Top 5 Original Movie Soundtracks

Written by Jesse Gelinas July 06, 2012

It’s a kind of magic…

Not every great movie has good music. Not every great song has a good flick tied to it. But when these two things come together the audience can experience something very, very special. A mingling of the senses that takes a good movie and raises it to new levels of greatness. Great music can move you, speak to you, make you laugh, sing, and dance along with your favourite screen heroes. The best songs never get old. Here is a rundown of my top 5 best (most memorable, most fitting, most fun, best tunes, etc.) original film soundtracks in recent memory. We’ll cut it off at thirty years since no one wants to compete with “The Wizard of Oz”. For our purposes, we are looking at song-based soundtracks rather than instrumental scores, and musicals that originated on stage will not be included.

5. “The Proposition” (2005, Nick Cave & Warren Ellis)

Nick Cave is probably the best storyteller in the music industry today, and lately he has let that talent spill over into film. In this Australian western, penned by Cave himself, the bleak, burnt, wasteland of the frontier outback is accompanied by the deep, low melancholy of Cave and Ellis’s music. The soundtrack itself consists of one simple song presented in two vastly contrasting versions: One that has the audacity to give you the slightest bit of hope, and one that reminds you that this is a Nick Cave story. There is no hope.

4. “The Lion King” (1994, Elton John & Tim Rice)

We could likely fill this list entirely with Disney musicals and no one would complain, but let’s be fair and just go with the best they offered. John and Rice were given a story and, artists that they are, they painted a brilliant melody for audiences to cling to each step of the way. The songs range from catchy fun with ‘Hakuna Matata’ to epic ballads like ‘Circle of Life’. Perhaps the film itself borrows a few traits from earlier works, but the music is original, fun, and will stand the test of time. Long live the King!

3. “Labyrinth” (1986, David Bowie)

Why doesn’t Bowie act more? Did you guys see “The Prestige”? He practically oozes charisma whenever he’s on screen even for a short while. Putting that aside, with “Labyrinth” Bowie was given a chance to both write an entire soundtrack and play the morally ambiguous Goblin King who gets all the best tunes. Back in the ’80’s, every piece of crap had a song written for it (about 40% of them by Kenny Loggins). This fantasy-musical had an entire Bowie album dedicated to telling its story, and it plays beautifully. It’s dance magic it is.


2. “Young Guns II” (1990, Jon Bon Jovi) – VIDEO: Blaze of Glory

Jon Bon Jovi has been pretty hit or miss these past three decades. He’s been capable of treating us to some badass songs that just jack you up like ‘Wanted Dead or Alive’, and also lovely ballads with enough soul to crush your heart (‘Bed of Roses’ just gets me). For “Young Guns II”, Bon Jovi (the man not the band) was asked for a theme and he gave us ‘Blaze of Glory’, and a dozen other gems to round out the film. For all the cowboys left hiding out there in the world these tunes just make you want to dig up John Wayne and fight him.


1. “Highlander” (1986, Queen) – VIDEO: Who Wants to Live Forever

Romance, suspense, action, immortality, sword fighting, decapitations, a French Christopher Lambert playing a Scotsmen, and Scottish Sean Connery  playing a Spaniard (an Egyptian Spaniard, if you can make sense of that). This movie had everything. Not to mention a fully original soundtrack written by God himself and passed down to the greatest rock band of all time, Queen! I am not ashamed to say this soundtrack has made me cry (see video above). Now, below you also get a bonus song from the film to raise your spirits back up to new heights. Hey, it’s a kind of magic.

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About Jesse Gelinas

After years attempting to escape the Matrix, Jesse has accepted his fate as a writer and Senior Editor. Now that's he finished with his film degree, it gives him something to do while waiting for the machines to get careless.

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