Best Songs From Pixar Movies, Ranked



Pixar Animation Studios, or just Pixar, is a subsidiary of Walt Disney Studios, which is owned by The Walt Disney Company. The animation studio has been beloved by audiences for almost three decades. From classics like Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and The Incredibles, they have created some of the most iconic films and characters that have become staples in Disney Parks around the world.

A hallmark of Pixar movies is the music. From incredible scores to great covers and fantastic original songs, the studio has created many iconic music moments on film. These are songs that almost every kid, and likely most parents, know by heart and have endured to become part of the larger Disney identity. It is likely upcoming films like Elio and Inside Out 2 in 2024 will feature some more incredible music. These are the best songs from Pixar movies.

15 “Life is a Highway” – Cars

Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

Cars might not be Pixar’s most beloved film, but for any kid in the 2000s, the soundtrack was a must-have. From Sheryl Crowe’s “Real Gone” to Tom Petty’s cover of “Route 66”, the song is filled with hits. Yet the best song from the soundtrack and of the whole film is Rascal Flatt’s “Life is a Highway“. Originally recorded by Tom Cochrane, the Rascal Flatts cover gives it a modern country rock update that sets the tone for the film.

Related: Pixar Animation Studio Job Cuts: Box Office Struggles & Future Plans”


Life is a Highway” plays over the film’s intro as Lightning McQueen is ushered across the country by his driver, Mac. While not made for the film, it feels like a song that was written specifically for the movie.

14 “Carl Goes Up” – Up

Up movie from Pixar about a widower
Walt Disney Studios

There is more than one Up song on this list. “Carl Goes Up” is one of the greatest soundtrack songs in Pixar. This particular Michael Giacchino song could be described as the theme for the house in Up. No, it is not the direct theme of the film nor of any character in the beloved classic. But when fans hear this song, they picture a house flying through the sky with hundreds of balloons guiding it towards Paradise Falls, where Carl Fredricksen and his wife always wanted to travel to. When movie lovers hear it, they think of the house. Maybe they’ll even picture Russell getting stuck on the porch with the house being thousands of feet up in the air too.

13 “Un Poco Loco” – Coco

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Coco is about life and death and focuses on Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez), a young boy trying to learn about his family and their generation-long ban on music. This movie, which premiered in 2017, was inspired by the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, during which people remember and celebrate their deceased loved ones. Coco is bright yet poignant and an incredibly unique work from Pixar.

Un Poco Loco” is one of many great tunes from Coco. Written by Germaine Franco (Encanto) and Adrian Molina (The Good Dinosaur), it’s a short and sweet song performed by Miguel and Hector (Gael Garcia Bernal). Simply put, it’s just a fun and catchy song. Despite how short it is, it’s one of the songs that leaves the strongest lasting impression. It’s full of energy and feels worthy of a mid-movie dance break.

12 “Life’s Incredible Again” – The Incredibles

The Incredibles by Brad Bird
Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

The Incredibles is the first of many collaborations between Michael Giacannio and Pixar. The movie, which premiered in 2004, is about a family of superheroes who are forced to live mundane lives as the government has banned “supers,” but eventually, the family taps into their powers, taking them on a series of adventures. The Incredibles was an instant hit and led to a sequel, The Incredibles 2, several years later.

Related: These A-List Actors Have Voiced Multiple Pixar Characters

The entire soundtrack is very jazzy and feels like a James Bond movie, but one of the best songs is “Life’s Incredible Again.” It’s a short instrumental that plays once Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) feels rejuvenated after getting back into the superhero game. It’s just barely over a minute long, but the song’s cheerful swing vibe is infectious.

11 “Free Skating” – Inside Out

Inside Out Anger, Disgust, Joy, Fear, and Sadness
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Readers will find that there is a lot of Michael Giacchino on this list. That is especially the case with Inside Out. This is one of the most creative films of all time because it tells the story of human emotions. In particular, it tells the story of the literal feelings and emotions of a girl named Riley, whose family has recently moved from Minnesota to San Francisco. Led by Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler), the emotions help guide Riley through the most difficult change of her life.

One of Giacchino’s songs in the film, “Free Skating”, makes viewers feel calm and helps them remember beloved moments of their life. The song is played as Joy helps Riley think of happy moments and funny things to make her transition in San Francisco go a little more smoothly.

10 “Beyond the Sea” – Finding Nemo

Finding Nemo Nemo and Tank Fish

Finding Nemo is another Pixar mega-hit about an overprotective clownfish named Marlin (Albert Brooks), who sets out on a deep sea adventure to save his son Nemo (Alexander Gould), who was captured by divers. Finding Nemo was so popular that it led to the sequel, Finding Dory, years later. Composed by Thomas Newman (WALL-E, Finding Dory), who is actually the cousin of Randy Newman, Finding Nemo’s musical score has an immersive, nautical, underwater feeling.

While it’s not necessarily an original song, Finding Nemo’s signature song is “Beyond the Sea,” which plays during the end credits. It was originally produced in 1946 and made popular by singer Bobby Darin in 1959. However, for Finding Nemo, singer-songwriter Robbie Williams performed a cover of it specifically for the movie in 2003. It’s the perfect song to end the movie, especially as the credits roll against the backdrop of the ocean. It serves as proof once again that Pixar knows how to evoke a mood with their musical choices, whether original compositions or not.

9 “Define Dancing” – WALL-E

Wall-E-2008 (1)

WALL-E is one of the most beloved animated sci-fi films of all time. It tells the story of the last robot on Earth in the very distant future. The robot’s name is WALL-E. Earth is completely contaminated and filled with garbage. The remaining population now lives on a massive, cruise-like ship that travels through Space. But when WALL-E meets EVE, a scanning robot from the ship who has come back to check on Earth, he begins to fall in love with her as the two travel across the galaxy.

In one scene, composer Thomas Newman’s song, “Define Dancing”, takes center stage as WALL-E and EVE fly and dance around the ship in space after WALL-E accidentally uses a fire extinguisher, which goes awry. It is one of the most majestic scenes in the film, and Newman’s song is a massive reason for it.

8 “If I Didn’t Have You” – Monsters Inc.

Pixar Animation Studios

Monsters Inc. is another fun Pixar classic with iconic characters that remain in the minds of viewers for years. Released in 2001, it tells the story of best friends Mike (Billy Crystal), and Sully (John Goodman), two monsters who work at the largest scare factory in the monster universe called Monsters Incorporated.

The Monsters Inc. soundtrack is a blast, with songs and sounds that have become synonymous with the movie. One of the best is “If I Didn’t Have You.” It was written by Randy Newman, who’s responsible for a lot of Pixar tunes and is sung by Crystal and Goodman while in character as Mike and Sully. It’s a song about friendship, and the theatrics of the performance make it fun to listen to and really brings the characters to life.

7 “Le Festin” – Ratatouille

Remy in Ratatouille
Walt Disney Studios

2007’s Ratatouille is a great movie about Remy the Rat (Patton Oswalt), who dreams of being a chef in Paris, which is really the last profession where anyone wants to see a rat. It’s a lively movie set against a dreamy Parisian backdrop, complete with very Parisian music. One of the greatest songs from the movie is “Le Festin“. It was written for big-time Pixar composer Michael Giacchino, who is the mind behind other greats like The Incredibles, and Up. French singer-songwriter Camille sings “Le Festin,” which translates to “The Feast” – very fitting given the plot. It’s very romantic, very French, and fits beautifully in the movie.

Even though Ratatouille premiered many years ago, it had a resurgence on TikTok during the COVID-19 pandmeic. “Le Festin” became a very popular TikTok sound, and fans of the movie came to the app to create the imaginative “Ratatouille: The Musical.”

6 “Steal The Show” – Elemental

Still from Elemental
Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures

Elemental is one of the most intriguing and creative Pixar films of all time. It is also the company’s newest film. It dives into a world that is made up of different elements of nature. An element of fire named Ember and an element of water named Wade grow close to one another. They fall in love after Wade helps Ember think differently about their home world.

Related: Is Elemental the Most Underrated Movie of the Year?

“Steal The Show” by Lauv is the main love song of the film. In a movie that surrounds the idea of elements, Lauv’s song gives fans a more relaxed and cool feeling. Especially in a film with elements of romance, this is the perfect type of song to convey that message. It makes viewers want to root heavily for Ember and Wade to be together forever.

5 “Nobody Like U” – Turning Red

The panda dances at a club in Turning Red
Walt Disney Studios

Turning Red is about a 13-year-old girl who turns into a big red panda whenever she gets too excited. It’s a cute coming-of-age type movie featuring music that is perfect for the pre-teens the movie is about and aims to appeal to. In the movie, there’s a boy band that everyone loves called 4*TOWN, and they sing “Nobody Like U,” which was actually written by Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas, and it encompasses everything that a boy band is and is undeniably catchy. The song became so popular that it debuted at number 50 on the Billboard Hot 100.

4 “Remember Me” – Coco

Coco Remembers Her Father
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Another song from Coco, but this time it’s signature song, “Remember Me.” It’s written by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and her husband Robert, who both wrote “Let it Go” from Frozen and “Agatha All Along” from WandaVision. The song is performed by various characters in the movie, but it’s gripping and carries just enough melancholy to move you during each listen. It can be a joyous song, a sweet lullaby, and a heartbreaking tear-jerker. It is easy to see why it won the Academy Award for Best Original Song.

3 “When She Loved Me” – Toy Story 2

Toy Story 2 Jessie and Woody
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Nobody in 1999 going into Toy Story 2 expected to have their heart moved by a cowboy doll, yet that is exactly what happened. While the film is a fun, joyous movie, it is also the movie where Pixar started playing some more heartbreaking emotional moments, and that point is marked by Jessie’s backstory. Jessie tells Woody about her time with her human owner, Emily, and how she eventually was left behind.

This moment is sad enough, but the song “When She Loved Me” with lyrics by Sarah McLachlan makes it an emotional gut punch not even the strongest and most hardened moviegoer is ready for. McLaclan’s songs are known for carrying an emotional weight to them, and she gives a voice to this poor cowboy doll who was left behind. It is hard to believe this did not win Best Original Song at the Academy Award, but the song has left a lasting impression on viewers for years and still brings tears to listeners eyes.

2 “Married Life” – Up

Carl & Ellie in Pixar's Up
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures 

Up is a beautiful movie, in reference to both the plot and the visuals. It’s about 78-year-old balloon salesman Carl (Edward Asner), who decides to fulfill his life’s dream, ties thousands of balloons to his house, and sets sail to South America. But, his journey isn’t that simple when young boy scout Russell (Jordan Nagai) stows away for the adventure.

Released in 2009, Up is another musical work of art by Michael Giacchino. One of the most recognized songs from the movie is “Married Life,” which plays at the beginning when Carl and his wife Ellie are building their lives as newlyweds. As a whole, the movie is emotionally intense, but the love story that “Married Life” helps illustrate is an absolute tearjerker. Giacchino does an impeccable job of creating a composition that is both happy yet sorrowful at the same time.

1 “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” – Toy Story

Woody and Buzz from Toy Story

Toy Story is easily one of the most popular and most successful Pixar movies. Released in 1995, it essentially tells a story about every child’s dream — toys that can come to life. The movie is fun, bright, and inventive and introduces viewers to signature characters that have stuck around for years, like Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), and Mr. Potato Head (Don Rickles).

The movie has a great soundtrack of both instrumental compositions and sing-along tunes. One of the most notable is Randy Newman’s “You’ve Got a Friend in Me.” The sequels featured covers by Robert Goulet and The Gipsy Kings. It is not only the theme for the Toy Story films but, in many ways, the anthem of Pixar and was covered by Jordan Fisher and Olivia Holt in ads for Pixarfest, a celebration held at Disneyland and California Adventure in 2018. The song’s message about friendship applies to Woody and Buzz but also to Mike and Sully, Joy and Sadness, Luca and Alberto, and many more Pixar friendships.

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