Movies that kindle (or rekindle) a song

While watching a re-run of the movie “Ghost” with Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze, I was reminded of how a song can be kindled, or in this case, rekindled into pop culture. The Righteous Brothers had a huge hit that has been covered by many called “Unchained Melody.” But, one very seductive scene between the two leads elevated interest in both pottery making and this old classis from years before.

This got me thinking of other songs which were a key part of the movie. Note, I am not considering musicals which have several songs (“The Sound of Music” or “Saturday Night Fever,” eg) or movies that have marvelous soundtracks like “The Last of the Mohicans” or “Out of Africa.” The purpose is to note dramatic movies that include a key song.

In no particular order, here are ten songs and the movies that created them. This is not a Top Ten list, so please share ones I overlooked. I know I missed many.

“Ghost” and “Unchained Melody” by the Righteous Brothers – see above

“The Breakfast Club” and “Don’t you forget about me” by Simple Minds – in my view, this was the best of the Brat Pack movies, but the song became an anthem to rebellious youth.

“To Sir with Love” and “To Sir with Love” by Lulu – This is a brilliant movie with Sidney Poitier. Lulu accentuates the student’s feelings for their teacher with this marvelous song.

“The Graduate” and “Mrs. Robinson” by Simon and Garfunkel – Anne Bancroft, Katharine Ross and Dustin Hoffman star in this unusual film of seduction. An instrumental song is part of the movie soundtrack, until it is sung in full.

“Live and Let Die” and “Live and Let Die” by Paul McCartney and Wings – there are many James Bond songs to choose from, but this one was one of the more rock and roll ones.

“Billy Jack” and “One Tin Soldier” by Coven – Billy Jack was a cult hero in a cult movie as he took on big money as they unseated Native American rights. This is very powerful song of rebellion that has been used for protests.

“The Princess Bride” and “Storybook Love” by Mark Knopfler – Knopfler and his wonderful guitar and deep and raspy voice lend themselves to this charming and well done tale of adventure.

“Titanic” and “My Heart will go on” by Celine Dion – this is arguably one of Dion’s greatest songs, as it tells the story of love, love lost and living on after loss, the theme of the movie..

“Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid” and “Knock, knock, knocking on heaven’s door” by Bob Dylan – Dylan had a bit part in this movie with Kris Kristofferson and James Coburn.

“Top Gun” and “You’ve lost that lovin’ feeling” by the Righteous Brothers – I give this duo a second song because of the importance the song had in Tom Cruise’s character wooing Nicole Kidman’s.

Let me know what you think. Do you like these choices? Which ones did I miss? I would love to hear from you.

25 thoughts on “Movies that kindle (or rekindle) a song

  1. You missed Chaplin’s Smile, which graced his movie Modern Times. Actually, it’s unfair to compare any regular movie to Chaplin’s great ones.

  2. Note to Readers: This morning I was thinking of “The Way we Were,” by Barbara Streisand starring in the movie of the same name with Robert Redford.

  3. I can relate to that very well. Maybe we are not even aware that those songs have rooted inside of us only because of the scenes in the movie. Ghost is such an example! When I think of one, the Rocky Theme song comes to my mind. I love that song and still do. But it always goes along with pictures of Sylvester Stallone running up those stairs.

  4. I have never seen the films (motion pictures are hard for me to watch) but the songs from many are very memorable. I’ve possibly heard all of them, but not knowing the names of the songs, I can’t know. The first 5 on your list and the last two I know. For an instrumental from a different country, how about “The Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” and “Journey of the Sorcerer”.

  5. These are good choices and in some cases could arguably eclipse the film (I never tire of listening to ‘Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door’).
    I can’t leave a subject like this without mentioning ‘Casablanca’ and the cast’s inspiring renditioning of ‘La Marseilles’ (made all the more moving by the fact that many of the cast including extras were exiles and refugees from Europe)
    On a lighter note I have to mention ‘Everything is Awesome’ by Tegan and Sara from ‘The Lego Movie’ (as introduced to me by my grandsons Caleb & Caius).
    Best wishes for 2021 Keith.

    • Roger, many thanks. While I have not seen “The Lego Movie,” I appreciate the contribution. That seen from “Casablanca” is one of the most impactful ones blending song to tell a story. It showed the defiance to Nazi occupation, but for the movie showed why Viktor Laslo was so feared by the Nazis. He was a leader. Keith

      • ‘The Lego Movie’ is simply knock about fun, and a few clever jokes for adults. It is difficult for old eyes to follow as the animation and conversion of shapes from one creation to another is fast.
        The good thing about Casablanca is you can watch it from so many perspectives. And who doesn’t have a sneaking regard for roguish Captain Louis Renault brilliantly played by Claude Rains?

    • Roger thanks. It sounds like the movie “Aladdin” where Robin Williams ad libs so many funny lines as the genie. “Casablanca” is my personal favorite movie. Six of the top 100 movie quotes come from that movie. Plus, there are countless others. My personal favorite conversation is when the inspectors answers why he is closing Rick’s. “I am shocked their is gambling going on in here.” Then the pit boss says “Here are your winnings.” Keith

      • Roger, good add. We have a a DVD of “Casablanca’ and at the end, they have a little documentary on its making. The writers did not have an ending and as they struggled to find one, they came to the line often used in the movie “round up the usual suspects.” So, they concluded Major Strausse had to be shot and Rick had to be the one who did it. I thought that was cool. Keith

      • “I’m shocked, _shocked_ at the gambling going on here…” The expression lives on, in currency by more who have not seen the movie than have.

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