Indie Movies with the Best Soundtrack

Movies with a great storyline are only made better with an iconic soundtrack. Indie movies prove to be no exception, with incredible music accompanying the journey of the characters we have come to know and love.

Almost Famous

The soundtrack for “Almost Famous” features over 40 songs, including iconic artists like Fleetwood Mac, Jimi Hendrix, Elton John, Led Zepplin, and Stevie Wonder. The story follows three characters: a talented guitarist named Russell Hammond (Billy Crudup), a groupie who goes by Penny Lane (Kate Hudson), and rock journalist/social novice William Miller (Patrick Fugit). Some of the songs are used to “guide the scene,” like the signature scene on the tour bus where the characters sing along to Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer.” 

Some of my favorites and honorable mentions: “I’m Waiting For the Man” by David Bowie; “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters” by Elton John; “Reelin’ in the Years” by Steely Dan; and “America” by Simon & Garfunkel.”

500 Days of Summer

This unconventional rom-com portraying Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Summer’s (Zooey Deschanel) doomed romance is accompanied by songs that match the highs and lows of dating. The soundtrack features artists like Regina Spektor, The Smiths, Simon and Garfunkel, and Deschanel’s own band, She & Him. 

Favorites and Honorable mentions: “Hero” by Regina Spektor, “Quelqu’un M’a Dit” by Carla Bruni, and “Sweet Disposition” by The Temper Trap

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Smiths are featured in many indie films from the 2000s. “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” is no exception. Based on the 1999 novel, the story follows Charlie (Logan Lerman), who lives life as a ‘wallflower,’ watching from the sidelines until Sam (Emma Watson) and Patrick (Ezra Miller) take him under their wings and help Charlie discover friendship, first love, and music.

The soundtrack features Simon & Garfunkel (another band featured in 2000s indie films), The Smiths (see a trend here?), and David Bowie

Honorable Mention: the ever-famous “Come on Eileen” by Dexys Midnight Runners is featured in the iconic school homecoming dance scene. 

Nick and Norah’s Infinite playlist

Based on the 2006 novel that gives readers a variety of song recommendations. The story follows Nick (Michael Cera) and Norah (Kat Dennings) as they spend the night in New York searching for a secret gig being held by their favorite band, Where’s Fluffy?

The soundtrack features some obscure New York indie music that the director Peter Sollet described as “the best music you haven’t heard yet.” Artists featured include Vampire Weekend, Army Navy, Devendra Banhart, and Takka Takka.

Honorable Mentions and Favorites: “Negative” by Project Jenny, Project Jan; “Speed of Sound” by Chris Bell; “How to Say Goodbye” by Paul Tiernan; and “Ottoman” by Vampire Weekend


The Moldy Peaches, Sonic Youth, Ansty Pants, and Cat Power make for a soundtrack that captures the “quaintness of a small-town adolescence with the magnitude of an unexpected teen pregnancy, while simultaneously encapsulating the ‘rom com’ niche” between Juno (Elliot Page) and Paulie (Michael Cera).

Juno is culturally significant and has one of the best soundtracks among 2000s indie movie soundtracks. Give it a listen, and if you haven’t seen the movie, please watch it.

Honorable mentions: “Anyone Else but You” by Elliot Page and Michael Cera; “Sea of Love (Remastered Version); “Tree Hugger” by Kimya Dawson & Antsy Pants; and “All the Young Dudes” by Mott the Hoople.


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