Your top-3 needle drops in movies

An idea taken from “The Big Picture” podcast… what are the best uses of a song in movies?


  1. No list bots! In your initial post, please limit yourself to three entries.
  2. The needle drop has to be to a song (or piece of classical music, for you pendants). It cannot be part of the soundtrack. So, for example, “The Emperor’s theme during this part of SW…” is out, but “The opening measures from Mozart’s 25th symphony at the beginning of Amadeus…” is in.
  3. To #2 - I will allow songs written for the movie.

Let’s go!

  1. “Layla”, Goodfellas
  2. “Day yo”, Beetlejuice
  3. “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”, Kill Bill vol 1.

I wasn’t going to comment on it, since I also use the word “song” to include instrumentals, but your attempt to appease the pedants leaves out all manners of non-classical instrumental music.


The obvious:

  1. Flight of the Valkyries - Apocolypse Now
  2. Stuck in the Middle With You - Resevoir Dogs
  3. Oh Yeah ( aka “Day Bow Bow” ;)) - Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (or The Secret of My Success)

Two from 2001: A Space Opera

Also Sprach Zarathustra
The Blue Danube

For those like me who had to google what precisely the hell the OP is talking about:

Except the OP is making it more restrictive by requiring it to be audible to the on-screen characters.
The first thing that comes to mind for me is The Square Song from CE3K. (Okay, the first thing that comes to mind is Dancing Queen from the Community episode Epidemiology, but TV is probably OT.)

Number one, I don’t understand the antagonism. # 2, you’re actually incorrect because 2 of the examples I gave do not match what you are proclaiming the topic to be.

Where did I say it had to be audible to the characters? Were all the characters in Goodfellas listening to Layla when they were montaging the bodies? Was Salieri truly listening to the 25th Symphony when he slit his wrists?

:smack: Ah, I somehow missed that part of the OP.

So that disqualifies my #3, but the other two should hold.

You missed that part of the OP because it wasn’t in the OP.

Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” from Say Anything.

You said “not part of the soundtrack.” anything playing in the background not heard by the characters is part of the soundtrack. (And the “antagonism” is because you used some obscure industry term without explaining it.)

OK. I thought in light of the previous post by DG, I had misunderstood the “cannot be part of the soundtrack” stipulation. I’m still a little confused by what it means exactly, as “Emperor’s theme” was ruled out, but wasn’t “Emperors theme” written for Star Wars and allowed by #3?

Ahhh… should’ve used ‘score’, that’s correct.

The explanation was in item 2. And, frankly, should be self-evident from context of the thread and examples given. That’s on you.

Well, I got it right the first time, it seems, but I’m still not sure what #3 allows that #2 disallows.

No, when people are confused by what you have written, that is on you.

3.) Soundtrack # 12
2.) Soundtrack # 12
1.) Soundtrack # 10

Three good ones that spring to mind:

The elevator music version of “Live and Let Die” that’s playing when Martin Blank visits the Ulti-Mart on the location of his former home. (Grosse Pointe Blank)
Tony Stark blasting AC/DC through the quinjet’s PA system to get Loki’s attention (The Avengers)
The P.M. dancing to “Jump (For My Love)” (Love Actually)

What did you mean by “It cannot be part of the soundtrack”, then?

To be clear, are you asking for only Diagetic Music, and excluding Incidental music?

And, by the way, *every *piece of music in a film is part of the soundtrack, whether diagetic or incidental.

Misourlu as Honey Bunny and Pumpkin begin their diner robbery in Pulp Fiction
Bohemian Rhapsody in the Gremlin in Wayne’s World.
Wipe Out in Dark Star while the crew prepares to blow up a planet.

Does something like “Let’s Get It On” in High Fidelity suit the spirit of the OP? Or “Misirlou” in Pulp Fiction?

Of course, the greatest one *has *to be “Bohemian Rhapsody” from Wayne’s World.

Louie Louie - Quadrophenia
Walking On Sunshine - High Fidelity
Share The Night Together - El Camino

Just going with one because it’s a literal needle drop.

(Ain't Too Proud to Beg-Big Chill)