“Pulp Fiction” soundtrack CD

"Pulp Fiction" soundtrack CD (Photo by Kraft74 on Shutterstock)

Sometimes, the music in a movie is just as awesome as what’s happening on screen. We’re talking about soundtracks so perfect that they practically become characters themselves. Today, we’re diving into some of our favorite films where the soundtrack steals the show! From heart-pounding anthems to soul-stirring ballads, get ready to revisit some of the most iconic musical moments in cinema. At StudyFinds, we dove into the world of movie soundtracks, scouring ranked lists from nine trusted sources to curate the top seven that critics and fans can’t stop raving about. These soundtracks are guaranteed repeat listens, but if your personal favorite isn’t on the list, be sure to share it in the comments below!

Top 7 Film Soundtracks of All Time, According to Fans

1. “Purple Rain” (1984)

The “Purple Rain” movie soundtrack includes the following songs:

  • “Let’s Go Crazy” (Prince and the Revolution)
  • “Jungle Love” (The Time) (Note: This is a live version)
  • “Take Me with U” (Prince and the Revolution featuring Apollonia)
  • “Modernaire” (Dez Dickerson and the Modernaires)
  • “Possessed” (Prince and the Revolution)
  • “The Beautiful Ones” (Prince and the Revolution)
  • “God” (Love Theme from Purple Rain) (Prince) (Instrumental)
  • “When Doves Cry” (Prince)
  • “Father’s Song” (John L. Nelson)
  • “Computer Blue” (Prince and the Revolution)
  • “Darling Nikki” (Prince and the Revolution)
  • “Sex Shooter” (Apollonia 6)
  • “The Bird” (The Time)
  • “Purple Rain” (Prince and the Revolution)
  • “I Would Die 4 U” (Prince and the Revolution)
  • “Baby I’m a Star” (Prince and the Revolution)

What’s more fitting for a movie starring Prince than his own music to back it up? Prince’s iconic soundtrack isn’t just background music; it’s a character in itself. Songs like “Purple Rain” and “When Doves Cry” perfectly capture the emotional intensity of the film. TimeOut hails this soundtrack as Prince’s creative peak. It features iconic songs, epic production, and even stars Prince himself as “The Kid.” But dig deeper! Explore the additional music from the film, featuring funky tracks by Prince’s collaborators Morris Day, Dez Dickerson, and Apollonia. Don’t forget the beautiful instrumentals, especially the heart-wrenching “Father’s Song.”

Prepare to be swept into Prince’s bizarre and captivating world. Pitchfork acknowledges the film’s flaws: awkward acting, sexist humor, and a troubled protagonist. Despite these issues, the soundtrack is undeniably brilliant. Even watching Prince go about his day would be compelling with this music. “Purple Rain” showcases Prince at his most confident, vulnerable, and musically powerful. This raw emotion translates into some of the most influential and enduring music ever created.

Who knew Prince’s acting debut would be a soundtrack goldmine? The Independent reveals that the film’s story, about a troubled Minneapolis musician, stemmed from ideas Prince developed on tour. Despite (or perhaps because of) his outrageous on-screen persona, “Purple Rain” became a massive hit and showcased Prince at his musical best.

The Ringer hails “Purple Rain” as a masterpiece – both film and soundtrack. Every song, from the electrifying “Let’s Go Crazy” to the soulful “The Beautiful Ones” and the epic title track, is mind-blowing. But the true gift, beyond the film’s “so bad it’s good” charm, is witnessing Prince perform them live. From his electrifying dance moves in “Darling Nikki” to the emotional breakdown in “Computer Blue,” Prince delivers an unforgettable performance that solidifies his status as a legendary star.

2. “Pulp Fiction” (1994)

The “Pulp Fiction” soundtrack features the following songs:

  • “Misirlou” (Dick Dale & His Del-Tones)
  • “Royale with Cheese” (Dialogue Excerpt)
  • “Jungle Boogie” (Kool & The Gang)
  • “Let’s Stay Together” (Al Green)
  • “Bustin’ Surfboards” (The Tornadoes)
  • “Lonesome Town” (Ricky Nelson)
  • “Son of a Preacher Man” (Dusty Springfield)
  • “Zed’s Dead Baby/Bullwinkle Part II” (The Centurians)
  • “You Never Can Tell” (Chuck Berry)
  • “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon” (Neil Diamond)
  • “If Love Is a Red Dress (Hang Me In Rags)” (Maria McKee)
  • “Comanche” (The Revels)
  • “Flowers on the Wall’ (The Statler Brothers)
  • “Personality Goes a Long Way” (Dialogue Excerpt)

This cult classic doesn’t have a traditional score, but its eclectic mix of surf rock, soul, and pop anthems is unforgettable, adding a layer of cool and unexpected energy to the film. Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” wasn’t just a visual feast, it was an auditory one too. The film’s soundtrack starts strong with the iconic surf anthem “Misirlou” by Dick Dale, adds Medium. It then throws down a killer mix of soul, rock, and cult classics like Kool & The Gang’s “Jungle Boogie.” But the real standout is Urge Overkill’s grungy cover of Neil Diamond’s “Girl You’ll Be a Woman Soon,” forever linked to Uma Thurman’s unforgettable overdose scene.

The Independent says the iconic opening scene paired with “Misirlou” was a suggestion from a friend of Tarantino’s. The soundtrack’s impact was undeniable, reaching the top 20 on the Billboard charts and sparking a surf rock revival. Advertisers even jumped on board, using these catchy tunes to sell everything from food to hygiene products. Another highlight? Chuck Berry’s “You Never Can Tell,” forever linked to the dance scene featuring Uma Thurman and John Travolta, received a major boost in popularity thanks to the film.

Tarantino isn’t just a director, he’s a master DJ, according to The Ringer. He believes that picking the perfect song for a scene is pure cinematic magic. And Tarantino loves a touch of dark humor with his music choices, for example when Al Green’s soulful “Let’s Stay Together” plays during a tense standoff between hitmen. But The Ringer reminds us that the magic of the “Pulp Fiction” soundtrack might not translate to a party atmosphere. Some things are best appreciated on their own terms.

3. “Trainspotting” (1996)

The soundtrack to “Trainspotting” features the following songs:

  • “Lust for Life” (Iggy Pop)
  • “Carmen Suite No. 2” (Georges Bizet) (Classical music excerpt)
  • “Deep Blue Day” (Brian Eno)
  • “Trainspotting” (Primal Scream)
  • “Temptation” (Heaven 17) 
  • “Atomic (Sleeping Girl)” (Sleeper)
  • “Nightclubbing” (Iggy Pop)
  • “Sing” (Blur)
  • “Perfect Day” (Lou Reed)
  • “Dark and Long (Dark Train Mix)” (Underworld) 
  • “Think About the Way (Full On Renaissance Mix)” (Bedrock featuring KYO_
  • “2:1” (Elastica)
  • “Herzlich Tut Mich Verlangen” (Gábor Lehotka) (Classical music excerpt)
  • “Statuesque” (Plasmatics) 
  • “Born Slippy Nuxx” (Underworld)
  • “Closet Romantic” (My Bloody Valentine)
  • “Temptation (Brothers in Arms Remix)” (New Order)

This is a soundtrack that’s as gritty and raw as the film itself. “Trainspotting” blasts onto the scene with a double dose of energy: Iggy Pop’s pulsating “Lust For Life” kicks off both the film and the soundtrack, setting the tone for Danny Boyle’s dark comedy about Edinburgh’s heroin scene, says the AV Club. The soundtrack itself is a breath of fresh air compared to the Britpop dominance of the mid-90s. It cleverly avoids cliches, instead creating a unique blend of indie and electronic music. Think Underworld and Leftfield alongside Britpop icons like Pulp, Blur, and Elastica. Primal Scream’s epic “Born Slippy” serves as the perfect bridge, tying together these diverse soundscapes.

Consequence of Sound adds that the “Trainspotting” soundtrack might not make you feel like you’re tripping, but it’ll definitely get your heart racing. The mix of electronic and post-punk music pulsates with energy, mirroring the strung-out intensity of the film’s characters. But it’s not all happy highs. While Iggy Pop screams about his “Lust for Life,” Lou Reed’s ironic “Perfect Day” casts a shadow over the whole party. There’s a sense of dread lurking beneath the surface, a reminder that the comedown is inevitable.

Medium listed this soundtrack as number one, stating that the film kicks off with a now-legendary scene: Ewan McGregor races down the street, fueled by the adrenaline-pumping energy of Iggy Pop’s “Lust for Life.” This sets the tone for the soundtrack, a perfect blend of iconic classics like New Order’s “Temptation,” Blur’s “Sing,” and of course, Underworld’s timeless anthem “Born Slippy.” These tracks capture the raw energy and a touch of nostalgia that define the film’s atmosphere. Adding a layer of authenticity is Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day.” The song’s honest lyrics perfectly reflect the real-life experiences explored in the film, creating a powerful connection with the audience.

4. “Super Fly” (1972)

The “Super Fly” soundtrack features the following songs:

  • “Little Child Runnin’ Wild” (Curtis Mayfield)
  • “Pusherman” (Curtis Mayfield) (The Curtis Mayfield Experience)
  • “Freddy’s Dead” (Curtis Mayfield)
  • “Junkie Chase (Instrumental)” (Curtis Mayfield)
  • “Give Me Your Love (Love Song)” (Curtis Mayfield)
  • “Eddie You Should Know Better” (Curtis Mayfield)
  • “No Thing On Me (Cocaine Song)” (Curtis Mayfield)
  • “Think (Instrumental)” (Curtis Mayfield)
  • “Super Fly” (Curtis Mayfield)

Curtis Mayfield’s soulful soundtrack is a cornerstone of blaxploitation cinema. The “Super Fly” plot is a mess, but the soundtrack is a masterpiece. Pitchfork criticizes the film’s script – deaths are glossed over and motivations unclear. However, Curtis Mayfield’s soundtrack transcends the movie’s shortcomings.

Working from the script and film snippets, Mayfield crafted a world far richer than what appears onscreen. The music delves into the complexities of drug dealing – the desperation, the broken relationships, and the fleeting highs. Songs like “Pusherman” explore the allure of the drug trade, while “Freddie’s Dead” laments a lost life. Mayfield doesn’t shy away from the moral implications. “No Thing on Me (Cocaine Song)” celebrates sobriety, acknowledging the emptiness of drug-induced happiness. The soundtrack elevates the film’s flat characters. While neither Youngblood Priest nor Fat Freddie embody true substance, Mayfield’s music imbues them with depth and swagger. Ultimately, the “Super Fly” soundtrack is more than just background music; it’s a profound artistic statement. Through his music, Mayfield creates a compelling world that the film itself fails to deliver.

Building on Marvin Gaye’s social critiques, Curtis Mayfield’s 1972 soundtrack for “Super Fly” offers a brutally honest portrayal of his community’s struggles. Mayfield doesn’t shy away from the harsh realities – he explores societal hypocrisy and gives voice to both the victims and perpetrators caught in the drug trade, adds Consequence of Sound. While mostly an objective observer, his anger occasionally flares (like in “Pusherman”). These moments highlight the essential role of soul music – even as society’s problems become increasingly complex, music can act as a moral compass.

The AV Club finds beauty in the darkness: Curtis Mayfield saw the societal ills beneath the surface of Gordon Parks Jr.’s film “Super Fly” and turned them into poetic music. Mayfield doesn’t glorify the criminals he portrays. Songs like “Pusherman” and “Superfly” simmer with anger, while “Freddie’s Dead” mourns a lost life. However, Mayfield avoids pure condemnation. He layers his message with rich orchestration, driving funk beats, and his own smooth vocals. This combination perfectly captures the era’s soul sound, but also reflects the film’s gritty realism.

5. “Saturday Night Fever” (1977)

The soundtrack for “Saturday Night Fever” features the following songs:

  • “How Deep Is Your Love” (Bee Gees)
  • “Stayin’ Alive” (Bee Gees)
  • “Night Fever” (Bee Gees)
  • “More Than a Woman” (Bee Gees)
  • “If I Can’t Have You” (Yvonne Elliman)
  • “A Fifth of Beethoven” (Walter Murphy)
  • “More Than a Woman” (Tavares)
  • “Manhattan Skyline” (David Shire)
  • “Calypso Breakdown” (Ralph MacDonald)
  • “Night on Disco Mountain” (David Shire)
  • “Open Sesame” (Kool & the Gang)
  • “Jive Talkin'” (Bee Gees)
  • “You Should Be Dancing” (Bee Gees)
  • “Boogie Shoes” (KC and the Sunshine Band)
  • “Salsation” (David Shire)
  • “K-Jee” (K-Jee)
  • “Disco Inferno” (The Trammps)

The Bee Gees are synonymous with disco. Songs like “Stayin’ Alive” and “How Deep Is Your Love?” capture the infectious energy of the dance floor and the film’s exploration of nightlife culture. Reader’s Digest agrees, adding that “Saturday Night Fever” boasts the ultimate party playlist, even if the movie itself is a bit forgettable. Millions of copies sold (over 15 million in the U.S. alone!) speak to the soundtrack’s enduring popularity. It features iconic hits like “Stayin’ Alive” and “More Than a Woman,” perfect for escaping the daily grind and hitting the dance floor.

Forget movie soundtracks, says the AV Club, “Saturday Night Fever” was a disco phenomenon! Released in 1977, it became the best-selling record at the time. This wasn’t just movie music; it captured a cultural moment. The soundtrack tapped into the underground disco scene and propelled it into the mainstream with a collection of Bee Gees hits. Sure, there were some cheesy moments (like “Night on Disco Mountain”), but by including artists like Walter Murphy, KC and the Sunshine Band, the Trammps, and Tavares alongside the Bee Gees, the soundtrack became a true reflection of the disco era.

“Saturday Night Fever” isn’t just a soundtrack, it’s a disco dynasty. This 15x Platinum, Grammy-winning record captured a cultural movement in just 20 tracks. Love it or hate it, this soundtrack dominated the charts for months, becoming one of the all-time greats, raves Consequence of Sound. John Travolta’s charm might have helped sales, but the real power lies in the music. Bee Gees classics like “Jive Talkin'” and “You Should Be Dancing” share the stage with iconic hits like KC and the Sunshine Band’s “Boogie Shoes” and Yvonne Elliman’s “If I Can’t Have You.” Throw in some wacky surprises like “A Fifth of Beethoven” and “Night on Disco Mountain,” and you have a wild ride through the heart of disco. At a tight 76 minutes, it’s a contender for the greatest soundtrack ever made.

6. “The Bodyguard” (1992)

The soundtrack for “The Bodyguard” features the following songs:

  • “I Will Always Love You” (Whitney Houston)
  • “I Have Nothing” (Whitney Houston)
  • “I’m Every Woman” (Whitney Houston)
  • “Run to You” (Whitney Houston)
  • “Queen of the Night” (Whitney Houston)
  • “Jesus Loves Me” (Whitney Houston)
  • “Even If My Heart Would Break” (Kenny G and Aaron Neville)
  • “Someday (I’m Coming Back)” (Lisa Stansfield)
  • “It’s Gonna Be a Lovely Day” (S.O.U.L. S.Y.S.T.E.M.)
  • “What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace, Love and Understanding” (Curtis Stigers)
  • “Theme From The Bodyguard” (Alan Silvestri)
  • “Trust In Me” (Joe Cocker featuring Sass Jordan)

Whitney Houston’s powerhouse vocals take center stage in this iconic film. Romantic ballads like “I Will Always Love You” and “I Have Nothing” perfectly complement the film’s themes of love and protection. Sure, “The Bodyguard” might be cheesy and the romance a little over-the-top, according to Harper’s Bazaar, but that soundtrack? Pure gold. Whitney Houston belts out hit after hit and you’ve got classics like Joe Cocker’s “Trust in Me” and Lisa Stansfield’s “Someday (I’m Coming Back)” too. This soundtrack is the real star of the 1992 movie, hands down.

“The Bodyguard” soundtrack might have some fluffier tracks, but Whitney Houston’s voice is the real star, says Consequence of Sound. While the inclusion of certain artists might raise eyebrows, Houston’s performance is undeniable. Her vocals on a particular track in this soundtrack are now legendary, considered one of the greatest of all time.

The Ringer adds, no wonder it’s the best-selling soundtrack ever! From the emotional gut punches like “I Will Always Love You” (huge props to Dolly Parton for that epic key change) and “I Have Nothing” to the funky reimagining of Chaka Khan’s “I’m Every Woman,” the soundtrack is pure gold. There’s even a smooth LA Reid-Babyface produced track that perfectly showcases Houston’s brilliance. Basically, this soundtrack had everyone (including that unforgettable girl on Vine) wanting to belt out a Whitney Houston song.

7. “Guardians of the Galaxy” (2014)

The soundtrack for “Guardians of the Galaxy” features the following songs:

  • “Hooked on a Feeling” (Blue Swede)
  • “Go All the Way” (Raspberries)
  • “Spirit in the Sky” (Norman Greenbaum)
  • “Moonage Daydream” (David Bowie)
  • “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” (Elvin Bishop)
  • “I’m Not in Love” (10cc)
  • “I Want You Back” (The Jackson 5)
  • “Come and Get Your Love” (Redbone)
  • “Cherry Bomb” (The Runaways)
  • “Escape (The Piña Colada Song)” (Rupert Holmes)
  • “O-o-h Child” (The Five Stairsteps)
  • “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell)

This space adventure boasts a fun and nostalgic soundtrack known as “Awesome Mix Vol. 1.” Featuring classic pop and rock hits from artists like Elvin Bishop and Redbone, it injects a sense of humor and excitement into the film. Medium agrees, adding “Guardians of the Galaxy” surprised everyone with its hilarious take on superheroes. The movie’s success wasn’t just about the jokes, though. The killer soundtrack, “Awesome Mix Vol. 1,” played a big part too. This mixtape-style collection features classic artists like David Bowie, Marvin Gaye, and The Runaways. The music perfectly matches the action on screen, making the whole experience even more fun.

The Independent asks, “How do you make a film with aliens, a talking tree and an anthropomorphic tree feel believable? This is the question director James Gunn asked himself during production for ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ before deciding on a mixtape of Sixties and Seventies classics, many of which would be played on the lead character’s Walkman.”

The movie kicks off with a hilarious scene that sets the tone for the whole wild ride. Chris Pratt’s character, Peter Quill, dances through a ruined temple using a creature as an improvised microphone, all while belting out a classic song. This scene, according to director James Gunn, reminds us that beneath the space adventure, Quill is an ordinary guy from Earth, just like us.

“The Guardians of the Galaxy” soundtrack, “Awesome Mix Vol. 1,” is like a digital mixtape straight out of Peter Quill’s walkman, adds AV Club. It’s full of classic songs you’ll instantly recognize – the kind of stuff you’d hear on oldies radio or Jack FM. These songs might even feel familiar from other movies – remember “Hooked on a Feeling” from “Reservoir Dogs”? But together on this funky 70s playlist, they perfectly capture the Guardians’ B-movie vibe.

Sources used to create our list:

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