10 of our favourite pop song moments in movies

It's a fact that life in self-isolation is made better with music. OK, so that's not scientific, we just made it up, but you get the gist of what we mean.

For all you movie fans currently deprived of the chance to go to the cinema, you can always indulge in some classic film soundtracks. And because we're thinking of you, here are 10 of our favourite pop song moments from the movies, which never fail to lift our spirits.

Has one of your top choices made our list? Scroll down, check it out and drop us a comment on social media.


1. 'The Sound of Silence' – The Graduate (1967)

Cinema was never the same when a disaffected Dustin Hoffman first drifted into frame in The Graduate, all to the atmospheric sound of Simon and Garfunkel.

Director Mike Nichols' celebrated black comedy pioneered new ways of thinking around gender, identity, and sexuality, and key to its impact is the soundtrack of cutting-edge 1960s hits. Who cares about being a bored young adult when you can soundtrack your life to this?

2. 'Don't You (Forget About Me)' – The Breakfast Club (1985)

Writer/director John Hughes defined the teen film boom of the 1980s, stocking his ensemble casts with bright young actors who would subsequently become defined as the 'Brat Pack'. For many, his best movie remains after-school detention comedy The Breakfast Club – after all, this is such a brilliantly relatable concept for everybody around the world.

Nerds, jocks, dweebs and outcasts reluctantly bond in the drearily deserted confines of their high school, but when the Simple Minds kicks in, all thoughts of ennui and angst immediately drift away.

3. 'Twist and Shout' – Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)

The Beatles didn't come up with hip-shaking classic 'Twist and Shout', but their cover version is arguably the definitive one.

It's central to the uplifting and infectious scene in classic John Hughes comedy Ferris Bueller's Day Off, when the titular school skiver (Matthew Broderick) inaugurates a mass dance-off to the sound of the Fab Four. Watching all the Chicago residents get in on the act is a blast – a 20 carat dose of pure happiness.

4. 'Sunshine of Your Love' – Goodfellas (1990)

One cannot compile a list of best movie soundtracks without including Martin Scorsese. The revered filmmaker has a built a reputation off the back of kinetic camerawork and intuitive musical storytelling, the sort that rocks us back in our seat and takes our breath away.

One of our favourites comes in mob masterpiece Goodfellas, the story of Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) and his savagely violent induction into the Mafia. We see Robert De Niro's scheming gangster Jimmy Conway sitting at a bar planning an appalling execution of a fellow crim – in the background, Cream's 'Sunshine of Your Love' is beautifully tailored to De Niro's fluctuating facial expressions. It's a brilliant example of how music can further illuminate an already memorable performance.

5. 'You Never Can Tell' – Pulp Fiction (1994)

Quentin Tarantino is another filmmaker whose intuitive use of jukebox classics has helped transform our perception of the movies. The controversial writer-director is notorious for often juxtaposing blood-splattered set-pieces with infectious hits from the '60s and '70s – take Stealer's Wheel's 'Stuck In The Middle With You' from Reservoir Dogs, for instance.

Atypically, this scene from 1994's kaleidoscopic masterpiece Pulp Fiction is devoid of carnage and bloodshed. Instead, it's a genuinely happy and foot-tapping bonding moment between John Travolta's hitman Vincent Vega, and the wife of his mobster employer, Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman). The two hit the floor in restaurant Jack-Rabbit Slims as part of a dance contest, and the use of Chuck Berry's 'You Never Can Tell' strikes a charming chord in a movie dotted with memorably nasty moments. This is also the scene that got Travolta back on the dancefloor after years of stalling movies – thanks for that, Quentin.

6. 'Tiny Dancer' – Almost Famous (2000)

Last year's Rocketman brought Elton John's extensive back catalogue into greater focus. But if we're talking the best use of one of his songs, the trophy goes to writer/director Cameron Crowe's heartfelt Almost Famous.

It's the story of a naive teen and aspiring journalist, who falls in with a misfit rock group and their assorted groupies. Crowe based the story on his own experiences working for Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s, and the film is littered with emotional highs and lows.

The best moment, however, comes in the dazed aftermath of a party that led to angry recriminations. As the group hit the road again in their tour bus, 'Tiny Dancer' glides from the non-diegetic realm (as in, only we the audience can hear it), to the diegetic realm of the movie itself, as the ensemble begin to sing it and re-affirm their bond. It's a magical, beautiful scene.

7. 'Walking on Sunshine' – High Fidelity (2000)

Nick Hornby's novel of neurotic relationships and obsessive musical playlists was originally set in London. Director Stephen Frears took it across the Atlantic to Chicago, but nails the dyspeptic and hilarious tone of the source, while also stocking it with a library of soundtrack classics.

The funniest moment comes at the expense of Belle and Sebastian fans, when that group's music is abruptly substituted for Katrina and the Waves kitsch 'Walking On Sunshine'. The agent of said change is Jack Black's memorably obnoxious record store employee Barry, who's not averse to imposing his own taste upon that of other people.

Barry's musical snobbery is one of many things putting up roadblocks in the life of central character Rob (John Cusack), whose litany of broken relationships takes on a symphonic air of self-loathing.

8. 'You Make My Dreams' – 500 Days of Summer (2009)

Aka the 'I just got laid' moment from director Marc Webb's charming rom-com. 500 Days of Summer scrambles the timeline of one particular relationship, pinballing us between euphoria and despair to craft an authentically honest portrayal of contemporary romance.

Joseph Gordon Levitt and Zooey Deschanel are the young lovers who may, or may not, be destined to stay together. The scene in which Levitt's character Tom, a greetings card designer, skips into an impromptu dance number after a night of passion ought to be creepy, but instead is very funny. 

Hall and Oates' 'You Make My Dreams' is treated to a brass band rendition (the influence of the earlier Ferris Bueller's Day off is very evident), as Levitt indulges in baseball and is greeted by a reflection of Han Solo in a car window. Surreal, sweet and, as per the rest of the movie, destined not to last.

9. 'Modern Love' – Frances Ha (2013)

Greta Gerwig recently scored an Oscar-winning hit with her fine adaptation of novel Little Women. However, she first rose to prominence in Noah Baumbach's wise black and white comedy, a cross-section of Manhattan life as Gerwig's title character apartment hops in pursuit of her true destiny.

It's hard to get Gerwig's Frances Ha down, which is exemplified during the brief but brilliant use of 'Modern Love' as she happily sprints through the streets. If you're in need of a pick me up, the combination of indie darling Gerwig and David Bowie ought to do the trick.

10. 'Harlem Shuffle' – Baby Driver (2017)

Like Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino before him, writer/director Edgar Wright has a forensic ability to choose the right music for his movies. We were toying with the 'Don't Stop Me Now' scene from rom-zom-com Shaun of the Dead, but instead, we plumped for a scene from Wright's most recent movie.

Baby Driver defies easy labelling – it's perhaps best described as a car chase-jukebox musical, with the title character Baby (Ansel Elgort) co-ordinating his getaway driving abilities to the sound of his favourite music. (He does this to block out his tinnitus.)

The elaborately choreographed opening credits scene, set to Bob and Earl's brassy 'Harlem Shuffle' in one unbroken shot, doesn't, in fact, involve any cars. But it transforms a simple coffee run into a dazzling example of timing and movement – so intricate was it that Elgort had to retake the scene multiple times (25 in total) to hit his marks. It's a microcosm of the movie's infectiously fun spirit. Wright's new movie, psychological horror Last Night in Soho, is set to hit us this year, and we can't wait to hear what music he has in store for that.

Which of these is your favourite? Did we miss out on your top choice altogether? Let us know @Cineworld.