It all started with seeing recently the movie “To Be or Not to Be,” the original 1942 version. A funny and memorable film, I remembered that Mel Brooks had remade this film in the early 1980s starring himself and actress, Anne Bancroft, his wife in real life. I’ve actually haven’t seen yet the Mel Brooks 1983 version of “To Be or Not to Be.”
Anyway for some reason at this point I began to do research on actress Anne Bancroft – I’ve always admired her work. It turns out at her funeral in 2005, musician Paul Simon played the song of his “Mrs. Robinson” as a tribute to Anne Bancroft and the role of Mrs. Robinson that she played in the 1967 movie “The Graduate.” Made now some 45 years ago, the film “The Graduate” along with the song “Mrs. Robinson” has reached, in my opinion, something of iconic stature in modern culture.
It occurred to me that there are actually several iconic movies that have equally iconic songs connected to them. I’m not speaking of musicals of the Oscar & Hammerstein variety or more recently the animated musicals of Alan Menken & Howard Ashman – I’m referring to films where a song that is played in the film possibly captures people’s emotions as much as the film does.
I’ve decided here to make a list of what I consider iconic films along with their equally iconic songs. I know I’m going to miss a few. I’m going to start with one from the 1940s and try to move forward chronologically.
Film: Holiday Inn (1942); Song: “White Christmas”
Film: Casablanca (1942); Song “As Time Goes By”
Film: Love is a Many Splendored Thing (1955); Song “Love is a Many Splendored Thing”
Film: The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956): Song “Que Sera Sera” (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)
Film: Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961); Song “Moon River”
Film: Days of Wine and Roses (1962): Song “Days of Wine and Roses”
Film: Alfie (1966); Song “Alfie”
Film: Thomas Crown Affair (1968); Song “The Windmills of Your Mind”
Film: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969); Song “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head”
Film: Midnight Cowboy (1969); Song “Everybody’s Talking at Me”
Film: Shaft (1972); Song: “Shaft”
Film: The Sting (1973): Song: “The Entertainer” (instrumental theme song from the movie)
Film: The Way We Were (1974); Song: “The Way We Were”
Film: Fame (1980); Song: “Fame”
Film: Arthur (1981); Song: “The Best That You Can Do”
Film: An Officer and a Gentleman (1982); Song: “Up Where We Belong”
Film: Flashdance (1983); Song: “Oh, What a Feeling”
Film: Ghostbusters (1984); Song: “Ghostbusters”
Film: Back to the Future (1985): Song: “The Power of Love”
Film: Top Gun (1986); Song: “Take My Breath Away”
Film: Dirty Dancing (1987); Song: “(I’ve Had the) Time of My Life”
Film: Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991); Song: “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You”
Film: Toy Story (1995); Song: “You’ve Got a Friend in Me”
Film: Titanic (1997); Song: “My Heart Will Go On”
Film: “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” (2000); Song: “I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow”
Film: Shrek 2 (2004) – the Shrek concept is “iconic”; Song: “Accidently In Love”
James Bond Films
It occurred to me that many a James Bond film has a song that is attached to it and maybe these need a section all of their own. Here are some of these films and their iconic songs.
Film: Goldfinger (1964); Song: “Goldfinger”
Film: Live and Let Die (1973); Song: “Live and Let Die”
Film: The Spy Who Loved Me (1977); Song: “Nobody Does It Better”
Film: For Your Eyes Only (1981): Song: “For Your Eyes Only”
I know there are more films with their accompanying songs out there – it’s occurred to me that it’s often in retrospect that films and their affiliated songs achieve “iconic” status.