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Songs that capture film scenes perfectly

Updated on April 1, 2010

I'm big fan of films, both movies and TV, and thoroughly appreciate great scenes that use songs to perfectly set the mood. I'm not talking about film scores that are made to match the movie, but songs written and produced independently, often by successful and legendary singers / songwriters.Therefore, I'm not including John Williams for Star Wars or Indiana Jones.

From time to time, I recall scenes from random films that are triggered by songs I hear just for being out and about. And whenever I get a chance to mess around Youtube, I revisit the scenes. Here are is a countdown of five scenes I consider to be the best:

5) In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida in Manhunter

In the final confrontation of Manhunter, Dollarhyde was about to kill his next victim.  He began playing Iron Butterfly's popular rock anthem, "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida", as mood music. 

I'm not sure what's cooler -- Will Graham jumping headlong through the windows or Dollarhyde catching him on the other side?

4) Renegade in Supernatural, Nightshifter episode

Supernatural is well-known for using 70s-80s rock songs in some form or another.  But this  scene takes the cake.  The brothers Sam and Dean Winchester had just one-upped the FBI who had been chasing them for murder, theft, and other capital crimes.  The Styx song "Renegade" sums up what the brothers are after this episode.

Another one worth mentioning is the melancholic end scene of Heart with "Silent Lucidity."

3) Tiny Dancer in Almost Famous

You can't watch the bus scene in Almost Famous and be in a bad mood afterwards.  It's a feel good scene.

This scene reminds me of any field trip I've taken and all I can do on the way home is sit and jell in the bus.  There's really nothing to do but appreciate whatever music is playing.  Great song by Elton John, too.

2) When the man comes around in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

What I like about this scene is that you know that there's gonna be a lot of bodies hitting the floor. 

"When the Man Comes Around" by Johnny Cash is a perfect fit for this scene.  It's a song about the coming of Armageddon.  It's about death and destruction, yet, it does not dominate the scene.  It's not a blaring, thumping, loud and in-your-face type of song that many filmmakers like to use for action sequences.

1) The Promise in Napoleon Dynamite

This is the scene that I first recognize as having the perfect song.  How else can you end a movie about a nerdy teenager in a small mid-western town?  He gets a girl!  It's a powerful ending as "The Promise" by When in Rome plays while fading to credits.

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