10 Most Famous Movie Songs

Tuesday, January 25 by Tom Gordon

The 10 most famous movie songs include songs written specifically for the movies, as well as songs that were used strategically well by the filmmakers. Among the most famous movie songs ever are title songs, tunes that appeared at key moments of the films, and ones that played over the credits, but summed up perfectly the mood or characters of the movie.

  1. "As Time Goes By." There is no more famous movie song than "As Time Goes By" from "Casablanca." Even people who have never seen the film know the familiar melody and the unforgettable opening line, "You must remember this, a kiss is still a kiss." It was the perfect blend of just the right song with the right movie. And no guy could ever forget a love affair with Ingrid Bergman at her most beautiful.
  2. "Where is My Mind." The Pixies' song about losing one's grip on reality was a perfect choice for the climax of "Fight Club," one of the great mindfuck movies of all time.
  3. "When You Wish Upon a Star." With nearly 100 years of movies and movie songs in their inventory, Disney may never top the enduring popularity of this classic from "Pinocchio." You can't hear this song and not immediately revert back to life as an eight year old.
  4. "Tiny Dancer." Elton's John's pop classic was plunked down in Cameron Crowe's amazing movie "Almost Famous" in a scene that could have easily been corny, silly and worse, insincere. Instead, when everyone is on the bus and feeling ticked off, the gentle strains of this song got everyone eventually singing along. No one uses the right song at the right moment in a film like Cameron Crowe.
  5. "Singing in the Rain." If there is one song most identified with a single scene in movie history, it has to be this one, sung by Gene Kelly in a backlot "rainstorm" in the beloved "Singing in the Rain."
  6. "If You Leave." OMD's song for the John Hughes classic "Pretty in Pink" was the group's biggest hit and is undoubtedly one of the most 80sish songs of the 80s. Anyone who grew up then will instantly identify with the song. Those who came after may only know it as one of those odd, one-hit-wonder songs from a rather silly decade.
  7. "Don't You Forget About Me." Okay, one more '80s flashback. At the end of "The Breakfast Club," when Bender (Judd Nelson) has just kissed Claire (Molly Ringwald) to the horror of her mother, and then puts his fight-the-power fist in the air as he leaves school, this Simple Minds' song sums up what all kids yearn for — to be taken seriously and not forgotten or disregarded.
  8. "Moon River." Music lovers may think of this song primarily as Andy Williams' signature song. But songwriters Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer wrote the song for Audrey Hepburn's limited vocal range as a tune she could sing in "Breakfast at Tiffany's." It won the Oscar for Best Song in 1961 and remains a romantic favorite today.
  9. "Lose Yourself." Eminem's hit from his movie "8 Mile" is a reflection of his character in the film as well as one of the most downloaded songs in history. It was one of Eminem's greatest hits and actually earned him a Best Song Oscar.
  10. "Shaft." Isaac Hayes' song about the "private dick who's a sex machine with all the chicks" is the personal theme song we all wish we had.
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