Sound and vision:
7 iconic movie soundtracks
In 2014, Marvel’s Guardians Of the Galaxy conquered filmgoers’ hearts, and made a tonne of money at the box office. An entertaining and critically acclaimed addition to the studio’s Cinematic Universe, its ragtag bunch of entertaining heroes, wisecracks and explosive special effects proved a hit with audiences around the world. But it also boasted a thumping soundtrack jam-packed with classic songs from the 1960s and 1970s. On April 28, Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 will hit UK cinemas, and it promises to be accompanied by another set of retro melodies.
If you’re a big fan of music in film, you won’t want to miss our picks of the most essential soundtracks from film history.
- Easy Rider
- Stand By Me
- Judgement Night
- Pulp Fiction
- Kill Bill
- Guardians Of The Galaxy
Standout tracks: Born To Be Wild by Steppenwolf, The Weight by Smith and Wasn’t Born To Follow by the Byrds
This landmark road movie helped shepherd in the New Hollywood era of filmmaking in the 1970s. Easy Rider’s popularity was largely helped by its iconic soundtrack that captured the counter-culture zeitgeist of the time and contains some of the greatest rock anthems of the late 1960s.
Stand By Me
Standout tracks: Stand By Me by Ben E King, Great Balls Of Fire by Jerry Lee Lewis, Lollipop by the Chordettes
Set in 1959, Stand By Me is based on Stephen King’s novella, The Body, and is about four boys from a small town in Oregon who go on a hike to find the dead body of a missing child. Ben E King’s eponymous 1962 song offers an indication of what the rest of the soundtrack is like: a masterful compilation of old classics from the period.
Standout tracks: Just Another Victim by Helmet & House of Pain, Fallin by Teenage Fanclub & De La Soul, Another Body Murdered by Faith No More & Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E.
The film itself is neither particularly memorable nor Oscars-worthy, but the soundtrack was ahead of his time. The best rock and hip-hop acts of the early 1990s joined forces and created a timeless crossover album – several years before Jay-Z and Linkin Park did it.
Standout tracks: Son Of A Preacher Man by Dusty Springfield, Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon by Urge Overkill, Jungle Boogie by Kool & The Gang
Pulp Fiction was one of the biggest films of the 1990s and established Quentin Tarantino as the most exciting filmmaker of his generation. Tarantino’s films have always boasted brilliant soundtracks – and he’s never bettered this one, which is almost as iconic as the movie itself.
Trainspotting - New Heroes
Standout tracks: Lust For Life by Iggy Pop, Born Slippy by Underworld, Perfect Day by Lou Reed
This masterpiece has a fantastic soundtrack to match. Each song perfectly fits with pace of the film, from Ewan McGregor sprinting around the streets of Edinburgh to Iggy Pop’s Lust For Life, to the bedroom-bound cold turkey scene where Underworld’s Dark Train reverberates around him.
Kill Bill: Volume 1
Standout tracks: Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) by Nancy Sinatra, Do Not Let Me Be Misunderstood by Santa Esmeralda, Battle Without Honour Or Humanity by Tomoyasu Hotei
Yes, another Tarantino film has made it onto our list. This demonstrates that he isn’t just a world-class director, but he also has an ear for fantastic melodies. Perhaps if he’d never made it as a filmmaker he’d have taken up DJing instead? In Kill Bill Volume 1, RZA from the Wu-Tang Clan produced and orchestrated the soundtrack.
Guardians Of The Galaxy
Standout tracks: Hooked On A Feeling by Blue Swede, Spirit In The Sky by Norman Greenbaum, Moonage Daydream by David Bowie
Each song on this soundtrack features on protagonist Peter Quill’s mixtape in the film. Star-Lord’s mum left her son an old cassette with the title Awesome Mix, Vol. 1. He spends years listening to these songs on his old Walkman, which helps steer the film. “All songs were written in the script and baked into the story of the Guardians of the Galaxy which is what makes it work so well,” director James Gunn told The NME.