Can you make a movie without music? Sure, plenty have. The real question, though, is should you? Let’s face facts: some of the greatest scenes in movie history are memorable precisely because they’re soundtracked by the perfect song. They’ve been called ‘needle drops’ – recognisable tunes that punctuate a film at just the right moment. And when done right, they don’t just elevate the moment, they become inextricably linked to it.
Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino are generally considered the masters of the needle drop, and they’re well represented on this list of the best uses of songs in movies. But they’re far from the only filmmakers to have woven music into movies and made magic. To clarify, we excluded songs made specifically for the film itself – so that meant forgetting about ‘Don’t You (Forget About Me)’. But that still left us with a ton of pop, rock, jazz and classical bangers to choose from. Here’s our playlist.
🎵 The 40 best musical movies of all-time
🎘 The 50 best songs from 80s movies
🎸 The 50 best 90s movies, ranked
🔥 The 100 best movies of all-time