Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Best Movie/TV Exit Music

One of the best things a movie can do is have a strong song over the end credits, because it will have a serious effect on the mood of the audience leaving. Let's see if we can't think of the best ones. I am not thinking of shows where the closing credits music is always the same (e.g. LOST), but I suppose we could count that as well. 

The two that jump to my mind are the Pixies at the end of Fight Club (the song starts just before the closing credits and then continues into them), and ROAR, the theme at the end of Cloverfield. Kill Bill v2 of course has Malaguena Salerosa, which is one of my favorites.


Jason said...

I second the Fight Club one. I hadn't heard that song in years when I saw Fight Club, and then that ending made me want to listen to the song immediately, and over and over again.

I generally hate that "Hey Now You're a Rock Star" song by Smash Mouth, but when it plays at the end of "Mystery Men," I always can't help but smile.

The Stevie Wonder song that closes out "High Fidelity" is very uplifting.

Ditto the George Harrison song ("Dream Away") at the end of "Time Bandits."

Those are my faves ...

scott91777 said...

All time greatest on this one:

"The Sound of Silence" at the end of the Graduate.

James said...

Wes Anderson usually makes good choices for this (and his soundtracks in general); "Ooh La La" on Rushmore and "Everyone" on Royal Tenenbaums spring to mind.

The film with the worst/most inappropriate end-credit music I can think of is Danny Boyle's Sunshine. Oof.

Geoff Klock said...

I saw sunshine, But dont remember the music. What was it?

Anagramsci said...

I really liked April March at the end of "Death Proof"

scott91777 said...

I second Anagramsci... that song rocks (as do many of the Death Proof Songs) I just wish they were available for individual dowload on iTunes.

scott91777 said...

Don't forget about "Goodfellas" and the Sid Vicious cover of "My Way"

Streebo said...

From John Carpenter's original ending to Halloween - Mr. Sandman.

Jake said...

obviously Star Wars. Jurassic Park too.

but those are their own specially-written themes. The Simpsons has had a few eps where they play some great oldies over the end credits but I can't remember any offhand. Scrubs has a lot of good ones too. The a capella version of Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow springs to mind.

James said...

Geoff: Well, as far as I remember, the film itself is scored mostly with Solaris-esque atmospheric pieces, and then when the credits roll, you get this.

I dunno, hearing it now it doesn't seem so awful, but I remember sitting in the cinema going "bwaaa?"

Mikey said...

Jeez - I'm sure there are some amazing ones I just can't think of.

Fight Club, of course - real points added for incorporating the credits sequence (form) into the actual content of the narrative - literally and thematically. Making the paratext part of the narrative or 'ideology' of the movie. When this is done well it just goes to make the movie such a complete experience.

That Death Proof song is great - really gleeful matching the insanity/catharsis perfectly (and making you complicit).

Evil Dead has a closing sequence and quick cut to end credits that's always made me cackle.

Dawn of the Dead.

Most John Carpenter movies that end with that really slow, decaying synth pulse of his are really cool and atmospheric. (The Thing, maybe? They Live!?)

The Incredibles I remember being really cool.

It's kind of incredibly cheesy and dated, but The Matrix. Neo puts the phone down and flies off - RATM kicks in. Although I am usually against using Heavy Metal on film credits - this one is so obvious (rage against the machine! Of course! It's LITERALLY what the film is about!!!) that I give them points for actually doing it - similarly Iron Man as well, another reason why this film, so happy with what it is, is such fun).

In terms of great scores that match really great closing imagery:

Superman I and II

(and particularly ones that cap the trilogy and close off a saga perfectly):

Back to the Future III (that flying train blew my mind - plus, it ends with the words "The End" - no film does that any more, especially blockbusters as it would forego any future cash cow revivals). Speaking of which:

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (again, the score starts rumbling and swelling while the film is still rolling - Indie puts his hat on, Denholm Elliot shouts something like: "I know the way!Follow me!" and they ride off into the sunset together - of course that's the end!)

Doesn't No Country brilliantly end with no music? Any other films do that?

And can I get some love for Karate Kid? Survivor!

James said...

The Matrix and Iron Man = YES! The ending-to-credits of Iron Man was spectacular.

The placement of that cut to the credits can be as effective as the choice of music, I think. In the execrable X3: X-Men: The Last Stand of the X-Men, for example, I really enjoyed how abruptly the credits cut across Magneto moving the chess piece, almost before it has time to register. (NOTE: I did not enjoy another nanosecond of the movie.)

Todd C. Murry said...

Wes Anderson was mantioned, but not the (Bowie) Queen Bitch credits of Life Aquadic? What? Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3inEK-Dyq0

The music on the credits of the Sopranos was always great - the episode that ended with Springsteen's Highway Patrolman and the first episode with Nick Lowe's the Beast in Me were particularly effective, as was the lack of any in the finale. Entourage does the same thing and, though not in the Sopranos league, occasionally hits a home run in this department (one show ended with Ace Frehley's Back in the New York Groove, which felt so right I about jumped out of my seat... hey, I'm easy).

Also, the closing credits of David Lynch's Inland Empire (seriously, the best movie this decade) with the movie's characters mingling at some mysterious lodge to Nina Simone's Sinnerman.

Darius Kazemi said...

Lost In Translation, ending on The Jesus & Mary Chain's "Just Like Honey". Perfect.

Kyle said...

I agree with Fight Club, The Matrix, and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, though the Iron Man use of Black Sabbath was kind of obvious from the teaser (still made me giddy). Fight Club re-introducing "Where Is My Mind?" to popularity is probably responsible for me loving The Pixies.

The "Mad World" cover at the end of Donnie Darko fit the ending perfectly, if only for the lines "the dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had."

scott91777 said...


Mad World! Yes! Good One! Also one of my favorite covers.

Jason said...

Todd, good call on Life Aquatic! The whole film incorporates acoustic foreign-language covers of Bowie, then at the end, BAM! The real thing. That was indeed awesome.

Matthew J. Brady said...

I'm surprised nobody's mentioned this, but the end credits of Reservoir Dogs, with Harry Nilsson's (sic?) "Coconut" are awesome.

Jake, the Simpsons end-credits theme that springs to mind for me is on "Kamp Krusty", when Krusty promises to take the kids to the happiest place on earth: Tijuana! Cue Tony Bennett singing "South of the Border".

James said...

Donnie Darko was great, but then that cover got marketed to hell so it could be "Christmas number 1" here in the UK, which used to be a big deal, or something. But yeah, everyone got pretty sick of it.

The episode of Spaced where they recreate the ending of Empire Strikes Back, and then play the actual Star Wars music over the credits, that was special.

scott91777 said...


Over here "Mad World" didn't get 'over marketed' so much as over-used for marketing. Lots of movie, commercial, and TV show use.

Since Spaced just came out on DVD here, I had never seen it before and the VERY first episode that I watched with a friend was the episode you mention... anyone who knows me knows that that ending, of course, made me immediately fall in love with the series without having to see another single episode. :)

Matthew J. Brady said...

I thought of another one that I love: Dr. Strangelove. "We'll Meet Again" playing over images of mushroom clouds. Check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxrWz9XVvls

Kurt said...

Moby's "God Moving Over The Face Of The Waters" at the end of "Heat" is perfect.

Andy said...

The End of the Presitige, Analyze by Thom York