15 Movie Soundtracks That Totally Shaped Generation X

by Emma Waverman
Originally Published: 
A scene from Pulp Fiction that has a soundtrack that shaped Generation X

Here, in no particular order, are some of the best movie soundtracks that shaped our generation:

1. Saturday Night Fever

It may have been the music of our parents’ parties, but this 1977 album made the BeeGees a part of our childhood.

2. Top Gun

Everyone should have someone sing “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” on their knees at some point. And “Take My Breath Away” may have been the wedding song of 1987.

3. Breakfast Club

If you don’t know the words to “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds, then can you really call yourself Generation X?

4. The Big Chill

The characters were baby boomers, but the soundtrack translated Motown for us Gen X-ers.

5. Grosse Point Blank

The movie came out in 1997, but Joe Strummer collected iconic independent bands from the ’80s for this throwback soundtrack.

6. Cocktail

This soundtrack was the backdrop to the summer of 1988. We all just wanted to be like Bobby McFerrin and be happy.

7. Reality Bites

The ’90s film about slackers also gave us a soundtrack with some of the’ 90s biggest stars: U2, Crowded House and Lenny Kravitz with a little Peter Frampton thrown in—and don’t forget Lisa Loeb.

8. Pretty in Pink/Some Kind of Wonderful

John Hughes had a thing for New Wave, and we can thank him for the gloomy hours spent in our rooms listening to OMD’s “If You Leave,” The Smiths and Echo and the Bunnymen.

9. Footloose

Admit it—you had something for “Let’s Hear It for the Boy” and your toes start tapping to Kenny Loggins’s title track whenever you hear it.

10. Flashdance

It wasn’t just the off-the-shoulder sweatshirt that makes this 1983 film iconic. The soundtrack sold over 20 million copies worldwide and was requisite play at every school dance in the ’80s.

11. Fame

Who didn’t want to sing the body electric at graduation?

12. Singles

Cameron Crowe makes a mixtape like no other and the soundtrack from Singles was like a love letter from the Seattle grunge region (minus Nirvana).

13. Romeo and Juliet

The perfect moody soundtrack to sob to as you watch Leonardo and Claire die for each other.

14. Pulp Fiction

In Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 film, the music is as much of a character as John Travolta. The whole soundtrack is still a great listen.

15. Purple Rain

It was 1984 and Prince ruled. Enough said.

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