10 Movies That Feature Music Exclusively From A Popular Band/Musician

Netflix has recently upped its game when it comes to original content, and one of the films that no one saw coming was the amazing Beach House score. On the way for the ride. The just-released film is a dazzling romantic drama, and part of what makes it so great is the seasoned indie band’s dreamy pop soundtrack.

But Beach House aren’t the only band to score on film, and unlikely bands and musicians have lent a hand in films for decades. From music made exclusively for the movie to directors having the skeleton key to entire catalogs, movies have exclusively used the music of popular musicians and bands, and they’re usually better for it.

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Into the Wild (2007)

Stream on Paramount+ and Hoopla


In nature is a biographical film about Christopher McCandless, who traveled the United States and Alaska. The music for the film was handled by Eddie Vedder, singer and guitarist for Pearl Jam. Given that Pearl Jam are a hard rock band and are one of the first bands people think of when it comes to Seattle’s grunge scene of the 1990s, it’s hard to believe that In nature score was made by Vedder.

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The score is mostly fretless bass and a mandolin, which is extremely minimal for Vedder, but few other scores fit their films better than the quiet adventure film. The soundtrack also doubled as Vedder’s first solo album.


Blue Valentine (2010)

Stream on Peacock


Ryan Gosling plays ukulele with glasses in Blue Valentine.

2010s blue valentine is one of the most emotionally draining romance films out there, as it features one of the most realistic portrayals of love ever seen in film. The film jumps back and forth between when a couple first meet, showing them madly in love with each other, and years later when they hate each other.

The film features music exclusively from indie rock band Grizzly Bear, and not only that, but it’s also an album. In 2009, the band released the universally acclaimed luscious sounding album Veckatimestand the romantic drama cuts songs and uses excerpts from the tracks found on the album for the romance and heartbreak soundtrack.


Tron: Legacy (2010)

Stream on Disney+


Sam Flynn wielding an ID Disc in Tron Legacy

tron the legacy might have bombed at the box office, but it’s a franchise-killing movie that’s actually great. What makes the film so enchanting is its fixation on the style and aesthetics of the world. And part of what builds that aesthetic is the dizzying electronic soundtrack, which comes from none other than former electro statesmen Daft Punk.

Daft Punk created all the musical accompaniment specifically for the film, which is bittersweet for fans of the French electronic band. At the time of the film’s release, it had been five years since Daft Punk had released an actual album, and fans wanted a full release full of classic instant disco tunes. Movie music obviously doesn’t hold up on that front, but new Daft Punk music is better than no Daft Punk music, even if that’s not what the fans want.


The Graduate (1967)

Rent on Apple TV


Benjamin driving in The Graduate.

According Ultimate classic rockusing Simon and Garfunkel’s back catalog for the soundtrack The graduation was not the original plan. Director Mike Nichols was listening to one of the duo’s albums in the shower in the morning when a “Eureka!” the moment has passed.

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The filmmaker pulled music from several of the band’s albums for the film’s score, and there are even two different versions of “Sound of Silence” that appear in the 1967 classic. The band’s many songs appearing in the film were mutually beneficial, as the songs greatly add to the tone of the film, and the film had a huge impact on the band’s popularity, as it introduced audiences to their music.


Suspiria (2018)

Stream on Amazon Prime


Susie wears a brown tank top in Suspiria

Suspiria is a remake of the 1977 film of the same name, and the 2018 release is just as disturbing and terrifying as the original, but what helps build the tension in the film is Radiohead’s lead singer’s score, Thom Yorke. Yorke stepped out of his comfort zone and used backing vocals and string instruments to create music specifically for the film, and the music is part of what makes the Suspiria redo much better than the original.

Yorke’s Radiohead bandmate Jonny Greenwood has also composed the music for several films, including there will be blood and The power of the dog. But considering he’s been nominated for multiple Oscars and scored tons of classic movies, he’s considered a movie composer as much as he’s a rock band member at this point, if not more.

Sole Survivor (2013)

Stream on HBO Max


Luttrell is saved in Lone Survivor

sole survivor is one of the most tense and anxiety-inducing movies in recent memory, as it follows a group of soldiers fighting for their lives on a hilltop in Afghanistan and are massively outnumbered. For a film that should have been called Anxiety: the moviethere was no better band to score the film than post-rock band Explosions in the Sky.

The Texas band are no strangers to soundtracks, and sole survivor is far from the first film that the group had scored. Explosions in the Sky scored the 2004 sports drama Friday night lightsthe unknown film of 2014 with Al Pacino Manglehornand the same year as sole survivorthey worked on Paul Rudd’s comedy Prince Avalanche.

Hana (2011)

Stream on Fubo


Saoirse Ronan in Hanna

Daft Punk aren’t the only electronic band to dabble in film music, as The Chemical Brothers, another European house band, scored on the 2011 film, Hana. The seasoned band was a perfect choice to score the action-thriller, as the act’s industrial-yet-commercial electronic music perfectly captures the film’s intensity and suspense.

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The Chemical Brothers flourished in the early 2010s, as Hana score followed one of the band’s best albums, Further away, only one year. And the soundtrack doubled as a descent to this album as well as a coasting adrenaline-filled score for a thriller.


Oblivion 2013)

Stream on HBO Max


Tom Cruise holding his gun in Oblivion (2013)

Like Daft Punk, M83 is a French electronic band, and there are two sides to the M83 coin. On the one hand, the catchy and timeless electro-pop songs, and on the other, the ambient music that fits perfectly with sci-fi films. And that’s why it’s the perfect band for the sci-fi odyssey soundtrack starring Tom Cruise, Oversight.

The 2013 release is a great dystopian nuclear war film, but it massively underperformed at the box office and was quite controversial among critics. However, regardless of what critics and audiences think of the film as a whole, M83 is in its element, and there’s no denying that Oblivion’s score is one of the best works the band has done.

Dancer in the Dark (2000)

Stream on Kanopy


Bjork in Dancer in the Dark

A dancer in the night is a musical drama starring Björk, one of Sweden’s greatest musicians of all time, so it would be insulting for writer-director Lars von Trier to hire someone else to score the film. Not only that, but he would be shooting himself in the foot, as no other musician or band has the unique approach to music making that Björk has.

In the 2000 film, the musician plays Selma, a woman with a degenerative eye disease, and she saves money for an operation for her son so she doesn’t go blind. It’s one of the most mortifying and exhausting dramas of the 21st century, and Björk surprisingly taps into that tone when it comes to music, too.

Flash Gordon (1980)

Rent on Amazon


While some Howard Blake orchestral pieces have been used in Flash Gordon, the film mainly uses the music of the rock band Queen. The band made an entire album for the film, which officially became their ninth studio album instead of just being a soundtrack.

This makes sense, because although the music was made for the film, it’s still full of iconic Queen sounds, and all the tracks are the length of a pop song. And the main theme, “Flash”, inadvertently became one of the band’s most popular songs, despite being a hammy intro for the film.

NEXT: Star Wars – 8 Ways Flash Gordon Influenced The Trilogy


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