Top Five: Indie Movie Soundtracks

Here are five films that make use of pre-existing music to create some of the most memorable scores in contemporary cinema.


Mean Streets

Martin Scorsese leads the way, creating a soundtrack to his gangster pulp classic entirely out of pre-existing popular music. Using a predominantly Motown score, this would later go on to inspire Quentin Tarantino. The full track listing can be found here.


Reservoir Dogs

Taking direct inspiration from Scorsese, Tarantino uses a score of 70s pop music for Reservoir Dogs, his first feature-length film. One particular scene – perhaps one of the most famous scenes in cinematic history  – involves Mr. Blonde cutting off Nash’s right ear with a razor, all to the tune of Stealers Wheel’s Stuck in the Middle with You. Tarantino would go on to use this method for all of his subsequent films, including Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill. The full track listing to Reservoir Dogs can be found here.


Donnie Darko

Michael Andrew’s soundtrack is perfectly matched to director Richard Kelly’s quirky depiction of life in a late-eighties American high-school. This cult classic features hits by Duran Duran, Joy Division and INXS. Full track listing can be found here.


Lost in Translation

Featuring a suitably impressionistic soundtrack, Lost in Translation features five tracks by Kevin Shields, including Sometimes, by his band My Bloody Valentine; and Roxy Music’s More than This. Romantic and hypnotic, Lost in Translation‘s unusual soundtrack compliments Sofia Coppola’s second feature film beautifully. The full soundtrack can be found here.



Danny Boyle’s predominantly Brit-pop score accompanies his drug-soaked foray into the UK heroin scene. Featuring Elastica and Blur, the full soundtrack can be found here.



  1. Those are all great soundtrack choices. Have you checked out that Drive soundtrack ? That might be the first soundtrack I have purchased since Pulp Fiction.

  2. The only one of these I’ve seen is Donnie Darko and I LOVE that soundtrack.

    Reservoir Dogs is on my list . . . I know it’s shameful that I’ve never seen it! . . . I’ll have to add the others to my list as well :)

    1. Reservoir Dogs – it’s a classic :) If you love the Donnie Darko soundtrack then i’m certain you’ll like Lost in Translation soundtrack too. Let me know what you think when you’ve got round to watching them!

  3. Out of all of these it has to be reservoir dogs! Quinton Tarantino’s soundtracks in all of his movies are immense! The Django soundtrack is so old school and bad ass!

    1. Thanks for reading! I agree, he just has the best taste in music and puts you on to artists that you might not have otherwise found yourself. His soundtracks are so iconic – I can’t hear Stuck in the Middle with You without thinking of that scene, or Across from 110 Street without thinking of Jackie Brown.

  4. I love the Three Colours soundtracks – particularly Red and White. It’s probably not a compliment, but they’re great to fall asleep to. I love some of John Cale’s too – La Naissance de l’Amour would be my favourite one of his. Another late night CD.

    1. ah, I love the Three Colours too, it’s one of my favourite pieces of cinema of all time! I’ve not heard of John Cale or La Naissance de l’Amour – I’ll have to investigate…

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