other Marvel film scores and won the prestigious 2019 award for Best Original Score at the Oscars and the Grammy Awards. The soundtrack album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 and remained at the number one spot in its second week as well. The album’s noteworthy songs “All the Stars,” “Pray for Me,” and “King’s Dead” have won many awards and been nominated for several other awards as well.
3. La La Land (2016)
Justin Hurwitz, who composed and orchestrated the songs and music score for La La Land, is the recipient of Academy Awards (Oscars), Golden Globe Awards, and Satellite Awards for Best Original Score. He also received a Grammy for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media. He also picked up the Best Original Song Award for “City of Stars” at the Academy Awards and Golden Globe Awards, among others. The soundtrack featuring the melodic voices of Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling can draw a smile on every listener’s face. La La Land’s soundtrack also won the Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media at the Grammy Awards.
4. Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
The Bollywood-influenced original score and songs of this movie were composed by A. R. Rahman, and the soundtrack has sold over two million units worldwide. A. R. Rahman is said to have planned the music score in two months and completed it within 20 days—which is much quicker than the usual, and he won several accolades for his work on the film’s soundtrack. The movie soundtrack gained popularity after it won the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score. Slumdog Millionaire is an Academy Award Winner for Best Original Score of 2008 and Best Song winner for “Jai Ho.” The soundtrack has also won the BAFTA Award for Best Film Music and Grammy Award for Best Soundtrack for a Motion Picture.
5. Frozen (2013)
This 2013 Disney animation movie soundtrack features ten original songs with music by Robert Lopez and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez. The Frozen soundtrack won the Grammy Awards for Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media and was nominated for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media, with credits going to Christophe Beck as the composer. The critically acclaimed song “Let It Go” was performed by Idina Menzel for the film. However, the single version of the song performed by Demi Lovato won the Academy Award for Best Original Song, the Grammy Award for Best Song Written for Visual Media, and the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Song. It was also nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song. The Academy Award for “Let It Go” led Robert Lopez to become the youngest person to have achieved an EGOT (an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony Award).
6. Titanic (1997)
The soundtrack for this biggest and iconic film of all time was composed, orchestrated, and conducted by James Horner. Over thirty million copies have been sold worldwide, making the soundtrack shoot to the top of the charts in multiple territories, even reaching number one spot in at least fourteen countries other than the United States. It remained at the top for sixteen straight weeks and became the highest-selling primarily orchestral film score in history. The Titanic movie soundtrack banked the Academy Award for Best Original Dramatic Score of 1997, and Celine Dion’s heart-wrenching song “My Heart Will Go On” won for the Best Song in the same year.
7. Purple Rain (1984)
Purple Rain is perpetually ranked among the greatest soundtracks of all time. Nine killer songs by musical genius Prince are packed with stunning onstage performances and melodrama and one of the best-selling soundtracks of all time with 25 million copies sold worldwide. Purple Rain soundtrack reached number one on the Billboard 200 and spent 24 consecutive weeks at the top, and graced the chart for a total of 122 weeks! The album was certified 13x Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. The soundtrack has been included in the Grammy Hall of Fame and added to the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry list of sound recordings that “are culturally, historically, or aesthetically important.” Purple Rain won an Oscar for Best Original Song Score in 1985 and won the Top Soundtrack award at the American Music Awards in 2016. The music album was also nominated for Album of the Year at the Grammy Awards. Prince and the Revolution won the Grammy Award for Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for the song “Purple Rain.” Apart from “Purple Rain,” other popular album songs are “When Doves Cry,” “Let’s Go Crazy,” and “I Would Die 4 U.”
8. Forrest Gump (1994)
This two-disc soundtrack album features a variety of music from the 1950s–1980s performed by a bunch of well-known American artists like Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Three Dog Night, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Byrds, The Beach Boys, Aretha Franklin, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Mamas & The Papas, The Doors, The Doobie Brothers, Buffalo Springfield, Simon & Garfunkel, and Bob Seger among others. Music producer Joel Sill compiled and released the soundtrack music, and the Oscar-nominated score for the film—composed and conducted by Alan Silvestri, was released a month later. The movie soundtrack reached a peak of number two on the Billboard album chart and stayed there for seven weeks! It went on to sell twelve million copies and is one of the top-selling soundtracks in the United States. Some of its popular songs are “Hound Dog,” “California Dreamin,”and “Break on Through (To the Other Side).”
9. Saturday Night Fever (1977)
This classic disco movie with nightlife drama starring John Travolta was an immense hit. The soundtrack was mainly composed by the Bee Gees, which sold 15 million copies nationally and stayed on Billboard’s album charts for 120 weeks! Saturday Night Fever sparked affection towards polyester jumpsuits and disco balls. The soundtrack won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year, Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group, and hit the number one spot on the Billboard chart’s Pop Album and Soul Album charts. Bee Gees, Albhy Galuten, and Karl Richardson won Grammy for Music Producer of the year. The popular album songs “Stayin’ Alive” and “How Deep Is Your Love” are often associated with the increase in affinity for disco culture. “Stayin’ Alive” won the Grammy Award for Best Arrangement of Voices, and “How Deep Is Your Love” won Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Group. The album was added to the National Recording Registry in the Library of Congress for long-term preservation!
10. Dirty Dancing (1987)
The soundtrack album of this classic romantic dance movie topped for 18 weeks at number one on the Billboard 200 album sales chart, plus went platinum eleven times. The movie soundtrack was followed-up by a multi-platinum album in the following year, entitled ‘More Dirty Dancing.’ The song “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” sung by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes, rose to number one on the pop charts, won the 1988 Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group, won an Academy Award for Best Original Song, and also the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song. Other popular album songs “She’s Like the Wind” and “Hungry Eyes” peaked to the top 5 on the music charts as well. The movie soundtrack used music from Bergstein’s personal collection of gramophone records, and Jimmy Lenner was chosen as the music supervisor.
While the list for best movie soundtracks will always be endless, you can discover some of the movie soundtracks you haven’t heard before from this list of 50 Best Movie Soundtracks of All Time.