10 iconic uses of classic rock in movie trailers

The trailer is, very often, the most important aspect of a movie, which can either entice potential viewers or scare them away. And, more and more often, what makes a trailer compelling or not is its effective use of music. Classic rock has, time and time again, proven to be a very effective way to add energy and liveliness to a trailer.

There are, in fact, a number of very iconic uses of classic rock in trailers, and what’s particularly striking is that the films in question span a wide variety of genres.

Addicted to a Feeling – Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Broadcast on Disney+

guardians of the galaxy became one of the MCU’s best films, and it’s easy to see why. It has an irreverent wit and a bubbly sense of humor that’s impossible to resist, and it’s grounded in the charismatic performances of its cast, including Chris Pratt.


It’s clear from the trailer that this will be a very lighthearted film, especially in its use of Blue Suede’s song “Hooked on a Feeling.” It helps establish the retro feeling that will be so much a part of the movie.

Immigrant Song – Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Broadcast on Disney+


Thor: Ragnarok is one of Taika Waititi’s finest films, and he brings his unique directorial vision to this third installment of the Thor series. The movie’s trailer is full of the usual action and oomph one expects from the MCU, but it also stands out for its use of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song.”

This not only adds powerful musical accompaniment, but it also works thematically well with the film, pulsing with the same power and energy as the main character.

Sweet Dreams – Maison Gucci (2021)

Not available for streaming

Patrizia showing off her ring in House of Gucci.

Ridley Scott has been responsible for many great films, and he brings his own unique vision to bear on Gucci House. The movie is in many ways a camp delight, and that’s very evident in the trailer, which makes liberal use of the Eurythmics’ classic rock song “Sweet Dreams.”

This particular take on the song is slightly sinister, and as it unfolds during the trailer, it suggests to audiences that the drama they’re about to see is one in which a beautiful romance eventually becomes deadly.

Welcome to the Jungle – Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)

Streaming on Hulu

Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle

Jumanji is one of the most beloved family films of the 1990s and so, given that this is the golden age of reboots, it was inevitable that it would receive the same treatment. The trailer makes it clear that this is going to be a very lively and action-packed adventure.

Nowhere is this clearer than in his use of “Welcome to the Jungle” from Guns N’ Roses. Along with being thematically appropriate, the song’s rock intensity complements the rest of the trailer’s fast cut and kinetic energy.

I Think We’re Alone Now – 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

Not available for streaming

10 Cloverfield Lane is a chilling and chilling film, the type of thriller that immerses the viewer in the same grim scenario of its main character, Michelle, who finds herself in the custody of two men in a bunker, when the outside world is supposed to be uninhabitable.

The trailer, as is often the case with the most effective ones, juxtaposes the romantic nature of the song with what clearly unfolds as a much more sinister storyline, showing just how horrifying the film itself will be.

Creep – The Social Network (2010)

Streaming on Netflix

Andrew Garfield as Eduardo Saverin in The Social Network

The social network is rightly considered one of the best biopics, showing the rise of Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg as it does. The film’s trailer features a slow version of Radiohead’s song “Creep,” and its change in tone suits the film perfectly.

It captures well the pensive, almost melancholic vibe that Fincher brings to the story. In particular, it highlights how Zuckerberg’s success ends up being something of a double-edged sword, something he can’t entirely control.

Starman – Year of Lightning (2022)

Not available for streaming

Chris Evans in Lightyear

Pixar has been responsible for many great movies, and with Light year they finally give a story to one of their most iconic characters, the toy Buzz Lightyear. In a slightly odd twist, however, the film is actually about the man who inspired the toy, rather than the toy itself.

Among other things, the film’s trailer includes David Bowie’s “Starman” playing in the background. It’s both thematically appropriate and, just as importantly, it adds a slight note of nostalgia and even melancholy to the otherwise very kinetic trailer.

Bohemian Rhapsody – Suicide Squad (2016)

Broadcast on HBO Max

Suicide Squad 2016 List of Villains

Few songs have achieved such a level of cultural ubiquity as Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” So it’s no surprise that he’s featured in a number of trailers, including for the 2016 film Suicide Squad.

The choice is effective, as Freddie Mercury’s plaintive voice plays over the reveal of the various crew members, as well as some of the action scenes from the movie itself. However suicide squad didn’t quite live up to its audience’s expectations, the trailer is still a hit in terms of setting the bar high.

The Channel – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

Broadcast on Disney+

Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.  2

Given the success of the first guardians of the galaxy movie, it was probably inevitable that he would get the sequel treatment. As was the case with the first film, the use of “The Chain” by Fleetwood Mac helps establish the retro feeling of the film as a whole.

And, as is often the case with the most effective use of music in trailers like this, the song’s lyrics also foreshadow some of the conflicts that will eventually appear in the film itself.

Blue Monday – Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)

Broadcast on HBO Max

Diana fleeing the Capitol in Wonder Woman 1984

Wonder Woman is, of course, one of the DCEU’s most iconic and beloved characters, and the two films she was the center of are some of the franchise’s most beloved.

The trailer for Wonder Woman 1984 is very good at using the appeal of Gal Gadot as a character, as well as using the New Order song “Blue Monday”. The song not only captures the essence of the film’s setting, but also helps heighten the kinetic delights of the trailer.

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