What makes a great soundtrack? A collection of killer songs, the perfect encapsulation of a film's storyline and mood, a cohesive album that stands on its own ... or better yet, all that at once.

We sifted through decades of movie soundtracks in every musical and cinematic genre, and came up with a Top 40 list of albums that moved us -- in all senses of the word -- from crowd-pleasers ('The Wedding Singer,' 'The Big Chill') to audiophiles' love letters ('High Fidelity,' 'Rushmore') to single-artist experiments ('Superfly,' 'The Graduate') and everything in between ('Nashville'). Check out the best soundtracks of all time ... you may find yourself singing along. Click here for reasons we picked these albums.

IMPORTANT NOTE:This list does not include music documentaries, concert films, musicals or movies whose soundtracks are mostly (or entirely) scores. We'll be doing countdowns of the best of those genres too, so check back with us soon (we're talking to you, fans of 'Grease,' 'The Godfather' and 'The Last Waltz'). Can't wait? Subscribe to our Features RSS feed to see those posts the minute they land.

40. The Wedding Singer
39. Romeo + Juliet
38. Reality Bites
37. Quadrophenia
36. Friday
35. Pump Up the Volume
34. Nashville
33. Slumdog Millionaire
32. American Graffiti
31. Shaft
30. Almost Famous
29. The Wackness
28. Reservoir Dogs
27. High Fidelity
26. Once
25. Footloose
24. Mystery Train
23. Blues Brothers
22. Pretty in Pink
21. 8 Mile
20. Dirty Dancing
19. The Harder They Come
18. Grosse Point Blank
17. The Big Chill
16. Natural Born Killers
15. Easy Rider
14. Rushmore
13. Coal Miner's Daughter
12. Dazed and Confused
11. This Is Spinal Tap
10. Singles
9. Trainspotting
8. Garden State
7. Superfly
6. A Hard Day's Night
5. The Graduate
4. O Brother, Where Art Thou?
3. Purple Rain
2. Saturday Night Fever
1. Pulp Fiction