Featuring Rihanna contributing “Life Me Up” to the soundtrack Black Panther: Wakanda Foreverthe song has garnered almost as much attention as the film itself. In fact, there have been times when a film’s theme song takes on a life of its own and eclipses the film in popularity.
In some of these cases, the song belongs to a film that did not have a large audience, such as Once, yet the song managed to emerge from the darkness. Other songs belonged to well-known film hits, such as Rocky III, but has become more popular over time. Although rare, it’s interesting to listen to these movie themes that have outdone the movies.
Falling Slow – Once (2006)
Once is a charming independent film that follows two amateur musicians who form a bond and start making music together. For such a small film Once managed to get a decent audience, but that was largely helped by the song “Falling Slowly”.
Though the film has remained a slight fan favorite, Redditor Sane333 feels the song “has taken on a life of its own.” In fact, the Oscar-winning song likely led people to discover the film and not the other way around.
Can’t Help But Fall in Love – Blue Hawaii (1961)
With the recent success of the biopic, fans could revisit some of Elvis Presley’s best films. But despite being a superstar musician, Presley’s acting career never received the same recognition. That includes the movie Blue Hawaii where he plays a musical tour guide, which leads to him singing “Can’t Help Falling in Love” for the first time.
One Redditor points out that few fans are likely familiar with the popular song “started in Elvis’ cheesy Hawaiian movie.” It’s a fitting example of the difference between his film career and his music career Blue Hawaii has largely been forgotten while “Can’t Help Falling in Love” is one of his most iconic songs.
Unchained Melody – Unchained (1955)
There are probably few people who remember the film unleashed but it gave the world one of the most covered songs of all time. The overlooked crime thriller follows a convict as he struggles between serving his sentence and trying to escape.
Although quite unexpected given the story, the film introduced the popular love song “Unchained Melody”. Redditor great_auks admits the song didn’t get much attention in a movie “hardly anyone has ever seen.” It also shows the importance of using a song within the film. When the cover of “Unchained Melody” was used by the Righteous Brothers Spiritthe song found a new life.
Iris – City of Angels (1998)
city of Angels is the story of an angel who comes to earth to take the recently deceased to heaven, but ends up falling in love with a human woman. Despite the high concept and stars like Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan, the film is best remembered for the Goo Goo Dolls song “Iris.”
A Redditor admits to the film that they “have never heard of it and I think ‘Iris’ is a classic”. Interestingly, the film failed to get people too involved in its love story, but the song managed to become a central love song of the 1990s.
We Have All the Time in the World – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
While some James Bond theme songs are more popular than others, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service contains a song that is not the official theme of the film, but still tops the film itself with Louis Armstrong’s “We Have All the Time in the World”.
Redditor MrTidels claims that “it wasn’t until I saw all the Bond movies two years ago” that they realized this was where the song came from. Appropriately after it was used to mark Tracy Bond’s death. The song was reused for no time to die for another sad death in the James Bond franchise.
Lux Aeterna – Requiem for a Dream (2000)
Darren Aronofskys Requiem for a Dream is a harrowing look at the interconnected lives of several people whose dreams and futures are being shattered by their drug addiction. It all builds on some of the saddest film endings that fans refuse to watch again, accompanied by the haunting theme song “Lux Aeterna”.
Redditor FlerblesMerbles points out that people “probably don’t know where ‘that epic trailer song’ came from” as it’s been used in countless trailers since then. Despite the film’s acclaim, fans might associate it with other films as it is often included in trailers.
Theme from Love Story – Love Story (1970)
love story is a confusing example of a film that initially had so much success, only to fade from memory over time. It tells the story of a young couple from diverse backgrounds who pursue romance only to be struck by tragedy.
Even though it was a huge box office hit and nominated for Best Picture, Redditor faust06 insists on it love story was “usually forgotten at this point”. However, his only win at the Oscars was his theme music, which is still recognizable to this day. It’s hard to say why this is the only aspect of the film that has been preserved while the rest has been forgotten.
Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door – Pat Garret and Billy The Kid (1973)
Bob Dylan only starred in a handful of films over the course of his career and never made much of a splash as an actor. However, as with Elvis Presley, bringing his own musical talents to the film sometimes helped to give it some recognition. In the West Pat Garret and Billy the Kid, Dylan performed the song “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”.
While Redditor EersteDivisie admits they are “not sure how many people have even heard of this movie today,” the song remains one of Dylan’s most popular. Given that the film is a mushy Western while the song is a thoughtful and powerful tune, it’s not too surprising which one stood out the most.
Eye of the Tiger – Rocky III (1982)
While the score for the original Rocky In keeping with the film’s cult status, Survivor’s song “Eye of the Tiger” was perhaps too catchy for the third film. Although the first film was an underdog story, Rocky III finds the boxer overwhelmed by fame and faces a hungry new challenger.
Redditor Poptophazard points out, “Most people can hum or sing ‘Eye of the Tiger’ more than the plot can describe Rocky III.” It’s true that this sequel isn’t as memorable as some other episodes, while “Eye of the Tiger” sticks in people’s minds almost immediately.
Main Theme – Chariot of Fire (1981)
As Redditor JohnTequilaWoo points out, “although it won Best Picture,” there aren’t too many people who can say they’ve seen it Chariot of Fire. The film tells the story of two track and field athletes from different backgrounds trying to win at the 1924 Olympic Games.
There’s probably an image from the film that fans will recognize as the characters walk around the beach in slow motion. But that’s probably down to its use of the iconic music, which has been used endlessly to parody moments like this, penetrating pop culture in a way the film never did.
NEXT: 10 songs that became popular again after being in a movie, according to Reddit