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.
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.