9 Film Soundtracks That Were Better Than The Actual Movie

Michael D'Alimonte
5 minute read

A perfect film doesn't only include amazing performances, a compelling narrative, and captivating cinematography, it also needs a masterfully crafted musical score. Most movies are far from perfect, and a majority barely achieve any of the aforementioned features, but sometimes the movie's music hits the target where the rest of the film is a complete miss.

Only in rare circumstances does a movie soundtrack completely eclipse the film itself, but it does happen. You'll actually be surprised how many famous songs were originally tied to a major motion picture, only for the movie to fade from our collective memory completely. Usually that's not such a problem, because those movies tend to be pretty bad, but as a reminder, here are 9 film soundtracks that were way better than the actual movie.

The Bodyguard

There are so many accolades attached to the movie soundtrack that brought us Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" (itself a Dolly Parton cover) that it's not a real mystery why everyone seems to forget about the actual film, The Bodyguard. Starring Houston herself in a leading role, the movie was pretty meh-to-bad, but man did people adore the soundtrack. With one side featuring all Houston tracks and the other a variety of artists, The Bodyguard soundtrack won the Grammy for Album of the Year, has sold 45 million copies worldwide, and was at the top of the Billboard 200 charts for 20 weeks straight, the current record.  That's a rundown of success even an Oscar-winning movie wouldn't be able to contend with.

Guardians of the Galaxy

Now, as a die-hard Marvel fanboy, I need to make certain you know that while I have placed Guardians of the Galaxy on this list, I'm not saying the movie was bad. I loved it. I'm just saying that the soundtrack was that good. Meaningfully tied into the film itself, the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack features an amazing mix of rock and soul tracks from the late 60s and 70s, and was the very first soundtrack made up of already-released songs to ever top the US Billboard 200 chart. There's a reason this album bears the name "Awesome Mix Vol. 1." Not one to stop with just one incredible soundtrack, director James Gunn also created a prequel to the soundtrack, "Awesome Mix Zero".


People were pretty divided on what they thought of Drive, starring the one-and-only Ryan Gosling. Critics praised the film as a masterful sensory experience, while some viewers cited Drive as a nonsensical movie with the worst dialogue ever. Personally, I loved the film, but what everyone can agree on is the amazing soundtrack. Composed by Cliff Martinez (one-time member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers), the soundtrack to Drive is comprised f 80-era-esque electro-pop tracks that perfectly fit the odd tone of the movie. Just as well recieved by critics as the movie itself, the Drive soundtrack was ranked on Spin Magazine's list of "40 Movie Soundtracks That Changed Alternative Music."


In all honesty, Jaws itself isn't the scariest of movies. You don't even really get a good look at the villainous shark until the end. But what drives the entire film and fills you with fear, suspense, and dread even though nothing scary is happening on-screen? The film's score, composed by John Williams. Now a staple in popular culture, William's "shark" theme is really a very basic pattern of two notes, but despite its simplicity, the theme is undeniably threatening. Williams won the academy award for his work on Jaws and was later ranked as the sixth greatest by the American Film Institute.

Spring Breakers

Yet another film with polarized opinions, Spring Breakers walks that fine line between genius and idiotic. Fortunately, the film's soundtrack was received with wholly positive reviews, and fit the film's tone perfectly. Spring Breakers marked the first film score ever created by EDM DJ Skrillex, accompanied by Cliff Martinez. Many of the tracks are performed by Skrillex and Martinez themselves, but other notable performers include Waka Flocka Flame, Rick Ross, Elle Goulding, and James Franco himself.

Nick And Norah's Infinite Playlist

A movie about two fated sweethearts who share a mutual passion for music, it makes sense that Nick And Norah's Infinite Playlist would have a solid soundtrack. Nick And Norah's Infinite Playlist isn't a particularly bad movie, if not a little on the cutesy side, but the many bands featured in the film's soundtrack outshine the oddball love story. Primarily consisting of bands based in New York, a decision made by director Peter Sollet who wanted to showcase "the best music you haven't heard yet," the film's soundtrack includes songs by We Are Scientists, Vampire Weekend, The Submarines, and many more.

Marie Antoinette

A lot of people question what was going through the mind of director Sofia Copola when she made Marie Antonette, starring Kirsten Duntz. A period film set in 18th century France, the soundtrack is primarily made up of post-punk artists like the Banshees and The Cure, with The Strokes and some Vivaldi thrown in. I can't really say the song choices worked with the (arguably pretty bad) movie, but the soundtrack itself is pretty great, earning itself a "Best Soundtrack" nomination from the Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards an was named by Empire magazine to be one of The 20 Soundtracks That Defined The 2000s.

Purple Rain

Wait, wait, wait, there was a movie attached to the infamously amazing Prince album Purple Rain? Yes, it's true, though history has tried to suppress the memory of this atrocious film, which starred Prince himself. Despite being so-bad-it-went-past-good-and-back-to-bad-again, the film Purple Rain did beget Prince classics "When Doves Cry" and "Let's Go Crazy." Prince also won the Academy Award for Best Original Song Score that year, among MANY other accolades, which balances out the film's horrid reviews and Razzie Award nominations.

The Last Kiss

Zach Braff did wonderful things when he starred in Garden State alongside Natalie Portman, simultaneously helping to score the film. The Last Kiss isn't quite as good of a film, but Braff still got it right with the music. Despite not earning any awards or special distinctions, the list of artists that comprise The Last Kiss's soundtrack are an eclectic mix of quality musicians, so while you may not find the movie all too enjoyable, you'll no doubt enjoy the accompanying tunes