UK Music’s five favourite record store moments in films

We reveal our top picks of the shops which made the movies

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19/04/18: Ahead of this Saturday's Record Store Day, we've picked our favourite film moments featuring record stores – from HMV in About a Boy to struggling indies in documentary favourite Last Shop Standing.

High Fidelity

Picture credit: Touchstone Pictures / Buena Vista Pictures

The cult classic, featuring John Cusack as shop owner Rob, is set in Chicago’s Championship Vinyl – a store run by ‘music snobs’ and selling exclusively vinyl. The miserable compulsive list-writer runs the shop with employees Barry (Jack Black) and Dick (Todd Louiso) – the “musical moron twins” – who constantly mock customers’ choices.

500 Days of Summer

Picture credit: Dune Entertainment / Fox Searchlight Pictures

In a film where music binds a pair of doomed lovebirds together, Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Summer (Zooey Deschanel), take a romantic trip to a record store. Summer declares her love for Ringo Starr, while Tom brandishes a copy of the former Beatle’s album Stop and Smell the Roses and claims ‘nobody loves Ringo’. Although the couple seem happy at the time, a later flashback suggests Summer didn’t enjoy the trip at all.

Good Vibrations

Picture credit: The Works

Tough Belfast resident Terri (Richard Dormer) opens a record shop on the most bombed half-mile in Europe at the height of The Troubles. Initially, he wants to bring Reggae to Northern Ireland, but soon discovers punk rock and its ability to bind a struggling community together. His success leads him to promoting punk on his own label and ultimately receiving the blessing of John Peel and Joe Strummer.

Empire Records

Picture credit: Regency Enterprises / Warner Bros Pictures

A gang of bolshie teens who work at an independent store in Delaware battle to save the business from being bought out by a major chain in this cult classic. Lucas (Rory Cochrane) is so desperate to save the shop that he takes day’s takings – $9,000 – to Atlantic City casinos in a bid to make enough cash to buy the business. But he fails, leaving the team scrabbling around for ways to keep their beloved shop open.

About A Boy

Picture credit: StudioCanal / Universal Pictures

Camden Town’s now-closed HMV store features in a forlorn montage about lead character Will’s (Hugh Grant) ‘meaningless life’. He likes to divide his day into units – ‘Buying a CD: two units’ – while living a miserable, single existence in London. He even goes as far as to join a single parents’ group to pick up women, and is forced to hatch a cunning plan with 12-year-old Marcus (Nicholas Hoult) after lying that he had a child.

And two documentaries featuring real-life stores:

Last Shop Standing

Picture credit: Blue Hippo Media

This 2012 documentary, inspired by the book of the same name by Graham Jones, takes you behind the counter to discover why nearly 2000 record shops have disappeared across the UK since the 1960s. The touching film interviews shop owners and musicians including Billy Bragg, Norman Cook, Richard Hawley, Johnny Marr and Paul Weller. Record shops featured include Brighton’s Borderline and Rounder Records and Chesterfield's C.E. Hudsons – all of which have since closed – Birmingham's the Diskery and London stalwarts Rough Trade and Sister Ray.

Sound It Out

Picture credit: Glimmer Films

A documentary portrait of the very last surviving vinyl record shop in Teesside, North East England, helmed by vinyl aficionado Tom Butchart. The tiny store, which is marking its 20th anniversary this year, contains 50,000 albums from every genre, and has stood the test of time against the erosion of both record stores and independent businesses up and down the country. It was the official movie of Record Store Day in 2011.

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