It’s amazing what a particular piece of music can do to a scene in a movie. Whether it’s part of an original score or massively famous pop song, its implementation by a talented filmmaker can completely transform how we experience and understand a sequence, while also laying down new layers of subtext and meaning. When a director can find the perfect track to match with certain events, there are few things more special in the cinematic world – and we’ve seen many great instances of it this past year.

The time has come to look back at all of the films of 2014 and single out what can be considered the greatest movie music moments we’ve seen. Which titles made the cut and which didn’t? You’ll have to read on to find out!

SPOILER WARNING! The following article does contain some major spoilers for a few of the films on this list. Tread lightly!

Click on each image to listen to the music moment in question, when available.

Guardians of the Galaxy
Guardians of the Galaxy – "Come and Get Your Love" by Redbone
The opening of James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy is rather shocking in its tone. Rather than immediately jumping into fun, sci-fi adventure mode, the movie actually starts with a dramatic vignette about a young boy who misses the opportunity to give his dying mother a proper goodbye. As such, there was a great deal of pressure on the movie’s second sequence, as it would have to transition out of the darkness and into the light that would surround the rest of the film. And boy, did it succeed.

The dark tone continues past the Marvel Studios logo, as we get our first look at Chris Pratt’s Peter Quill on a windy, desolate planet – but the movie completely changes once he throws on his headphones, presses play on his Walkman, and begins dancing to the beat of Redbone’s "Come and Get Your Love." The upbeat groove raises the fun factor by 10,000%, Pratt’s sweet dance movies are charming as well, and ultimately the song explains exactly what Star-Lord’s real mission is: to find love, acceptance and a family. Guardians of the Galaxy has an incredible number of amazing musical sequences that come courtesy of both Awesome Mix, Vol. 1 and the early tracks of Awesome Mix, Vol. 2, but it’s this opening dance number that’s both the best and the most important.

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