Bookstr’s Picks: The Best Soundtracks Of All Time

At Bookstr we love film and TV show adaptations of books, as well as the musical accompaniment. Check out our team’s favorite soundtracks.

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Film and TV show adaptations of books are great at bringing our favorite stories to life. The soundtracks of these adaptions are used to heighten some of the bigger scenes. Probably, you’ve seen clips circling social media that change the background music of certain scenes to demonstrate how important the background music can be. Think back to your favorite film. Undoubtedly, a well-thought-out and cleverly constructed soundtrack was used to complement the more significant scenes throughout the movie.

There’s no doubt soundtracks are important. Often, they can make or break a movie or TV show. Some soundtracks and scores are so good people can recognize them without ever having seen the film it’s from. So, if you enjoy good music and film adaptations of books, check out the Bookstr team’s favorite soundtracks!

Stand By Me

Stand my Me album cover, shows silhouettes of four boys walking along a river with hills in the distance.

The soundtrack for the film adaptation of Stephen King’s The Body, better known to the cross-generational masses as Stand By Me, are exactly what young boys from this time would be listening to in the summer when hanging out and rough-housing with each other. They’re central to a story of a group of friends who, despite how young they are, find they’re making decisions that can change the rest of their lives. This perfectly captures one of the greatest coming-of-age stories of all time. Most notably, the soulful classic by Ben. E. King, that plays during the credits, reiterates the message that the friendships we make can have an impact on our lives forever.

  • Madison Weir, Editorial

Sharp Objects

Sharp Objects soundtrack album cover, three female characters, sitting, standing, and laying, respectively, with a green floral wall paper background.

Sharp Objects is one of my favorite novels, and the HBO limited series quickly deepened my obsession with this haunting story. I absolutely love the versatility of this show’s soundtrack (a different song plays during each episode’s opening credits). The show memorably includes hits from Led Zeppelin and Snoop Dogg alongside gorgeous instrumentals by pianist Alexandra Streliski. Some songs that stuck out to me that I return to often would be Tumbling Lights by The Acid and Small Town Heroes by Hurray For The Riff Raff. In all, this soundtrack is just as well-crafted and impactful as the series. They complement each other perfectly and truly reaffirm it as, in my opinion, one of the best book-to-screen adaptations of all time.

  • Erin Shea, Editorial

Disney’s Tarzan

Disney's Tarzan soundtrack album cover; Tarzan kneeling in the foreground with his gorilla family in the background.

Tarzan was originally a very popular book by Edgar Rice Burroughs, and it has the best soundtrack, all written by Phil Collins. The drums-and-the-jungle sound is probably the best soundtrack you’ll ever hear. It’s timeless; it’s catchy; it’s just amazing. Phil Collins obviously did his very best, and it just went perfectly with the movie.

  • Talya Golian, Graphics


Twilight soundtrack album cover, Edward and Bella embracing on a black background.

As much as people love to make fun of the Twilight Saga… they cannot deny the soundtrack from each movie slaps! Twilight was your classic mix, with Muse and Paramore stealing our hearts. New Moon was the start of all original soundtracks, and as much as I have my issues with the sequel, the Bon Iver and St. Vincent song, Roslyn has my entire heart in a bottle. Chefs kiss.

  • Sierra Jackson, Editorial

The instrumental soundtrack to Twilight is one of my favorites to put on in the background when I’ve got work to do or I’m cleaning the house. While I love the lyrical soundtrack, there is something so intrinsically soothing about the Vampire Piano Players music.

  • Kristi Eskew, Editorial

I have to agree with Sierra in naming my favorite soundtrack as that from the Twilight Saga. I have many of the songs on different playlists, but as soon as one comes on, I know that it’s from one of the movies and immediately what scene it is from. I listen to the songs mostly in the fall and winter when I feel they fit most or feel like the movies most, I guess. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t spent some rainy days listening to Possibility by Lykke Li, spiraling just as Bella did.

  • Olivia Salamone, Editorial

How to Train Your Dragon

Soundtrack album cover for How To Train Your Dragon, Viking boy reached towards a black dragon in the moonlight.

I saw the first film of this epic dragon-riding trilogy based on the book series by Cressida Cowell when I was a child and fell in love. The storytelling, the quality animation, the well-written character dynamics, and of course, the Academy Award-nominated score by John Powell. The tonal shifts and instrument choices expertly convey the subtextual emotions in each scene and transport the viewer into the land of Vikings. To this day, I can’t help but smile and run around in joy whenever I hear Test Drive.

  • Cara Hadden, Editorial

The Great Gatsby

Soundtrack album cover for The Great Gatsby in crimson and gold intricate geometric designs.

Everyone might shag on The Great Gatsby’s soundtrack for not being 1920s-inspired, but I don’t care. Sorry, not really. Lana Del Rey, Beyonce, and Jay Z, to name a few artists, nailed what the 1920s would have been had it met the present day. Upbeat, crazy, and in love, all these things that make us go crazy!

  • Sierra Jackson, Editorial

The Secret World of Arrietty

Soundtrack album cover for The Secret World of Arrietty, amine girl in pink among leaves.

The Studio Ghibli film The Secret World of Arrietty was originally a book called The Borrowers. It’s about little people hiding under the floorboards of people’s homes and them trying to survive. The soundtrack goes perfectly with the movie. It sounds like the music you hear when you hear faeries. It’s so relaxing to listen to, and I can just fall asleep to it. Cecile Corbel is an amazing singer and musician from France, and she sings a lot of the songs in English, French, and even Japanese version. The soundtrack is literally relaxing and paints a beautiful story for the ears.

  • Talya Golian, Graphics

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (2017)

Soundtrack Album cover of Disney's Beauty and the Beast; Belle holding the enchanted rose back to back with the Beast, the castle in the background.

I adore Beauty and the Beast and always have. I loved the original scores from the animated movie, but the soundtrack to the 2017 live-action was beyond perfect! The instrumentals, the lyrics, it was all so wonderful. Add in the new original songs, and the story takes on a whole new meaning, especially when Beast and Belle visit Paris.

  • Kristi Eskew, Editorial

The Hunger Games Trilogy

All three of the soundtrack album covers for the Hunger Games Trilogy. Left to right: Katniss aiming her bow, Katniss standing among fire, The Mockingjay symbol.

I think the Hunger Games Trilogy has such powerful soundtracks that really explore the themes and moods of the series and help to bring them to life in a different way. On top of that, there are just some really iconic songs that are so powerful, like Everybody Wants to Rule the World and Yellow Flicker Beat by Lorde. Those songs just scream Hunger Games to me while also just being fantastic songs on their own.

  • Lexi Salcedo, Graphics

The Dark Knight Trilogy

Three soundtrack album covers for The Dark Knight Trilogy. From left to right: Batman begins, shot of batman and bats looks up through skyscrapers; The Dark Knight, Batman in front of a skyscraper with a flaming bat signal; The Dark Knight Rises, white bat symbol in chalk on the ground.

My all-time favorite adaptation score has to be The Dark Knight Trilogy. The cinematic heaviness from start to finish has had me in a chokehold all my life. It set the tone of the series to this dark yet exhilarating tale of the dark knight. It compliments each scene so well, immersing us further into the world, each movie at a time.

  • Sierra Jackson, Editorial

Pretty Little Liars

Soundtrack album cover of Pretty Little Liars; Four teenage girls dressed in funeral attire sitting and cover in soil.

I’d have to say Pretty Little Liars is my favorite soundtrack. I think the theme song is perfect for the show. I think it’s pretty cool that Ashley Benson (who plays Hanna Marin) was the one who suggested the song Secret by The Pierces, and it wasn’t even made for the show.

  • Christina Hardesty, Graphics

Soundtracks of film adaptations are an excellent way of merging music and novels together. An excellent soundtrack helps establish an emotional connection with the audience while providing musical structure to the film or series. This is especially important in adaptations of books that are meant to bring the stories to life!

For more on the intersection of books and music, check out our article here.