Skip To Content

    22 Iconic Movie And TV Scenes Paired With Music That Had Everyone Listening To The Song On Repeat After

    I will never again think of Nirvana without thinking of The Batman.

    Music is such a huge part of TV shows and movies, and finding the perfect song for a scene just makes it that much more memorable.

    A character looking pained while saying "Poetic cinema"

    Here are 22 of the absolutely undisputed (okay fine, you can dispute them in the comments) best music choices for TV and movie scenes of all time.

    WARNING: Spoilers ahead! (Some recent examples are from Stranger Things Season 4, Euphoria Season 2, and The Batman.)

    1. First, I gotta start with this absolutely incredible recent example: "Running Up That Hill" by Kate Bush on Stranger Things.

    Max hears her friends screaming to her through a break in the upside down and then remembers good times with them before attacking vecna and running for them

    Watch the scene here:

    View this video on YouTube

    Netflix / Via youtube.com

    2. Maybe I just really like characters running paired with songs about running, lol, but another of my fave examples is "Run Boy Run" by Woodkid while Five jumps into the future, discovers his home in ruins, and gets stuck there in The Umbrella Academy.

    Five jumps into the future and says "not ready my ass" then jumps a few more times until he goes too far and sees his house in ruins

    You can watch a bit of it here (and a longer version here), or head over to Netflix and skip to the first few minutes of Season 1, Episode 2:

    View this video on YouTube

    Netflix / Via youtube.com

    3. And sorry, I gotta do another Umbrella Academy one — "Dancing in the Moonlight," covered by Toploader, as Luther and Allison dance.

    Luther and Allison dancing and kissing

    Watch the scene here:

    View this video on YouTube

    Netflix / Via youtube.com

    4. I must be a big fan of covers, because another cover is #4 on this list — "Smells Like Teen Spirit," which was originally performed by Nirvana but was covered by Malia J in the harrowing opening credits of Black Widow.

    Yelena and Natasha are pulled apart and natasha is told the red room is her home. then there are flashes of her being taught to shoot and watching cartoons

    Watch the scene here:

    View this video on YouTube

    Marvel / Via youtube.com

    5. Okay, promise not to laugh at me for this one. I stand by it. "Whatcha Say" by Jason Derulo during that iconic Thanksgiving scene on Gossip Girl is absolutely one of the best uses of a song on TV ever.

    Cece revealing Lily left her in August and Rufus saying she didn't come home until October; Jenny telling Eric she knows he sabotaged her at Cotillion; Blair accusing her mom of being pregnant; Maureen threatening to out Serena and Tripp's affair

    Watch the scene here (the song starts at 0:11):

    View this video on YouTube

    The CW / Via youtube.com

    6. Back to another Marvel one — "Immigrant Song" by Led Zeppelin in Thor: Ragnarok.

    Thor gets his lightning powers and glows as he lands, and Valkyrie comes out of a ship

    Watch the scene here (the music starts at 2:20):

    View this video on YouTube

    Marvel / Via youtube.com

    7. Honestly, any time a Led Zeppelin song plays in a movie or TV show, the result is awesome. Like "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" playing over the limo crash/other drama in the One Tree Hill Season 3 finale??? SO GOOD.

    lucas discovers rachel, brooke or haley is pregnant, brooke tells peyton their friendship is over, dan sees "murdurer" painted on his wall, rachel and cooper's limo crashes, and nathan almost drowns jumping in to save them

    Watch the second half of the scene here:

    View this video on YouTube

    The CW / Via youtube.com

    8. I kind of feel like it's cheating to include a musical on this list, but since the song itself isn't originally from a musical, I'm counting it. I'm talking about "Voulez-Vous" by ABBA (covered by the cast of the film here) in Mamma Mia!

    Sam asks Sophie how long she's known that he was her father, and Harry also says he's her father, and Sophie looks shocked

    Watch the scene here:

    View this video on YouTube

    Universal Pictures / Via youtube.com

    9. Once again, you may laugh, but I gotta bring up one of the most unlikely entries on this list: "Holding Out for a Hero" by Bonnie Tyler (covered by Jennifer Saunders) in Shrek 2. I'm not even joking when I call it the best cover of the song and the best use of music in a film.

    the fairy godmother sings "I need a hero, I'm holding out for a hero till the end of the night" as a giant gingerbread man breaks into the castle with Shrek

    Watch the scene here:

    View this video on YouTube

    Dreamworks / Via youtube.com

    10. I guess I love anytime "Holding Out for a Hero" is used, though. Like when it was used in the second episode of Loki, when a bad Loki variant (I think that was revealed to be Sylvie) takes over and kills a ton of Minute Men.

    one of the minutemen asks another what they're doing, and they say having fun, we then see a hooded figure

    Watch the scene here:

    View this video on YouTube

    Disney+ / Marvel / Via youtube.com

    11. Let's show DC some love too. The Batman catapulted Nirvana's "Something in the Way" back into the spotlight in the best way.

    gordon tells bruce that the kid found his father, and bruce looks at the boy as he's questioned. later, there's a press conference on the mayor's death, and in a voiceover, bruce says he wishes he could say he's making a difference but he doesn't know

    Watch the scene here (starts at 0:19)

    View this video on YouTube

    Warner Bros. Pictures / Via youtube.com

    12. "Breathe Me" by Sia has been used in a ton of movies and shows, but I think it was best used in the series finale of Six Feet Under.

    Claire looks up as she drives off into the desert and we see the deaths of a bunch of the family members

    Watch the scene here:

    View this video on YouTube

    HBO / Via youtube.com

    13. Another great finale example (though this was just a season finale, not a series finale) was the combo of "September Song" by Agnes Obel and "You Can't Always Get What You Want" by Ituana in the Season 1 finale of Big Little Lies.

    the women watch their kids on the beach as waves crash and it flashes back to them fighting with Perry

    You can watch the first part of it here:

    View this video on YouTube

    HBO / Via youtube.com

    14. Euphoria has incredible music, but I think I've got to go with Labrinth's "I'm Tired" as the standout music moment of Season 2.

    rue stumbles into a church and hugs the man singing, seeing herself hugging her father, as she tells him she's sorry for being a bad person and he assures her she's not and that he's still with her

    Watch the scene here:

    View this video on YouTube

    HBO / Via youtube.com

    15. If "I'm Tired" is Euphoria Season 2's breakout music moment, then "All for Us" (by Labrinth and Zendaya) is for sure Season 1's breakout music moment.

    rue climbs up a pile of people, stands there and looks up, then falls

    Watch the scene here:

    View this video on YouTube

    HBO / Via youtube.com

    16. Back to movies. Yet ANOTHER cover I love is "Money (That’s What I Want)” by Barrett Strong (covered by Cheryl K) right at the beginning of Crazy Rich Asians.

    Eleanor is introduced as the new "lady of the house" at the hotel and then the title screen shows up

    Watch the beginning of the scene here (music starts at 2:17):

    View this video on YouTube

    Warner Bros. Pictures / Via youtube.com

    17. Some covers don't even have to have words to be incredible matches for scenes. Like when Anthony Willis covered "Toxic" by Britney Spears in Promising Young Woman as Cassie's heading to complete the final part of her plan....SO SPINE-TINGLING AND HAUNTING!!!

    Cassie walks to Al's house in her nurse's costume and wig and puts on her red heels

    Watch the scene here:

    View this video on YouTube

    Focus Features / Via youtube.com

    18. Glee may have been known for its covers and music moments, but a lot of them did not exactly age well (lookin' at you, "Gangnam Style" and "What Does the Fox Say"). But Jonathan Groff covering Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" as Quinn gives birth...honestly legitimately iconic.

    Quinn in labor and Jesse St. James and his glee team sing at Nationals

    Watch the scene here:

    View this video on YouTube

    Fox / Via youtube.com

    19. Before you yell at me for yet another cover, this is more of a remix: "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend"/"Diamonds" by Megan Thee Stallion and Normani in Birds of Prey.

    Harley mouthing the words to the song while dancing with Black Mask

    Watch the scene here:

    View this video on YouTube

    Warner Bros. Pictures / Via youtube.com

    20. Maybe this one doesn't count because it's an original song, but I still love it. "The Hanging Tree" by James Newton Howard (featuring Jennifer Lawrence) in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 is truly one of my favorite moments of the series.

    Katniss singing "are you, are you coming to the tree" and the dam breaking

    Watch the scene here:

    View this video on YouTube

    Lionsgate / Via youtube.com

    21. And finally, let's end on a couple TV ones. First up: "Sinnerman" by Nina Simone from Sherlock.

    Sherlock and John get ready for Moriarty's trial as we see a newspaper introducing it and Moriarty being brought from the jail

    Watch the scene here:

    View this video on YouTube

    BBC / Via youtube.com

    22. And last but not least, I adore the use of "Gotta Get Up" by Harry Nilsson in Russian Doll.

    Nadia looks at the door, shaken, then opens it and sees no one in the hall

    Watch a bunch of the scenes that use the song here:

    View this video on YouTube

    Netflix / Via youtube.com

    What's your fave use of a song in a TV show or movie scene? Let us know in the comments below!