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10 Movie Soundtracks from the 1990s That Will be Stuck in Your Head for Days

Adam Scott’s character Ben Wyatt on the hit show Parks and Recreation once described a movie soundtrack as, “your favorite directors making a mixtape just for you”. A hilarious yet incredibly relatable piece of insight. It is important to be able to differentiate between a score and a soundtrack.

Where a score is typically instrumental music written for and used to dramatic effect in movies, a soundtrack is usually a compilation of lyrical songs either already existing or written specifically for a movie, think Disney musicals for the latter example. These soundtracks can sometimes help create iconic movie moments. Let’s take a look at the ten best movie soundtracks of the 1990s, some of which even appear in Ben Wyatt’s own collection.



10 Pulp Fiction (1994)

Miramax Films

Quentin Tarantino has always used soundtracks to great effect in his movies. Whether it’s Michael Madsen dancing around to “Stuck in the Middle with You” before slicing off a police officer’s ear in Reservoir Dogs, or Mia and Vincent winning the Jack Rabbit Slims Twist Contest to Chuck Berry’s “You Never Can Tell” in the cult classic Pulp Fiction. The latter of which features a combination of meaningful entries from singer songwriters like Ricky Nelson and Dusty Springfield, as well as funk classics like “Jungle Boogie” by Kool & the Gang.

9 Forrest Gump (1994)

Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump (1994)
Paramount Pictures

The soundtrack to Forrest Gump, much like the movie itself, is a roadmap through history. Featuring songs spanning from 1956-1994 from iconic artists such as; Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne, Fleetwood Mac, and Bob Seger. It’s a nostalgia bomb for anyone who grew up in those decades, and provides an effective musical backdrop to the film itself.

8 The Crow (1994)

the crow 1994

The songs featured on the soundtrack for 1994’s superhero movie, The Crow, are perfect compliments to the grim and dark themes of the film. Ranging from songs by more mainstream acts like The Cure and Nine Inch Nails, to deeper cuts from industrial rock band My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult and alt-rock group The Jesus and Mary Chain.

Related: 7 Perfect Soundtrack Moments in Horror Movies

7 Godzilla (1998)


While the movie itself became the epitome of the big budget movie flop, its soundtrack still boasts an impressive list of some of the most popular musical acts of the 1990s. Including, Green Day, The Wallflowers, Rage Against the Machine, Sean “Puffy” Combs, and Ben Folds. Even landing on Billboard’s chart of 1998’s best-selling albums.

6 The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Jack Skellington observing a snow crystal
Walt Disney Pictures

The Nightmare Before Christmas has become a lynchpin of pop culture in the decades following its release in 1993. Having its name and characters attached to everything from pajamas to coffee. Featuring some of the most memorable songs in the Disney library, all penned by composer Danny Elfman, the soundtrack is the lifeblood of this Tim Burton classic and is a movie soundtrack that has the power to influence pop culture itself.

Related: Best 2000s Bollywood Movie Soundtracks, Ranked

5 That Thing You Do! (1996)

A scene from That Thing You Do!
20th Century Fox

The accompanying soundtrack to this Tom Hanks directed comedy, features several songs recorded for The Wonders, including the hit song that the movie is named for, That Thing You Do. The original music helps to breathe life into this fictional pop band while providing one of the most catchy pop songs of the ’90s.

4 Boyz n the Hood (1991)

boyz n the hood
Columbia Pictures

The accompanying soundtrack to 1991’s Boyz N the Hood is a perfect time capsule of where hip hop was in the early ’90s. Complete with songs from one of the stars of the movie, Ice Cube, along with contributions from Compton’s Most Wanted, DJ Jazzy Jeff, and 2 Live Crew. A perfect compliment to the movie’s setting of Inglewood, California.

3 The Lion King (1994)

The Lion King Original Movie Animation
Walt Disney Studios

The legendary performer Elton John, along with the equally legendary lyricist Tim Rice, are responsible for the nostalgia of an entire generation of 90s kids. Having written every hit song of The Lion King soundtrack, the duo helped produce an album that landed within the top five on Billboard’s year-end chart of 1994.

2 Wayne’s World (1992)

Waynes World 1200 x 630
Paramount Pictures

Whereas the soundtrack for The Crow utilizes darker, grunge-heavy songs to fit its theme. Wayne’s World takes a more upbeat and rocking approach to its soundtrack. Featuring hit songs from, Queen, which almost was not the case for the iconic head-banging car scene. As well as music from, Cinderella, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Jimi Hendrix.

1 Tarzan (1999)

Walt Disney Pictures

There exists a running joke, mostly among millennials, that Phil Collins did not have to go as hard as he did on the Tarzan soundtrack. That the artists’ countless hours of hard work put into the soundtrack was for the benefit of a generation. “He did that for us”, they say. Collins not only won an Academy Award for the song “You’ll Be in My Heart”, but the soundtrack would go 2x Platinum, selling over two million copies.

This story originally appeared on Movieweb

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