15 Best Original Songs Written For A Movie, Ranked
18 mins read

15 Best Original Songs Written For A Movie, Ranked


  • “Peaches” by Jack Black adds depth to Bowser in The Super Mario Bros. Movie, showcasing his romantic desires and infatuation with Princess Peach.
  • “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” perfectly encapsulates Dirty Dancing’s romance and empowerment themes, symbolizing Baby’s transformation.
  • “Iris” by The Goo Goo Dolls captures City of Angels’ theme of love and sacrifice, resonating deeply with the immortal character’s emotions.



Some movies feature songs crafted specifically for them, capturing the essence of the story and becoming as iconic, if not more so, than the film itself. These original compositions have the power to transport audiences beyond the confines of the silver screen, evoking the emotions and themes of the narrative through unforgettable melodies and lyrics. From the haunting ballads of tragic romances to the most iconic Western soundtracks, these songs have become an integral part of the cinematic experience.

Whether it’s Celine Dion’s soaring vocals in “My Heart Will Go On” from Titanic or Eminem’s raw, introspective rap in “Lose Yourself” from 8 Mile, these tracks have transcended their filmic origins to become cultural touchstones in their own right. The synergy between the movie and music industries has produced countless examples of this phenomenon, with pop artists and musicians bringing their unique talents to the storytelling process, elevating the impact of the films they contribute to. These songs have the power to deepen the love for these movies, creating a lasting connection that extends far beyond the theater.

15 “Peaches” by Jack Black

The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023)

The Super Mario Bros. Movie

Mario jumps to the big screen in The Super Mario Bros Movie, directed by Teen Titans Go! collaborators Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic. Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Bowser, and more appear in this animated comedy that pits the characters in an all-new adventure set in the Mushroom Kingdom and beyond. You can buy The Super Mario Bros. Movie right now for $13, down from its usual price of $20.

Aaron Horvath , Michael Jelenic

Release Date
April 5, 2023

Undeniably one of Bowser’s best moments in The Super Mario Bros. Movie, “Peaches” by Jack Black, serves as an effective storytelling device that adds depth to Bowser’s character. The song goes beyond portraying the Koopa king as a mere villain, instead offering a glimpse into his romantic desires and infatuation with Princess Peach. Jack Black’s dramatic vocals, set against a pink-hued, romantic background, lend the song an undeniable charm and memorability. Additionally, the viral moment that “Peaches” had after it was released makes it a notable addition.

14 “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life” by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes

Dirty Dancing (1987)

Dirty Dancing

Starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, Dirty Dancing follows Frances “Baby” Houseman, a young woman on vacation at a summer resort with her family who becomes the unwitting competition partner of one of the resort’s dance instructors, Johnny. As Baby and Johnny’s relationship deepens over the course of the summer, the disapproval of Baby’s family, especially her father, threatens to tear them apart. 

Emile Ardolino

Release Date
August 21, 1987

jennifer grey , Patrick swayze , Jerry Orbach , Cynthia Rhodes , Jack Weston , Jane Brucker

100 minutes

(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” perfectly encapsulates the essence of Dirty Dancing, serving as the climactic musical moment that ties together the film’s themes of romance, self-discovery, and empowerment. The song’s upbeat tempo and soaring vocals mirror the exhilaration and joy experienced by Baby and Johnny as they dance together, their chemistry put to words by the lyrics. The iconic lift scene, set to the song’s crescendo, symbolizes Baby’s transformation and the culmination of their love story. This song from Dirty Dancing may not be the most groundbreaking, but its seamless integration into the narrative is incredibly memorable.

13 “Iris” By The Goo Goo Dolls

City of Angels (1998)

Maggie resting her head on Seth's shoulder in City of Angels

The dreamy and ethereal quality of “Iris,” combined with John Rzeznik’s heartfelt vocals, captures the profound emotions experienced by Nicolas Cage’s other worldly character in City of Angels as he falls deeply in love with a mortal woman. The song’s lyrics, particularly the line “I’d give up forever to touch you,” resonate with the film’s central theme of an immortal being willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of love. This powerful sentiment emphasizes the transformative nature of love and the lengths one might go to experience it. “Iris” has now become synonymous with the movie.

12 “What Was I Made For” By Billie Eilish

Barbie (2023)


Barbie is a film adaptation of the generational iconic toy directed by Greta Gerwig, who co-wrote the script with Noah Baumbach. The film centers on Margot Robbie’s Barbie who is expelled from Barbieland and travels with Ken (Ryan Gosling) to the real world in search of happiness. The film also stars Simu Liu, Will Ferrell, and several other famous celebrities in cameo roles.

Release Date
July 21, 2023

Margot Robbie , Ryan Gosling , Simu Liu , Ariana Greenblatt , Helen Mirren , Nicola Coughlan , John Cena , Will Ferrell , Ritu Arya , Michael Cera , America Ferrera , Alexandra Shipp , Kate McKinnon

114 Minutes

Where To Stream

Billie Eilish’s slow ballad, which recently won Best Original Song at the 2024 Oscars, perfectly captures the existential themes explored in the summer blockbuster hit, Barbie. The song’s introspective lyrics, inspired by Eilish’s viewing of a rough cut of the film, delve into the complexities of existence and self-worth from Barbie’s perspective. Eilish’s ability to channel the iconic character’s thoughts while simultaneously wrestling with her own status as a modern icon adds depth and relatability to the song. Its placement at the end of the film, as Barbie contemplates the totality of the human experience, heightens its emotional impact.

11 “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” By Simple Minds

The Breakfast Club (1985)

The Breakfast Club

After receiving detention, a group of five high-school students bonds as they realize they have quite a bit in common despite being from different friend groups. Despite being over 35 years old, The Breakfast Club still stands as one of the quintessential movies of the ‘80s and one of director John Hughes standout films.

Release Date
February 15, 1985

Molly Ringwald , Ally Sheedy , Anthony Michael Hall , Judd Nelson , Emilio Estevez

97 minutes

The opening chords of Simple Minds’ “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” underscore the powerful manifesto delivered by the five archetypical teenagers in The Breakfast Club, emphasizing their shared emotional truths and authentic selves that transcend superficial stereotypes. The song’s rich keyboards, motivating drums, and Jim Kerr’s deep, emotive vocals perfectly accompany the iconic scene of John Bender walking across the football field, his raised fist symbolizing a defiant stance against the stifling expectations imposed by authority figures. Simple Minds’ sound masterfully captures the complex emotions and nostalgia associated with the teenage experience, solidifying this song from The Breakfast Clubs status.

10 “Try Again” By Aaliyah

Romeo Must Die (2000)

Jet-Li-and-Aaliyah in Romeo Must Die

“Try Again” showcases Aaliyah’s innovative blend of hip-hop, R&B, and electronic instrumentation, making it a track that was ahead of its time while perfectly encapsulating her tragically short career. Originally conceived as an inspirational anthem, the song was rewritten as a love song to better suit the themes of Romeo Must Die, a film that tells the story of star-crossed lovers from warring crime families. The song’s transformation highlights Aaliyah’s dedication to her craft and her ability to adapt her music to the needs of the project, resulting in a soundtrack that seamlessly complements the movie’s narrative.

9 “Ghostbusters” By Ray Parker Jr.

Ghostbusters (1984)

Ray Parker Jr.’s “Ghostbusters” has become a major part of the Ghostbusters franchise, its catchy and goofy nature personifying the spirit of the movie. What makes the song even more impressive is the fact that Parker Jr. created it under significant time constraints and uncertain circumstances, such as the potential title change to “Ghostbreakers.” Drawing inspiration from late-night television infomercials and the Ghostbusters‘ small business premise, Parker Jr. crafted a theme song that not only became his biggest hit, but also synonymous with the entire Ghostbusters universe.

8 “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head” By B.J. Thomas

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

Raindrops Butch Cassidy And Sundance Kid Song Movie

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid is a classic Western film that follows the titular characters, who conduct robberies and face off against the law. The story highlights their close friendship and exploits in the wild west and beyond, with their eventual revitalized outlaw life in a new country, Bolivia.

Mark Tonderai

Release Date
September 23, 1969

110 minutes

The juxtaposition of B.J. Thomas’s vaudeville-style “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” with the gritty Western epic Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid initially raised eyebrows, even by co-star Robert Redford. However, director George Roy Hill’s vision for the song’s placement during a break in the film proves to be a stroke of genius. The scene featuring Paul Newman’s Butch taking the beautiful Etta on an afternoon bicycle ride, accompanied by the song’s lighthearted melody, creates one of cinema’s most romantic moments. This scene serves as a poignant contrast to the inevitable tragedy that awaits the outlaws.


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7 “Mrs. Robinson” By Simon & Garfunkel

The Graduate (1967)

Elaine and Ben on the bus

The Graduate

In The Graduate, Dustin Hoffman stars as college student Benjamin Braddock, who becomes involved in an affair with an older woman, Mrs. Robinson, played by Anne Bancroft. The film explores themes of alienation and the generation gap in 1960s America, and features a memorable soundtrack by Simon & Garfunkel.

Mike Nichols

Release Date
December 21, 1967

106 minutes

Simon & Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson” elevates The Graduate from a memorable comedy-drama to a cultural touchstone that epitomizes youthful malaise. Director Mike Nichols’ interest in the song, even in its early stages as a work-in-progress titled “Mrs. Roosevelt,” demonstrates his understanding of the power of music in storytelling. The song’s evolution, with its title change to reference Anne Bancroft’s character, showcases the symbiotic relationship between the film and the music. “Mrs. Robinson” not only complements the movie’s themes, but also stands on its own as a masterpiece, its inclusion in the film cementing The Graduate‘s status as a defining work.

6 “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” By Aerosmith

Armageddon (1998)

Cast of Armageddon walking in space suites


In Michael Bay’s sci-fi action thriller Armageddon, a colossal asteroid is found barrelling toward Earth, guaranteed to wipe out all life. To stop it, NASA concocts a plan that involves drilling into its core to denote a nuclear bomb inside of it – and to make that happen; they’ll need the right crew. Led by the head of an oil drilling company, Harry Stamper, a group of blue-collar workers are given the crash course for Astronaut preparation as the crew races against time to save the planet.

Release Date
July 1, 1998

151 minutes

“I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing” stands out among the songs recorded by Aerosmith for Armageddon, its epic romanticism and soaring vocals making it an instant classic. Iconic songwriter Diane Warren perfectly captures the sentiment of cherishing every moment with a loved one, resonating deeply with the film’s themes of love and sacrifice. Although initially envisioned for a different artist, Aerosmith’s rendition, with Steven Tyler’s powerful vocals adding a rock edge to the ballad, elevates the song to new heights.

5 “Eye Of The Tiger” By Survivor

Rocky III (1982)

Rocky III

After the Italian Stallion’s triumphant rematch against Apollo Creed, Rocky III sees Sylvester Stallone’s boxing legend train to recover his heavyweight title from up-and-coming fighter Clubber Lang (Mr. T). Despite his newfound fame, Rocky Balboa suffers from confidence issues, which he has to solve not only to defend his legacy but also to honor the support he has received from his loved ones.

Release Date
May 28, 1982


Born from Sylvester Stallone’s quest for the perfect Rocky III anthem after being denied the use of Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust,” Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” has become an iconic motivational track. Frankie Sullivan and Jim Peterik’s ingenious approach of drawing lyrics from the film’s dialogue, combined with the song’s gritty and pulsating energy, perfectly mirrors Rocky’s determination as he prepares to face off against the formidable Clubber Lang. The song, with its ability to encapsulate the essence of the movie’s training montages, has become an enduring classic, embodying the indomitable spirit celebrated in the Rocky franchise.

4 “Stayin’ Alive” By The Bee Gees

Saturday Night Fever (1977)

John Travolta dancing in saturday night fever

A disco anthem that transcends its grim inspiration, “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees has become an indelible part of the cultural zeitgeist. Despite its seemingly celebratory presence in wedding party playlists, the song’s lyrics actually delve into the theme of survival in crime-ridden New York City, a fact often overlooked due to its infectious groove and upbeat tempo. The song’s ability to get everyone on the dance floor is a testament to its enduring appeal and the Bee Gees’ masterful craftsmanship, solidifying “Stayin’ Alive” as one of the greatest disco hits of all time.

3 “Gangsta’s Paradise” By Coolio

Dangerous Minds (1995)

Michelle Pheiffer from Dangerous Minds

Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” has achieved a level of cultural significance that surpasses its origins in the film Dangerous Minds, becoming a haunting and brutally honest reflection on life in rough urban neighborhoods. Coolio’s poignant lyrics resonate with listeners on a profound level. While the film itself, starring Michelle Pfeiffer, has faded into relative obscurity, “Gangsta’s Paradise” has endured as a powerful and thought-provoking work of art. The song’s ability to capture the despair and challenges faced by those living in disadvantaged communities has solidified its place in the mainstream consciousness, transcending its cinematic roots to become a timeless classic.

2 “Lose Yourself” By Eminen

8 Mile (2002)

Eminem on the stage in 8 Mile

8 Mile

Eminem stars in the 2002 semi-autobiographical drama 8 Mile as a fictionalized version of himself, Jimmy Smith Jr. a.k.a. B-Rabbit, who tries to make a name for himself as a rapper in Detroit. Both the movie and its soundtrack, which included the Oscar-winning Lose Yourself, received widespread critical acclaim.

Curtis Hanson

Release Date
November 8, 2002

110 minutes

Drawing on Eminem’s personal history and his character’s struggles in 8 Mile, “Lose Yourself” stands as a testament to the power of seizing the moment and channeling one’s creative passions. The song’s adrenaline-pumping instrumentals perfectly complement Eminem’s urgent delivery. The track’s placement in the film, during a pivotal scene where B-Rabbit overcomes his nervousness to compete in a rap battle, heightens its impact and resonance. Its status as the first rap song to win the Academy Award for Best Original Song further cements its position as a groundbreaking and influential piece of music.

1 “My Heart Will Go On” By Celine Dion

Titanic (1997)


Titanic is the 1997 blockbuster romantic/disaster epic based on the events surrounding the sinking of the legendary “unsinkable” vessel. Flashing back to the past and forward to the present, the film primarily follows the stories of the well-to-do and somewhat timid Rose and the poor but lively Jack, star-crossed lovers who meet aboard the doomed ship. In addition, the film tells true and fictionalized accounts of the passengers of the RMS Titanic, with an older Rose recounting her tale to the crew of a research ship. 

Release Date
December 19, 1997

3h 14m

“My Heart Will Go On” stands as the ultimate embodiment of the tragic romance at the heart of James Cameron’s epic blockbuster, Titanic. Celine Dion’s powerful vocals bring to life the profound love shared by Jack and Rose, a love that transcends the brief time they had together and endures in Rose’s heart forever. The song’s sentimental grandeur, with its rich, nostalgic lyrics by Will Jennings and James Horner’s sweeping melodies, perfectly complements the film’s themes of grief, true love, and the promise to embrace life in the face of tragedy.

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