Frequently heard movie and TV stock sounds

How many times have you watched a show or a movie and heard a familiar sound, something that has been repeated so much that it is instantly recognizable?

—Every movie with the Wilhelm Scream in it.

It is well known that the “Wilhelm Scream” has been used and reused by sound editors for many decades:

But how many of these other stock sounds do you recognize?


Red alert

All ships have the same red alert sound, especially on Star Trek.

Westminster chime

The school bell used in almost all high-school anime.

Aliens, monsters and animals

Godzilla roar

This must be one of the most famous sounds ever, and is used for many giant monsters.

Regarding animals. owls always hoot the same way, the eagle always screeches that way, the coyote always howls, all dolphins sound like Flipper, and all monkeys go ooh-ooh-ooh-ah-ah-ah. And not just similarly…the exact same way every time.


All Pig’s sound the same


Standard horse whinny

Background sounds


Used for stinky objects.

The trombone of failure

Usually used in old cartoons to indicate that a character has comically failed to complete a relatively simple task.

The rim shot

That you hear after a bad joke.


Creaky door

Every old door, no matter the size, no matter how fast they’re opened, makes the exact same sound: A high-pitched squeak followed by a slightly lower-pitched whine

Futuristic door

Futuristic door opening sounds is usually a “fschhht”, like in Star Trek or Doom.


Classic wind howling

Wind rarely does this kind of sound in real life.

Horror thunder

Sound that the thunder and lightning always make in horror movies, commonly called “Castle Thunder”


Generic police radio chatter

A female voice going “Seven eight six five, code six, one-oh-five North Avenueor something similar.



Whenever one sees electricity, they always hear the electric buzzing it might make, if real electricity made much sound at all.

Sonar sound

Almost always heard grade submarine movies when the boat is submerged even when there are no other ships in the area.


Squealing tires

All cars going around corners have squealing tyres. Even on dirt roads.



When fist meets jaw, for some reason it resembles a drum beat.