A boxer in training races up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and holds his arms aloft in triumph when he reaches the top.And the soundtrack swells with the song "Gonna Fly Now."
The tune is legendary now, but at the time -- 1976 -- it served the movie "Rocky" just as the movie served it. Many people probably can access that Sylvester Stallone running scene immediately from their memory banks ... but for those who can't or those who simply want to see the scene again, Turner Classic Movies shows the Oscar-winning film Tuesday, June 1.
"Rocky" is just one of many movies that include sequences closely wedded to songs. In fact, that series tried it again with the Survivor tune "Eye of the Tiger" in "Rocky III" (1982), played over a montage showing Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) training again, for a bout with fearsome Clubber Lang (Mr. T). The movie and the music reaped mutual benefits, with the film helping to make the song a hit on the charts and the song acting as a reminder of the film on radio.
It isn't just the "Rocky" franchise that's responsible for some of the movies' most famous songs, of course. Here's a look at some others -- with an assist from the American Film Institute's "AFI's 100 Years ... 100 Songs" list, which all of the following placed on. ("Gonna Fly Now" ranks 58th; "Eye of the Tiger" didn't make the cut.)
"Stayin' Alive" ("Saturday Night Fever," 1977, AFI No. 9): Playing over the opening credits, the Bee Gees tune -- which also provided the title of this movie's sequel -- did much to establish Tony Manero (John Travolta), whose swagger while carrying a paint can in one hand and eating two slices of pizza with the other suggested he might be a pretty good dancer. And boy, was he.
"Mrs. Robinson" ("The Graduate," 1967, AFI No. 6): Paul Simon originally titled this "Mrs. Roosevelt" (as in Eleanor) when director Mike Nichols heard it and thought it would be perfect for his movie ... just with a name alteration to "Mrs. Robinson" to fit the seductress character of his socially aware comedy. It comes up toward the end, as Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) frantically tries to reach a church to stop the marriage of Mrs. Robinson's (Anne Bancroft) daughter, Elaine (Katharine Ross).
"As Time Goes By" ("Casablanca," 1942, AFI No. 2): His Cafe Americain boss, Rick (Humphrey Bogart), has ordered him never to play it -- it's just too painful to hear it again! -- but music man Sam (Dooley Wilson) folds like a house of cards when the visiting Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman), Rick's lost love, requests it.
"Jailhouse Rock" ("Jailhouse Rock," 1957, AFI No. 21): Vince Everett (Elvis Presley, of course) has a jail cell in his past, but he pays musical tribute to that background as he climbs the ladder of stardom after serving time.
"Unchained Melody" ("Ghost," 1990, AFI No. 27): A quarter century after the Righteous Brothers had a hit with it, pottery making provided the means for the tune to gain mass popularity again, as it gave the musical background to a very romantic scene involving Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore. And a lot of clay.
"Over the Rainbow" ("The Wizard of Oz," 1939, AFI No. 1): In one of the most classic to-the-camera song performances in screen history, Judy Garland cemented her career with Dorothy's wistful song in which she dreams of being in another land "where troubles melt like lemon drops away above the chimney tops."
"People" ("Funny Girl," 1968, AFI No. 13): Also in the category of a classic full-on performance by a film principal is this number that had its origins on Broadway, where Barbra Streisand attained stardom as entertainer Fanny Brice. When Streisand reprised the number for what was her movie debut, there was no question Hollywood had a major new star.
"Born to Be Wild" ("Easy Rider," 1969, AFI No. 29): The rock group Steppenwolf placed this song on the music charts two years before Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper galvanized the movie business with their motorcycle-bound ode to counterculture freedom. The tune was used only as a temporary fill-in while the soundtrack was being decided, but the filmmakers ultimately opted to keep it permanent.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun