June 7, 2023

Movie Soundtracks That Were Better Than The Films


Movie soundtracks can make or break the film they’re a part of. The music or song behind a particular scene can either enhance or detract from it. If the music is good, the scene is often made better—an action sequence with the right ambiance sticks in the audience’s memory. Poor song choices can take viewers out of the experience and break their suspension of disbelief.

Fortunately, the film industry knows this. The crew behind a movie often understands the importance of music in film. The two go hand in hand, which is why musicals are so successful. We’ve seen the industry’s best awarded throughout the years as their blockbuster films have reached success not only for the visual elements but sonic contributions.

Movies like The Lion King, the classic animation or the more recent remake, have been applauded for their musical elements. In Hip Hop, 8 Mile continues to be a favorite. It isn’t just Eminem’s portrayal or Brittany Murphy’s stellar supporting actress role. The movie’s soundtrack propelled hits that topped the charts. Let’s take a look at some noteworthy movie soundtracks that are just as good—or better—than the films themselves.

Cruella (2021)

Cruella is a fun origin story for one of Disney’s most iconic villains from 101 Dalmatians. Emma Stone delivers an iconic performance and the costume design is wondrous. However, the soundtrack for this film elevates the movie to new heights. Rarely does a soundtrack distract from the movie because it’s just that good, but that’s sort of what happened in 2021. “Come Together” by Ike & Tina Turner is involved. So is “Should I Stay or Should I Go” from the Clash and Blondie’s hit “One Way or Another.” Each song is executed flawlessly and makes the movie that much more enjoyable.

Donnie Darko (2001)

Donnie Darko is a movie that the vast majority of audiences do not understand. Even on a second or third viewing, what Richard Kelly intended is still not terribly clear. Despite this, Jake Gyllenhaal’s cult classic is praised for its dark themes and unsettling imagery. Additionally, the soundtrack is still incredible over two decades later.

The alternate version of “Mad World” that plays as the film plays is perhaps the most iconic and memorable part. Tears for Fears also makes an appearance with “Head Over Heels.” The soundtrack isn’t long and mostly background music, but the particular song choice and placement make the movie’s admittedly confusing plot a little more bearable.

The Lion King (1994)

The Lion King is a great movie. It features a strong story with beautiful animation, especially for 1994. Many consider it one of the best-animated features of all time. The soundtrack certainly helped the film stand apart from previous Disney productions at the time. Almost 30 years later, the songs still land effectively in or out of the movie. Elton John and Hans Zimmer worked together to perfection on this one.

8 Mile (2002)

Any movie prominently featuring Eminem in his prime is going to have one of the best movie soundtracks of all time. Having the song “Lose Yourself” in it is an automatic bid to be one of the best. “Lose Yourself” won the Oscar for Best Original Song. It was the first hip-hop song to win that award. Taking it a step further, the song won the Grammy for Best Rap Song and Best Rap Solo Performance. The other songs could have mailed it in and made one of the best soundtracks ever.

The Prince Of Egypt (1998)

The Prince of Egypt continues to be hailed as one of the most extraordinary animations ever. Productions that have a religious foundation have been carefully scrutinized. However, all praised the way Dreamworks communicated this Biblical story of Moses, regardless of their beliefs. The score and soundtrack are one of the company’s most memorable. The original songs here (which is often more complicated to do than incorporating existing songs) are all flawless and drive the movie the entire time.

Elvis (2022)

Elvis is a solid movie with an unbelievable performance from Austin Butler, but the soundtrack is easily one of the best. Butler’s singing as Elvis is exceptional. The Elvis songs they included are also exceptional. What tops it all off is the fact that they could incorporate artists like Doja Cat and Swae Lee into the soundtrack attached to a biopic about Elvis’ life. “Vegas” by Doja is easily one of the most fun Elvis-related remixes ever made.

Top Gun (1986)

It’s since been surpassed by its own legacy sequel, but Top Gun is an iconic movie. However, aside from the tragic death and the beach volleyball scene, what do people remember from this classic? The songs. They reused them 26 years later in the sequel, which gives a small indication of the soundtrack’s quality. “Take My Breath Away,” “Danger Zone,” “Mighty Wings,” “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay,” and so many others are all-time classics. No wonder everyone loves this film.

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