Movie Songs

10 Best Uses Of Animals Songs In Movies

April 16, 20249 Mins Read


  • The Animals’ songs featured in iconic films like Perfect Days and influenced key scenes with their powerful, resonant tunes.
  • Their music transcends language barriers, as seen in Perfect Days where “House of the Rising Sun” was beautifully sung in Japanese.
  • The Animals’ music adds depth to movies like Gunpowder Milkshake and Suicide Squad, enhancing climactic scenes with emotive ballads.

Though the frequent use of “House of the Rising Sun” in movies is what The Animals are likely best known for, some of their other great tunes have appeared on the big screen. One of the most prominent bands of the “British Invasion” movement in the 1960s, The Animals made their name with their gritty, blues-inspired sound and the distinctive deep voice of their lead singer Eric Burdon. The band initially suffered from poor management and broke up just a few years into their run, but the original lineup has since been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

As with any great band, The Animals’ songs have inspired a few filmmakers to include their music on the soundtracks of their movies. From Martin Scorsese to James Bond to Disney films with plenty of songs, the most memorable uses of The Animals’ music in movies showcase the band’s biggest hits and even some underrated songs. Some fans might even be surprised that they were listening to The Animals in some of their favorite movies.


10 Best Songs In Martin Scorsese Movies

Martin Scorsese is renowned for his needle-drop soundtrack moments with legendary artists like Tony Bennett, the Animals, and the Rolling Stones.

Ford V Ferrari (2019)

“Don’t Bring Me Down”

Ford v Ferrari is an exciting car movie based on a true story and tells the story of the Ford Motor Company’s attempts to compete against the seemingly unbeatable Ferrari in the iconic 24-hour car race, Le Mans in 1966. Matt Damon and Christian Bale star as the underdogs who are hired by Ford to achieve this impossible dream.

With the movie set in 1966, The Animals’ song from that year, “Don’t Bring Me Down” fits nicely into the soundtrack. The song plays during an early scene in which Bale’s character Ken Miles is having his car examined and is being told it doesn’t match the requirements for the race. Miles is a character who seems to be always fighting against those in power telling him the rules and this song makes for a fitting theme song for him in this early defiant moment in his story.

Perfect Days (2023)

“House Of The Rising Sun”

Perfect Days is a quiet and beautiful movie by German director Wim Wenders. It is a slice-of-life story following a Japanese man named Hirayam who works cleaning toilets in Tokyo while living his life in tranquility and peace. The movie simply follows him on his daily journeys as he encounters different people that cause him to reflect on his own life.

“House of the Rising Sun” is heard a couple of times in the movie, but it is most memorable during a scene in which a woman sings the song in Japanese. It is a delightful scene as Hirayam and the other patrons of the bar peacefully watch her stellar rendition of the song but it also speaks to the legacy of The Animals’ most famous tune which is shown to transcend language and still be effective.

Gunpowder Milkshake (2021)

“It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue”

Gunpowder Milkshake is a Netflix original action movie that stars Karen Gillan as Sam, a young hitwoman who finds herself on the run from her own employers after she saves a young girl from kidnappers, losing a lot of money in the process. The movie is also about powerful women, with the hitwoman teaming with her estranged mother and a group of librarians who also worked as her mom’s former colleagues.

When it comes to The Animals’ song, the track hits during the culmination moment when her mom and friends show up to save her life in the end. As Sam sits there ready to accept her fate, her mom and her associates arrive. As “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” starts playing, the climax flips into slow motion as the women move through a diner and kill all the mobsters, gangsters, and assassins threatening their lives.

Cruella (2021)

“Inside Looking Out”

Cruella De Vil holding a match and wearing a white robe.

Cruella is the Disney retelling of the origin story of a younger Cruella De Vil. Like Maleficent before it, this movie exists to show the humanity behind one of the evilest villains in Disney history and explain why she became so callous later in life. When it comes to The Animals’ song in this movie, “Inside-Looking Out” starts playing during the first action scene.

The music has an infectious and relentless beat, and it kicks in as Cruella De Vil begins to wreak havoc at the ball, which leads to the moment that the Dalmatians break free in a big chase. This song then leads to the major moment when Catherine dies, and the vocals of the song really lead to a crescendo at that moment, making it a perfect musical match for the movie.

Black Mass (2015)

“Don’t Bring Me Down”

Joel Edgerton in Black Mass

Although Jack Nicholson’s character in The Departed was loosely based on Whitey Bulger, the Boston crime boss’ story wasn’t told on-screen until Johnny Depp played him in 2015’s Black Mass. Bulger was a vicious and violent mobster for the Irish mob in the 1970s. While he was committing crimes himself, he was also an informant for the FBI, getting intel on his crime competitors from the corrupt agents.

Joel Edgerton plays John Connolly, the FBI agent who racked up a bunch of his own criminal charges through his relationship with Bulger. The Animals’ “Don’t Bring Me Down” plays on the soundtrack over one of Connolly’s arrests and the allusion to the character’s rise and inevitable fall is very effective. It also fits into the movie’s period setting with the Black Mass soundtrack featuring a lot of music from the 70s.

Suicide Squad (2016)

“The House Of The Rising Sun”

Suicide Squad is often looked at as a terrible movie with a great soundtrack as it features one high-profile needle drop after another. It was reported that the movie’s acclaimed trailer, which was edited to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” was responsible for this approach as Warner Bros demanded that the entire movie be recut in a similar fashion, looking to capitalize on Guardians of the Galaxy‘s effective use of pop music.

Unfortunately, the recut served the movie poorly as it became a jumbled project that critics didn’t like, yet still featured some great songs. The soundtrack kicks off with The Animals’ “The House of the Rising Sun” playing over the opening moments of the movie as the audience is introduced to the brutal prison of Belle Reve prison. The forlorn rock song is perfect for introducing the hopelessness of this place.

Hamburger Hill (1987)

“We Gotta Get Out Of This Place”

One of the most brutal Vietnam War movies ever made, Hamburger Hill brilliantly uses the story of a single operation as a microcosm for the entire conflict. It makes for a realistic and harrowing examination of a real-life battle in the war following the efforts of the U.S. Army soldiers of B Company, 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division as they attempt to take a well-fortified hill over a 10-day fight.

Vietnam War movies are famous for their incorporation of popular music from the time period, but Hamburger Hill has one of the best uses. It’s appropriate that the movie utilizes The Animals’ “We Gotta Get Out of This Place,” because that title sums up the characters’ thoughts about fighting in Vietnam, and as it repeats, the audience can feel their desperation.

Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)

“We Gotta Get Out Of This Place”

Michael Moore in Fahrenheit 911

Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 is a scathing indictment of the Bush administration and the War on Terror. The movie examines the state of the United States of America in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks which he argues were used as justification for Bush’s war in Iraq while the American media backed his plans. The movie was a critically acclaimed hit that became the highest-grossing documentary of all time.

What has made Moore’s documentaries so popular is that he makes truly entertaining movies, which is a breath of fresh air in one of the documentary’s driest subgenres. A huge part of this is a soundtrack filled with licensed hits. In addition to songs by artists including R.E.M., Neil Young, and Jethro Tull, Fahrenheit 9/11 contains “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” by The Animals which is perfectly in touch with the themes of the movie thanks to its political message and the song’s heavy association with war movies.

Skyfall (2012)

“Boom Boom”

Skyfall is one of the most popular James Bond movies of all time with Daniel Craig returning as the iconic spy. The movie finds Bond protecting M from a rogue former agent who is bent on getting his revenge. While Adele’s titular song “Skyfall” became the first James Bond song to win an Oscar, the movie’s soundtrack contained a rare instance of established songs being used in a 007 adventure.

When Javier Bardem’s unforgettable villain Raoul Silva descends upon the titular Scottish manor he blasts The Animals’ “Boom Boom” from the speakers of his attack helicopter. The song sets the stage beautifully for the climactic battle. Silva is an unhinged and unpredictable villain who provides tremendous energy to the movie and his taunting way of playing the music as he attacks highlights his deadly sense of fun.

Casino (1995)

“The House Of The Rising Sun”

Feeling like a spiritual successor to Goodfellas, Martin Scorsese’s Casino is another mob movie starring Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci. This epic crime tale examines the rise and fall of various gangsters overseeing the casino operations in Las Vegas during the 1970s and 1980s. Along with the use of narration and the familiar cast members, Casino also matches Goodfella‘s eclectic soundtrack.

Scorsese is known for his masterful use of music in his movies and Casino is a terrific example of this. The Animals’ “The House of the Rising Sun” plays in one of the most memorable scenes when several of the bosses on trial for skimming at the casinos decide to take out anyone who might rat them out. The song plays over a montage of the various mob hits which culminate with the death of Ginger (Sharon Stone).

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