THERE WAS A TIME when movie soundtracks were written for lushly anonymous orchestras, when the only shot at the hit parade was through the title song, when soundtrack albums were sold on the strength of the movie, not the musical minds behind it.

Those days are long gone. Now that Hollywood hankers for the disposable income of America's teens, the movie moguls have begun to look to rock to roll 'em in -- or at least to make up box-office losses by ringing up soundtrack sales. So forget about seeing the movie. Today's big question is: Have you heard the album?

BEVERLY HILLS COP -- Not only is this the hottest film in America, it boasts the hottest soundtrack (MCA-5553), with no fewer than three bona fide hits, the Pointer Sisters' "Neutron Dance," Glenn Frye's "The Heat Is On" and Patti Labelle's "New Attitude." But though the rest of the album is filled out with eminently listenable upscale R&B, there is very little beyond the hits that demands replaying.

THE BREAKFAST CLUB -- Here's a soundtrack (A&M SP 5045) that has its audience pegged even more accurately than the movie it accompanies. Under the guidance of producer Keith Forsey, the man behind Billy Idol's studio sound, the ten tunes collected here are carefully crafted to meet the expectations of almost any suburban new wave dance club patron. Sometimes that's a plus, as with Simple Minds' "Don't You (Forget About Me)," but mostly it's just product.

VISION QUEST -- You'd think the soundtrack (Geffen GHS 24063) for a wrestling movie would have at least sense enough to include something by rock's best known wrestling manager, Cyndi Lauper. Instead, we get lackluster Madonna and leftover Foreigner, Journey and John Waite. And those are the good parts.

PORKY'S REVENGE! -- What better for a movie about ersatz '50s teens than ersatz '50s rock (Columbia JS 39983)? Especially when lovingly assembled by Dave Edmunds and featuring such inspired cover versions as "Stagger Lee" by the Fabulous Thunderbirds, "Sleepwalk" by Jeff Beck, and the "Peter Gunn Theme" by Clarence Clemens. Best of all is "Philadelphia Baby," a delightful obscurity resurrected by "The Crawling Kingsnakes," another Robert Plant alias.

THE FLAMINGO KID -- Of course, some folks like their nostalgia straight-up. Aside from the utterly forgettable title song, this soundtrack (Varese Sarabande STV 81232) skims the cream of early '60s rock: Barrett Strong's "Money (That's What I Want)," the Chiffons' "He's So Fine," the Crystals' "Da Doo Ron Ron" and more.

THE LAST DRAGON -- Forget about trying to come to terms with the premise of a funky kung-fu musical. The big mystery here is how any album (Motown 6128ML) blessed with tracks by Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder and DeBarge can still end up stinking like a long-dead mackerel. Wait for the singles.

THE FALCON AND THE SNOWMAN -- The lure here (EMI America SV-17150) is supposed to be the combination of David Bowie and the Pat Metheny Group on "This Is Not America," but as "Cat People" proved, having Bowie sing a number is no reason to buy a soundtrack. Particularly when Metheny and cohort Lyle Mays have written music so vaporous it seems almost to blow away before you've even heard it. Celluloid Vinyl By J.D. Considine

THERE WAS A TIME when movie soundtracks were written for lushly anonymous orchestras, when the only shot at the hit parade was through the title song, when soundtrack albums were sold on the strength of the movie, not the musical minds behind it.

Those days are long gone. Now that Hollywood hankers for the disposable income of America's teens, the movie moguls have begun to look to rock to roll 'em in -- or at least to make up box-office losses by ringing up soundtrack sales. So forget about seeing the movie. Today's big question is: Have you heard the album?

BEVERLY HILLS COP -- Not only is this the hottest film in America, it boasts the hottest soundtrack (MCA-5553), with no fewer than three bona fide hits, the Pointer Sisters' "Neutron Dance," Glenn Frye's "The Heat Is On" and Patti Labelle's "New Attitude." But though the rest of the album is filled out with eminently listenable upscale R&B, there is very little beyond the hits that demands replaying.

THE BREAKFAST CLUB -- Here's a soundtrack (A&M SP 5045) that has its audience pegged even more accurately than the movie it accompanies. Under the guidance of producer Keith Forsey, the man behind Billy Idol's studio sound, the ten tunes collected here are carefully crafted to meet the expectations of almost any suburban new wave dance club patron. Sometimes that's a plus, as with Simple Minds' "Don't You (Forget About Me)," but mostly it's just product.

VISION QUEST -- You'd think the soundtrack (Geffen GHS 24063) for a wrestling movie would have at least sense enough to include something by rock's best known wrestling manager, Cyndi Lauper. Instead, we get lackluster Madonna and leftover Foreigner, Journey and John Waite. And those are the good parts.

PORKY'S REVENGE! -- What better for a movie about ersatz '50s teens than ersatz '50s rock (Columbia JS 39983)? Especially when lovingly assembled by Dave Edmunds and featuring such inspired cover versions as "Stagger Lee" by the Fabulous Thunderbirds, "Sleepwalk" by Jeff Beck, and the "Peter Gunn Theme" by Clarence Clemens. Best of all is "Philadelphia Baby," a delightful obscurity resurrected by "The Crawling Kingsnakes," another Robert Plant alias.

THE FLAMINGO KID -- Of course, some folks like their nostalgia straight-up. Aside from the utterly forgettable title song, this soundtrack (Varese Sarabande STV 81232) skims the cream of early '60s rock: Barrett Strong's "Money (That's What I Want)," the Chiffons' "He's So Fine," the Crystals' "Da Doo Ron Ron" and more.

THE LAST DRAGON -- Forget about trying to come to terms with the premise of a funky kung-fu musical. The big mystery here is how any album (Motown 6128ML) blessed with tracks by Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder and DeBarge can still end up stinking like a long-dead mackerel. Wait for the singles.

THE FALCON AND THE SNOWMAN -- The lure here (EMI America SV-17150) is supposed to be the combination of David Bowie and the Pat Metheny Group on "This Is Not America," but as "Cat People" proved, having Bowie sing a number is no reason to buy a soundtrack. Particularly when Metheny and cohort Lyle Mays have written music so vaporous it seems almost to blow away before you've even heard it.