A theme or element from a work's soundtrack (usually a movie) that gets reused in another work. It may either be an original piece, or a preexisting one that wasn't widely known until being used as soundtrack.
See also Recycled Trailer Music
Anime and Manga
- Rebuild of Evangelion 2.0: You Can (Not) Advance used music from Neon Genesis Evangelion along with several tracks from Kare Kanonote and one track from the 1979 semiclassic The Man Who Stole the Sun.
- Also, in 3.0, Gods Message is a modified version of Light of Babylon from Sagisu's score for Nadia, Out Of The Dark is a slightly modified variant of Stand Up Be Strong from Sagisu's Bleach score, the main theme is a modified variant of Hedgehog's Dilemma from 1.0 and the original series, and in the original series, When I Find Peace of Mind was a modified version of The Distant Macross from Sagisu's score for Macross II: Lovers Again.
- Monster plays an instrumental version of "Over the Rainbow" in one of its episodes, though this is thematically relevant since it's the song a character's father used to play on his radio station in the past.
- The Ocean Group dub of Dragon Ball Z reused tracks from previous shows they worked on, including the Mega Man cartoon.
- Sunrise reused parts of the soundtrack for the Captain Harlock movie Arcadia of my Youth in the 1985 Dirty Pair TV anime.* The music created for 4Kids' anime dubs would occasionally be reused in other series. Most notably, the theme which had originally been created to serve as Django's theme was latter reused in other series, including an episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fast Forward.
- Saban's English dubs of anime series such as The Littl' Bits, Maya the Bee, Noozles, etc., reuse many songs between each other, sometime's one show's theme tune even appears in another.
- Saban's English dub of Digimon Adventure recycled the score from its short-lived Masked Rider adaptation.
- Also happened to a lesser extent with the show's original score—a few pieces were re-used for 02, and, more egregiously, Tamers.
- The English dub of Deltora Quest recycled some music from the English dub of Hamtaro.
- Akira Ifukube, one of Godzilla's Four Fathers, did this a lot, with much of his score from Great Monster Varan being reused and modified in countless films decades later. In his scores for the Godzilla movies of the 1990's, he would recycle dozens of themes from his Showa Period work, include those from films that TOHO had no part in, such as the Daimajin films. How successful he was at this is up for debate, but due to the obscurity of some titles (not to mention the butchering that many of the older scores went through in the 1950's and 1960's when they were being imported to the US), not many people here in the United States would even recognize that these themes were recycled until the advent of the Internet and YouTube made it easy to listen and compare soundtracks.
- The main theme of the Japanese movie Yumeji was reused as the main character's Leitmotif in In the Mood for Love.
- James Horner re-used one of the minor themes from Willow in the soundtrack for Once Upon a Forest.
- He also re-used parts of the Willow soundtrack yet again in The Mask OF Zorro.
- "Ripley's Rescue" from Aliens saw Horner re-use part of the Klingon theme from Star Trek III.
- Parts of the track "Resolution And Hyperspace" from Aliens was used toward the end of the Michael Kamen-scored Die Hard (as was a track from John Scott's score for Man on Fire - the original, not the remake).
- James Horner is notorious for his repetition - all composers do so, but rarely to that extent.
- John Williams quotes his own Yoda's Theme from The Empire Strikes Back in ET when the eponymous alien sees a child trick-or-treating in a Yoda costume.
- John Williams was too busy to properly do the music on Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. He managed to compose a few new themes ("Gilderoy Lockhart", "Moaning Myrtle", etc.) and then someone else (William Ross, specifically) was hired to create the Chamber of Secrets soundtrack out of the new themes and the themes from the previous movie, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. As a result, Chamber recycles a lot of musical cues from Philosopher's Stone. For example, the pixie scene uses the same music as the flying keys scene. And the music from the end scene in the Great Hall is a slightly remixed version of "Leaving Hogwarts" from Philosopher's Stone. In fact, it seems Ross had go into Williams' non-Potter work. The music used for the Quidditch trench chase sounds a whole lot like "The Chase Through Coruscant" from Attack of the Clones. (In subsequent Potter films, music from previous installments other than "Hedwig's Theme" was used very sparingly, resulting in Voldemort having no less than three Leitmotifs at different points in the series.)
- When the Boggart turns into a giant snake in Prisoner of Azkaban, John Williams quotes the snake theme from Raiders of the Lost Ark.
- Hans Zimmer used themes from The Rock in at least Gladiator and the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy.
- Man on Fire, Black Hawk Down and Gladiator have similar soundtracks. Justified in that all three films were directed by the Scott brothers (Riddley and Tony), and all films used the talents of Lisa Gerrard's vocals for several of the arrangements used in all three films.
- Elliot Goldenthal recycled a track from Alien³ in Batman Forever.
- "Snowflake Music" is a track by Mark Mothersbaugh from the movie Bottle Rocket, which was used again in Rushmore, also directed by Wes Anderson.
- The music for the "Jews in Space" segment of History of the World Part I is reused as the title song for Robin Hood: Men in Tights.
- Philip Glass's "Pruit Igoe" and "Prophecies" from Koyaanisqatsi are reused for Dr. Manhattan's origin flashback in Watchmen.
- All of the following Philip Glass compositions were reused in The Truman Show: "Anthem - Part 2" from Powaqqatsi, "The Beginning" and "Living Waters" from from Anima Mundi, and "Opening" from Mishima.
- Soundtrack from Universal's Bride of Frankenstein were reused in Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon serials.
- Kick-Ass lifts liberally from John Murphy's earlier work on Sunshine and 28 Days Later.
- Much of this score was based on recycled cues. John Murphy's original score had been rejected and after that, two more scores were rejected before a score was finally settled on shortly before opening. In the end, works from five different composers (Murphy, Michael Kamen proteges Ilan Eshkeri and Marius de Vries, Hans Zimmer protege Henry Jackman and Basil Poledouris protege Christopher Lennertz) and many temp tracks (such as work from Ennio Morricone and Danny Elfman) became the score.
- If you listen, you'll notice that Building the Crate and The Chickens are Revolting from Chicken Run are in Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous. They play while Gracie and Sam are at Treasure Island to rescue Cheryl and Stan.
- Five tracks from Alan Silvestri's score to MouseHunt show up in Fred Claus due to the fact that the actual score (written by Christophe Beck) was not finished in time for the release of the film.
- "King of Pride Rock" from The Lion King (specifically, the bit from Simba's Awesome Moment of Crowning) plays near the end of the English version of Shaolin Soccer.
- The Godfather's Academy Award nomination for Best Original Score (emphasis on the original) was withdrawn when the Academy realized Nina Rota had recycled themes from scores he had written for other movies.
- The Spider-Man sequels both tracked in music from their predecessor(s) (which really annoyed Danny Elfman, who refused to return for the second sequel - and refused to work with Sam Raimi for years).
- Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows reuses a track from Ennio Morricone's Two Mules For Sister Sara. Meanwhile, much of Hans Zimmer's score resembles Morricone's Bluebeard.
- The films Kingdom of the Spiders and Allan Quartermain and the Lost City of Gold respectively reused Jerry Goldsmith's scores to episodes of The Twilight Zone and the 1985 film King Solomon's Mines without his permission. The latter film also had additional music based on Goldsmith's work.
- The Hunt for Red October, scored by Basil Poledouris, used a track from his score for No Man's Land.
- The iconic soundtrack of Le Professionnel (a 1981 film with Jean-Paul Belmondo, not to be confused with The Professional) was, unbeknownst to most of the movie's French audiences, recycled from a contemporary British TV show, The Times and Life of David Lloyd George. It was recycled again in an entirely unrelated TV commercial for dog food. Said commercial was itself parodied in Asterix: Mission Cleopatra by recycling the soundtrack one third time.
- The Outing uses the intro to the theme from Dreamaniac as its opening credits music.
- The Little Shop of Horrors reused much of the soundtrack from The Wasp Woman.
- The Universal Horror films Dracula (1931) and The Mummy (1932) use the same arrangement of music from Swan Lake for their main titles.
- In an example closer to Recycled Score, a portion of the Fistful of Dollars score is featured in another Spaghetti Western, This Man Cant Die.
- Bogus, which was scored by Rene Dupere, reused "Kalimando" from Cirque du Soleil's Mystere.
- The first two Superman sequels had Ken Thorne adapt the John Williams score from the first movie - the producers originally hoped Williams could return to score Superman II, but Williams found he couldn't work with director Richard Lester.
- The theme from the original Japanese version of Iron Chef was made up of score written by Hans Zimmer (“Show Me Your Firetruck”) for the Backdraft movie soundtrack.
- Some of the soundtrack from Masked Rider was later used in Saban's dub of Digimon, and again in Jim Button.
- The opening theme to Star Trek: The Next Generation was a peppy, uptempo remix of the main theme used in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
- Some music cues from The Price Is Right have fallen under this trope:
- A remix of the Celebrity Charades theme cropped up at some point.
- The theme to The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour is presently used as a new-car cue.
- An early new-car cue became the theme to Family Feud when that show debuted in 1976. Price later brought back the last few bars as an introductory sting for the first playing of Plinko, and has used it since 1980 to introduce Grand Game. What's more, Trivia Trap also used the last bars as a victory cue. Finally, Feud retired that theme in 1994, but brought it back in the 2000s.
- The Bob Cobert theme used on the orignal Price from 1961-65 (titled either "A Gift For Giving" or "Window Shopping", depending on who you ask) would be used on two NBC games afterward — Snap Judgment (1967) and You're Putting Me On (1969).
- Second Chance shared its theme with the 1976 version of I've Got A Secret. The same theme was later used on the Australian version of Family Feud in the 1980s.
- An early prize cue from Wheel of Fortune, retired in the early 1990s, became the theme to Merv Griffin's Crosswords over 15 years later.
- Conversely, one of the other prize cues on Wheel was the theme to the 1978 version of Jeopardy!
- The Theme Tune from Alex Trebek's Double Dare was reused on Jim Perry's Card Sharks a year after the former's cancellation. Both shows even had virtually-identical openings.
- The theme from College Mad House was later used on the Lifetime/PAX Game Show Shop 'Til You Drop (which would later lend one of its own prize cues to Quicksilver as its theme song).
- Three of the Family Channel's mid-90's game shows - Boggle, Shuffle and Jumble - used the exact same Theme Tune. (And the same set, host, announcer...)
- Bob Stewart recycled the theme from his short-lived 1970s game Blankety Blanks on an equally short-lived game from the 1980s, Double Talk.
- Similarly, the "plonk plonk" timer on Pyramid, which is actually considered part of the soundtrack, was recycled on Go.
- The theme to another one of Stewart's shows, Jackpot, was later used on This Week in Baseball.
- The Joe Schmo Show, a parody reality-competition program by the same company and many of the same individuals who worked on The Mole used many of the musical themes created for that program, but without any on-screen credit to the original composer, David Michael Frank.
- What Would You Do? used many of the same background cues as its sister Nick show, Wild and Crazy Kids. Both were produced by Woody Fraser and used music composed by Alan Ett.
- Many, many, MANY TV shows from the '50s to the '80s reused music cues, often (but not always) written for the actual series. The most dramatic case was The Fugitive, which didn't have any episodes scored at all - it relied on a specially written library and CBS stock music.note
- LOST reuses the submarine theme from Medal of Honor. Both works were scored by Michael Giacchino.
- Season 10: Episode 9 of Top Gear uses the song "Peril" from Halo 2 while James is testing the Jaguar S-Type.
- Beakmans World recycled a few cues from the game show version of Scrabble, on which Beakman producer Marijane Miller was once a contestant.
- Peaky Blinders prominently features the music of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, most notably in its use of "Red Right Hand" as a Real Song Theme Tune, but also in its frequent reuse of the movie soundtracks by Cave and bandmate Warren Ellis, particularly The Proposition's score.
- WCW was notorious for doing this
- Although WWE engages in this less often than WCW did, it's still been known to happen
- Kurt Angle's theme song was originally written for The Patriot.
- Brodus Clay's theme song originally was written for Ernest "The Cat" Miller. Now it belongs to Xavier Woods
- CM Punk's themes were both recycled. This Fire Burns was the Judgement Day 2006 theme, also used once for Randy Orton. Cult Of Personality was used for a Steve Austin video package.
- This happens slightly more with WWE Divas, with the occasional piece of music, such as "Top Spin" seemingly being passed around at random.
- Kelly Kelly used a song called "Holla," which was originally used by Candice Michelle.
- Alicia Fox uses a song called "Party," which was originally used by Maria back during her debut in 2004.
- Maria herself later used a song called "With Legs Like That," which was intended for Stacy Kiebler, who left before it could be used. This created something of an artifact since, while Kiebler is known for being exceptionally leggy, Maria wasn't, and in fact often wrestled in long pants.
- Leonard Bernstein wrote the score to Wonderful Town in a hurry, and presumably saved time and effort by lifting a few parts from earlier works:
- The refrain of "Conga!" was previously music for the scene change to the Congacabana in On the Town.
- The vamp in "Conversation Piece" is from the jazz band piece "Prelude, Fugue and Riffs," parts of which were also incorporated into the ballet "Conquering the City."
- The Overture of Wicked is originally from Stephen Schwartz's earlier rock opera The Survival of St. Joan.
- Spamalot reuses "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" from Monty Python's Life of Brian.
- Mega Man 9 lifts six songs directly from Mega Man 2.
- The theme of the first level of Magician Lord is reused as the music of the final boss of the first World Heroes.
- The end theme in Metal Gear Solid was used in Ape Escape 3, albeit as part of a Metal Gear parody.
- The main theme of Metal Gear Ac!d is actually a countermelody from the piece "Big Shell" from the Metal Gear Solid 2 soundtrack, lifted and orchestrated In The Style Of the Metal Gear Solid theme.
- Some of the levels of Super Mario Galaxy 2 actually reuse music from the first Super Mario Galaxy game. Examples include:
- "Honeybloom and Honeyhop Galaxies" = "Honeyhive Galaxy"
- "Rolling Masterpiece and Rolling Coaster Galaxies" = "Rolling Green and Rolling Gizmo Galaxies"
- "Supermassive, Mario Squared, and Twisty Trials Galaxies" = "Toy Time Galaxy"
- "Topman's Tower" = "Buoy Base Galaxy"
- "Shiverburn Galaxy" = "Freezeflame Galaxy"
- "Grandmaster Galaxy" = "Gusty Garden Galaxy", "Good Egg Galaxy", and "Bowser's Galaxy Reactor"
- "The Perfect Run" = "Comet Observatory"
- Also, for some reason Primal Dialga's theme can be heard during parts of this battle theme against Bowser Jr. in those games.
- Super Mario 3D Land actually reused some of the music from both Galaxy and Galaxy 2! It's especially noticable with the Ghost House music in this game.
- WarioWare (at least the first one, Mega Microgames) reuses quite a few tunes from the Wario Land series, notably Wario Land 4. For instance, a version of the Curious Factory theme is recycled as part of the Paper Plane soundtrack. And the Crescent Moon Village theme is reused for the ending cutscene. It also recycles sound effects, with his laugh sound effects coming from Wario Land 4 as well (including his elevator entrance laugh being the one heard when you enter a portal in said game).
- RTS Netstorm used a score from the mecha-game Shattered Steel.
- Sonic 3D: Flickies' Island featured an unused boss tune later reused in Sonic the Hedgehog 4
- A least a couple tracks from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim were taken directly from The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind''.
- Clive Barker's Undying entire soundtrack (with the exception of the Main Theme) was shamelessly copypasted from the obscure Jurassic Park FPS Trespasser.
- Tommy Tallarico's no stranger to this with his soundtracks: the Beast Engine and Beast Ride levels in Wild 9 use music from MDK and Earthworm Jim, and Molten Mine in Sonic and the Black Knight is a rearrangement of "Action Theme" from Black Dawn.
- Syphon Filter 2's revisit to the Pharcom Expo Center reuses the music from the first game. The title theme is also directly reused.
- Resident Evil 4's Mercenaries mode reused two songs from P.N.03, which used the same engine, notably "Mission 4" and "Mission 8", for Krauser and Hunk, respectively.
- Mass Effect 3 borrows heavily from the soundtracks of the previous two games, particularly Mass Effect 2. There is some original music, particularly at the very beginning and end, but fans of the previous games' music will notice a lot of familiar material.
- FEAR 2: Project Origin reuses about half the musics from its predecessor.
- Medal of Honor: Allied Assault has only five original music pieces, the rest are recycled from the first game, Underground, and in the expansion packs, Frontline. Later, Airborne reused a number of Allied Assault and Frontline musics, such as "Snipertown", "Shipyards of Lorient" and "Clipping Their Wings".
- New Super Mario Bros. 2 and New Super Mario Bros. U are becoming infamous for this, thanks to their soundtracks recycling largely from New Super Mario Bros. Wii, with many songs recieving little to no changes and very few new songs created for the games.
- The PS1 trilogy of Spyro the Dragon uses the same music for all three games' ending credits.
- The Enix adventure game JESUS: Kyoufu no Bio-Monster reuses the overworld theme from Dragon Quest.
- Grant Kirkhope occasionally reuses music he wrote for canned games or Dummied Out features, as written on his website:
- Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise
- "Oven-Fresh Day" was the main theme for the Banjo-Kazooie prototype, Dream. Grant says that after the original concept for Dream was canned, he wanted a good opportunity to use the theme, and the VP series gave him an orchestra to perform it.
- "Time Flies" is based on the theme for Dream's protagonist, Edison (heard in the demo track, "Chase").
- The beginning of "Icicle Chorus" is the post-fanfare portion of the Recurring Riff from Banjo-Kazooie's "Stop 'n' Swop" areas.
- Donkey Kong 64:
- Parts of "Creepy Castle" are based on a level called "Prickly Pear Island" from Dream.
- The fanfare that plays when a Boss Room opens is based on that played when using cheats to collect Banjo-Kazooie's famous Dummied Out "Stop 'n' Swop" items.
- Elements of the series' theme and "Freezeezy Peak" (and DK 64's "Gloomy Galleon") can be traced to the theme for Dream's villain, Captain Blackeye.
- "Mad Monster Mansion" is based on the theme for a troll character called "Bully" (and was originally a faster-paced, Beetlejuice-inspired piece).
- Tooty's theme is a condensed version of the theme for Dream's love interest, Madeleine.
- "Atlantis" from Banjo-Tooie uses a slowed-down version of the melody from Dream's map screen.
- Doom II's secret maps reuse music from Wolfenstein 3D and Spear of Destiny.
- Final Doom reuses many tracks from the first two games. The Plutonia Experiment does this for the entire soundtrack, while TNT: Evilution reuses several Doom II tracks.
- The E2 M2 music in Doom 1, "The Demons from Adrian's Pen", is based on one of the secret level themes from Wolfenstein 3D.
- The NES port of Defender II reuses music from Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!.
- Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster Busts Loose re-arranges many pieces of BGM from the series, including the theme song, the music during the cutscenes (lifted from one of the title cards), the boss fight against Dizzy Devil (used in many episodes, but most notably "Rock 'n Roar"), the bonus game intro music (lifted from "The Weirdest Stories Ever Told" short "Robin Hare"), the haunted mansion theme (lifted from "The ACME Home Shopping Show" short "I Was a Teenage Bunnysitter"), the first half of the balloon level (lifted from "A Quack in the Quarks"), and the second half of the balloon level (lifted from the "How Sweetie It Is" short "Let's Do Lunch").
- Tiny Toon Adventures 2: Trouble in Wackyland for the NES also uses the "Rock 'n Roar" music in the bumper car stage.
- Similarly, Buster's Hidden Treasure re-arranged a few pieces from the show: One of the level themes, the underwater theme, and Montana Max's level theme, the final boss theme, and the Sneezer weapon (used during "Son of the Wacko World of Sports") were all used in the show.
- Spyro the Dragon reused a piece of music from the 1996 comedy/drama The Pallbearer, albeit with slightly different instrumentation and a faster pace for the former. No surprise, since Stewart Copeland composed for both.
- The Cheetahmen theme was reused in Cheetahmen II and Syobon Action, the latter of which also used the themes from Spelunker(NES version) and Ghosts N Goblins.
- Joyride from Grand Theft Auto reappeared in Grand Theft Auto III, albeit with the swearing bleeped out.
- Fallout: New Vegas reuses a few of Inon Zur's ambient soundtracks (though not the battle musics) from Fallout 3, such as Wandering The Wastes (NV Medical Clinic and other buildings), What Remains(at Novac), Lockstep(at the Mojave Outpost), Fortress (Hidden Valley Bunker and Ranger Stations), as well as Mark Morgan's compositions from Fallout 1 and 2.
- If it's an active BEMANI series, it's going to have "FLOWER" in it. Even the TV commercial gets in on it.
- Nightshade uses the track "Golden Palace when you visit said location. The track itself originally came from the 2002 Shinobi game.
- Since the video game adaptation of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith was finished before the soundtrack of the movie was fully recorded, it instead uses music from the other five movies.
- The Quake Zone Rumble music in Twisted Metal 2 is a slightly extended version of the Snowblind music from Jet Moto.
- The Ragna Rock music in Max Payne is a clip from the song "Corruptor" by demoscene producer Skaven(Peter Hajba), who was on the game's development team.
- Peter Bogdanovich's What's Up, Doc? (1972) ends with an in-flight showing of the Looney Tunes short "What's Up, Doc?", in which Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd sing the title song, thus resulting in a Title Drop, for both.
- The "Temple of the Night Hawk" roller coaster in Phantasialand (an amusement park in Germany) actually uses "The Egg Travels" as the ride's background music.
- The music played during the scene from The Sword in the Stone where Mad Madame Mim turns into a dragon was actually recycled music from Sleeping Beauty that played during the scene where Maleficent turns into a um, guess...
- the 60s and 70s era Disney movies had a re-occuring "sad" motif. (In Sword in the Stone, it plays when Wart is alone in the destroyed kitchen after being told he won't be going to London, and in Robin Hood, it plays during the scene where Prince John is fuming about "The Phony King of England" after having thrown the entire town in jail for it, to name a few examples.)
- The music played during Baloo's Disney Death at the end of The Jungle Book was actually recycled from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs during the ending where the seven dwarfs put Snow White's (supposedly) dead body into the glass coffin.
- About halfway through Aladdin, during the scene where the Genie is looking through his cookbook, a brief snippet of the song "Under the Sea" from the earlier Disney film The Little Mermaid can be heard when Genie can be seen looking at a recipe for "Alaskan King Crab", causing him to pull Sebastian out of said cookbook.
- The 1958 Crusader Rabbit story arc "The Great Baseball Mystery" uses a tune called "Holiday Jaunt" (by Kurt Rehfeld) as background music in a late chapter. Three years later the tune would be the first theme for the game show Password.
- Rango takes a few cues from Pirates of the Caribbean, at one point taking an entire song.
- One scene also uses a track from Danny Elfman's score for The Kingdom.
- The 2010 series of Pound Puppies occasionally lifts snippets from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, specifically a piece of "Cutie Mark Crusaders" and an instrumental of part of "Love is in Bloom" (though it was heard in PP long before it appeared in FIM).
- This was a regular occurence in series by Hanna-Barbera, extending all the way to the 1980s (although it didn't happen in every single show they made).
- The main theme to Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego? was actually taken from Mozart's Singt dem großen Bassa Lieder.
- Rambo: The Force of Freedom is permeated with Jerry Goldsmith's music from Rambo: First Blood Part II, supplemented with some new tracks by Shuki Levy and Haim Saban.
- An action scene in the third season of Transformers Prime appears to lift a section of music from the Modern Warfare 3 track "London Attack"; Brian Tyler is the composer for the series, and also scored said game.