One of the most prominent bands of the “British Invasion” movement in the 1960s, The Animals made their name with their gritty, blues-inspired sound and the distinctive deep voice of their lead singer Eric Burdon. The band initially suffered from poor management and broke up just a few years into their run, but the original lineup has since been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
As with any great band, The Animals’ songs have inspired a few filmmakers to include their music on the soundtracks of their movies. From Martin Scorsese to James Bond, these are the best uses of Animals songs in movies.
UPDATE: 2023/01/20 11:00 EST BY SHAWN S. LEALOS
The Animals remain one of the most used bands in movies and TV shows over the years. In 2022 alone, their songs appeared in the Netflix series The Umbrella Academy and Angelyne and this followed a big 2021 where it appeared in a movie Disney movie in Cruella, and one of Netflix’s more popular original movies in Gunpowder Milkshake. This tops off almost six decades of movies and TV shows where filmmakers not only used the band’s music on their soundtracks but also supplied their movies with some great needle-drop moments in everything from dramas to action flicks, all to great effect. “The House of the Rising Sun” was just the start when it came to songs by The Animals in popular movies.
“It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” In Gunpowder Milkshake (2021)
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Gunpowder Milkshake was a Netflix original action movie that starred Karen Gillan as Sam, a young hitwoman who finds herself on the run from her own employers after she saves a young girl from kidnappers, losing a lot of money in the process. The movie is also about powerful women, with the hitwoman teaming with her estranged mother and a group of librarians who also worked as her mom’s former colleagues.
When it comes to The Animals’ song, the track hit during the culmination moment when her mom and friends showed up to save her life in the end. As Sam sat there ready to accept her fate, her mom and her associates showed up. As “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” started playing, the climax flipped into slow motion as the women moved through a diner and killed all the mobsters, gangsters, and assassins threatening their lives.
“Inside Looking Out” In Cruella (2021)
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Cruella was the Disney retelling of the origin story of Cruella De Vil. Like Maleficent before it, this was a movie meant to show the humanity behind one of the evilest villains in Disney history and show why she became so callous later in life. When it comes to The Animals’ song in this movie, “Inside-Looking Out” started playing during the first action scene of the movie.
The music has an infectious and relentless beat, and it kicks in as Cruella De Vil begins to wreak havoc at the ball, which leads to the moment that the Dalmatians break free in a big chase. This song then leads to the major moment when Catherine dies, and the entire vocals of the song really lead to a crescendo at that moment, a perfect musical match for the movie.
“Don’t Bring Me Down” In Black Mass (2015)
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Although Jack Nicholson’s character in The Departed was loosely based on Whitey Bulger, the Boston crime boss’ story wasn’t told on-screen until Johnny Depp played him in 2015’s Black Mass.
Joel Edgerton plays John Connolly, the FBI agent who racked up a bunch of his own criminal charges through his relationship with Bulger. The Animals’ “Don’t Bring Me Down” plays on the soundtrack over one of Connolly’s arrests and the allusion to the character’s rise and inevitable fall is very effective.
“The House Of The Rising Sun” In Suicide Squad (2016)
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Warner Bros.’ recut version of David Ayer’s Suicide Squad, intended to be essentially a feature-length trailer, is a complete mess. But the movie does have a few saving graces, like Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, and an awesome soundtrack.
The Animals’ “The House of the Rising Sun” plays over the movie’s opening scene, setting the stage for a soundtrack that incorporates songs by such diverse artists as Rick Ross, War, Panic! at the Disco, Eminem, and Rick James.
“We Gotta Get Out Of This Place” In Hamburger Hill (1987)
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One of the most brutal Vietnam War movies ever made, Hamburger Hill brilliantly uses the story of a single operation as a microcosm for the entire conflict. Vietnam War movies are famous for their incorporation of popular music from the time period, but Hamburger Hill has one of the best uses.
It’s appropriate that the movie utilizes The Animals’ “We Gotta Get Out of This Place,” because that title sums up the characters’ thoughts about fighting in Vietnam and as it repeats, the audience can feel their desperation.
“We Gotta Get Out Of This Place” In Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)
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Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 is a scathing indictment of the Bush administration and the War on Terror. What has made Moore’s documentaries so popular is that he makes truly entertaining movies, which is a breath of fresh air in one of the documentary’s driest subgenres.
A huge part of this is a soundtrack filled with licensed hits. In addition to songs by artists including R.E.M., Neil Young, and Jethro Tull, Fahrenheit 9/11 contains “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” by The Animals which is perfectly in touch with the themes of the movie thanks to its political message and the song’s heavy association with war movies.
“Boom Boom” In Skyfall (2012)
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When Javier Bardem’s unforgettable villain Raoul Silva descends upon the titular Scottish manor in Skyfall, he blasts The Animals’ “Boom Boom” from the speakers of his attack helicopter.
The song sets the stage beautifully for the climactic battle. Silva wants to kill M as retribution for his treatment as an agent, and James Bond is determined to protect her — and fails.
“The House Of The Rising Sun” In Casino (1995)
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With its nonlinear storytelling, rapid pacing, familiar casting, voiceover narration, and soundtrack jam-packed with pop hits, Martin Scorsese’s Casino was accused of being a pale imitation of his earlier film Goodfellas.
But the movie has plenty of merits. Sharon Stone gives an incredible performance, the Vegas setting offers an entirely new look at organized crime, and the soundtrack is impeccable. When the mob executes the characters involved in skimming one by one, Scorsese plays The Animals’ “The House of the Rising Sun” on the soundtrack to really sell the tragedy.