Paste's 50 Best Movie Soundtracks

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Created by Panunzio.

Favorited 1 time, disliked 0 times, added to 2 watchlists.

Published April 2016

The key to a great musical accompaniment in a film is imperceptibility. When a song is so perfect for a movie moment, audiences won’t even notice it until the scene has already begun. The fit is intuitive. But listening back to a soundtrack after seeing a movie immediately can create a different experience. The melodies and lyrics conjure visual memories from those other stories. Sometimes, though, a soundtrack stands on its own, independent of the film that united those individual tracks. Whatever the situation, movie soundtracks offer essential cultural contributions to both movies and music, and we’ve rounded up the 50 best of all time.

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  1. 1 new

    O Brother, Where Art Thou?

    2000, in 5 top lists Check
  2. 2 new

    Purple Rain

    1984, in 1 top list Check
  3. 3 new

    Garden State

    2004, in 3 top lists Check
  4. 4 new

    The Graduate

    1967, in 27 top lists Check
  5. 5 new

    Help!

    1965, in 0 top lists Check
  6. 6 new

    Super Fly

    1972, in 2 top lists Check
  7. 7 new

    The Harder They Come

    1972, in 5 top lists Check
  8. 8 new

    The Royal Tenenbaums

    2001, in 7 top lists Check
  9. 9 new

    Saturday Night Fever

    1977, in 13 top lists Check
  10. 10 new

    Buena Vista Social Club

    1999, in 2 top lists Check
  11. 11 new

    Easy Rider

    1969, in 18 top lists Check
  12. 12 new

    Shaft

    1971, in 8 top lists Check
  13. 13 new

    The Blues Brothers

    1980, in 9 top lists Check
  14. 14 new

    Almost Famous

    2000, in 9 top lists Check
  15. 15 new

    High Fidelity

    2000, in 3 top lists Check
  16. 16 new

    2001: A Space Odyssey

    1968, in 42 top lists Check
  17. 17 new

    Dazed and Confused

    1993, in 7 top lists Check
  18. 18 new

    The Jazz Singer

    1980, in 0 top lists Check
  19. 19 new

    Singles

    1992, in 0 top lists Check
  20. 20 new

    Quadrophenia

    1979, in 3 top lists Check
  21. 21 new

    24 Hour Party People

    2002, in 4 top lists Check
  22. 22 new

    (500) Days of Summer

    2009, in 4 top lists Check
  23. 23 new

    The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

    2004, in 3 top lists Check
  24. 24 new

    Reservoir Dogs

    1992, in 25 top lists Check
  25. 25 new

    American Graffiti

    1973, in 16 top lists Check
  26. 26 new

    Drive

    2011, in 4 top lists Check
  27. 27 new

    Grosse Pointe Blank

    1997, in 3 top lists Check
  28. 28 new

    Pretty in Pink

    1986, in 1 top list Check
  29. 29 new

    Trainspotting

    1996, in 15 top lists Check
  30. 30 new

    Rushmore

    1998, in 10 top lists Check
  31. 31 new

    Repo Man

    1984, in 7 top lists Check
  32. 32 new

    Dirty Dancing

    1987, in 7 top lists Check
  33. 33 new

    Do the Right Thing

    1989, in 20 top lists Check
  34. 34 new

    Rock 'n' Roll High School

    1979, in 1 top list Check
  35. 35 new

    Once

    2007, in 3 top lists Check
  36. 36 new

    This Is Spinal Tap

    1984, in 20 top lists Check
  37. 37 new

    Belly

    1998, in 0 top lists Check
  38. 38 new

    Empire Records

    1995 — a.k.a. Rock & Fun, in 0 top lists Check
  39. 39 new

    Stand by Me

    1986, in 8 top lists Check
  40. 40 new

    SLC Punk!

    1998, in 0 top lists Check
  41. 41 new

    Juice

    1992, in 0 top lists Check
  42. 42 new

    Detroit Rock City

    1999, in 0 top lists Check
  43. 43 new

    Goodfellas

    1990, in 30 top lists Check
  44. 44 new

    A Clockwork Orange

    1971, in 33 top lists Check
  45. 45 new

    Forrest Gump

    1994, in 24 top lists Check
  46. 46 new

    Inside Llewyn Davis

    2013, in 5 top lists Check
  47. 47 new

    Harold and Maude

    1971, in 18 top lists Check
  48. 48 new

    Head

    1968, in 4 top lists Check
  49. 49 new

    The Bodyguard

    1992, in 1 top list Check
  50. 50 new

    Labyrinth

    1986, in 2 top lists Check
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Last updated on Mar 7, 2017; source