Famous Songs in Movies

Famous Songs in Movies

Luke Chval

Photo used under Fair Use Doctrine. Source: http://www.warnerbros.com/movies/home-entertainment/risky-business/5753b65d-b425-4074-888c-e7fc2ec2f391.html

Gonna Fly Now

Gonna Fly Now” is one of the songs featured in the 1976 movie Rocky, and is usually associated in people’s heads as the main song from the movie. The song is composed by Bill Conti and was nominated for the 1976 Academy Award for Best Original Song. The song is played during a famous scene in the movie and iconized the steps of the Phildelphia Museum of Art.

Hakuna Matata

Hakuna Matata,” one of the many great and acclaimed songs of the 1994 Disney film The Lion King, is an icon of the 90s production of countless classic Disney movies, including Hercules, Aladdin, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Toy Story. It was also an icon of our generation’s childhood, and is widely known by young people of all ages. “Hakuna Matata” was nominated for the 1994 Academy Award for Best Original Song and lost to “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” in the same movie written by the same musician, highly accomplished Elton John.

Old Time Rock and Roll

Unlike most of the other songs on this list, “Old Time Rock and Roll” was not a song made famous by its use in a film. It didn’t make the artist, Bob Seger famous as he already had accomplished songs, such as “Night Moves” and “Hollywood Nights.” But the scene in Risky Business where Tom Cruise’s character drunkenly dances around his living room is so famous that people can recognize the song and scene without having seen it due to the enormous amount of use in popular media which is an effect of the song and scene being a cinema classic.

The Sound of Music

The song “The Sound of Music” the namesake for the movie of the same title, was a very influential song at its time. The most famous and memorable song of the musical, which was sung by Julie Andrews, the lead role, has garnered many accolades in its lifetime. The song is ranked tenth on AFI’s (American Film Institute) 100 Years…100 Songs list in 2004. The song was very important in the movie’s success, which won five Academy Awards including Best Picture and became the highest grossing film of all time until 1971, when it was taken back by the re-release of Gone with the Wind.


Goldfinger” a song featured in the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger was sung by Shirley Bassey. The song is famous for It’s ranging vocals and talented orchestra. Goldfinger is widely recognized as one of the best James Bond theme songs. Shirley Bassey performed the song at the most recent 85th Academy Awards in the Fifty Years of Bond Tribute.

Stuck in the Middle with You

One of director Quentin Tarantino’s best qualities in his movies is that he makes scenes that revolve around a song, and is a sort of “soundtrack DJ” for his films. This started with his very first film, Reservoir Dogs in 1992. Released by the band Stealers Wheel in 1972, “Stuck in the Middle with You” became the first in a very long line of times that Tarantino directly orchestrated one song to commemorate a scene, and therefore make it more memorable. This particular song was actually played in the movie, as Mr. Blonde (an alias for the character Michael Madsen portrays) turns the song on the radio and sings to it as he interrogates a police officer for information.

Theme from Shaft

The “Theme from Shaft,” namely from the movie Shaft in 1971 by soul artist Isaac Hayes was a cultural icon of the early 1970s. “Theme from Shaft” won the 1971 Academy Award for Best Original Song. Hayes had several hit soul and blues songs in the 60s and had already made a name for himself, but the song in Shaft was the key point in Hayes’ career.

Mrs. Robinson

Mrs. Robinson” was a song featured in the film The Graduate in 1968. The song was written by Peter Simon and performed by Simon and Garfunkel, which was rare as it was the one of the first times in film that an already highly famous and influential group would compose new songs for a film. The song has a nostalgic note noting things of the past, such as Joe DiMaggio, and in the original form of the song, Eleanor Roosevelt. The scene that the song is played in is a famous following of the main character Benjamin Braddock driving to the house of the song’s title character, Mrs. Robinson.

By Luke Chval