5. “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” | Toy Story
In 1995 a little company by the name of Pixar dropped a family film on an unsuspecting world. We met a group of toys led by a cowboy, Woody, and experienced their reaction to the arrival of a brand new toy, Buzz Lightyear: Space Ranger. All of a sudden, Woody was no longer the favourite toy. Unbeknown to everyone was how big an impact this film would have on society. It launched the company into the stratosphere with its great use of characterisation, humour and heart. When it came to this film’s intro, they enlisted the help of Randy Newman, who would nail it with the heart-warming song “You’ve Got a Friend in Me.”Â The sweet song was so well received it would go on to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song and would also be used in the sequel 4 years later.
4. “The Sound of Silence” | The Graduate
This 1967 classic is about a boy who meets a girl, proceeds to fall for said girl, and finds himself in a complication when the girl’s mother embarks on a mission of seduction. The film begins following our protagonist, Dustin Hoffman’s Ben Braddock, as he makes his way through the airport with an almost sad look on his face, going through the motions of the monotonous process that is being at said transportation complex. All the while, Simon and Garfunkel’s beautiful “The Sound of Silence” plays in the background. Even though the song was released three years earlier, you could swear that it was specifically written for this movie; it works incredibly well. Hoffman was convincing as the troubled boy caught in the awkward situation and Anne Bancroft, as the cougar, was also fantastic. The Graduate remains an untouchable film that does not need to be remade, but you just know it will be within the next few years.
3. “Grease” | Grease
The highest-grossing film of 1978 was a little musical called Grease. With up-and-coming star John Travolta as Danny and Australia’s Olivia Newton-John as Sandra Dee, this truly feel-good picture is filled with countless classic songs that have helped mark its place in history as one of the greatest musical films of all time. And the song that kick-starts the pic is none other than Frankie Valli’s “Grease,” written by Bee Gees member Barry Gibb. The track has a seriously cool vibe to it, much like our main character, Danny. Accompanied by a fantastically animated video that introduces us to the cast, “Grease” plays out perfectly, starting off a film that captured the hearts of teens and adults alike, as evidenced by the ticket sales. To this day, Grease is still re-released in cinemas as a karaoke sing-along, which goes to show why, adjusted for inflation, it is the 28th highest-grossing film of all time.
2. “Stayin’ Alive” | Saturday Night Fever
John Travolta is at it again. Just one year before his turn as Danny he was Tony Manero, a regular teenager in Brooklyn trying to live his life and dance in a disco. From the opening shots of beautiful New York scenery and the sound of traffic, you’re living there with him. Suddenly, a bass line quietly starts up, along with some drums. We see a nice pair of shoes in a window shop, and next to it, our protagonist comparing the shoes to his own. The majestic lyrics start up as the camera pans up to the face of Travolta, running a simple errand, but looking oh-so cool while doing it. It’s almost as if he can hear the music in his own head. The song, which gets everyone’s head bouncing and feet tapping with its funky beat and catchy lyrics, was the epitome of disco music around this time.
1. “The Circle of Life” | The Lion King
The Lion King is arguably one of the best animated films ever put to screen. It had everything; amazing animation, a fantastic cast voicing, beloved characters, thrills a-plenty, heart, and a top-notch soundtrack. Having Elton John and Tim Rice help craft most of the songs certainly didn’t hurt. Opening to a beautiful sunrise on the African plains, Lebo M.’s powerful vocals scream out, Hans Zimmer’s beautiful composition begins, Rice’s lyrics come to life, and we see the animals of the kingdom congregating to pride rock to see the new lion that will later become the king. You can’t help but feel great when this song is on. As Rafiki holds up the newborn lion for the kingdom to see and the camera pans out to show you this majestic setting, the screen cuts to black with one final bang. “The Lion King” appears on screen, and you are already deeply invested. This wondrous piece of music has become synonymous with the film and has more than made its mark on pop culture.