8. American Graffiti (1973)
Directed and co-written by George Lucas, this coming-of-age comedy drama is based on Lucas’ own teenage years in early 1960s Modesto, California.
Lucas found much difficulty in pitching his initial concept, and was turned down by six financiers and distributors before Universal Pictures finally picked him up. But, regardless of its beginning struggles, American Graffiti remains one of the most profitable films of all time.
In addition to its critical and financial success, it is highly regarded for its booming 41 original hit soundtrack, featuring such well-known artists as Bill Haley & The Comets, Buddy Holly, the Diamonds, the Crests, the Beach Boys, Chuck Berry, the Platters, Fats Domino, the Cleftones, Buddy Knox, and many more. American Graffiti’s musical compilation of 50s and 60s classic hits creates an uncanny representation of a teenager’s night in the 1960s, which is exactly what this film needed.
This 1973 instant classic remains one of the most respected and loved films ever. Everyone absolutely must see this film.
7. Saturday Night Fever (1977)
This is the story of an emotionally lost and immature young man who finds his only solace on the dance floor of a local disco The premise itself is freedom through music and dance, so it only makes sense that this film would be honored for its soundtrack as well as its story. The soundtrack not only frees John Travolta’s character from a difficult life, but also releases audiences from their painful gaze on the enthralling storyline.
Featuring such popular songs as “Stayin’ Alive,” “Night Fever,” “Boogie Shoes,” and “How Deep is Your Love,” it’s when Saturday Night Fever combines Travolta’s dancing shoes with these hits that movie-goers find themselves oscillating in their seats. Although there are many difficult and painful aspects to the storyline, it’s Travolta’s dancing and charm that’s remembered by all and makes this film a forever favorite.
Saturday Night Fever earned itself such a high-ranking on this list because its soundtrack lives and breathes as much as the film itself.
6. Apocalypse Now (1979)
Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now is considered one of the greatest films ever made and possibly Coppola’s greatest directorial achievement.
Coppola and and his father Carmine Coppola composed anoriginal soundtrack for this film, with some tracks co-composed by Mickey Hart and Richard Hansen, which illuminates this already stunning and poetic cinematic realization. The widely renowned band, The Doors, also make a haunting appearance with their song “The End,” which is featured in the opening scene of the film. This terrifyingly accurate depiction of the Vietnam War truly reached perfection with its astounding use of Coppola and Carmine’s original score as well as the bone-chilling use of The Doors.
Apocalypse Now is not only easily one of the greatest war films ever made, but it stands amongst all genres as an exulting and championing cinematic success. Coppola endures as a directorial/writing legend and hasn’t failed his fans, fellow filmmakers, or any generation since his career first began.
For those of you whom have not had the opportunity to witness this monument of cinema, make the time – you won’t regret it.
5. The Godfather (1972)
Although, The Godfather Part 2 has been unanimously ranked a greater film, it was The Godfather that premiered the unforgettable and iconic, “The Godfather Waltz,” which captivated viewers from its original debut in 1972, waltzing its way down through history as one of the most recognizable songs ever to appear in cinema.
With memorable scenes from “Baddabing” to the baptism, Coppola offers audiences not only a legendary moment in cinema, but one with a perfectly paired soundtrack. Most songs appearing on the film’s soundtrack were composed by Nino Rota, who featured additional iconic musical compositions such as “The New Godfather,” “The Baptism,” “Apollonia,” and “The Halls of Fear.” Rota and Coppola set the ultimate tone for the aging patriarch.
This story of an Italian-American dynasty is a triumphant combination of a deathly serious epic and the antiqued vision of honorable men fighting for the American dream. The Godfather’s rightful rank on this list can be illustrated by simply uttering, “I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.”
4. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966)
Director Sergio Leone’s 1966 instant classic, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, did more than make cinematic history for Westerns, it gave the world a soundtrack for all their cowboy and outlaw fantasies – finally cementing the ultimate Spaghetti Western sound.
All works for this soundtrack are by Ennio Morricone and truly capture exactly what a Western should sound like, with such memorable pieces as “The Good the Bad and the Ugly – Main Theme,” “The Death of a Soldier,” “The Desert,” and “Story of a Soldier.” These compositions, while offering audiences a life-altering glimpse into the harmony and spirit of the West, also encompass the good, the bad, and the ugly of the West. It’s, without a doubt, greatly due to the incredible work of Morricone that this Western claims its place in the cinema hall of fame.
No one put it better than the infamous Blondie, played by Clint Eastwood: “You see, in this world there’s two kinds of people, my friend: those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig.”
3. Star Wars (1977)
Director George Lucas and composer John Williams joined to make one of the most iconic and time-honored films ever, taking science-fiction and the world of cinema by storm. This American epic space opera was defined by its outstanding original score – Star Wars just wouldn’t be Star Wars without it.
From the opening crawl announcing, for the first time, “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…” audiences rejoiced with anticipation and enthusiastic entertainment, already bewitched by this instant cult classic. The film’s original score included such inventive and storied compositions as “Inner City,” “Imperial Attack,” and of course “Main Title: Approaching the Death Star/Tatooine Rendezvous,” which accompanied the beginning crawl and set the tone for this enormous franchise. Above all other films which appear on this list, it was Star Wars that was truly born from its score, and remains to date one of the most influential of all time.
An extraordinary compilation of outstanding musical compositions, science-fiction, and theatrical originality – Star Wars is a success that no one should miss out on. If you haven’t experienced this breaking point in cinema history, there’s no better time than now.
2. The Graduate (1967)
The Graduate’s Simon and Garfunkel soundtrack, with songs written by Paul Simon, perfectly pairs with Dustin Hoffman’s time-honored leading role. The songs, “Sound of Silence,” “The Singleman Party Foxtrot,” and “Mrs. Robinson,” are as famous as Hoffman announcing, “Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me.”
From the opening credits director Mike Nichols bewitches audiences with The Graduate’s cinematography and soundtrack, and continues its success with Hoffman’s awkward steps out of adolescence and into sexuality. “The Sound of Silence” serves as the film’s anthem, a common thread that winds throughout the film, accompanying Hoffman on his endearing journey. The compiled songs of the soundtrack, both musically and lyrically, depict the inner beings of the characters, making this soundtrack more than just an accompanimentto the film but a pairing that evokes a very meaningful and moving experience.
In addition to enhancing the film, Simon and Garfunkel were introduced to a wider audience due to their appearance in The Graduate, thus enhancing their career as well. This film is a must-see for movie and music lovers alike.
1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1967)
Stanley Kubrick has made a name for himself as a pioneer of cinema. 2001: A Space Odyssey is none other than one of the greatest cinematic achievements of all time. 2001 is more than just a film – it’s a pictorial journey that exceeds all limits, taking the audience on a journey within themselves that is both boundless and steadfast.
It was this film’s soundtrack which memorialized its stupendous and fabled story of a voyage that took place on the spacecraft Discovery One, under the control of the infamous sentient computer HAL 9000. 2001 was unique in that the musical compositions chosen were sometimes the only things keeping spectators company. Many of, the visually stunning scenes throughout the film would be utterly incomplete without the soundtrack.
Such unforgettable tracks as “Requiem for Soprano,” “Lux Aeterna,” “The Blue Danube,” “Atmospheres,” “Gayne Ballet Suite,” and “Also Sprach Zarathustra.” All of the classic compositions selected for 2001 only led to intensify the already groundbreaking film.
It is paramount for all science-fiction and space exploration loving people to see this film.
Author Bio: Rhea Shuten is a freelance writer, screenwriter, and photographer. She enjoys films, cooking, and writing about herself in third person. You can view some of Rhea’s work here: http://nuvango.com/rheashuten.