Closing credit songs — it’s the last thing you hear as you leave a theater, and can very often influence your opinion of a movie slightly one way or another. Take Avatar as the most recent example — even if you liked the movie, how incredibly off-putting is it to leave a huge action spectacle to the song-stylings of Leona Lewis’ “I See You.” (If you’re going to make a song that ear screeching, go all out: Get Celine Dion. You already spent $500 million on your movie, another $1 million ain’t gonna hurt.)
But there are also really bad movies that can occasionally redeem themselves ever so slightly with a decent closing-credit song — I don’t know how many terrible romantic comedies I see where the closing credit song is actually the best part of the movie (bonus points for blooper scenes, which tend to be the funniest part of the movie (see also: The Rush Hour trilogy)).
Anyway, with that, I bring you the 15 Most Memorable Closing Credit Songs. Not the best (God knows, some of the ones below are awful), but the ones that seem to stick with you the most and/or fit the tone of the movie the best (regardless of the quality of the movie), or — in the best cases — actually offer a substantive musical epilogue to the narrative.
I did my best to actually find video clips from the movies, but the studios hardly let anything through anymore, so most of these videos are just of the songs.
15. “Age of Aquarius,” by the 5th Dimension in 40-Year-Old Virgin
14. “Extreme Ways,” by Moby in The Bourne Identity
13. “Just Once,” by James Ingram in The Last American Virgin
12. “An Ending (Ascent),” by Brian Eno in Traffic
11. “Ooh La La,” by The Faces in Rushmore
10. “Glory of Love,” by Peter Cetera in Karate Kid II
9. “Put a Little Love in Your Heart,” by Annie Lennox and Al Green in Scrooged
8. “The Promise” by When in Rome in Napoleon Dynamite
7. “Things Have Changed,” by Bob Dylan in Wonder Boys
6. “Miss Misery” by Elliot Smith in Good Will Hunting
5. “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life,” by Monty Python in Life of Brian
4. “I Believe (When I Fall in Love)” by Stevie Wonder in High Fidelity
3. “Build Me Up Buttercup” by the Foundations in There’s Something About Mary
2. “Where is My Mind,” by the Pixies in The Fight Club
1. “Don’t You Forget About Me,” by Simple Minds in The Breakfast Club