Music and movies are indelibly linked. So much so, in fact, that the first feature-length talkie was â€śThe Jazz Singerâ€ťâ€” the story of a Jewish cantor who defies his familyâ€™s religious heritage to perform popular music.
In the ensuing years motion pictures have provided us with an unforgettable array of music and iconic movie moments set to it. Recently, AOLâ€™s Moviefone released its ranking of the 50 Best Music Scenes in Movies.
The criteria for consideration was that the song or music had to be â€śdiegetic.â€ť In other words, it had to come from the characters or from a source within the film (such as a radio) that the characters could hear just like the audience. This meant that some films with celebrated soundtracks, like â€śThe Graduate,â€ť were ineligible, since the songs are another form of scoring. (Also note that musicals were disqualified since they are another movie beast altogether.)
Hereâ€™s the top half of Moviefoneâ€™s list with additional commentary.
1. Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack) standing outside Diane Courtâ€™s window, arms aloft holding boombox playing â€śIn Your Eyesâ€ť in â€śSay Anythingâ€ť
2. Wayne and Garthâ€™sâ€śBohemian Rhapsodyâ€ť headbang in the car in â€śWayneâ€™s Worldâ€ť
3. Tom Cruise cuts loose in his underwear to â€śOld Time Rock N Rollâ€ť in â€śRisky Businessâ€ť
4. In â€śReservoir Dogs,â€ť Michael Madsen hacks off a manâ€™s ear while groovinâ€™ to â€śStuck in the Middle With Youâ€ť
5. Pulse-pounding â€śRide of the Valkyriesâ€ť helicopter assault in â€śApocalypse Nowâ€ť
6. â€śUnchained Melodyâ€ť pottery scene between Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore in â€śGhostâ€ť
7. Toga partiers â€śShoutâ€ť it out loud in â€śNational Lampoonâ€™s Animal Houseâ€ť
8. â€śTiny Dancerâ€ť sing-along on the bus in â€śAlmost Famousâ€ť
9. Matthew Broderick â€śTwist and Shoutâ€ťs on a parade float in â€śFerris Buellerâ€™s Day Offâ€ť
10. PeeWee Hermanâ€™s biker bar â€śTequilaâ€ť dance in â€śPeeWeeâ€™s Big Adventureâ€ť
11. â€śCasablancaâ€ť becomes even more beloved â€śAs Time Goes By,â€ť so play it again, Sam
12. Patrick Swayze (again) and Jennifer Greyâ€™s â€śDirty Dancingâ€ť to (â€śIâ€™ve Had) The Time of My Lifeâ€ť is a real pick-me-up
13. A jedi walks into a bar â€” where an alien band is playing klezmer-style in â€śStar Warsâ€ť
14. â€śThis Is Spinal Tapâ€ťâ€¦and this is a side-splittingly small â€śStonehengeâ€ť set for the bandâ€™s big showstopper
15. Tom Cruise (again) goes down in flames for Kelly McGillis while crooning â€śYouâ€™ve Lost That Loving Feelingâ€ť in â€śTop Gunâ€ť
16. â€śDueling Banjosâ€ť is upbeat, but it feels (rightly, we soon learn) like a dark foreshadowing in â€śDeliveranceâ€ť
17. Aliens and humans bond over a sequence of musical tones in â€śClose Encounters of the Third Kindâ€ť
18. Duckieâ€™s manic lip sync of â€śTry A Little Tendernessâ€ť grabs â€śPretty In Pinkâ€ť Molly Ringwald
19. Marty McFly plays â€śJohnny B. Goodeâ€ť and invents rock and roll in â€śBack To The Futureâ€ť
20. Malcolm McDowell unleashes a deluge of violence while â€śSinginâ€™ in the Rainâ€ť in â€śA Clockwork Orangeâ€ť
21. John Travolta busts a disco move to â€śYou Should Be Dancingâ€ť in â€śSaturday Night Feverâ€ť
22. Tom Hanksâ€™ little-kid-in-a-â€śBigâ€ť-manâ€™s-body plays chopsticks with his feet at FAO Schwarz
23. In the library, â€śThe Breakfast Clubâ€ť â€” the athlete, the basket case, the princess and the criminal â€” rock out to â€śWe Are Not Aloneâ€ť by Karla DeVito.
24. Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn) enchants with a plaintive â€śMoon Riverâ€ť in â€śBreakfast at Tiffanyâ€™sâ€ť
25. Dr. Frankenstein (thatâ€™s Fronk-en-steen) and his namesake creation soft-shoe their way through â€śPuttinâ€™ On The Ritzâ€ť in â€śYoung Frankenstein.â€ť : :