21 Iconic Movie Bathroom Scenes
Last updated on April 16th, 2020 at 09:43 am
How many great movies are set entirely in a bathroom? Probably none. Certainly, none come to mind, but if we asked you how many iconic movies include one or more famous bathroom scenes, you could probably think of quite a few without trying too hard.
Bathrooms are an essential part of our lives, and Hollywood occasionally gives them their proper due on the silver screen. Bathrooms are our business, so we love to see a particularly funny or compelling movie bathroom scene. We compiled some of our favorites on this list of 21 of the best. We’d be hard pressed to choose a favorite, or even a favorite in each genre, so they’re in no particular order.
1. ‘The Godfather’
Number two on the American Film Institute’s list of 100 Greatest American Films of All Time, director Francis Ford Coppola shot several scenes in bathrooms. Early in the movie, Tom Higgins (Robert Duvall) interrupts the eldest Corleone son, Sonny (James Caan), while he’s engaged in relations with a bridesmaid during the famous “daughter’s wedding day” opening. But a far more pivotal scene occurs in an Italian Restaurant when Sonny’s youngest brother, Michael Corleone (Al Pacino), excuses himself to go to the bathroom where a revolver has been concealed behind the toilet tank. Michael uses the bathroom gun to avenge an attack on his father.
2. ‘Pulp Fiction’
Even a professional hit man occasionally has a call of nature, but if you’re going to use the bathroom, it’s important not to leave your silenced automatic weapon sitting in the kitchen. In one of our favorite bathroom movie scenes, pugilist Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis) discovers a gun lying on his kitchen counter, which clues him in on the fact that he’s not alone. Vincent Vega’s (John Travolta) bathroom visit leads to his ultimate demise, as Coolidge, his intended victim, opens fire on him. In an earlier scene, Vincent visits a public restroom during a robbery, which allows him to get the drop on a couple of armed robbers. Bathroom visits sometimes work in Vincent’s favor — just not consistently enough.
3. ‘The Shining’
If you ask anyone what line stands out most in this Stanley Kubrick horror classic, it’s the “Here’s Johnny” line uttered by Jack Torrence (Jack Nicholson) as he smashes in a bathroom door with a fire axe. This may, in fact, be one of the most famous scenes in multiple Oscar-winner Nicholson’s storied career. Driven mad by cabin fever, Jack stalks his wife and child through an abandoned resort. In a truly terrifying scene, Wendy (Shelley Duvall) cowers in the bathroom holding a knife as the door gives way to her husband’s axe blows.
As bathroom partition manufacturers, we’re always happy to see products similar to ours saving lives. In this Oscar-winning 1985 thriller, a young Amish boy, Samuel (Lukas Haas), witnesses a homicide in a train station bathroom in Philadelphia. The murderers, who also happen to be cops, are unaware of his presence, but decide to double-check the restroom stalls. Samuel’s ability to think quickly and move silently saves his life in this legendary bathroom scene. Danny Glover, who appears in another of our favorite bathroom movie scenes, portrays one of the killers.
5. ‘The Warriors’
Even if you’re a fan of the 1979 cult classic, you may not know the name of the roller-skating gang that follows the Warriors into the subway bathroom. It was “The Punks.” In this well-known bathroom scene, the title gang heads to the stalls of a public restroom for a showdown with the Punks, who all wear striped pullovers, denim overalls and roller skates. Through process of elimination, the Punks figure out that the Warriors must be hiding inside the stalls. Just as they’re about to make their move, the Warriors time a perfect attack, bursting from the stalls and vanquishing their foes.
6. ‘Casino Royale’ (2006)
This was a reinvention of the James Bond series and was the first of four films casting Daniel Craig as Ian Fleming’s ultra-stylish and refined British Secret Service assassin. In the opening black and white scene, Bond is assigned to terminate a traitor who he tracks down in a restroom in Prague. It’s a rather sloppy assassination by Bond-movie standards, which indicates his inexperience at the time in the storyline, but it’s artistically shot and is one of the more memorable scenes in the movie. The film also includes a later bathroom scene where Bond and Vesper (Eva Green) shower in their evening clothes after a particularly close call.
7. ‘Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery’
Not all bathroom assassinations are so grim. In the first Austin Powers movie, the title character, played by Mike Myers, is availing himself of a bathroom stall that’s situated next to another occupied by a cowboy character (Tom Arnold). When Powers is attacked in the stall, Arnold’s character mistakes the combat sounds for a person having a particularly difficult time conducting his personal business. Naturally, Powers is triumphant (we had two sequels, after all) and the foiled bathroom assassination joins the annals of the greatest bathroom scenes of all time.
8. ‘Lethal Weapon 2’
Most people feel safe using the bathroom in their own homes, but when Detective Martin Riggs’ (Mel Gibson) partner, Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) goes missing, he eventually finds him sitting on his master bathroom toilet. Murtaugh isn’t able to leave the bathroom because there is a pressure-sensitive C-4 explosive charge attached to the seat. Riggs contacts the bomb squad who buy him enough time to pull Murtaugh into a steel-enamel bathtub. The action completes with the toilet catapulting onto Murtaugh’s family station wagon, which takes repeated beatings throughout the movie. We won’t tell you if the detectives survived, but again, there were two more sequels.
9. ‘The Nice Guys’
Just as some movies become instant classics, some bathroom movie scenes follow suit. We think that this is one of those situations. When private detective Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) needs information from his rival Holland March (Ryan Gosling), he runs him down in a public restroom stall. March, fearing another beating, opens the door and points a revolver at the intimidating Healy. The hilarious exchange highlights the difficulties of holding a person at gunpoint while conducting restroom business like pulling up one’s trousers or keeping the bathroom stall door from closing.
10. ‘Weird Science’
No list of favorite movie bathroom scenes would be complete without at least one pick that featured a character using the bathroom to assuage his or her social anxiety. In this John Hughes classic bathroom scene (Hughes has a bathroom scene in nearly every movie, but not all are classics), our protagonists Gary (Anthony Michael Hall) and Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) have thrown the party of the year, but because they’re too insecure to socialize, they caucus in the main bathroom and refuse to give ground.
11. ‘Home Alone’
When his overwhelmed parents accidentally leave Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) home from a Paris Christmas vacation, he’s forced to parent himself until he figures out a Plan B for his inadvertent emancipation. Left to his own devices, he acknowledges the importance of personal grooming and narrates his bathroom preparation. The scene ends with one of the most memorable bathroom moments in any movie as Kevin reacts to splashing his face with aftershave.
12. ‘Karate Kid’
It was the martial arts movie that sent American kids to the dojo by the tens of thousands. And while very few memorable scenes didn’t involve Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) teaching Daniel (Ralph Macchio) an important lesson about life through the ancient fighting art of Karate, one of our favorite bathroom movie scenes comes before the two team up. Daniel decides to exact a creative revenge on his school rival, Johnny (William Zabka), in the gymnasium restroom during a Halloween dance. When Johnny uses the bathroom stall to smoke marijuana, Daniel deftly hangs a hose over the partition and soaks the high school bully.
If you’ve never taken a bath wearing a custom top hat with a picture of martinis, it’s probably because you’re not an extraordinarily wealthy billionaire playboy with ample time and money. But the title character of “Arthur,” played by Dudley Moore, is all of those things. The only person who has license to call him on his bad behavior is his butler and mentor Hobson (Sir John Gielgud), who reminds him “bathing is a lonely business.”
14. ‘Pretty Woman’
When financial arbitrageur Edward Lewis (Richard Gere) needs an escort for a series of high-level business meetings, he doesn’t immediately consider his new streetwalker companion Vivian (Julia Roberts) as a viable candidate. That all changes when he walks in on her reclining in a luxurious bathtub, wearing a Walkman (not recommended for use in water), singing Prince’s “Kiss.” Somehow, Vivian’s awkwardness and off-key crooning melts the impenetrable heart of Lewis, and this famous bathtub scene sets into motion one of the greatest cinematic romances of the past three decades.
15. ‘Along Came Polly’
No one wants to ever use a potential girlfriend’s bathroom in a small apartment on a first date, but sometimes, you just have to. After dining on some exotic food, Reuben Feffer (Ben Stiller) excuses himself to use Polly’s (Jennifer Aniston) bathroom. During his short bathroom visit, he’s interrupted by an aggressive ferret, discovers that there’s no toilet paper and manages to cause the toilet to overflow (every guests’ worst nightmare). Somehow, Reuben still manages to get a second date with his dream girl. Love wins.
16. ‘Meet the Parents’
Ben Stiller may be the king of awkward bathroom scenes. Jack Byrnes (Robert De Niro) warns Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) not to flush the guestroom toilet, as the septic system is close to being full. Focker later sees the Byrnes family feline, Mr. Jinx, using the toilet — yes, Jack has trained the cat to use a toilet — and excuses himself to give Jinx privacy. When the septic system overflows as a result of the malfunctioning toilet, Focker tries to lay the blame on Jinx in this classic bathroom outtake.
17. ‘American Psycho’
Very few movies featuring serial-killer antiheroes are as quoted as this film adaptation of Brett Easton Ellis’s controversial masterpiece. For bathroom scene aficionados, there are almost as many bathroom scenes as quotable lines. From the beginning where Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) is monologue-ing about his morning grooming ritual to a scene where he’s charming a prostitute with champagne and bath bubbles, it seems like half of this film takes place near toilets and sinks. Our favorite scene, however, involves Bateman attempting an impromptu public restroom murder of his annoying coworker Luis Carruthers (Matt Ross) after he loses a business-card comparison contest.
18. ‘Sixteen Candles’
John Hughes makes the list again (and there’s a couple that we didn’t include). Anthony Michael Hall, who’s only referred to as “Geek” in the movie and film credits, makes a wager with his friends that he can sleep with Amanda (Molly Ringwald), but the bet requires her panties as proof. In a moment of compassion, she gives Geek her panties to win the bet, but she may not have anticipated the high level of interest. In dramatic fashion, Geek reveals the panties in the school restroom in front of twenty or so high school boys.
19. ‘Reservoir Dogs’
Mr. Orange (Tim Roth) is a career criminal who makes it a point to avoid law enforcement, but when he walks into the men’s room with a bag full of drugs, he finds four sheriff’s deputies and a police K-9 exchanging war stories. Realizing that his only option is to act as though nothing is wrong, Mr. Orange uses the urinal and leaves in as cool of fashion as possible.
20. ‘Crocodile Dundee’
As a rough-hewn outdoorsman from the Australian Outback, Mick Dundee (Paul Hogan) isn’t all that experienced with flushing toilets, let alone bidets. The Plaza Hotel is a bit of a change of pace for Dundee, and it takes his eventual girlfriend (Linda Kozlowski) to show him the ropes, including bathroom survival skills.
21. ‘Dumb & Dumber’
It’s difficult to compile a list of bathroom scenes without including a little tasteful but hilarious bathroom humor. “Dumb & Dumber” wins in at least one of those categories. When Harry Dunne (Jeff Daniels) heads out for a date, he’s unaware that his jealous best friend, Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey) has spiked his coffee with laxatives — many of them. To make matters worse, his hostess (played by Lauren Holly) tells him that the toilet isn’t working. Only, she’s a little late.
See a Bathroom You Want? Find It.
Nowadays, many movies are shot on location (as opposed to being filmed in a studio), so you see bathroom products that are available to the public. Often, when you see something you like in a movie, a quick web search can lead you to the manufacturer. If you happen to be looking for public restroom partitions, we’re happy to be of assistance in helping you locate exactly what you’re looking for.
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