What are the top 5 best-selling movie soundtracks of all time?

7 January 2022, 15:18

Can you guess which is the best-selling movie soundtrack of all time?
Can you guess which is the best-selling movie soundtrack of all time? Picture: Vestron Pictures/Warner Bros./Paramount Pictures

By Thomas Curtis-Horsfall

We love it when a movie is made just that little bit extra magical by its music.

Those songs that immediately bring you back to the big screen moments that made us smile radiantly with joy, triumphantly throw our hands into the air, or sob uncontrollably.

The greatest ever movie soundtracks have influenced us cinema-goers in our droves to hear those songs as soon as the credits roll and the curtains close.

Be it a tear-jerking ballad or an entire swathe of finger-snapping, foot-stomping sing-a-longs, the power of a movie soundtrack is unquestionable.

But which film soundtracks were our favourites? Can you guess?

Of course, streaming is now the dominant force in music consumption, so we'll sidestep the majority of movies with major soundtracks of the past decade as they aren't technically 'best-sellers' in the traditional sense.

That said, here's the list of the Top 5 best-selling movie soundtracks of all time, from last to first:

5. Grease (1978)

Copies Sold: 28 million

"Tell me more, tell me more!" Ok, since you asked!

Grease proved to be a winning combination of 50s greaser style, teenage romance, and unmistakably iconic songs that makes it the only musical to sell over 28 million copies worldwide.

With songs mostly derived from the 1971 rock ’n’ roll musical by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, it was the perfect chemistry of lead characters Danny Zuko and Sandy Olsson played by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John on 'You're The One That I Want' that wowed audiences at the time.

Featuring songs for everyone, Grease remains the pinnacle of movie musicals to this day.

4. Titanic (1997)

Copies Sold: 30 million

They just don't make movies quite as epic as Titanic these days.

James Cameron's dramatisation of the British passenger liner's maiden voyage and subsequent demise choked cinema-goers across the world, especially when you throw the blossoming romance of Leonardo DiCaprio's Jack and Kate Winslet's Rose into the mix.

Not only did it become the highest-grossing film of all time (at the time), the sweeping James Horner soundtrack also garnered plenty of adoration.

But without question it was Céline Dion's gorgeous, Academy Award-winning ballad 'My Heart Will Go On' that became synonymous with the blockbuster, ensuring there wasn't a dry eye in the cinema.

3. Dirty Dancing (1987)

Copies Sold: 32 million

Another film based on teenage rebellion, set in 1963 the soundtrack is a treasure trove of hits from the era.

‘Be My Baby’ by The Ronettes, ‘Do You Love Me’ by The Contours, and ‘Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow’ by The Shirelles, all came back into heavy rotation after the film's success.

If there's one song that audiences remember, of course, is Bill Medley and Jennifer Warner’s ‘(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life’.

Surely we've all tried (and likely failed) to pull off the famous lift scene between Patrick Swayze's Johnny and Jennifer Grey's Baby at the film's ending, right?

2. Saturday Night Fever (1977)

Copies Sold: 40 million

It was the quintessential soundtrack that launched disco music into the spotlight, making it the pop cultural phenomenon of the 1970s.

Saturday Night Fever also made global superstars out of the Bee Gees, who encapsulated the growing desire to get out to discothèque and shake your money-makers.

A collection of tracks that were spun regularly throughout nightclubs at the time, it was the Bee Gees' own original songs that became truly iconic, alongside the inspired dance moves of John Travolta's Tony Manero.

'Night Fever', 'You Should Be Dancing', 'More Than A Woman', 'Stayin' Alive', 'How Deep Is Your Love', it doesn't get much better than this. And the sales prove it.

1. The Bodyguard (1992)

Copies Sold: 45 million

Surely you guessed it? The Bodyguard was and still is the best-selling movie soundtrack of all time.

A hit-making sensation that reached No.1 almost everywhere across the globe, its success was testament to the sheer talent of the late, great Whitney Houston.

Some of Whitney's most beloved songs came from The Bodyguard, including ‘I Have Nothing’, ‘Run to You’ and, how can we forget, her show-stopping version of Dolly Parton’s ‘I Will Always Love You’.

With a rumoured remake in the works, we cannot envisage a new soundtrack having quite the impact as the original. It just wouldn't be the same without Whitney.