The perfect song. The perfect lyric. The perfect score. Music can make or break a movie.

Of course, Pittsburgh makes a great setting for a film. Adding the right music can make miracles happen. We’ve found 6 great examples of how music impacted from films made right here in Pittsburgh.

1. A Hero in The Perks of Being a Wallflower

There’s nothing quite like the view of Pittsburgh upon exiting the Fort Pitt Tunnels. Seems like writer and director, Stephen Chbosky, figured out the way to capture that feeling with one special song – David Bowie’s “Heroes.” The special pairing of this Bowie classic and the Steel City skyline turned a scene into an epic wave of feeling.

 

2. Feeling It in Flashdance

Speaking of feelings, who can forget Irene Cara’s classic “What a Feeling” in the Pittsburgh classic, Flashdance? We love this scene because it combines the spirit of the City of Champions with some incredible moves that we’d love to see in an end zone dance. 

 

3. Send Up the Bat Signal – This Score is Criminal

Holy cow, Batman! Pittsburgh makes a great Gotham City and gave the world everyone’s favorite caped crusader, Michael Keaton. The Dark Knight Rises transforms an already awesome chase scene through downtown Pittsburgh into a legendary moment in Pittsburgh cinema, thanks to an incredible score by Hans Zimmer. 

4. Spoiler Alert: Get Your Tissues Ready

2016 Elly Honoree, Jesse Andrews adapted his coming-of-age novel, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl into an incredibly unique, touching, and quintessential Pittsburgh film back in 2015. One particularly powerful moment in the film combines a tear jerking scene to the music of Brian Eno. Just listening to the song makes our eyes misty.

BONUS: Check out this interview with the director about making the film’s soundtrack.

5. Romero & Rubinstein

2017 Elly Award honoree, George Romero found the perfect composer for his 1978 horror classic, Martin, when he met his producer’s brother, Donald Rubinstein. Rubinstein created an eerie Baroque jazz score to match the film’s tone. Rubinstein went on to work with Romero again composing scores for Knightriders and Bruiser.

6. God Bless the Burgh

Lastly, we reach peak Pittsburgh with another film from 1978 – Oscar-Winning The Deer Hunter. Parts of the film were filmed right here in Western PA. The gritty scenes of steel mills and dive bars truly brought the film to live and captured a poignant slice of life. The masterful conclusion of the film hits hard with its emotional weight and use of “God Bless America.”

Feeling inspired?

Don’t miss our workshop, Music: Let It Make (Not Break) Your Film, on July 11 and learn how you can make music miracles happen in your films.

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