"And there is art in making music a raft upon which a movie sails away" - David Thomson.
The synergy between music and image in movies account for the majority of the scenes which have received the most rewinds from me over the years, as witnessed in previous posts here deifying various scenes from The Wanderers set to songs by The Surfaris and Dion DiMucci & The Del Satins, my utter obsession with the Driving Reflections montage helmed by There's No Easy Way Out by Robert Tepper from Rocky 4, the warehouse party shootout as Am I Black Enough For You? by Schoolly D plays in the background in King Of New York, the reason why i slightly prefer Casino to Goodfellas, Link Wray's Jack The Ripper pounding away as Richard Gere dips through backstreets to avoid the cops in the 1983 remake of Breathless, Radio Raheem explaining the meaning of his LOVE HATE 4 finger rings to Mookie as Fight The Power pumps out of his boombox in Do The Right Thing, any of the scenes featuring music by The Geto Boys in Office Space and so on.
But there's nothing quite like the marriage of men walking to music on film. Sure, it's a device which has been rinsed post-Reservoir Dogs and downright abused by crap British flicks featuring token scenes of men-walking-in-slow-motion-to-song-x inbetween plots which involve various Stephen Graham, Danny Dyer, whatshisface from Doctor Who and various ex Family Affairs actors swearing at each other in pitch-perfect mockney accents in the last decade, but when it's done right it's like movies were created solely for its purpose. Here's some of the best examples :
There's a couple of reasons i'll always slightly prefer Mean Streets to Taxi Driver : One is the pool-hall fight scene soundtracked by Mr Postman by The Marvelettes and the other is this scene where Johnny Boy walks into the bar flanked by the two Jewish boho' broads in slow motion to Jumpin' Jack Flash by The Stones. So effective is the alliance of sound and picture here, it doesn't even matter that the broad on the left is possibly David Schneider in a wig.
As far as movie scenes which feature Them songs go, Harry Dean Stanton's detective driving on the highway to Baby Please Don't Go in Wild At Heart is only trumped by the extended opening scene of The Outsiders where Gloria plays as Ponyboy and Johnny meet up with Dallas on the corner and go for a stroll around town taking in beatdowns of knife wielding Mexican hitchhikers, garages where a double-denim clad duo of Patrick Swayze and Tom Cruise work, and leggings children who may or may not have been being cheeky. Exciting stuff but Gloria sounds sweetest when it simply soundtracks Dallas eyeing up the square chick who passes them and his swaggering up the street smoking a fag as Ponyboy and Johnny follow suit.
The opening scene from The Wanderers where Walk Like A Man by Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons (AKA the best song ever alongside The Ghetto by Too $hort ) rings out as various Baldies saunter their way up the avenue to meet up with head Baldie/human pizza-hoover Terror before cutting to a freshly shaven headed Turkey diddy-bopping the other end of the avenue in a bid to become a member of the toughest street gang in The Bronx was pencilled in to fill the third and final spot here but it's only gone and been removed by the user so we're gonna have to end this post with a grainy old tv performance of Frankie Valli & The 4 Seasons lip-syncing their way through Walk Like A Man and the scene from Point Blank where Lee Marvin's Walker strides through the corridor with the sound of his heels hypnotically clip-clopping along the floor and Johnny Mandel's haunting score accompanying the interspersed flashback sequences instead :