Prince’s filmography never quite lived up to the lofty heights of his music-output. With the exception perhaps of Purple Rain, his ventures in to the film world often felt uninspired or laborious. Though he had charisma in buckets as a filmstar, sadly it didn’t quite translate to directorial skill.
However, Prince’s flirtations with the silver screen weren’t weren’t wasted thanks to a bunch of original music he released as soundtracks to his films, and collaborations with other filmmakers. Though his music helped boost some already iconic film scenes – Julia Roberts belting out ‘Kiss‘ in Pretty Woman, ‘319’ showing up in Showgirls, and ‘D.M.S.R’ in Risky Business – our favorite Prince soundtrack moments have to be the previously unheard tracks. These tracks show Prince’s creativity shined when channelled into a soundtrack project.
Prince’s Best Soundtrack Songs:
Purple Rain –Purple Rain (1984)
Here’s a bold statement, and maybe it’s just due to over-saturation (no pun intended), but the title track might be the weakest on this landmark soundtrack/album. It’s regularly lauded as Prince’s magnum opus and ranked one of the greatest albums in music history – an opinion widely shared by the Discogs community if our monthly best seller lists are anything to go by. It’s also the second most Collected soundtrack on Discogs, beaten to the top spot by Led Zeppelin’s soundtrack for ‘The Song Remains The Same’. Boasting the tracks, ‘Purple Rain’, ‘When Doves Cry’ and ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ it’s hard to go past. As a film, Purple Rain is generally considered Prince’s best film and well worth a watch for die-hard and casual fans alike.
Parade – Under the Cherry Moon (1986)
While Prince’s directorial debut may have been widely panned, the soundtrack is certified fresh from start to finish. Including the haunting, ‘Under The Cherry Moon’, ‘Kiss’, the jubilant ‘Christopher Tracy’s Parade’ and many more. Prince’s work ethic and efforts to break into different mediums should be applauded, but his film work could never match his talent for a great hook. The soundtrack is bookended by two tracks that reference Prince’s character, Christopher Tracy, with the latter bidding him farewell.
Before there was a new comic book movie other every month, there was Tim Burton‘s Batman – the film that gave the world Jack Nicholson’s iconic Joker character. With the score handled by Danny Elfman, Prince delivered a handful of pop-bangers. While the project was slated to be a collaboration between Prince and Michael Jackson, Prince ended up doing all the work. Partyman is undoubtedly a bit of a cheese-fest, but just try not to turn into one a few bars into this track. It topped the Billboard 200 for 6 weeks and sold over 3 million copies in the US when it was released.
Graffiti Bridge – Graffiti Bridge(1990)
A film we probably didn’t need but graciously accept for the soundtrack. This sequel to Purple Rain was another directorial flop for Prince, but the accompanying soundtrack was warmly received by critics and fans. The concept for the album and film began in 1987 but was delayed for various reasons. Many of the album tracks are borrowed from earlier eras and sessions, with only ‘Round And Round’ and ‘New Power Generation’ being recorded specifically for the soundtrack.
Prince’s soundtrack for Spike Lee‘s R-rated film about a phone sex operator – a subject right in Prince’s wheelhouse. Most of the tracks are previously released songs from Prince and related artists, such as Vanity 6, The Family, and The New Power Generation, but Prince also contributed 3 previously unreleased tracks, including the jazzy ‘She Spoke 2 Me’, which was recorded with the New Power Generation around ’91-’92 and was possibly intended for the Love Symbol album.
Song Of The Heart – Happy Feet (2006)
This song won Prince a Golden Globe for Best Original Song in 2006. The inclusion of this song comes with a great story: George Miller (also known as the creator of Mad Max) wanted to show his cartoon penguins crooning ‘Kiss’ to each other. Prince was reluctant, but Miller was adamant and insisted upon Prince seeing the film in an effort to persuade him. Prince was so impressed by the movie, he not only signed over ‘Kiss’, but penned this song especially for the movie. The film closes with ‘Song Of The Heart’ playing in the credits.