The 21 Greatest Songs From Movies That Never Get Old

There’s something magical about a movie song that just sticks with you long after you’ve left the theater. Whether it’s the lush hills of Austria echoing with “The Sound of Music” or the tragic romance of “Titanic” encapsulated in “My Heart Will Go On,” these songs have the power to transport us back to the moments we first heard them. Here’s a look at 21 timeless movie songs that continue to captivate audiences.

“The Sound of Music” – The Sound of Music (1965)

Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

This song is more than just an opening number; it’s a declaration of freedom and joy. Julie Andrews, with her arms spread wide on the mountaintop, isn’t just singing about music; she’s inviting us into a world where anything feels possible.

“My Heart Will Go On” – Titanic (1997)

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures

The Celine Dion power ballad is inseparable, in my mind, from the beautiful and tragic love story of Jack and Rose as told in the movie Titanic. It certainly comes as no surprise that this masterpiece is one of the biggest-selling singles of all time.

“Over the Rainbow” – The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Photo Credit: Warner Home Video

Judy Garland’s tender rendition of this timeless ballad conveys the universal longing for a better world, capturing hearts and transporting listeners to a land of dreams. The classic song, which most people don’t know was almost cut from the movie, won the 1940 Academy Award for Best Original Song.

“Singin’ in the Rain” – Singin’ in the Rain (1952)

Photo Credit: MGM Studios

Singin’ in the Rain is one of my favorite musicals of all time, and this movie song is a big reason for that. Singin’ in the Rain was actually written in 1929, 23 years before the movie was released. It was, however, Gene Kelly’s infectious performance of the song in the 1952 musical that made it classic.

“Moon River” – Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures

Audrey Hepburn’s ethereal voice perfectly complements the romantic essence of this Henry Mancini masterpiece, creating an enduring serenade. Hepburn, as Holly Golightly in the movie, brought the song to life as she performed the masterpiece with a guitar on the fire escape of her apartment.

“As Time Goes By” – Casablanca (1942)

Photo Credit: Warner Bros

In the backdrop of war-torn Casablanca, this hauntingly beautiful melody captures the essence of eternal love. Although it was written for a different purpose, “As Time Goes By” got a new life in 1942, thanks to the memorable Casablanca scene of Ilsa Lund telling Sam, played by Dooley Wilson, to play the song again.

“Don’t You (Forget About Me)” – The Breakfast Club (1985)

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures

Multiple artists passed on the opportunity to record this song before it landed with the Scottish rock band Simple Minds, and thank God it did! The band’s performance of the song perfectly complemented John Hughes’ vision for the beautiful closing scene of The Breakfast Club.

“I Will Always Love You” – The Bodyguard (1992)

Photo Credit: Warner Bros

Not everyone has seen The Bodyguard, but most are familiar with Whitney Houston’s powerhouse vocals in this iconic rendition of  Dolly Parton’s moving ballad. The song, which peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, undoubtedly made an indelible mark on romantic cinema.

“Stayin’ Alive” – Saturday Night Fever (1977)

Photo Credit: Robert Stigwood Organization

With “Stayin’ Alive”, the Bee Gees created a disco anthem that has become synonymous with the pulsating and electrifying energy of the 70s era. Anytime this tune plays, I cannot but remember John Travolta’s rhythmic dance moves in Saturday Night Fever, as the song played over the opening credits.

“When You Wish Upon a Star” – Pinocchio (1940)

Photo Credit: Walt Disney

If there’s any part of the Disney classic Pinocchio that has stood the test of time, it is certainly this song. “When You Wish Upon a Star”, performed by Cliff Edwards and written by Leigh Harline and Ned Washington, took on a life of its own and went on to become a jazz classic.

“Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” – Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox

B.J. Thomas’ carefree tune perfectly mirrors the spirit of adventure in this classic western film. The soundtrack went on to win an Oscar for Best Original Song and was later inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2014.

“Mrs. Robinson” – The Graduate (1967)

Photo Credit: MGM studios

Simon & Garfunkel’s iconic song, “Mrs. Robinson,” infuses The Graduate with a touch of rebellion and uncertainty. Its enigmatic lyrics reflect the film’s protagonist’s complex relationship with the older and controversial Mrs. Robinson. While the classic wasn’t written for the movie, its masterful use as a soundtrack makes it forever associated with The Graduate.

“Que Sera, Sera” – The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures

When Donnis Day voiced this classic in the 1956 Thriller The Man Who Knew Too Much, she certainly didn’t know how big it was going to get. In fact, she originally hated the song, once referring to it as a “kiddie’s song.” Well, the song only went on to become the biggest hit of her career.

“A Whole New World” – Aladdin (1992)

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Any time “A Whole New World”  comes on, it’s like I’m being taken on a soaring carpet ride of adventure and romance in Aladdin. The magical duet by Peabo Bryson and Regina embodies the wonder of newfound love and limitless possibilities. This Disney classic continues to captivate hearts worldwide.

“The Way We Were” – The Way We Were (1973)

Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures

Barbra Streisand’s heartfelt rendition of this poignant song echoes the bittersweet journey of love and memory. The sweeping ballad went on to win Best Original Score at the 1974 Oscars, sealing its place among the greatest movie songs of all time. The hit was also instrumental in reviving Streisand’s career at the time.

“White Christmas” – Holiday Inn (1942)

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures

“White Christmas” is one of those songs you just know is going to make seasonal playlists for generations to come. Bing Cosby’s version of the tune in the 1942 film Holiday Inn evokes a sense of longing for simpler times and cherished memories. The song’s lyrics also resonated deeply with American troops serving away from home during the Second World War.

“Can’t Help Falling in Love” – Blue Hawaii (1961)

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures

According to George Weiss, a co-writer of the “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” Presley was the only one who initially liked the piece, with everyone else advising him to ignore the ballad. The singer nevertheless went ahead with it as the theme song for his movie. This choice clearly paid off as Presley’s tender rendition of the song worked so well in Blue Hawaii, his soulful delivery and the lyrics capturing the essence of pure romance.

“Let It Go” – Frozen (2013)

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

While it is relatively recent, I believe this song nonetheless deserves its place on this list. Let It Go” was performed by Idina Menzel in the 2013 animated musical Frozen. It became an instant classic, souring to global fame as it captivated audiences around the world. With its catchy melody and powerful message, the song was the perfect soundtrack to Elsa’s emotional turning point in the movie.

“Don’t Rain on My Parade” – Funny Girl (1968)

Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures

Barbra Streisand’s show-stopping performance of “Don’t Rain on My Parade” in Funny Girl exudes an infectious spirit of resilience. The song was written by Bob Merrill and Jule Sttyne, and with the aid of Streisand’s unwavering vocals, it quickly became an audience favorite. This iconic Broadway classic remains a timeless anthem of triumph in the face of adversity.

“New York, New York” – New York, New York (1977)

Photo Credit: United Artists

Frank Sinatra’s spirited rendition of “New York, New York” celebrates the city’s vibrancy and allure. This iconic anthem, synonymous with the Big Apple, encapsulates the energy of urban life, leaving an indelible mark on pop culture.

“My Favorite Things” – The Sound of Music (1965)

Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox

Last but definitely not least is another song from The Sound of Music, showing just how good of a musical it was. This beloved song is a delightful celebration of life’s simple pleasures, and Julia Andrew’s enchanting performance never fails to fill my heart with warmth and nostalgia.

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Image Credit: Warner Bros

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Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

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