Ever onward! The choices are getting tougher as the number of available slots diminishes. But I see light at the end of this tunnel of lovely songs.
#61 Get Happy
from Summer Stock
Shout Halleluiah! Its another Judy Garland classic. With co-star Gene Kelly, this light comedy earned its place in movie history for the song "Get Happy" where Judy strutted her stuff in a top coat and a fedora pulled down over one eye. Ouch! Too darned hot!
#62 Beauty and the Beast
from Beauty and the Beast
Walt Disney Studios
Disney's fairy tale movie "Beauty and the Beast" was the first animated feature to ever be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. The film was a smash hit, following on the heels of the Studio's comeback feature "The Little Mermaid." The theme song, written by the talented Disney composer Alan Menkin and barely squeaked out by Angela Lansbury, is charming, but not particularly remarkable. The film is still a favorite in our house, but I would have put it quite a bit lower on the list.
#63 Thanks for the Memory
from The Big Broadcast of 1938
Bob Hope, W.C. Fields, and Martha Raye round out the cast of this attempt by Hollywood to capture the popularity of the new medium of radio. The stars of the day were showcased Vaudeville-style. The most notable aspect of this film is the debut of the song that became Bob Hope's theme - "Thanks for the Memory." Its the historic contributions by Bob Hope to both the cinema and to America that makes this otherwise forgettable movie and song worthy of inclusion here. Well, that's true by most reasonable standards, but I'm a huge fan of all three of these stars and I'd put them near the top of any list like this one!
#64 My Favorite Things
from The Sound of Music
Raindrops on roses - indeed, this performance by Julie Andrews is one of our favorite things. The family classic "The Sound Of Music" and the Richard Rogers score makes for 2 hours of enchanting entertainment.
#65 I Will Always Love You
from The Bodyguard
OK. I'm stumped. I can't think of any good reason for this song to be on this list. The Whitney Houston/Kevin Costner popcorn thriller told the tale of a pop diva who was being stalked by a killer. Not a bad picture, but hardly "Top Anything" material. Even though the song was a hit, its significance in American culture is nil. One hot inter-racial kiss just ain't enough for me to even think about giving this film or this song a nod. Sorry.
#66 Suicide is Painless
Only Robert Altman could have delivered the essence of Richard Hooker's anti-war novel M*A*S*H to movie audiences with the authenticity of a documentary combined with sheer slapstick. The theme song "Suicide is Painless" (which amazingly survived the transition to television!) is emblematic of the tongue-in-cheek humor of the film. It was a movie of the times, and certainly a landmark in the history of American movies. Sultry Sally Kellerman could still play Hotlips Houlighan today as far as I'm concerned!
#67 Nobody Does it Better
from The Spy Who Loved Me
Again, I have to warn you that I have a special bias here. I am an unabashed Carly Simon fan, and I enjoy Bond movies as much as the next guy, but this song is a bit special for me because of when I first heard it. I was travelling in Ireland with my Dad, who's just passed away recently, when this movie came out. We were spending a night in Cork, waiting for a ferry back to England in the morning. So we thought we'd see this movie. It was playing in a classic old movie house. The kind people refer to as catherdrals. That label fit this place to a tee. And it had an amazing sound system. So my dad and I were comfortably ensconced in a balcony seat when this Carly Simon torch song thundered through the theater. Man! That was fun, and its naturally now one of my fondest memories of my Dad. But getting back to reality, the movie and songs were both big hits in there own right. The double-entendre' of the song title didn't hurt sales a bit, either. So, I'd have to concur on this choice.
#68 Streets of Philadelphia
Bruce Springsteen's haunting "Streets of Philadelphia" served as a fitting backdrop for this gut-wrenching story of a young lawyer stricken with AIDs and fighting for justice from the law firm that fired him just because he had the Gay Plague. The film starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington was the first time Hollywood let America put a face on the many victims of this disease and helped to dispell some of the myths and phobias surrounding it at a time when most people had only the vaguest notion of the truth. Full marks to the AFI for this choice.
#69 On the Good Ship Lollipop
from Bright Eyes
Twentieth Century Fox Studios
Whoever made up the line "cute as a button" had to be thinking of Shirley Temple. The little star was a sensation of the Depression Era, #1 in the box office for many years and deservedly so. She was delightful and "On The Good Ship Lollipop" ultimately became her theme song. When she danced with Bill "Bojangles" Robinson in films like "Captain January" it was the stuff of Hollywood legends. This should have been in the top 50 just because of how much joy the Shirley Temple movies brought to America at a time when she so desparately needed her spirits lifted.
#70 Summer Nights
One of the few musicals to make the transition from stage to the screen in the last 30 years, "Grease" was a throwback in dozens of ways. The wildly overrated John Travolta, paired with Aussie pop star Olivia Newton-John were magic on the screen and this film is still amazingly popular on television and home video. So as much as I dislike John Travolta, I wouldn't begrudge this film a spot on this list, although I probably would have picked "Greased Lightning" over "Summer Nights."