Stealers Wheel ‘Stuck In The Middle With You’ (from Reservoir Dogs)
The application of Tarantino’s twisted humour to scenes of violence and death is at its best here. The cop sits tied up and gagged to the chair, as the effortlessly cool Mr Blonde puts on one his favourite tunes and proceeds to dice up the helpless official’s right ear. Shimmying around the place, Mr Blonde’s actions tie in perfectly with the suavity of the song, and offer a grim punchline to a bloody scene. Classic Tarantino.
Chuck Berry ‘You Can Never Tell’ (from Pulp Fiction)
A song and a scene that provided all sorts of knowing winks, Berry’s 50’s rock and roll and Travolta’s dancing taking us back to his appearance in Grease, where he was also King of the dance floor. With Uma Thurman cutting a rug alongside him, the scene has become one of those indelibly marked on the minds of movie fans everywhere.
Dick Dale & The Deltones ‘Misirlou' (from Pulp Fiction)
Not sure how we couldn’t include this – even if the Black Eyed Peas have since horribly bastardized it – a brilliant opening to a brilliant film, the scene it is a perfect example of Tarantino at his best; a tawdry looking scene, a coolly but quickly delivered exchange by a seemingly loved-up couple, then all of a sudden action, as the diner is suddenly held up by these two lovebirds. An exhilarating change of pace.
Nancy Sinatra ‘Bang Bang’ (from Kill Bill Vol. 1)
The song that started it all in Kill Bill, and subsequently the one probably most synonymously linked with the films. The Bride lies on the floor, bloody of face and staring up at an assailant. A shot rings out and Nancy Sinatra’s lament slowly begins to unfurl with a subtle tension. A sumptuous opening.
The Delfonics ‘Didn’t I Blow Your Mind This Time’ (from Jackie Brown)
Many of Tarantino’s soundtracks subvert the scene in some way, linking to the action but often taking it to a mood you might not have considered. Here however The Delfonics smooth R&B 70’s hit provided the perfect accompaniment as Jackie Brown enjoyed a rare moment of still in her flat with Robbie.
David Bowie ‘Putting Out The Fire With Gasoline’ (from Inglorious Basterds)
In another example of well-chosen pilfering, Tarantino picked this Bowie song – originally recorded in 1982 with legendary producer Giorgio Moroder for horror film Cat People – to play a similar to device as that of The 5,6,7,8’s track in Kill Bill Vol. 1. The song set up the bloody finale in Inglorious Basterds, with Shosanna Dreyfuss moving along to the beat, applying warpaint and preparing herself for the final attrition.
(Source, incl. the other songs)
I love the soundtracks to his movies so much. Any that the list missed? Other songs that you think were particularly well-used in films?