The 50 Greatest Music Movie Moments: 50 - 47

Movies and music. Two great tastes that taste great together. Like chocolate and that other thing... you know, oranges. In honor of this arbitrarily decided element of film, I've amassed a list of 50 excellent movie-music moments. But first, some rules. Because it's not fun if it's not within verbally established limits.

A) No musicals. They get all the glory. This is all about music movie moments that catch you by surprise.
B) Music must be featured during the stupid movie. If it plays during the credits, it doesn't count. It may be the greatest song ever written, but I just don't care who the casting director was.
C) Nothing before 1980. Let's keep this list relevant and fresh. I've seen a Fred & Ginger movie. One was enough. You're not missing much.
D) Actual songs. Not classical compositions, not pieces from the score. That's a whole 'nother thing.

Now on with the countdown!

50.) Labyrinth - Magic Dance
Written and performed by David Bowie

The scene: Jareth the Goblin King (and his magical codpiece) needs to find a magic spell to quell the crying of his newly-adopted ward/kidnapped baby. After some brief deliberation, he decides the best course of action is to simultaneously gloat that his master plan of evil is coming to fruition and dance with his infant associate. And there are Muppets!

The song: A delicious British synth-pop number that would be right at home in an 80s nightclub, Magic Dance is one of the finest villain songs to ever grace the big screen. Having David Bowie at the helm makes it only that much sweeter.

49.) Love, Actually - All You Need is Love
Written by The Beatles
Performed by Lynden David Hall, The London Community Gospel Choir and a couple dozen extras

The scene: The wedding of Julie and Peter (Keira Knightley and Chiwetel Ejiofor) goes off without a hitch. No wacky hijinks, no shenanigans, and no unexpected surprises... much to everybody's astonishment, given best man Mark's (Andrew Lincoln) penchant for spectacle. When low and behold, just at the ceremony's culmination, a spontaneous choir and a cache of hidden instruments turns the wedding into something magical.

The song: In a film like Love, Actually, including the song All You Need is Love may be a little too on-the-nose. At least it feels natural and welcoming, and is pulled off in quite a charming manner. Aaaaand if you Youtube it, you can find at least 10 examples of people stealing the idea and not pulling it off nearly as well.

48.) UHF - Beverly Hillbillies
Written and performed by Weird Al Yankovic

The scene: Overworked TV executive George Newman (Weird Al Yankovic) falls asleep at his desk doing paperwork and watching a rerun of The Beverly Hillbillies, probably for the 50th time. As a result, he has one heck of a trippy dream sequence.

The song: If you have a musical-comedian as the star of your movie, you pretty much have to let them sing once. Instead, UHF sandwiches an entire music video in the middle of the film. The spot-on recreation of Dire Straits' Money For Nothing is admirable in execution, albeit one of the milder entries in the Weird Al library in terms of comedy. At least it makes for a grand movie music moment.

47.) Hudson Hawk - Swinging on a Star
Written by Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke
Performed by Bruce Willis and Danny Aiello

The scene: Master crooks Hudson Hawk and Tommy Five-Tone (Bruce Willis and Danny Aiello) realize they have roughly five minutes to pull off their latest heist. Rather than taking the obvious route of using a watch, the pair decide to synchronize themselves by individually and concurrently belting out a Bing Crosby classic.

The song: Hudson Hawk is a cult favorite for a reason. Questionable moments such as this one are either endearing or downright stupid. I myself haven't decided which side of the fence I'm on. Either way, it's easy to see Bruce Willis' love for music play out in the scene. It's almost enough to make me look up The Return of Bruno on Spotify. Almost. By which I mean never.

Page 1 %%% Page 2 %%% Page 3 %%% Page 4 %%% Page 5 %%% Page 6 %%% Page 7 %%% Page 8 %%% Page 9 %%% Page 10 %%% Page 11


  1. What definition of "musical" are we using? Because I would have counted Labyrinth as one...but, your list, your rules.

    I'm excited about this. Movie music is one of my favorite things. Where do you stand on movies that elevate the credits to entertainment of their own (a la the artistic tribute in Wall-E, or the video game stylings of Wreck-It Ralph)?

    1. Yay, a chance to be pedantic!

      Labyrinth has five musical numbers, all of which are orchestrated by, and centered on, Jareth. As such, I consider it a movie with many musical numbers, but not a full-on musical because it does not encircle the entire film and the full cast of characters.

      Second, the rule with the credits. I included this for rule for two reasons.

      A) I really didn't want to include 'Where is My Mind?' from Fight Club.

      B) I want to focus on how music plays into the film's narrative. In brief, I invalidate your two examples simply because they work more as postscripts to the film and story than actual accents of the plot.

    2. Sensible! I admit to being biased towards those two particular moments both because I love how playful the animators get, and I just really, REALLY like "Down To Earth" and "When Can I See You Again?"