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Julia Roberts stars as a young woman who realizes she loves the boy who has been her best friend their whole lives but only after he tells her he is engaged. Now she’s got to break that thing up. She gets her friend George Downes (Rupert Everett), a gay man, to pretend to be her fiancé in hopes of making her friend jealous. At a restaurant with most of the family together after a rehearsal, they continue the charade and at one point, George breaks into a breathy version of Burt Bacharach‘s Say A Little Prayer. Soon everyone joins in with perfect harmonies and choreography! Even a waiter joins the fun. Only in the movies.
Richard Linklater‘s second film in this romantic drama trilogy sees Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Céline (Julie Delpy) meeting again after the nine years since Before Sunrise (1995). Catching up on old times and reawakened feelings, Jesse visits Céline’s Paris apartment and the connection grows, even after so many years. As their day comes to a close, she eventually is persuaded to play him a waltz on her guitar, gently singing about their first encounter. There’s no plane in the would that Jesse would want to catch after that. Oh, that might be a spoiler by the way. Right. Like you haven’t seen it already, you romantic fool.
In this irreverent comedy, Navin (Steve Martin) is not the sharpest tack in the box and when he finally decides to leave home and make a life for himself, he hitch-hikes across the country getting into some rather curious (and hilarious) situations. One day, he meets Marie (Bernadette Peters), a lovely young woman with bouncy curls and a wicked uppercut. On one date, they stroll along the beach and make a fire under the evening stars while singing Tonight You Belong To Me. Navin strums on his ukulele (an instrument we’ll get to know a lot on this list) and Marie solos on a . . . coronet? Where did that come from? It’s impromptu, adorable, and Peters on the horn is both funny and a little sexy. Yeah, we just said that.
Quentin Tarantino’s directorial debut sees a gang of unfamiliar criminals working on a heist together, though it goes bad and in the aftermath as some lay bleeding out, questions arise about loyalty and trust. They’ve also captured a police officer and have him bound and gaged in a warehouse. Enter Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen) a sociopath with a straight razor. Intending to cause the cop some harm, he flips on the radio to the super sounds of the 70s and Stealers Wheel‘s Stuck in the Middle Again pops on. Taunting his prey, he begins to dance and sing along in one of the most frightening and more difficult moments in all of Tarantino’s films. Good song though.
Based on William Shakespeare‘s The Taming of the Shrew, this romantic comedy sees new student Cameron (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) fall smitten with Bianca (Larisa Oleynik) and, in order to get around her strict father, tries to get Patrick (Heath Ledger), a ‘bad boy’, to date Bianca’s temperamental sister, Kat (Julia Stiles). Not so easy. In one grand public display of affection, Patrick gets hold of the PA system mic at the school football field, and while the players are practicing and Kat and the cheerleaders are warming up, he breaks into a lilting version of the classic rock ballad, Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You. Such a joker.
Stanley Kubrick‘s epic Vietnam anti-war film is told in two parts, with soldiers enduring basic training in the first half and then shipped off to fight in the second. Violent and graphic, the film is remembered for its realistic depiction of war, which is why when the soldiers are marching in the dark across a battle-strewn city in flames, hearing them suddenly break into the theme from the Mickey Mouse Club is that much more odd. Can’t help but sing along. You’re doing in now, aren’t you?
This British/Irish coming of age indie film is a wildly stylistic jab at youth, drugs, parties, relationships and everything in-between, centered around the late 90s dance and club scene. The story follows Jip (John Simm) a guy who hasn’t quite got it all figured out and is feeling like the world doesn’t have a place for him or his generation. The film’s exposition style has him breaking the fourth wall and narrating the goings on. At one point he remarks with internal monologue that it’s time there was a new national anthem to better reflect his generation’s view, so surrounded by his peers at a pub, breaks into a new version complete with on-screen bouncing ball subtitles. His girlfriend quickly jumps in, then his friends, and then the whole place is in on the gig. It’s hard being cool.
A couple of down of their luck friends, Skip Donahue (Gene Wilder) and Harry Monroe (Richard Pryor), pack up and leave New York for Hollywood but run into big trouble in Arizona when they are mistaken for bank robbers and end up behind bars in a maximum security prison. There, they meet Grossberger (Erland van Lidth), a towering behemoth of a convict who has everyone in terror. The twisted warden (because all movie wardens are) puts Grossberger in their cell as ‘motivation’ to get Skip to ride in the prison rodeo, but to everyone’s surprise, Grossberger is just a big gentle giant. And he sings! One day, in their cell, he suddenly breaks into Down in the Valley, an old-time traditional folksong. Who knew?
A high school girl (Emma Stone) lies about a sexual encounter and it soon spreads like wild-fire. It’s not long after when boys begin asking her if they can say they slept with her too in order to boost their social standing, and she agrees if they pay her with gift cards. At the start of the story, she receives a musical greeting card with the tune Pocketful of Sunshine by Natasha Bedingfield inside on a music chip. It annoys her at first, but as the weekend ticks by, it grows increasingly better until she’s singing it aloud all over the house. Nice nod to Bueller. Speaking of which . . .
This one sees popular high school student Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) deciding he needs one last good day off before he has to graduate and start being an adult. He gets his girlfriend (Mia Sara) and best friend (Alan Ruck) to join him and all they have to do now is avoid the persistent and skeptical Principal Rooney (Jeffery Jones). Before he makes it to downtown Chicago and jumps onto a passing float for the Von Steuben Day parade and wildly lip-syncs (hence not on this list) a couple of tunes, he hops in the shower and sings a bit of Danke Schoen, a prelude to what is coming. He’s a righteous dude.
Cocky Navy pilot Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) and his Radar Intercept Officer Nick “Goose” Bradshaw (Anthony Edwards) earn a trip to the the Top Gun Naval flight school. On the night before the program begins, he and the boys from all the other crews are at a bar where Maverick meets a lovely young woman and zeroes in for some smooth pick-up moves. To woo her, he and Goose kick off with a song, The Righteous Brothers timeless, You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling. Too bad she not only has a date, he finds out the next day, she’s one of his instructors. Crash and burn.
When a young and beautiful New York socialite named Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn) falls for a writer named Paul Varjak (George Peppard) who has moved in next door, the couple become close as they both search for something more than their position in life. One day, while Paul struggles to find inspiration on his typewriter, he hears a gentle strumming on a guitar one floor down, and goes to his window to see Holly on a sill, softly singing Henry Mancini‘s Moon River (written specifically for the film). The tune ends with her breathy voice inviting, ‘Hi’. Why doesn’t this happen in real life?
In a futuristic London, the leader of a group of dangerous thugs is arrested and sent for behavioral modification therapy created by the government in an attempt to stop the increasing violence on the streets. Early in the story, Alex DeLarge (Malcolm McDowell) takes his gang to the home of popular writer Frank Alexander (Patrick Magee) where they break in and beat him senseless before Alex turns his rage on Mr. Alexander’s wife (Adrienne Corri) and violently rapes her. All the while he’s chortling Singin’ in the Rain. Terrifying and eerily unsettling, this is a far cry from where the song began. Let’s move on.
Harry (Jeff Daniels) and Lloyd (Jim Carrey) are well, dumb and dumber guys who, after losing their jobs, decide to head West and start again, looking a girl Lloyd thinks is his dream woman. On the road in their dogmobile, they pick up Joe “Mental” Mentalino (Mike Starr) hitchhiking, not realizing he’s actually a bad guy following them. Surprised at Harry and Lloyd’s bizarre behavior, and already suffering from a stomach ulcer, he asks the boys to play the radio. No doing. Who needs a radio? The guys break into a terrible rendition of Mockingbird. At least it’s not the most annoying sound in the world.
A 15-year-old writer (Patrick Fugit) gets a chance to write for Rolling Stone magazine about a new band on the rise, and discovers much more than he intended in this semi-autobiographical tale written by Cameron Crowe. Traveling with the band, who are suffering from fatigue and loneliness, desperate for something to pull them together, on the radio starts Elton John‘s Tiny Dancer and soon the whole bus is singing along. Yes, there’s a lot of music in the movie, but this is the only one song that comes from the moment, not from the band on stage. Admit it. You sang, too.
When a young couple (Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis) are killed after their car falls off a covered bridge, they go home not realizing they are dead. But when they get there, they find some time has passed and other people are now living in their house. Time to get some help and scare them pesky mortals away. They summon Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton), a mischievous ghost who at one point, possesses everyone while at dinner, forcing them to sing along with Harry Belefonte‘s Day O (The Banana Boat Song). Just watch out for the shrimp.
High school seniors Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera) are facing a future where they won’t be seeing each other every day as they are accepted to two different colleges and it’s got them worried. But that’s almost an afterthought to making sure they lose their virginity before graduation. They finally get invited to a huge party when they promise to bring the alcohol. But things leading up that don’t go so well and eventually Evan gets separated and ends up in a back room full of drunk hardcore drug user who mistake him for ‘Jimmy’s brother’, who has a great singing voice. Forced to do it, Evan breaks into an a cappella version of The Guess Who‘s These Eyes, which, due to his audience’s heavily distorted states of mind, win them straight over. Sadly, no McLovin.
A past-his-prime movie star named Bob (Bill Murray) heads to Japan to film a commercial and while in the hotel meets a young married woman named Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) and form a powerful friendship. The two spends a lot of time together discovering much about who they are and the world they live in. One evening, as the hints of attraction linger in every corner, they end up at a karaoke bar where Charlotte charms us with a rendition of Brass in Pocket by The Pretenders before Bob breaks out the classic More Than This by Roxy Music and has us all swooning. Least he’s not whispering it so we can’t hear him.
A story about Joe (Tom Hanks), an average guy in a lousy job who learns he has a ‘brain cloud’ and has six months to live. He then volunteers to jump into an active volcano to appease the gods of an island who hold the only known quantities of a very valuable mineral called ‘bubaru’. On his journey there, Joe find himself adrift on a raft made of luggage with poor unconscious Meg Ryan. To pass the time, he picks up a ukulele (that’s two) and suddenly sings the classic “Cowboy Song” as the stars roll by. This movie is so darned good.
Who doesn’t know about this genre-defining creature feature that straight-up invented the summer blockbuster? When a local sheriff (Roy Scheider), a shark expert (Richard Dreyfuss), and a deep sea fisherman (Robert Shaw) take to the waters to hunt down a great white shark using people as a buffet, they take a moment to reflect on their past and learn a bit about each other’s stories, ending with a rollicking round of Show Me The Way To Go Home, which is quite honestly, rudely interrupted by their friend the shark.
San Diego TV news anchor Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) is the best in the business but a little behind the times when the station hires a woman to be his co-anchor. He’s not the only one. The whole news team is in a bind and they make it vocal. But things take a right turn when Ron finds himself in love with the beautiful Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate). When he tells the boys about it, they grow curious as to what it all means, and the only way Ron can express it, is with song. Specifically, Afternoon Delight by the Starland Vocal Band of course! Sounds like he has mental problems, man. Yeah. Mental problems.
A young couple, played by Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams have their tumultuous love affair from dating to marriage and beyond told in an out-of-sequence story that is at times both heartbreaking and tragic and equally uplifting and inspirational. Early in their relationship, the two are walking the streets at night and they stop in front of a closed clothing boutique with a heart wreath on the door. He has a ukulele (what is that, three now?) and she knows how to tap dance, and so suddenly he breaks into You Always Hurt the One You Love, a standard by Allan Roberts and Doris Fisher. In what sounds like something entirely silly is instead a supremely personal moment that is astonishingly emotional and one of the greatest spontaneous musical moments in cinema history.
You totally saw this one coming. Wayne Campbell (Mike Myers) and his best friend Garth Algar (Dana Carvey) are party boys with a late night cable show who gets bought by a scheming producer who is looking to purchase a feeble public access cable show and exploit it. Before that all happens though is the epic opening volley of this tour-de-force comedy and the sudden singing of the classic Queen anthem Bohemian Rhapsody. The 17-year-old song was propelled back to the top of the charts and is now forever associated with the film. The greatest suddenly singing moment in the movies. Ever. Not!
Did we miss a favorite of yours? Let us know in the comments below.