Undefended: Pop Music’s Top 5 Greatest Gifts To Cinema

Undefended is posted every Friday, but we’ll be closed tomorrow for Good Friday. All FilmFisher writers are given a prompt and respond with a list of five items, none of which are explained or rationalized. This week…

…scenes from films which use previously released music to the greatest effect.


James Banks

1. “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive” by Johnny Mercer/L.A.Confidential

2. “Shadow in the Sun” by Audioslave/Collateral

3. “King Midas in Reverse” by the Hollies/The Limey

4. “Hurdy Gurdy Man” by Donovan/Zodiac

5.  “Layla (Piano Exit)” by Derek and the Dominoes/Goodfellas


Joshua Gibbs

1. “Where Is My Mind?” Pixies/ Fight Club

2. “Fantino,” Sebastien Tellier/ Lost in Translation

3. “Something in the Way,” Nirvana/ Jarhead

4. “Ooh La La,” The Faces/ Rushmore

5. “Lust For Life,” Iggy Pop/ Trainspotting


Joseph Gross

1. “Calling All Destroyers” by TSAR/Super

2. “Cat People” by David Bowie/Inglourious Basterds

3. “I’m Shippin’ Up to Boston” by Dropkick Murphys/The Departed

4. ”Wake Up” by Rage Against the Machine/The Matrix

5. “Put on Your Sunday Clothes” from Hello, Dolly!/WALL-E


Justin Spencer

1. “I Want Candy,” Bow Wow Wow/ Marie Antoinette

2. “Take My Breath Away,” Berlin/Top Gun

3. ”Don’t You (Forget About Me)” Simple Minds /The Breakfast Club

4. “Elephant Love Melody”/ Moulin Rouge

5. “Zoostation” U2/About a Boy


Jon Paul Pope

1. “You Are Forgiven” The Who / Rushmore

2. “He Needs Me” Harry Nillson (performed by Shelly Duval) / Punch Drunk Love

3. “Happy Together” The Turtles / Adaptation

4. “My Funny Valentine” Chet Baker / The Talented Mr. Ripley

5. “Hip To Be Square” Huey Lewis & The News / American Psycho


Sean Johnson

1. “These Days,” Nico/The Royal Tenenbaums

2. “We’ll Meet Again,” Vera Lynn / Dr. Strangelove

3. “The Sound of Silence” Simon & Garfunkel / The Graduate

4. “Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head” B.J. Thomas/ Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

5. “Oh Yeah” Yellow / Ferris Bueller’s Day Off


Remy Wilkins

1. “You’re the Best Around” Joe Eposito / The Karate Kid

2. “I Will Find You” Clannad / The Last of the Mohicans

3. “Sound of Silence” Simon & Garfunkle / The Graduate

4. “Where is My Mind” The Pixies / Fight Club

5. “Save Me” Aimee Mann / Magnolia


Kanaan Trotter

1. I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston// Bodyguard

2. The Power of Love by Huey Lewis & The News//Back to the Future

3. Eye Of The Tiger by Survivor//Rocky

4. Exit Music (For a Film) by Radiohead//Romeo + Juliet

5. Falling Slowly by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova //Once

Joshua Gibbs

Joshua Gibbs teaches great books, collects records and jogs to work. He and his wife have two children, both of whom have seven names. He tweets at @joshgibbs and blogs for the CiRCE Institute.

15 Responses to Undefended: Pop Music’s Top 5 Greatest Gifts To Cinema

  1. I would like to completely geek out and dispute Justin’s first claim; the version of “I Like Candy” was a Kevin Shields remix commissioned specifically for the film (and highly unusual; Shields virtually never works), and thus not previously released, thus contradicting the prompt, which required “previously unreleased” music.

    Just to be a nerd. No offense.

  2. Also, favorites from everyone else’s list:

    1. James with “Hurdy Gurdy Man.” It was hip before the movie, then scary as the dickens afterwards.

    2. Joseph’s “Put on Your Sunday Clothes” from Hello, Dolly!/WALL-E

    3. Sean’s “Oh Yeah” Yellow / Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was particularly inspired.

    4. Remy’s “I Will Find You.”

    5. And finally, Kanaan’s Radiohead pick was risky, because no images actually appear over that song, although I honestly confess to nearly putting that one on my own list, though I lacked the guts. Nicely done.

    • I’m not even gonna disagree. Mine was more “Really good uses of pre-existing music in movies off the top of my head,” and I will stand by it as such, but I was kind of annoyed at myself when I realized I’d missed “The Power of Love.” Because seriously, that was great.

      However, as one critique, I’ll point out that “Eye of the Tiger” was used for Rocky III, not the first one, and that it was written specifically to be the theme song for it.

      • Hat’s off to you Joseph. I even consulted the all-knowing Wikipedia and it too said that the song was used for Rocky III. I stand corrected.

  3. I feel like Justin should get some special award for taking Berlin, though.

    I mean, other than “Comanche” by the Revels…

  4. I would’ve taken Highway to the Danger Zone. And noticed no one had the gall for any Titanic/Celine.

    Something from Pulp Fiction should definitely be on a list. As should Bryan Adams from Robin Hood. I’m sure I could think of like 10 others if I really tried. Good thing I don’t have to make a list.

  5. Wilkins/”Last of the Mohicans.” Let’s all cut through it and acknowledge what a brave man he is for actually saying what we were all thinking.

  6. You could make a similar argument against “Elephant Love Melody.” But that’s the beauty of these lists. I don’t have to defend myself.

  7. Good call on Exit Music (For a Film).

    If I may, here are five (six, actually) favorites from films

    1. “Mad World” by Gary Jules / Donnie Darko

    2. “Tempatation” by New Order / Something Wild

    3. “Le tourbillon” (on camera performance by Jeanne Moreau) / Jules et Jim

    4. “Sometimes” by My Bloody Valantine / Lost In Translation

    5. TIE “Everything In It’s Right Place” by Radiohead | “Last Goodbye” by Jeff Buckley / Vanilla Sky

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