Pulp Fiction – “Misirlou” Changing to “Jungle Boogie”
While we don’t hear the full song, “Misirlou” by Dick Dale is the tune most associate with Pulp Fiction.
This may be because the song is the first thing we hear at the beginning of the film. It plays during the opening credits before being abruptly cut off by someone switching radio stations, only to stop on “Jungle Boogie” by Kool and the Gang.
Kill Bill Vol. 1 – O-Ren Ishii’s Entrance to the House Of Blue Leaves is Accompanied by “Battle Without Honor or Humanity”
“Battle Without Honor or Humanity” by Tomoyasu Hotei is no doubt the theme of the two-part saga, Kill Bill.
Even though many may think of the song’s commanding presence at the House of Blue Leaves even during The Bride’s epic sword duel with O-Ren Ishii, it actually appears sooner.
The extravagant melody plays in the background as the crime boss and Crazy 88 first enter the restaurant. The insertion at a relatively peaceful scene foreshadowed the bloodshed that was soon to come.
Jackie Brown – Jackie Brown Lip Syncing “Across 110th Street”
“Across 110th Street” has a strong presence as a theme.
It begins the film by playing over the opening credits of Jackie Brown. However, the truly defining moment of this movie’s theme comes at the end. After Jackie Brown survives the ‘repugnant shit’ she had to deal with, she’s sitting back behind the wheel of her car, lip syncing the lyrics to “Across 110th Street” by Bobby Womack.
Django Unchained – Django and Broomhilda Looking for “Freedom”
Anthony Hamilton and Elayna Boynton’s “Freedom” is a song filled with heartbreaking lyrics and darker themes that was too perfectly suited for Django Unchained.
The film is a raw portrayal of pre-Civil War in the South before developing into a tale of revenge. Its most noteworthy moment of this is during a flashback Django has of his attempt at escape with his wife, Broomhilda, which is intertwined with scenes of her torture.
“Freedom” plays throughout, making an already dark moment truly haunting.
Reservoir Dogs – “Stuck in The Middle with You” Plays as Mr. Blonde Tortures Marvin
The level of Mr. Blonde’s evil character is shown throughout the film, but its limits aren’t made crystal clear until the infamous warehouse scene.
He takes the time to change stations on the radio until it lands on “Stuck in the Middle with You” by Stealers Wheel, then proceeds to torture Marvin Nash by cutting off his ear. Before he can burn the man, however, Mr. Blond is shot by Mr. Orange with a round of bullets, the same moment the song abruptly cuts off.
A tune discussing the ‘wrong place at the wrong time’ theme matches Marvin’s predicament quite well.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – Sharon Tate’s Relationship with Music
Unlike other moments mentioned on this list, this one (or two) involves something much more lighthearted, and it’s all due to Sharon Tate.
Her connection with music is undoubtedly strong, and this is especially shown twice in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. This first scene showcases her letting loose and feeling the music as she dances to Paul Revere and the Raiders’ “Good Thing” on her record player.
The second scene shows Sharon in tranquil bliss as her Porsche radio plays Buffy St. Marie’s cover of “The Circle Game” by Joni Mitchell.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” Plays while Cliff Takes Out the Manson Followers
Vanilla Fudge’s “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” gets extra attention because of its place during the reimagined night of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Stuntman Cliff Booth plays the song to enjoy his upcoming ‘journey’ when three members of the Manson Family barge into the Dalton household. Cliff, his dog, and Rick’s wife Francesca all jump on the intruders and make them regret ever stepping into the house.
Inglourious Bastards – Shosanna Getting Ready on the Premiere During David Bowie’s “Cat People”
David Bowie’s “Cat People” was the icing on the cake during the explosive ending scene of Inglourious Bastards.
It takes place at the premiere of a Nazi propaganda film held in La Gamaar Cinema, which is owned by Shosanna. She is unaware that her plans are to be sabotaged by Lt. Aldo Raine and the Basterds, who intend to show their own premiere for Third Reich on the same night.
“Cat People” plays over a montage of Shosanna as she gets ready for the event, which heightens the tension as the melody emphasizes both fury and elegance.
Pulp Fiction – Vincent And Mia Dancing To “You Never Can Tell”
Earlier, it was mentioned that “Misirlou” was the theme of Pulp Fiction, but Chuck Berry’s “You Never Can Tell” is perhaps the most defining moment in the film.
Vincent takes his boss’ wife, Mia, to the ‘50s-style diner Jack Rabbit Slim’s for fun. However, she eventually talks him into entering a dance contest. Their choreography to “You Never Can Tell” is spontaneous and amateur, but its charm gets them the grand prize.
Pulp Fiction – Mia Dancing to “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon”
Urge Overkill’s cover of “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon” by Neil Diamond is perhaps one of the most iconic moments.
Why? Because the build-up starts long before the time the song plays. The high from being crowned with the winning dance and holding strong chemistry ultimately makes things awkward for Vincent and Mia. Where Vincent escapes to the bathroom to collect himself, Mia dances to “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon” in the living room.
However, the song only adds to Vincent’s conflicted emotions, which prevents him from noticing Mia’s error in mistaking the heroin in his coat for cocaine, leading to an overdose.