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10 Iconic Uses Of Classic Rock In Movie Trailers

The trailer is, very often, the most important aspect of a movie, the thing that can either draw in potential viewers or frighten them away. And, increasingly often, what makes a trailer compelling or not is its effective use of music. Classic rock has, time and again, come to be a very effective means of adding energy and vivacity to a trailer.

There are, in fact, a number of very iconic uses of classic rock in trailers, and what is especially striking is that the movies in question stretch across a wide variety of genres.

Hooked On A Feeling – Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014)

Streaming On Disney+

Guardians of the Galaxy has come to be seen as one of the best movies in the MCU, and it’s easy to see why. It has an irreverent spirit and a sparkling sense of humor that is impossible to resist, and it is grounded by the charismatic performances from its cast, including Chris Pratt.


It’s clear from the trailer that this is going to be a very light-hearted movie, particularly in its use of the song “Hooked on a Feeling” by Blue Suede. It helps to establish the retro feeling that will be so much a part of the movie.

Immigrant Song – Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Streaming On Disney+


Thor: Ragnarök is one of Taika Waititi’s best movies, and he brings his unique directorial vision to this third installment in the Thor series. The trailer for the movie is full of the usual action and dynamism one expects from the MCU, but it is also notable for its use of the “Immigrant Song” by Led Zeppelin.

It not only adds a powerful musical accompaniment, but it also works well thematically with the movie, pulsing with the same power and energy as the title character.

Sweet Dreams – House of Gucci (2021)

Not Available For Streaming

Patrizia showing off her ring in House of Gucci.

Ridley Scott has been responsible for many great movies, and he brings his own unique vision to bear on House of Gucci. The movie is in many ways a camp delight, and that is very evident in the trailer, which makes generous use of the classic rock song “Sweet Dreams” by the Eurythmics.

This particular rendition of the song is faintly sinister and, as it unfolds during the trailer, it suggests to the audience that the drama they are about to see is one in which a beautiful romance ultimately turns deadly.

Welcome to the Jungle – Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)

Streaming On Hulu

Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle

Jumanji is one of the most beloved family movies of the 1990s and so, given that this is the golden age of reboots, it was inevitable that it would receive the same treatment. The trailer makes it clear that this is going to be a very lively and action-packed adventure.

Nowhere is this more clear than in its use of Guns N’ Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle.” In addition to being thematically appropriate, the song’s rock intensity complements the rest of the trailer’s rapid cutting and kinetic energy.

I Think We’re Alone Now – 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

Not Available For Streaming

10 Cloverfield Lane is a chilling and frightening movie, the type of thriller that immerses the viewer in the same sinister scenario of its main character, Michelle, who finds herself in the custody of two men in a bunker, while the world outside is supposedly uninhabitable.

The trailer, as is so often the case with the most effective ones, juxtaposes the romantic nature of the song with what is clearly unfolding as a much more sinister scenario, showing just how horrifying the movie itself will actually be.

Creep – The Social Network (2010)

Streaming OnNetflix

Andrew Garfield as Eduardo Saverin in The Social Network

The Social Network is rightly regarded as one of the best biopics, showing as it does the rise of Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg. The trailer for the movie features a slow version of Radiohead’s song “Creep,” and its change in tone is a perfect fit for the movie.

It nicely captures the pensive, almost melancholy mood that Fincher brings to the story. In particular, it highlights how Zuckerberg’s success ends up being something of a double-edged sword, something that he cannot fully control.

Starman – Lightyear (2022)

Not Available for Streaming

Chris Evans in Lightyear

Pixar has been responsible for many great movies, and with Lightyear they finally give some backstory to one of their most iconic characters, the toy Buzz Lightyear. In a bit of a strange twist, however, the movie is actually about the man who inspired the toy, rather than the toy himself.

Among other things, the trailer for the movie includes David Bowie’s “Starman” playing in the background. It is both thematically appropriate and, just as importantly, it adds a faint note of nostalgia and even melancholy to the otherwise very kinetic trailer.

Bohemian Rhapsody – Suicide Squad (2016)

Streaming On HBO Max

Suicide Squad 2016 Roster of Villains

Few songs have achieved quite the level of cultural ubiquity as Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” It’s thus not surprising that it would feature in a number of trailers, including for the 2016 movie Suicide Squad.

The choice is an effective one, as Freddie Mercury’s plaintive vocals play out over the revelation of the various members of the Squad, as well as some of the action set pieces from the movie itself. though suicide squad didn’t quite measure up to its audience’s expectations, the trailer is still a success in terms of setting a very high bar.

The Chain – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

Streaming On Disney+

Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Given the success of the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie, it was probably inevitable that it would receive the sequel treatment. As was the case with the first movie, the use of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain” helps to establish the retro feeling of the movie as a whole.

And, as is so often the case with the most effective use of music in trailers like this one, the song’s lyrics also presage some of the conflicts that will ultimately appear in the movie itself.

Blue Monday – Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)

Streaming On HBO Max

Diana running from the Capitol in Wonder Woman 1984

Wonder Woman is, of course, one of the most iconic and beloved characters in the DCEU, and the two movies in which she has been the center are some of the most highly regarded in the franchise.

The trailer for Wonder Woman 1984 is very skilled at making use of Gal Gadot’s appeal as the character, as well as the use of New Order’s song “Blue Monday”. The song not only captures the essence of the movie’s setting but also helps to heighten the kinetic pleasures of the trailer.

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