The best soundtracks from summer movies of 1985

An outstanding movie soundtrack can make a great movie even better!
Back to the Future - credit: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
Back to the Future - credit: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment /

Looking back at the summer of 1985, movie soundtracks were at an all-time high. The year's movie releases gave us some of the best of the 1980s, with Back to the Future, Beverly Hills Cop, and Rambo: First Blood Part II topping the box office in 1985. Along with the exceptional movies came noteworthy soundtracks. Below, we look at some of the best movie soundtracks from 1985.

Goonies - June 7, 1985

The Goonies continues to be a wildly popular adventure movie today as adults who grew up in the 80s now view it with their children and grandchildren. The movie's success isn't surprising as it is based on the story by Steven Spielberg, directed by Richard Donner, with the screenplay written by Chris Columbus. The characters are portrayed by talented child actors, many of whom have gone on to have successful acting careers. The cast includes Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Jeff Cohen, Corey Feldman, Kerri Green, Martha Plimpton, and Ke Huy Quan.

The soundtrack for The Goonies showcases the talents of many artists of the era, including Cyndi Lauper, REO Speedwagon, The Bangles, and more. Spielberg enlisted Lauper as the soundtrack's musical director, and her single "The Goonies 'R' Good Enough" became her fifth top-10 single on Billboard Hot 100.

The second single released from the soundtrack was the Goon Squad's "Eight Arms To Hold You," which topped the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart. This song was featured in a cut scene that involved an octopus. Teena Marie's "14K" charted at No. 10 on the R&B chart, and REO Speedwagon's "Wherever You're Goin' (It's Alright)" was released as a single but didn't chart.

The score was composed by Dave Grusin and until 2010 was unavailable. That year 5,000 copies of the entire original score were released on CD.

St. Elmo's Fire - June 28, 1985

The Joel Schumacher-directed film St. Elmo's Fire received negative critical reviews but was a box office success. Considered one of many films in the Brat Pack genre, the movie stars Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy, Demi Moore, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy, Andie MacDowell, and Mare Winningham. The story follows a group of recent Georgetown University grads as they acclimate to adulthood outside of college.

The soundtrack was written by Canadian composer David Foster with the theme song "St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion), co-written by Foster and John Parr, who performs the song. The single topped Billboard's Hot 100 for two weeks with the "Love Theme From St. Elmo's Fire), the instrumental theme written by Foster) reaching No. 15. Additional standout songs from the soundtrack include Billy Squire's "Shake Down" and The Tubes singer Fee Waybill singing "Saved My Life."

Back to the Future - July 3, 1985

The first film in the Back to the Future franchise introduced Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly and Christopher Lloyd as Doc Brown. Directed by Robert Zemeckis, who co-wrote the movie with Bob Gale, the story follows Marty, who is accidentally sent back to the year 1955 in a DeLorean converted into a time machine by the eccentric scientist Doc Brown. While visiting the past, Marty encounters his parents during their high school years and must save their relationship so he isn't wiped from existence.

The movie also stars Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, and Thomas F. Wilson. Back to the Future became the highest-grossing film of 1985 worldwide.

"Power Of Love" by Huey Lewis and the News was the soundtrack's first single and became the band's first No. 1 hit. Huey Lewis had a cameo in the film, and he and the News had a second song on the soundtrack, "Back In Time," which plays during the end credits. The album also includes a version of Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode" performed by Marty and the Starlighters, with Mark Campbell singing for Marty and the guitar solo credit going to Tim May.

Two additional songs, "Night Train" and "Earth Angel," performed by Marvin Berry and the Starlighters in the movie, were also included, with Harry Waters Jr. singing for Marvin. The album, which peaked at No. 12, spent 19 weeks on Billboard 200, also included a song by Eric Clapton and Lindsey Buckingham.

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome - July 10, 1985

The post-apocalyptic dystopian action movie, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, directed by George Miller and George Ogilvie, is the third installment in the Mad Max series. The film marked Mel Gibson's last appearance as Mad Max, a role Tom Hardy portrayed in the 2015 installment.

The story follows Mad Max, a lone warrior who after becoming a gladiator in Bartertown, run by Tina Turner's ruthless Aunty Entity, is dumped in the desert and rescued by a band of feral orphans who have longed for someone to help them. Many see his appearance as a sign and they join forces to come against Aunty Entity. Additional cast includes Bruce Spence, Helen Buday, Paul Larsson, and more.

The soundtrack for Thunderdome was composed by Maurice Jarre, and the album includes 26 minutes of the original orchestral score performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Another single included is the No. 2 song by Tina Turner, "We Don't Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)" which played over the end credits of the film. This song was nominated for the Best Original Song at the Golden Globes and the Best Pop Vocal Performance at the Grammys. In 2010, a deluxe edition of the soundtrack, including Jarre's complete score, was released.

Weird Science - August 2, 1985

Weird Science is a film by famed director John Hughes, well known for his coming-of-age films in the '80s and '90s. Starring Anthony Michael Hall, Ilan Mitchell-Smith, and Kelly LeBrock, the movie is based on the 1951 comic Made of the Future by Al Feldstein. The story follows two nerds who are social outcasts in their high school, Shermer High School (the same fictional school featured in The Breakfast Club - another Hugh's film), who get the idea to "Frankenstein" a woman using a computer to gain popularity.

The movie also stars Robert Downey Jr., Bill Paxton, Robert Rusler, Vernon Wells, and Michael Berryman. A Hughes regular, John Kapelos, and Playmate Kym Malin appear in the movie.

The title song is written and performed by Oingo Boingo, a new wave band fronted by Danny Elfman. The single was the band's most successful and reached No. 45 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 21 on the Dance Club charts. Other notable songs included are "Turn It On" by Kim Wilde, "Tenderness" by General Public, "Method To My Madness" by The Lords of the New Church, "Wanted Man" by Ratt, and "Oh, Pretty Woman" by Van Halen.