When you think of your favorite movies, there’s usually a really great song from the soundtrack that personified the film—a song that captures the scene so well. It emotionally enables your ability to either sympathize or rejoice with the actor’s situation. It allows you to share that moment with the characters and their story. In turn, your appreciation for the movie grows.
When a sequence of romantic scenes is paired with a great love song, you may find yourself holding your date’s hand a little tighter. There are the sad and emotional moments in a movie, when accompanied with the right song, you find yourself completely empathizing with the characters and their dilemmas—possibly even draw a tear at times. You can’t forget the really great party scenes. Whether it has a comedic feel or a good old dance the night away energy, paired with the perfect jam, you can’t help but to wiggle a little in your seat.
No matter the genre of movie, or the type of scene, a good soundtrack compliments a great movie tremendously. Please enjoy some amazing music from some classic, great movies of the 80’s and 90’s we have listed below. The playlist is available on SoundCloud.
Classic great with “Son of a Preacher Man” by Dusty Springfield , and “Pumpkin and Honey Bunny/Misirilou” by Dick Dale and His Del-Tones (Pulp Fiction, 1994)
Dusty Springfield and Dick Dale both have composed buoyant and energetic songs reminiscent of the era they were composed in—the 1960’s. The energy and excitement in Dick Dales “Misirilou” guitar instrumental is both exotic and mesmerizing. “Son of a Preacher Man” by Dusty Springfield is light and full of melodic fun. Tarantino added both songs to his film Pulp Fiction, a multi-story rump through the underworld of Los Angeles. The film satirizes the sleazy dramas and thrills the story tells, weaving irreverent songs like both the latter into its soundtrack. These songs provide ample examples of how Territino is playing around with his pulp stories by creating tension and levity through intense suspense scenes, while adding humorous anecdotes and pop music from the 60’s to the events portrayed.
“Machine Gun” by the Commodores, or “Sister Christian” by Night Ranger, (Boogie Nights, 1997)
Paul Thomas Anderson’s film Boogie Nights was many things as a film—a romp into the crazy and seductive world of the Porn industries, a story of family ties between societal misfits, and look back of the culture and world of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. “Machine Gun” by the Commodores is both hallmark instrumental of the 70’s disco revolution, epitomizing the era’s embrace of funk music and dance, while “Sister Christian” by Night Ranger provides a prime example of 1980’s innovation of the power ballad. Anderson use these song (along with others like them) to set the mood for the era, along with tension and energy that each a scene is designed to express.
“Danger Zone” by Kenny Logins (Top Gun, 1986)
Top Gun was one of the number one action films of the 1980’s. It was the prime film vehicle to promote Tom Cruise as that Hollywood A-list heartthrob. Tony Scott made sure the music would enhance the excitement and fun that was the core of this movie experience. This wasn’t Kenny Loggins foray into film songwriting. He first became famous of writing a top song for the comedy Caddyshack with the song “I’m Alright.” Loggin’s score his biggest hit with the song he did for Top Gun, “Danger Zone.” The song is a light and energic, a perfect pop song that celebrates the pomp and action of the movie with first-rate 80’s pop-rock magic.
“She’s Like The Wind” by Patrick Swayze and Wendy Fraser (Dirty Dancing, 1987)
Dirty Dance was the 80’s dance movie. Music, dance, romance, rebellion, and Patrick Swayze. Emile Ardolino, who direct the film, wasted no time understanding how important Swayze was to the film’s success and approved his song with Wendy Fraser “She’s Like the Wind” for the film. The duet is both soft, elegant, and romantic. It plays on the dance/romantic duet between Swayze and actress Jennifer Grey, who plays the female lead for the film. The song is a tribute to how love ballads were interwoven into date films in the 80’s in a symbiotic play on romance and story.
“My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion (Titanic, 1997)
James Cameron’s Titanic mixed several different genres—action, suspense, romance, and tragedy—together to tell the story of the ill-fate first trip of the iconic ship of the early part of the 20th centaur. While only perform in during the credit scroll at the end of the film, Celino Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” became the musical epilog to the film. The song encompassed the film’s loss, redemption, hope, and eternal love. The song was number on throughout the world, including the United States, Canada, Ireland, United Kingdom and Australia.
“The Eye of the Tiger”, by Survivor (Rocky III, 1976)
By the time Rocky III was release, the film series had become a multi-million dollar blockbuster franchise. Directed by Sylvester Stallone—the iconic star of the film, Rocky III built told the story of prodigal son, Rocky. Finding ultimate success as a boxer, Rocky loses his way and his long-time companion Mickey. In defeat of a championship match, Rocky has to rebuilt his passion and gift as boxer to find redemption and his return as champion. Weaving this story of loss and redemption, Stallone use’s Survivor’s “The Eye of the Tiger” as the center piece musical motif of the story, chronicling Rocky’s success and rebirth as champion. The song features an epic series of power chords and vocals as rock anthem for the defeated and redeemed.
“Kissing You”, by Deseree (Romeo + Juliet, 1996)
Deseree’s “Kissing You” is a lavish love song that focus on slow, swooning melodies and soft piano chords. Baz Luhrmann, director of Romeo + Juliet, was trying to merge modern American society with Shakespeare’s classic play about love and tragedy. “Kissing You” became a melodic symbol of this union. Written by the singer with Timothy Atack for Baz Luhrmann, the song is a light ballad in the key of A minor, focusing on simple instrumentation of only piano and string instruments. It has been by Beyoncé (2007), Taylor Dayne (2008) and Stan Walker (2010).
“Meet Me Half Way”, by Kenny Loggins (Over the Top, 1987)
Kenny Loggins was definitely the go to guy for song soundtrack hits in the 80’s. First having success with “I’m Alright” in Caddyshack, then finding success with “Danger Zone” in Top Gun. Finally, make a trio of soundtrack single hits with ”Meet Me Half Way” in Over the Top. Over the Top, directed by Menahem Golan, was underground hit telling the story of a truck driver/arm wrestling champ who finds himself on the road with his estranged son. Loggins song is another amazing power ballad/anthem scoring the sediment between the struggling father and son relationship. The song was cornerstone of the film’s sense of hope and struggle with life and relationships.
“Gangster’s Paradise” by Coolio (Dangerous Minds, 1995)
Dangerous Minds, a film by John N. Smith, is based on the autobiography “My Posse Don’t Do Homework” by retired U.S. Marine LouAnne Johnson. Johnson became a teacher at Carlmont High School in Belmont, California, in 1989. Most of her students were African-American and Latino teenagers from East Palo Alto, a racially segregated, economically deprived city on the other end of the school district. The story focuses on the struggles of the students with their life stress and future outlook. Coolio wrote “Ganster’s Paradise” for the film, encompassing the sense of despair, anger, and confusion surrounding the film’s story. The song starts with a line from Psalm 23:4: “As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death”, but then Coolio begins improving his own sediments as the song recedes into the depths of its dark subject matter “I take a look at my life and realize there’s nothin’ left.”
Family Fun movie “The Power of Love”, by Huey Lewis and the News (Back to the Future, 1985)
“The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis and the News exploded into pop culture side by side the Film that it came out with. Back to the Future was blockbuster pop cultural milestone for a generation of kids. The weird and irreverent story was lighthearted and exciting, poking fun at its own absurdity. “The Power of Love” was released as a fun, light-heart pop-rock song to enhance the energy of the film. The song appears at the start of the film as Marty McFly skateboards to school, then later when McFly and his band play a hard rock version of the song during a Battle of the Bands audition. Finally, the song appears once again when Marty returns to his neighborhood.
“It Must Have Been Love”, by Roxette (Pretty Woman, 1990)
Pretty woman was another classic film that bridge the 80’s and the 90’s. A Cinderella story surrounding the rags to riches romantic tale of a escort who finds love with a successful business man. Performed by the Swedish pop duo Roxette, “It Must Have Been Love” was a soft piano ballad with pop theatrics that help made the film a memorable success.
“Don’t You [Forget About Me]”, by Simple Minds (The Breakfast Club, 1985)
“Don’t You” was as much a piece of 80’s ionic pop culture as the film it was attached to. John Hughes’s classic story about teenagers in Saturday detention. Performed by Simple Minds (a British band), the song is played during the opening and closing scenes of the film. This song express the movie’s sense of found unity and sense of identity struggle in the face of the adult world repression. The song is at the same time a rock anthem and yearning ballad on themes of unity and connection.
Listen to our 80’s and 90’s favorite movies soundtracks playlist on SoundCloud at https://soundcloud.com/treamwith/sets/80s_90s_favorite_movies_music and share with us the beautiful memories and emotions this music awakes.