10 biggest hit movies featuring Queen songs
The first and most memorable drove in 1992’s great wave of Queen songs in cinema came close to falling through.
In 2014, Wayne’s World title star Mike Myers confessed to Marc Maron that a lack of “Bohemian Rhapsody” would have been a deal-breaker. But with the blessing of lead singer Freddie Mercury, who passed away in November 1991, the song’s use and the film went forward.
Wayne’s World hit theaters the following Valentine’s Day. By the subsequent autumn, American and British audiences heard more of Mercury and company. In the U.S., the combined “We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions” track figured prominently in The Mighty Ducks. Back on Mercury’s side of the Atlantic, Peter’s Friends advertised itself with “You’re My Best Friend.”
Before and since that tumultuous year, Queen’s output has attached itself to a host of other renowned movies. Now that Bohemian Rhapsody is taking on a new connotation as a Mercury biopic, it is worth revisiting the band’s Hollywood history.
The following films with Queen songs in their soundtrack are ranked based on Rotten Tomatoes scores and prominent awards/nominations. All dates and award information are according to the Internet Movie Database.
Honorable mention: The Mighty Ducks
Though creamed in the critics’ corner, this 1992 Disney hockey film fetched a substantial cult following. Case in point: Rotten Tomatoes gauges 65 percent audience approval.
Queen’s presence in the movie varies by edition of the home release. In one version, “We Are the Champions” plays after the clinching penalty shot, then follows “We Will Rock You” in the closing credits. Multiple versions include a brief playing of the “We Will Rock You” chorus during an earlier game scene.
The latter tune became so synonymous with the series that the original Queen recording returned for the sequel. This occurs after a chorus of extras at the Anaheim Pond chants “We Will Quack You.”
10. Hardcore Henry
There was decidedly more consensus between paid and paying viewers here. The 2015 action thriller garnered middling scores of 50 percent on the Tomatometer and 54 percent among viewers.
Loved, loathed or subject to indifference, Hardcore Henry incorporated one of the higher-ranking Queen songs of all time. Amidst a gruesome chase-and-brawl sequence in the movie’s latter stages, “Don’t Stop Me Now” cues up.
9. Blades of Glory
A good-natured lampoon of competitive figure skating closes with a playful homage to one of Queen’s signature cinema contributions.
In this 2007 comedy, Will Ferrell and Jon Heder portray longtime rivals reluctantly collaborating in order to salvage their careers. As they go in for the clincher at the world championships, “Flash” sets their choreography in motion.
Did that musical move boost the film as much as it helps the characters’ endeavor? It could not have hurt. Blades of Glory fared soundly among all bodies of silver-screen judges. Critics combined for 70 percent approval while customers endorsed it to the tune of 68 percent.
8. Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva
Although not well-known and not formally reviewed much, if at all, in the U.S., this 2009 anime feature has won over 75 percent of audiences. Western viewers well-versed in music would recognize its use of “Teo Torriatte (Let Us Cling Together).”
Guitarist Brian May penned one of the many Queen songs in this 1986 Christopher Lambert vehicle upon watching the protagonist’s wife die. The track, “Who Wants to Live Forever,” would join the likes of “Hammer to Fall” and “Princes of the Universe” on the soundtrack.
The first of six installments in this fantasy series would draw 68 percent critical and 79 percent audience approval.
6. World’s Greatest Dad
Due to its modest release, this tends to miss out on discussions of the late Robin Williams’ definitive starring roles. Yet the 2009 Bobcat Goldthwait brainchild garnered ample acclaim for its alternately amusing and moving nature.
While audiences rate it at 67 percent, critics combine for a whopping 89 percent on the Tomatometer. The accompanying consensus articulates, “World’s Greatest Dad is a risky, deadpan, dark comedy that effectively explores the nature of posthumous cults of celebrity.”
Given the movie’s heavier elements, “Under Pressure” has a rightful place in it.
5. Flash Gordon
In a rare twist, the critical Tomatometer is decidedly fresher on this film than its audience counterpart. With that said, the 69 percent viewer enjoyment to go with 82 percent pundit appreciation is hardly allergenic.
As a whole, Flash Gordon did not garner many accolades besides a Saturn nomination for 1981’s best science-fiction film. But for contributing the theme song, Queen garnered a BAFTA nod in the movie’s name.
Not to mention, the title track lives on through one of the most distinctive monosyllabic introductory exclamations of all time.
4. Peter’s Friends
Longtime accomplished friends in British comedy Stephen Fry, Emma Thompson and Hugh Laurie catalyzed this project. Fittingly, the accomplished British band saw its hit, “You’re My Best Friend,” in the feature and trailer.
Besides breaching the 70-percent range on both Rotten Tomatoes gauges, Peter’s Friends fetched a little formal recognition. The U.S. selected it as one of 1992’s top 10 movies.
3. Wayne’s World
At near-identical 86 percent critical and 84 percent audience approval, Wayne’s World is still on an exclusive par with The Blues Brothers among Saturday Night Live’s silver-screen adaptations. Its legacy is such that the minute-long sample of “Bohemian Rhapsody” has been uploaded to Queen’s official YouTube channel.
In the scene, Wayne, Garth and three fellow metalheads jam to the tune in their car before stopping at a music store. As May told Guitar World in 2016, “Strangely enough, the humor in it was quite close to our own. Because we did that kind of thing in the car, bouncing up and down to our own tracks!”
2. Baby Driver
Rotten Tomatoes begins its summation by pronouncing Baby Driver “Stylish, exciting, and fueled by a killer soundtrack.”
The soundtrack is as killer as it is crowded. The movie’s sister album is split into two discs of 15 tracks apiece. Track No. 26 is Queen’s “Brighton Rock.”
At five minutes and 10 seconds, that stands as the soundtrack’s third-longest entr. Only the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion’s “Bellbottom” and Beck’s “Debra” go longer. Come what may, it gives Queen credit in a film that turned in a 93 percent tomatometer and 86 percent audience satisfaction.
1. Shaun of the Dead
Before Hardcore Henry, this versatile 2004 flick featured its own fight scene set to “Don’t Stop Me Now.” A little more than a decade after Peter’s Friends, it included “You’re My Best Friend.”
The presence of both songs underscores Shaun of the Dead’s versatility as a horror comedy. Among its viewers, it excelled on every count, fetching 93 percent critical and 92 percent audience approval.
The acclaim translated to accolades over the year that followed. It was nominated for best comedy film at the British Comedy Awards, then won best horror film at the Saturns.