Sweet, seductive, sappy — a good movie love song can be any of these things. Some great ones are even all of them at the same time.
Here are our picks for the 10 best. Prepare to fall in love with them all over again …
10. 9 1/2 Weeks: “You Can Leave Your Hat On,” Joe Cocker
Sizzling scene in a sizzling movie. There are arguably hotter versions of “You Can Leave Your Hat On” than Joe Cocker’s, but scoring Kim Bassinger’s striptease to it takes the song to a whole nother level. And wow, do you remember what a looker Mickey Rourke used to be? If you don’t think this is hot, you don’t have a pulse.
9. Lost in Translation: “Just Like Honey,” the Jesus & Mary Chain
The Jesus & Mary Chain’s “Just Like Honey” captures
the flavor of the kind of strange, unrealized, impossible love between
two people who have no business loving each other — but somehow do
anyway. That would be Bill Murray’s Bob and Scarlett Johansson’s
Charlotte in Lost in Translation. Sofia Coppola has a well-documented talented for picking great songs for her movies, never more so than here.
8. Grease: “You’re the One That I Want,” John Travolta
and Olivia Newton-John
Yes, it’s total cheese — but have
you listened to this song lately? And watched the scene when Sandy
(Olivia Newton-John) emerges in that skintight black number and schools
Danny (John Travolta) on what kind of man he better be? Dare you to not
7. City of Angels: “Iris,” Goo Goo Dolls
angel (Nicolas Cage) falls for a surgeon (Meg Ryan) and decides to
abandon his immortal existence to be with her. And then she, of course,
dies tragically (and stupidly). Soaring chords and spot-on lyrics (“I’d
give up forever to touch you”) make Goo Goo Dolls’ “Iris” a stirring, wistful ode to lost
6. William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet: “Kissing You,” Des’ree
ambitious modernization of the ultimate tragic love story works in
large part because of the chemistry between its young stars, Leonardo
DiCaprio and Claire Danes. (Hey, whatever happened to those two?) That and a really great soundtrack — including Des’ree’s emotive “Kissing You,” which taps into the love-at-first-sight meeting and fateful embrace.
5. But I’m a Cheerleader: “Glass Vase Cello Case,” Tattle Tale
What’s that — you’ve never heard of it? But I’m a Cheerleader
is one of those blinked-and-you-missed-it releases that’s so worth seeking out. Both
sweet and sexy, the scene where Megan (Natasha Lyonne) and Graham (Clea
DuVall) hook up for the first time is made all the more passionate by
this beautiful piece of music from a virtually unknown indie band.
4. Against All Odds: “Against All Odds,” Phil Collins
do you really remember about this movie? Maybe that Jeff Bridges starred? Or
that it had an incomprehensibly over-complicated plot? Or the From Here to Eternity-esque
poster image? Maybe none of these things. But the title song, by Phil Collins … that,
you remember. It’s ’80s power-balladeering at its finest.
3. Ghost: “Unchained Melody,” the Righteous Brothers
One of the most romantic songs ever set to vinyl is just the right match
for one of the most romantic ghost stories ever set to film. The longing
lyrics and plaintive vocals of the Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody” fit perfectly into the goose-bumpy love story about Sam (Patrick
Swayze) lingering after his violent death to protect Molly (Demi Moore)
from his killer.
2. Once: “Falling Slowly,” Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova
quiet, touching movie about love and music probably hit a lot of
people’s radars for the first time when Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova
performed “Falling Slowly” at the Oscars. (They won.) Its haunting
harmonies are made all the more poignant because the singers/costars had
their own fleeting love story.
1. Say Anything … : “In Your Eyes,” Peter Gabriel
the grand romantic gesture. If you don’t get all worked up by the
passionate slacker Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack) serenading overachiever Diane (Ione Skye) outside her bedroom window, boombox held
high over his head, blasting Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” … well, maybe I didn’t really know you after all.