This is the End (Credits Song List)

I am not one of those people who must remain seated as the end credits roll. More often than not, a spring launches out of my ass and I make for the exits before the second name in the credits has appeared. I don’t need to know who the boom operator was. But sometimes, a movie will play a really cool song that convinces me to stick around. Here are some of the best. Fair warning- since these are the endings of these movies, there are spoilers all over the place.

There Will be Blood (2007)
The Song:
Violin Concerto in D Major (Movement III)
The choice of a classic violin concerto adds to the air of the film as a true classic. Moreover, the segue from Plainview’s complete descent into greedy insanity juxtaposed with the powerful but mischievous violins flows so naturally. It’s finished. Take the ride to the 14:00 mark for a tiny taste:

The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
The Song:
Everyone, Van Morrison
It’s the perfect song to wrap up a tale drenched in yellow filters and comical wealthy big city American woe, particularly in a bittersweet ending.

Fargo (1996)
The Song:
The Lost Sheep/Dance of the Sierra
My understanding is that “The Lost Sheep” is a Norwegian folk song adapted by noted Coen collaborator Carter Burwell, while Burwell composed “Dance of the Sierra”. I can not possibly describe it but there’s something wonderfully eerie and haunting about these pair of songs and they jive well with the whole movie. Just hearing it makes me want to watch the whole damned movie all over again.

Fight Club (1999)
The Song:
Where’s My Mind, The Pixies
I consider this possibly, probably, the best use of music ever in a final scene and the end credits. When I first saw it, I grinned from ear to ear realizing what had been paired together.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
The Song: That “Doooo-Bow-Bow” song that was all over the place in the 80’s
Oooooooh, yeaaaah. (Doo-Bow-Bow)

Boogie Nights (1997)
The Song:
It’s a Livin’ Thing, E.L.O.
It fits the era and the lyrics fit the film’s theme like a glove. Just like a latex, spermicidal jelly-covered glove. Possibly ribbed. For obvious reasons, I couldn’t find a clip of the film’s end credits. Namely, you can’t put Marky Mark’s prodigious fake dong on Youtube. Instead, here’s the dong-free version of the song.

Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
The Song
Shostakovich: Waltz 2 from Jazz Suite
Before this waltz started making the rounds in Heineken ads, it served as the perfect punctuation to Stanley Kubrick’s version of a Woody Allen movie gone horribly wrong.

Pulp Fiction (1994)
The Song:
Surf Rider, The Lively Ones
Leave it to Quentin Tarantino to end his non-linear tale of L.A. mob wackiness with Jules and Vincent strutting out of the diner to a surf song.

Wonder Boys (2000)
The Song:
Things Have Changed, Bob Dylan
The film itself was fine but it hits a soft spot for me because it’s Dylan… which means it’s great. And it works with the cynical protagonist.

I’m Not There (2007)
The Song:
Like a Rolling Stone, Bob Dylan
Speaking of Dylan, there is no other way that Todd Haynes’ interlocking story/multiple actor biography about Bob Dylan could have ended, especially since it’s one of the very few of Dylan’s best songs that doesn’t appear in the film (either cryptically or more directly).

The Breakfast Club (1985)
The Song:
Don’t You (Forget About Me), Simple Minds
I’m the type of cynical asshole who doesn’t care all that much for this movie, but even a cynical asshole like me has to admit that it’s a pretty iconic, decade-defining ending, up to and including the end credits.

A Serious Man (2009)
The Song:
Somebody to Love, Jefferson Airplane
Grace Slick’s powerful voice drives the whole thing home after 2 hours of Jewish theological distress. It’s made even better by the fact that it bookends the whole film, playing during both the opening and ending credits.

I kind of want to include the end credits from The Karate Kid, Part II because I think it’s Chicago playing The Glory of Love but I don’t really remember it well enough.  




Filed under Humor, Movies

29 responses to “This is the End (Credits Song List)

  1. The ending to There Will be Blood convinces me that Johnny Greenwood should do the music to the Blood Meridien movie that might never happen. There’s too many parallels between the two books and the ending and the music makes that more apparent.

  2. Haha, John, I am the exact opposite. I always stay through the credits, always. But yeah, it’s usually for the music. I remember in Black Swan my ass was frozen to the seat and I couldn’t get up, it was just so shocking and brilliant. This list is fantastic, mate, even better than I thought it would be looking at the title. I am 100% with you on There Will Be Blood, Eyes Wide Shut, Boogie Nights and A Serious Man, all great end credits. Strangely, the director whose films I can never leave during the credits is also the director who doesn’t use music at all in his credits: Michael Haneke. At the end of The Piano Teacher and Cache, particularly, I couldn’t move. There’s just so much to take in from his films that it’s impossible for me to leave straight away.

    • Also, I must add the most disturbing end credit sequence I have ever seen. It’s from Lars von Trier’s Dogville, and it features a series of frightening images of America’s history. Seeing these disturbing images combined with the upbeat music of David Bowie’s “Young Americans” is the ultimate irony, and I will never forget it. Here’s the video on YouTube if you need a refresher. No list would be complete without it, in my opinion:

    • I’m lazy and want to beat the foot traffic leaving the theater. But I definitely digest on the way home. I love the post-film drive home, figuring out how I felt about everything. Or just angry, like I was when I left “Catfish”.

  3. Blondie

    On the opposite end of the spectrum…what about that song at the end of the new True Grit? The voice sounded like a Dolly Parton/sheep hybrid! Or the song at the end of Avatar? Didn’t much care for that movie anyway…and that song, well, sealed the deal for me. Also, last song of Crash? What was up with that? It was Bryan Adams-esque. Only thing I think I’d change of that whole movie. I’d stick with the strange etheral, vocals, then end with that feel-goodie.

    • Now I have to go track down the True Grit end credits because I’m curious about what it was. Funny that it’d be bad since the Coens tend to be good at that sort of thing.

      • Dave

        The end titles in True Grit are sung by Iris Dement a very renowned gospel, folk singer. The hymn “Leaning in the Everlasting Arms” is from the 1880s. It corresponds to the time frame in True Grit.

  4. I did a list just like this when I first started my blog. In fact I believe it was the first list I put together.

    We only shared one song and that is Where is my mind?

    My wife used to live with a member of ELO (true fact)

  5. It was Peter Cetera (of Chicago fame), who had a few hits during his solo career. It’s kinda lame that I know this, but I don’t really care.

    Also, the song at the end of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was performed by a Swiss band called Yello.

    I only know this ’cause I used to work with a guy who knew this, or I’d still be clueless about this song.

    • Ha… now I know, once and forever, that the “Doo Bow Bow” song is by a band named “Yello”. That thing was all over the place back in the day. I seem to remember it in at least “The Secret of My Success”.

  6. Darah

    Heres a weird thing, the end credits to Finding Nemo which we rewatchterpieced the other day, is the frankly fantastic Bobby Darin – ‘Somewhere, beyond the sea….’
    Makes watching the whole credit sequence a must do.
    The weird thing? The past few weeks this song has been popping up all over the place, particularly in a PC game Bioshock, which I’m engrossed in at the moment, but also in another PC game Fallout 3, and at least one other movie and some TV show. Its like its following me around!

  7. You mentioned Fight Club but what about Seven’s backwards-rolling (top-to-bottom instead of bottom-to-top) credits to the tune of David Bowie’s ‘The Heart’s Filthy Lesson’?

  8. Darah

    Also the JJ Abrahms Star Trek end credits were utterly brilliant, even if the film was a bit hit and miss.

  9. No love for “My Way” (Goodfellas)?

    • I kind of overdid it on Goodfellas last week with the special treatment, so I figured I’d spread my love around. Basically didn’t want to drown everyone in Goodfellas. But it is indeed an awesome song for the credits.

  10. Awesome post. Sometimes, the songs that “sticks” with a movie is simply the last one you hear when leaving the theater. One of the most obnoxiously memorable one has to be Celine Dion’s song at the end of Titanic.

  11. Oh hell yeah, lots of great selections here! Fight Club’s end credits are a personal favorite of mine, and I would also include Rage Against the Machine’s “Wake Up” in The Matrix. Can’t think of better songs to end those two movies.

  12. Watching the end of Pulp Fiction on it’s own is weird. I picked up stuff I normally don’t when watching the whole thing because when I watch the entire movie, I get wrung out by the end. Just watching the clip makes you realize that is a movie about the worst day in one guys life. Can you imagine being Vince? How much would that suck?

    • At least he died doing something he loved- pooping and trying to murder someone.

      • Yeah, but after shooting someone on a couch, shooting Marvin in the face and having to clean up said face, get his ass saved by the Wolf, having to wear a Banana Slugs T-Shirt, having his partner dump his ass, having his bosses wife OD on his shit (instead of having sex with her), having to call his dealer to help save his bosses wife from OD-ing on his shit, having to stab his bosses OD-ing wife in the chest with a massive dripping syringe, having his boss lose a shitload of money, getting shot by some douchebag boxer only to have said boxer who killed you be forgiven by your boss who got saved from being rammed by the boxer that killed you. All that shit and he really died for nothing, should have listened to Jules…

        • one quick edit…the last sentence reads funny…he got saved by the boxer from being rammed… by well you know the story, I just wanted to be sure it made sense.

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