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'The Graduate' (1967)
Artist: Simon & Garfunkel
Best track: “Mrs. Robinson”
What makes the soundtrack so good: Barely 30 seconds into “The Graduate,” the strains of S&G’s “The Sound of Silence” kick in as Benjamin Braddock, played by Dustin Hoffman, lands at LAX following college graduation. As he stands emotion-less on the moving sidewalk, more than two minutes of the song play. “The Graduate” was one of the first films to use one artist for the soundtrack (Dave Grusin provided an excellent score) and, in doing so, S&G gave a consistent voice to Braddock, never more so than when he and his sports car are racing to stop Elaine’s wedding and the chugging of “Mrs. Robinson” matches the chugging of his car as it runs out of gas. And who can forget the final scene: The dazed young lovers face straight ahead as “Sound of Silence” plays again and they wonder what the hell they’ve just done.
— Melinda Newman