Song: “When The Levee Breaks” by Led Zeppelin

The scene is set in the period political drama after CIA extraction agent Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) learns that his mission to help the Iranian hostages has been aborted. Still believing it’s their last night in country before making their escape, the “Canadian film crew” begins to drink and an album is put on the record player: playing the most perfect song you could possibly imagine.

Unlike Silver Linings Playbook, where it’s Zeppelin’s sound that’s being used to mold tone and emotion, it’s the lyrics of “When The Levee Breaks” that makes its use in Argo a seamless fit. Though the hostages don’t know it, with the government withdrawing support they suddenly find themselves behind a levee that’s ready to break. Hell, the song even includes the lyric “Don't it make you feel bad/When you're tryin' to find your way home/You don't know which way to go?” Even better, the song selection adds to the film’s realistic feel, having only been released a few years before the true events depicted. Led Zeppelin has become the first band to ever have two separate in one of my annual Best Movie Music Moments lists, but both are wholeheartedly deserved.

Les Miserables
Song: “I Dreamed A Dream” performed by Anne Hathaway

It would be pretty hard for me to avoid putting the biggest musical movie event of the year, Les Miserables, on my list of the Top 10 Movie Music Moments of 2012, and fortunately Anne Hathaway makes it practically impossible to do so. While the Oscar-nominated actress was only in Tom Hooper’s film for a few short scenes is mostly featured at the very start of the long runtime, it’s her performance of the tragic “I Dreamed A Dream” that audiences are still thinking about as they leave the theater.

In a quick series of scenes, Fantine (Hathaway) finds herself fired from her job at the factory for sending money to her young daughter, and unable to keep her head above water in Post-Revolution France, she is forced to start selling teeth and hair before finally turning to prostitution. The song is sung after the character has reached her lowest point, and while “I Dreamed A Dream” is pre-established as one of the highlights of Claude-Michel Schönberg’s original musical, Hathaway’s performance really does blow the doors off the theater. Performed live on set, the song is filled with every ounce of anguish and desperation that the actress could provide and it’s a stunning thing to see.

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