The 20 best movie soundtracks of all time

Two major soundtrack releases — last week’s “Inside Llewyn Davis” and “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” — take two different tacks in regards to their tracks.

Like “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”, the Coen Brothers’ latest film integrates its songs firmly into the story, shy of a musical, but without meaning if not for its songs. Justin Timberlake, the film’s star Oscar Isaac, Marcus Mumford and more topline the traditionals and golden Greenwich-era folk music.

“Catching Fire” is the latest in a string of major Hollywood flicks that assembled several previously unreleased songs from top-line artists like Coldplay, Ellie Goulding and Christina Aguilera, some of whom composed and recorded specifically for the movie.

Thinking about high profile releases like these, HitFix staffers put our heads together to rank some of the best film soundtrack releases we could think of. There were fierce defenses of sole votes, and no shortage of those who claimed they wore their record/tape/CD down to ashes. It was also no surprise there were great mixes for terrible movies — we’ll leave it to you to determine which those are.

But for every “Shaft,” “Judgement Night,” “The Crow,” “Menace II Society,” “Stealing Beauty,” “American Graffiti” and “Twilight” film soundtrack we couldn’t include in the Top 20, there were no-brainer classics like “Purple Rain,” “Pulp Fiction” and “Pretty in Pink” to keep the conversation calm.

Check out our ranked list of the 20 Best Soundtracks Of All Time below, and rank 5 of your own, too. And don’t fuss too bad, we’ll do a Best Soundtrack Score some other time, you “There Will Be Blood” fans.

If you’re feeling extra-charged, check out our Top 20 Movie Musicals of the Last 50 Years.