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The Top 10 Greatest Music Moments in Movie History

by dsussman   February 15, 2011 at 10:00AM  |  Views: 33,467

5. “Jumping Jack Flash” – Mean Streets

Source: Warner Bros.

This is easily one of the coolest entrances of a character in the history of cinema. Robert De Niro did have a big part to play in the awesomeness of this legendary bar scene in the 1973 breakthrough Mean Streets, but it was Martin Scorsese’s groundbreaking skills as a director that made it one of the most influential moments ever. This may just seem like a somewhat basic concoction of rad images and classic rock ‘n’ roll, but this marked the beginning of Scorsese’s now-classic mastering of mashing together the perfect images with the perfect track. It’s a formula that many would go on to copy and even outright steal. The Rolling Stones also had a little part to play in it.

4. “Moving in Stereo” – Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Source: Universal Pictures

Due to the legendary popularity of this clip, I don’t really feel the need to explain in great detail why it made the list. Phoebe Cates taking her swimsuit top off to the catchy new wave Cars track “Moving in Stereo” in Fast Times at Ridgemont High has made a lot of teen boys very happy over the years. Any song probably would have worked just fine for this scene, but “Stereo” gave it that classic ‘80s feel that few films can compete with. It also doesn’t hurt that Phoebe Cates is a stone cold fox.

3. “The End” - Apocalypse Now

Source: United Artists

Even though it was apparently Martin Scorsese’s idea to put “The End” in the opening of Coppola's Apocalypse Now, it’s still one of the most epic uses of a song in all of cinema. It seems as if the Doors wrote the song specifically in mind for the opening of Coppola's Apocalypse. I honestly couldn’t think of a better song to start/end a film as intense as AN. I also believe that the film would have never had the same punch it did if this song was not incorporated. They are one in the same as far as I’m concerned. It’s giving me chills just thinking about it.

2. "Layla" – Goodfellas

Source: Warner Bros.

Almost all of Scorsese’s cinematic musical movie moments come directly from the writing of the script. That’s what makes him such a brilliant director. The way he can instantly know which song should go with a specific scene so early on in the movie-making process is pretty unbelievable. The Making of Goodfellas is a prime example of this. It showcases how Marty perfectly places very specific songs over numerous dramtic moments throughout the film. The fact that he knows that the song in mind will work even before filming is a testament to his directorial brilliance. In my opinion, the use of Clapton’s "Layla" when Jimmy whacks his crew is the most breathtaking moment of them all.

1. “Also Sprach Zarathustra” – 2001: Space Odyssey

Source: Warner Bros.

This is the one that started it all, y’all. As you should all know, German composer Richard Strauss' “Also Sprach Zarathustra” can be first heard in the epic opening title of 2001: Space Odyssey. It has gone on to become one of the most memorable music pieces of all time.

As seen in the amazing documentary Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures, this was a very monumental moment in film due to Kubrick’s use of classical music from existing commercial recordings in 2001. Most films of that day were usually paired with elaborate film scores/songs by professional composers, but Stanley instead decided to break the Hollywood mold and use some of his most favorite classical music pieces and abandon his initial original score with Alex North. This groundbreaking move changed the game forever and influenced every up-and-coming director in the film industry. It doesn’t get any more epic than this. Hail to the King, baby.