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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Casper Libero chapter.

Do you know when you’re watching a movie and its soundtrack fits perfectly with the scene that is being shown? Or even when you’re listening to a song and you quickly remember which movie it was in? It is undeniable that remarkable songs can turn a film into an unforgettable cinematic production, just listen to the first seconds of Céline Dion’s My Heart Will Go On” and it is possible to feel transported to the famous movie Titanic, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet!

Imagine the movie Bodyguard without the song “I Will Always Love You”, by Whitney Houston. It seems to have lost its “magical” feeling, doesn’t it? That’s the power of cinema! The combination of acting, photography, costume and soundtracks awakens a mix of emotions in each person!

Here’s a list with 5 movies whose soundtracks are worth remembering!

Notting Hill

Directed by Roger Mitchell, Notting Hill is a romantic comedy movie that was released in 1999. Starring Hugh Grant (William Thacker) and Julia Roberts (Anna Scott) as the main characters, the plot follows the romance between a British bookseller (William) and a famous American actress (Anna) who met each other at his shop while she was buying a book in London’s Notting Hill district. Their love story begins when William accidentally spills orange juice on Anna and then takes her to his flat so she can change her clothes. When the actress is about to leave the house, she surprisingly kisses him.

Later, he meets her at the hotel she was staying at and plans a date. The bookstore owner couldn’t believe what was happening: an unsuccessful man was dating a very talented and beautiful woman who was also really famous!

Both get to know each other over the months, with Anna being invited to William’s sister’s birthday party. She was introduced to his friends and family, who couldn’t also believe that he now has a girlfriend after his divorce years ago. However, after a tabloid scandal, their relationship is put at risk and William realizes that dating a celebrity is not easy.

Notting Hill is a 90’s classic not only because of its cast and plot, but also because of its romantic soundtrack that fits perfectly with every scene. It earned two BAFTA nominations and won a Brit Award for its soundtrack.

As soon as the movie begins, the opening is a combination of Anna Scott footage, such as magazine covers and red carpets to the sound of “She”, by Elvis Costello. The song matches with the movie plot, as it talks about a loved woman and her personality.

She who always seems so happy in a crowd.

Whose eyes can be so private and so proud

No one’s allowed to see them when they cry.

She may be the love that cannot hope to last

May come to me from the shadows of the past.

That I’ll remember till the day I die

Elvis Costello

“When You Say Nothing at All”, by Ronan Keating can be listened to two times during the movie, one of them is when Anna and William are walking down the street after leaving a party. The name of the song already sums up what the lyrics are about:non-verbal communication between two people who love each other is enough, which totally connects with the main character’s love story.

It’s amazing how you can speak right to my heart

Without saying a word, you can light up the dark

Try as I may I can never explain

What I hear when you don’t say a thing

Ronan Keating

Another notable song is “Ain’t No Sunshine”, by Bill Withers played in a time passing scene while William is walking and the seasons are changing around him. The song embraces all the melancholy of the scene atmosphere, as the bookstore owner is no longer with Anna.

Top Gun (1986)

Directed by Tony Scott, Top Gun is an American action drama movie distributed by Paramount Pictures. It was inspired by an article titled “Top Guns”, by Ehud Yonay and published in California magazine a couple of years before. Starring Tom Cruise as Pete Mitchell “Maverick”, Kelly McGrills as  Charlotte “Charlie” Blackwood, Val Kilmer as Tom Kazanski “Iceman” and Anthony Edwards as Goose, the movie was internationally acclaimed. It was a box office success, grossing over $357 million globally against a production budget of $15 million.

The movie’s plot is around Pete Mitchell, a hotshot fighter pilot accepted into The Top Gun Naval Fighter Weapons School, a place where only the best ones train their flying skills. Among the pilots, there is “Iceman”, a very talented and competitive student who disapproves of his reckless attitude, creating a rivalry between them. On the other hand, Maverick meets his best friend Goose, who usually stays in his plane during practice classes.

However, the movie not only focuses on action elements, it has some romance too. Before the first day of instruction in Top Gun, Pete unsuccessfully tries to approach a woman that he met before discovering that she is his instructor. He falls in love with Charlie and starts to live a love story with her.

The Top Gun soundtrack is one of the most popular of all time. It reached nine times a Platinum certification and number 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart for five non-consecutive weeks. Who doesn’t recognize the beat of Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone” became a huge success after the movie was launched? The singer even recorded another version of the song for “Top Gun: Maverick”(2022).

Composed by Tom Whitlock and Giogio Moroder, “Take My Breath Away” performed by the band Berlin, was specially created for the movie. It is played during romantic scenes between Maverick and Charlie, being their theme song.

During a serenade scene, Pete Mitchell sings The Righteous Brothers“You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” to Charlie while he is being encouraged by his friends at the bar.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Directed by John Hughes, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is an American teen comedy movie that was released in 1986. Starring Matthew Broderick (Ferris Bueller), Alan Ruck (Cameron Frye), Mia Sara (Sloane Peterson) and Jennifer Grey (Jeanie Bueller), the film became the tenth-highest grossing film of that year in the USA, grossing 70 million dollars over a 5 million dollars budget.

The plot follows a high school student named Ferris who fakes illness to skip classes, making his parents believe in him, except for his sister Jeanie. The senior student wanted to go to Chicago with his friends, so Ferris developed a plan to pull it off: he even faked being his girlfriend’s father when he picked her up from school driving a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder belonging to Cameron’s father.

The character regularly breaks the “fourth wall” narration to explain his strategies and inner thoughts, which makes the movie more dynamic and funny. However, the school’s dean Edward Rooney finds everything very suspicious, being determined to expose Ferris’ absence from classes to his parents, putting the day off plan at risk.

Part of the movie’s success is from its soundtrack. During the museum scene, the song played is The Smiths’Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want”, but performed by The Dream Academy in an instrumental version.

Another famous scene is when Ferris Bueller lip syncs The Beatles’ “Twist and Shout” while leading a dance performance through the streets of Chicago during a parade. It’s possible not to sing along with him when this scene plays!

JAWS (1975)

Directed by Steven Spielberg, JAWS is an American thriller movie released in 1975. Based on the 1974 novel by Peter Benchley, it is considered to be the first blockbuster in history and the first one in the sharks genre. Starring Roy Scheider (Martin Brody), Richard Dreyfuss (Matt Hooper), Robert Shaw (Quint), Murray Hamilton (Larry Vaughn) and Lorraine Gray (Ellen Brody), JAWS was a huge box office success, grossing 476,5 million dollars over a 9 million dollars budget.

The story takes place in the New England beach town of Amity Island, whose main business activities come from tourism on the beaches. A young woman goes for a late-night swim in the sea when she gets attacked by a white shark. Martin Brody, a very responsible police officer, decides to close all the beaches. However, Mayor Larry Vaughn disapproves of his decision because he thinks the town’s economy would suffer, keeping the beaches open for tourists. On that weekend, a boy is killed by the animal in a crowded beach, making news of a shark nearby spread among hunters and fishermen who wanted to earn the bounty for capturing it.

After all the frenzy caused by mistaken shark catches and other attacks, Quint (a local fisherman), Brody and Matt Hooper (oceanographic) head out to the sea for a shark hunt. The three of them weren’t expecting what they were about to live in this ocean adventure!

You may have never seen the movie, but you’ve definitely already heard the main theme composed by John Williams specially for the production! The film score starts at a slow pace with just two notes alternating – which surprised Steven Spilberg himself –  and then it goes faster and faster. The main theme is a classic of the thriller genre, when you hear it feels like the approaching of danger. The theme becomes a movie character.

Unlike the other films mentioned before, there’s no singer, just the pattern of two instrumental notes. The composer described it as “grinding away at you, just as a shark would do, instinctual, relentless, unstoppable”. The main theme earned him an Academy Award.

Psycho (1960)

Produced and directed by Alfred Hitchcock, Psycho is an American horror film based on the 1959 novel of the same name by Robert Bloch. Starring Anthony Perkins (Norman Bates), Janet Leigh (Marion Crane), Vera Miles (Lila Crane) and John Gaviz (Sam Loomis), it is considered to be one of Hitchcock’s best movies, being also one of the first examples of the slasher movie genre.

The plot is about Marion Crane, a state secretary from Phoenix who steals $40,000 in cash from her employer in order to start a new life, leaving the town and her job by car. During a storm, she decides to pull into Bates Motel to get some rest after the long drive. The place is managed by Norman Bates, a young man who seems to have a troubled relationship with his mother and an odd interest in taxidermy.

The shower scene from the black-and-white movie is very famous, especially because of its soundtrack. When Marion is showering, a shadowy figure enters the bathroom and stabs her to death. The scene happens to the sound of Bernand Herrmann’s Psycho main theme, which captures all the tension and fear of the moment. When you hear it, you’re immediately immersed in it and the film score remains in the audience’s mind. Certainly, it is one of the most iconic soundtracks of the cinematographic industry!


The article above was edited by Maria Clara Polcan.

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Larissa Buzon Cardoso

Casper Libero '26

Journalism student who loves writing. I am keen on fashion, music, art and TV series.