The 30 Greatest Rock & Roll Movie Moments

Rolling Stone

The movies have a long history of glorious rock & roll moments. Whether the story is about gangsters, lovers, warriors or vampires, the right song can jolt an ordinary flick into something loud and wild. So behold, the 30 all-time greatest rock & roll moments in film history – from Goodfellas to Hot Tub Time Machine, from Elvis to the RZA, from Lloyd Dobler to Spinal Tap to the Dude. (We're not talking show tunes here, so no "Let Me Entertain You" from Gypsy or "I'm Tired" from Blazing Saddles. And no TV, so apologies to Mad Men's "Tomorrow Never Knows" and Community's "Roxanne.") These are just a few of our favorite eruptions of cinematic rockingness. Play these movies loud.

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30. Elvis Presley, 'C'mon Everybody' in 'Viva Las Vegas' (1964)

And this is why Elvis is the King. Not because he made dozens of these movies, most of them total cheese. Not because they’re all full of corny scenes where he can just stroll into the local gym and get begged to do a song like this. ("C’mon Everybody" is no relation to the Eddie Cochran rockabilly classic of the same name, except they're both awesome.) No, he's the King because of the superhuman confidence he brings to every moment. That's also why he brings the seductively leotarded Ann-Margret to an orgasmic frenzy with just the quiver in his voice. He makes her Sweden-sired hips undulate right next to his, for the ultimate cinematic hip-shake battle royale. And what a battle it is – though Elvis would be the first to admit that even the King can't outwiggle Ann-Margret.

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29. Jesus and Mary Chain, 'Just Like Honey' in 'Lost in Translation' (2002)

Listen to the girl, as she takes on half the world. This music is what it sounds like inside Scarlett Johansson's heart at the end of the movie, a heart that's like a honey-dripping beehive full of lust and anguish and guitar feedback cranked up to 10. "Just Like Honey" has the same Phil Spector "Be My Baby" beat that opens Mean Streets and Dirty Dancing. Yet director Sofia Coppolla uses this punk love song to make the finale seem inspirational, as if all of Scarlett's wounded romanticism is ringing out loud like the Jesus and Mary Chain's guitars. In real life, Scarlett also got to sing this song with the band for their 2007 reunion at Coachella.

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28. Public Enemy, 'Fight the Power' in 'Do the Right Thing' (1989)

Brooklyn, the summer of '89: city heat, race riots, trigger-happy cops, crack, poverty, pizza and a boombox on every corner blasting hip-hop. Spike Lee sets the scene right in the streets of the hood, kicking off the action with Rosie Perez dancing through the credits to Public Enemy: "1989! A number! Another summer! Sound of the funky drummer!" Chuck D, Flavor Flav and the Bomb Squad bum-rush the show and go for what they know. Rosie does her best to fight the power her own way, by shaking ass in a sports bra and boxing gloves.

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27. 7 Year Bitch, 'The Scratch' in 'Mad Love' (1995)

The Nineties-est moment of all time. Drew Barrymore plays a psycho teen from Seattle (every Nineties movie had one of those) who finds salvation in punk rock. She goes to see her fave riot grrrl band, screaming along with the lyrics ("I will have my cake! And I will eat it too! Just like you!"), banging her head, eyes closed in rapture. Nothing can ruin this moment of rock & roll bliss, not even that tool Chris O’Donnell showing up. Settle down, Beavis – Drew needs her rocking-out time.

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26. The Doors, 'Moonlight Drive' in 'Two Lane Blacktop' (1971)

James Taylor and Dennis Wilson in a '55 Chevy – a couple of rock stars acting in Monte Hellman's classic indie film, the ultimate existential road trip. They're a pair of hippie con men, rolling into a new town, cruising the local hot-rod spot looking for a sucker they can lure into a high-stakes drag race. They find the tough guys hanging out in the burger-joint parking lot, blasting the Doors, posing by their muscle cars, waiting for the good times to start. But the music warns that the good times are already over.

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See the top 25 Greatest Rock & Roll Movie Moments on RollingStone.com

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