The Rolling Stones' “Gimme Shelter” is the movie soundtrack song that won't die. Martin Scorcese made a cliche out of it decades ago, but since then it not only hasn't gone away, it's become more prevalent in movies and TV. Sure, it's a good song, but mango popsicles are good too and we don't want one of those every time we go to the theater!

To illustrate our point, here are but six of the movies in which the track appears. It's mostly during crime scenes and similar high-drama situations. Because the Stones are so very, very edgy.


Scene in which the song appears: Henry (Ray Liotta) realizes that dealing drugs is a profitable business! Who knew?

Air America

Scene in which the song appears: Air America pilots Gene (Mel Gibson) and Billy (Robert Downey Jr.) are flying head first into the Vietnam War, all the while smuggling heroin without realizing it. Little known fact: This film inspired an amazing radio network.


Scene in which the song appears: Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington) is an airline pilot suffering from alcohol and cocaine addiction. “Gimme Shelter” plays numerous times throughout the film as tension mounts, especially between him and the character played by John Goodman. The message is that the Stones go great with drugs, with flying, and with drunk flying.

The Departed

Scene in which the song appears: We are introduced to Matt Damon's character and get to hear about how Jack Nicholson's character is totally badass. Naturally he'd have a badass soundtrack, and we all know that the Stones have badass asses.

Layer Cake

Scene in which the song appears:XXXX (Daniel Craig), a drug dealer, and Tammy (Sienna Miller) are about to get physical, but prior to being seduced, XXXX is aducted from his hotel room by a couple of thugs. It's unclear if the thugs like the Stones, or if Craig's character simply likes being kidnapped to them.


Scene in which the song appears: When Joe Pesci's Robert De Niro's car explodes. It makes perfect sense, because “Gimme Shelter” is straight explosive!

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