Category Archives: movie clips

Music in movies

Moviefone recently published a list of the best music scenes in movies.  Many of the choices I support.  Particularly, I really liked the Tiny Dancer scene from Almost Famous.  However, they left off some essential scenes, and I list some of those here.

Magnolia–the cast sings with Aimee Mann

This is a sprawling, ambitious film.  Director Paul Anderson (also of There Will Be Blood) is not short on vision and style.  Much of this film is rather fast-paced and high-energy.  In this scene, all of the main characters, each of whom is at a relative low-point, stop to sing along with Aimee Mann on the song Wise Up.  It is a powerful scene.  Though not as interesting as the ones following it (think Exodus 8:3).

Goodfellas–Sunshine of Your Love

Jimmy (de Niro) and the gang have just committed the ultimate heist.  Jimmy starts to wonder if he can trust the other guys to keep quiet.  He considers what to do.  The music doesn’t directly relate to the scene. but it fits it well.  De Niro’s acting is top-notch.


You could easily include one or two each Wes Anderson film on this list.  I include on two.  The first is from my favorite Anderson film.  Max Fischer decides to get revenge on Herman Blume.  War ensues.  The Who track is excellent accompaniment.  (Forgive the spanish dubbing.  This was a good HQ clip.)

Now the end title sequence from The Life Acquatic with Steve Zissou, accompanied by David Bowie.

That last scene is an homage to the end of The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai Across the Eighth Dimension–which is a fun, campy eighties cult flick.

Inglorious Bastards–getting ready

The moviefone list included several Quentin Tarantino films.  Here is my favorite music scene, with another Bowie song.  This annotated clip was the best one I could find.

<p><a href=”″>Sally Menke, Editor (1953 – 2010)</a> from <a href=”″>Jim Emerson</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Casablanca–La Marseillaise

This is the most egregious mistake of the list.  This is one of the greatest scenes in film history.  It is a powerful and stirring scene.  See it here.  The scene ends with one of the funnier lines of the movie.

Paths of Glory–the last song

This is one of the more effective anti-war movies.  It is one of Kubrick’s greatest film (which is saying much).  This film sums up the folly of war as much as any other scene.

And speaking of Kubrick,


Paris, Texas

Director:  Wim Wenders

USA, 1984

“I knew these people . . .”

A man is found wandering in the wilderness in Texas after disappearing four years previously.  He reunites with his son.  The man then seeks to reunite his son with his mother, realizing he can never again be apart of the family.

That is the basic plot of the film.  It is beautifully told with tender care and acute observation.  It is one of my favorite films.  I have seen it several times, and it haunts me each time I think about it.

Here is probably the best scene of the film.  It takes place toward the end of the story.  The man has tracked down his wife, who is working at a peep show (absolutely no sexual content in this scene, or the movie for that matter).  She doesn’t know who he is (at first).

This scene affects me every time I see it.  I think the dialogue is great.  So simple, yet so poetic.  The lighting and the camerawork and the editing very effectively convey the feeling and the emotion of the scene.  The music (a wonderful score by Ry Cooder) nicely compliments the image.  This is a great example of visual storytelling.

I would highly recommend this film.

Rating: 10/10