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Songs to Jam To: Movies With Great Soundtracks

Songs to Jam To: Movies With Great Soundtracks


Music can make a movie. Scores and soundtracks aren't just additions to a film story; they're essential elements that make movies different from other types of storytelling — and the right soundtrack, in a theater with good a good speaker system, can turn a great movie into an unforgettable one. In the case of a musical, the right songs elevate the experience to something that can only be done at the movies.

As we look forward to going back to the movies, we're thinking about some of the movies with great music that we'll see in the months to come — as well as some old favorites. If you want some songs to jam out to, these movies with great soundtracks will keep your playlists full.

The Beatles: Get Back

Movies With Great Soundtracks: The Beatles Get Back

[Image Credit: Walt Disney Pictures]

Let's begin with a band whose "great music" status is so far beyond question, they basically define the phrase. THE BEATLES: GET BACK features loads of never-before-seen footage of the legendary band's recording sessions for their final album — and the entirety of the band's iconic rooftop concert. With fully restored footage, director Peter Jackson — yes, the LORD OF THE RINGS filmmaker — gives us an unprecedented look at the biggest rock band in history.

West Side Story

Movies With Great Soundtracks: West Side Story

[Image Credit: 20th Century Studios]

Director Steven Spielberg fell in love with the original 1957 soundtrack for Broadway's "West Side Story" when he was a child, and now he has made a new movie adaptation of the legendary musical. WEST SIDE STORY explores young love and tensions between rival gangs the Jets and the Sharks on the streets of 1957 New York. "This story is not only a product of its time," Spielberg told Vanity Fair, "but that time has returned, and it’s returned with a kind of social fury." Newcomer Rachel Zegler stars as Maria, who falls for Tony (Ansel Elgort), igniting a conflict between two street gangs. The show features incredible songs, not least of which is "America," performed by Ariana DeBose as Anita. And Oscar-winner Rita Moreno, who starred in the original movie version as Anita, plays a new character named Valentina. And while you wait for the Steven Spielberg version, you can always catch up with the classic, which is amazingly colorful, dynamic, and energetic.

The Greatest Showman

Movies With Great Soundtracks: The Greatest Showman

[Image Credit: 20th Century Studios]

This musical charting the rise of entertainer P.T. Barnum, played by Hugh Jackman, became a massive hit through word of mouth, and thanks to the movie's infectious songs. We see Barnum discover his talents for publicity and promotion, as he grows from a peddler of lottery tickets to one of the greatest live entertainment promoters in the world, and the creator of the Barnum & Bailey circus. With songs like "From Now On," "Rewrite the Stars," "This Is Me," and, of course, "The Greatest Show," this movie musical has become a comforting and beloved modern classic.

The Wizard of Oz

Movies With Great Soundtracks: The Wizard of Oz

[Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures]

THE WIZARD OF OZ is one of the greatest film fantasies, with a transition from drab everyday life to glorious color that, almost 100 years later, still signals the magic of the movies. The movie's songs are just as powerful. "Over the Rainbow," "We're Off to See the Wizard" and "Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead" each have cultural significance that goes beyond the bounds of the film. Even audiences who don't know the movie know those songs — and still, seeing them in the context of the original movie is just as effective as when the movie opened in 1939.

In the Heights

Movies With Great Soundtracks: In the Heights

[Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures]

The creator of “Hamilton,” Lin Manuel-Miranda, and Jon Chu, the director of CRAZY RICH ASIANS invite you to the event of summer 2021, where the streets are made of music and little dreams become big, IN THE HEIGHTS. In New York's Washington Heights neighborhood, a kaleidoscope of dreams rallies the vibrant and tight-knit community. At the intersection of it all is the likable, magnetic bodega owner Usnavi (Anthony Ramos), who saves every penny from his daily grind as he hopes, imagines, and sings about a better life. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s music and lyrics, originally written for the stage version, capture a world very much of its place, but universal in its experience.

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