The music that features in a film can be as moving, essential or memorable as any line of dialogue or actor’s performance. A great soundtrack often transcends the film it first appeared in, whether it was comprised of pre-recorded songs by known artists, or original tracks that went on to become long-lasting hits.
Since 2019, film soundtracks have become as synonymous with the Top 10 charts as Ed Sheeran, Drake or Ariana Grande. But before The Greatest Showman and A Star is Born, there have been scores that have become etched into the cultural zeitgeist because they captured moments that spoke to us long after the final credits roll.
Whether it’s moody guitars of Seattle’s grunge scene that served as the backdrop for Cameron Crowe’s Singles, the euphoric trance in The Beach, or the teenage angst of British post-punk rock on Pretty in Pink: so many films would be nowhere near as good without the music that accompanied them.
From Pulp Fiction to Guardians of the Galaxy, here are the 40 greatest film soundtracks of all time:
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