Top 10 Bathroom Scenes in Film

As the top 10 bathroom scenes in film shows, movie characters are as likely to be relieving themselves while reading the paper as they are plotting a murder…

trainspotting_toilet-scene_top10filmsThe bathroom might have been off limits for cinema in its earliest form just as kissing was unheard of on-screen but as filmmakers began to enjoy a more liberal approach, the room where things are washed, flushed, squeezed, binned and thrown up has become a place of drama, intrigue, a laugh or two, and few very bad smells.

Certainly, as these great bathroom scenes show us, for cinema’s creative minds wanting to draw either a good scare or a hearty laugh, the toilet and its associated components have proven to be an ideal source.

10. There’s Something About Mary (Farrelly/Farrelly, 1998)

there's-something-about-mary-zipper_ben-stiller_top10films, top 10 films, bathroom scenes in film,Poor Ben Stiller. He’s on the date of his young teenage life with the beautiful Cameron Diaz when, after a quick dash to the loo, he accomplishes the unthinkable. With perfect timing the 1990s kings of toilet humour the Farrelly’s reveal the horny teen has caught his crown jewels in his trouser zipper. Farce ensues as Stiller’s tux-dressed character must face the help of his date’s father amongst others before accepting the inevitable – a mangled appendage and a trip to Accident and Emergency.

9. Naked Gun (Zucker, 1988)

Naked-Gun_frank-drebin_top10films, top 10 films, bathroom scenes in film,Hapless L.A. cop Frank Drebin is summoned to a press conference about the department’s role in guarding the Queen of England during her visit to the city. Drebin forgets he’s wearing a remote microphone wired to the PA system when he silently excuses himself and heads off to the bathroom. The loud noise of him relieving himself is bad enough but it is only made worse when he starts to sing and whistle! This is all taking place while the press conference is being televised across the nation.

8. Trainspotting (Boyle, 1996)

trainspotting_toilet-scene2_top10films, top 10 films, bathroom scenes in film,Don’t do drugs, kids! That’s about the only message you can take from Ewan McGregor’s search for his next hit in the inner workings of the vile public toilet into which he’s just evacuated his bowels.

7. American History X (Kaye, 1998)

american-history-x-edward-norton_top10films, top 10 films, bathroom scenes in film,Similar to the hard-hitting, emotionally devastating sequence in Full Metal Jacket, American History X’s bathroom scene is played out in two parts. Firstly, Edward Furlong’s Danny confronts a gang who are beating up a helpless student only to be shot in the toilets by the same gang the following day. Edward Norton, playing Furlong’s brother, arrives at the scene and cradles his dead sibling in a tearful, unresponsive goodbye. A feeling of guilt, resulting from his own troubled, violent past, overwhelms him.

6. Scarface (De Palma, 1983)

Scarface-Al-Pacino_top10films, top 10 films, bathroom scenes in film,If Trainspotting taught us not to do drugs, Scarface teaches us not to drug deal, at least in its bathroom sequence (because we’ll ignore the lavish riches and beautiful women for a second). When Al Pacino’s Tony Montana hatches a plan to get rich quick selling cocaine he quickly finds the sector riddled with unsavoury suppliers. His colleague gets bloodily dismembered in front of him before he narrowly escapes the same fate when his friend Manny arrives with his gun blazing.

5. Lethal Weapon 2 (Donner, 1989)

lethalweapon2_top10films, top 10 films, bathroom scenes in film,Danny Glover is far too old for this, or so he says, as Roger Murtaugh in Richard Donner’s entertaining buddy cop flick Lethal Weapon 2. When he and his partner Riggs (Mel Gibson) rub some gold smuggling crooks up the wrong way, Murtaugh finds his morning bathroom time interrupted by the realisation the bad guys have strapped a large explosive to the underneath of his toilet. He finishes his number 2 and he’s finished altogether. Cue the bomb squad and a rather crowded bathroom as the experts work around the stricken half-naked cop in an attempt to save his life.

4. The Shining (Kubrick, 1980)

the-shining_bathroom-scenesWhat were you told about room 237? Sometimes the things we’re told not to do become fascinating challenges that cannot be avoided. In Stanley Kubrick’s icy supernatural horror The Shining, Jack Nicholson’s character Jack Torrance becomes the caretaker of the Overlook Hotel during the winter only to find the old building riddled with murderous ghosts. When he enters room 237, he is at first curious and aroused by the beautiful naked woman he finds in the bathroom. He embraces her only to find he is now kissing the rotting corpse of an elderly woman.

3. The Godfather (Coppola, 1972)

godfather_corleone_bathroom_top10films, top 10 films, bathroom scenes in film,Michael Corleone becomes a man – or at least a mob man – when he decides to murder a drug baron in retaliation for an ongoing feud. Setting up a meeting in a restaurant, Michael secretly hides a gun in the eatery’s toilet. When the time is right, he excuses himself from the table, retrieves the gun, and makes the hit. The great thing about this sequence is how Coppola presents Michael’s short time in the restroom as the moment when boy becomes man. The tension rises as does the sound of a passing train as Michael’s obvious apprehension threatens to get the better of him.

2. Full Metal Jacket (Kubrick, 1987)

Full_Metal_Jacket_Bathroom_top10films, top 10 films, bathroom scenes in film,In one of cinema’s most powerful bathroom-related scenes, Stanley Kubrick introduces us to the adverse side-effect of preparing a man for war. Emotionally broken and physically exhausted, Leonard Lawrence, better known by his nickname Gomer Pyle, puts the rifle he has been taught to cherish like a helpless infant into his mouth and pulls the trigger. It is a devastating sequence, the emotional wreckage of which clings to the film’s second half like a bad cold.

1. Psycho (Hitchcock, 1960)

Psycho_Norman-Bates_Alfred-Hitchcock, top 10 films, bathroom scenes in film,The infamous shower scene!

Marion Crane skips town having stolen a significant amount of cash and fatally decides to spend the night at Norman Bates’ hotel. Everyone knows the scene by now. Alfred Hitchcock’s technical genius here makes use of close-ups and smartly timed cuts to increase the tension and, ultimately, the impact of Marion’s frightening death.

There really can’t be any other number 1 in the top 10 bathroom scenes!

Written and compiled by Daniel Stephens

Over to you: what are your fave bathroom scenes in film?

About the Author
Editor of Top 10 Films, Dan Stephens is usually found pondering his next list. An unhealthy love of 1980s Hollywood sees most of his top 10s involving a time-travelling DeLorean and an adventurous archaeologist going by the name Indiana.

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  1. Avatar
    Movie Gran Reply

    Great top 10… Love those top 5 especially! Can’t argue with Psycho at number one but I do love that scene from Lethal Weapon!

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    Karlton Reply

    Good list – I’d add Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

    • Avatar
      Dan Reply

      “That” scene in Fast Times was definitely a consideration!

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    Creeper Reply

    That sequence in The Shining is horrifying. There’s also that moment with the old caretaker in the other bathroom scene when he tells Jack to kill his whole family. I like that scene in There’s Something About Mary but the Dumb and Dumber toilet sequence with Jeff Daniels is funnier!

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    Tony Hudson Reply

    …the scene in Pulp Fiction when John Travolta is about to enjoy a Pop Tart after his morning number two only to be stopped in his tracks by an Uzi-firing Bruce Willis!

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    Phoebe Reply

    any bathroom scene where someone crawls through the bottom gap of the stall door. CREEPS ME OUT.

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    Michael Scoates Reply

    OCD towels – Sleeping With the Enemy, Tim Robbins’ ice bath – Jacob’s Ladder, Here’s Johnny – The Shining.

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    CKF Reply

    The White Rabbit bathtub scene in Fear and Loathing

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    anna c. Reply

    who could forget ewan mcgregor’s underwater toilet adventure in ‘trainspotting’!

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    Matthew Reply

    I’d add the fight scene from The Warriors. And also dumb the beginning of Casino Royale. Very brutal compared to earlier Bond films

    And Carlito realising he’s trapped in Carlitos Way

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    Brittani Reply

    “How do you get the zipper all the way to the top?!”

    Great list! I think my favorite bathroom scene has got to be the Bath house scene in Eastern Promises. That was so intense.

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    Mark Reply

    Fun list Dan – I probably would have put Trainspotting higher as that scene reminds me of a passage in Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow.

    I agree with CKF vis-a-vis Fear and Loathing …. it was the first thing that came to mind when pondering alternatives.

    Other contenders:

    (1)Henri Georges Clouzot’s Diabolique (the body in the bath)

    (2) James Cameron’s True Lies (the big shoot out)

    (3) I’ve forgotten the director’s name’s Evil Dead remake … the bathroom scene in that was pretty mean.

    (4) Eli Wallach (RIP) in the bath The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, which has two great lines of dialogue: Eli – “If you’re going to shoot, shoot. Don’t talk.” and; Clint – “Take of your gun and put on your draws.”

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    Neal Damiano Reply

    What a fantastic list…..couldn’t agree with it more! Only change for me, I would of put The Shining in top 3

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    Mark Reply

    Another Tarantino contender for this list would be Kill Bill II when Uma dunks Darryl’s head in Madsen’s trailer trash bathroom/toilet before poking her remaining eye out and stepping on it.

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    Evan Crean Reply

    This might be my favorite Top 10 of all-time that you guys have done. What an unusual topic that somehow lent itself fantastic moments from cinema. I don’t think I’d change a single thing on this list. An honorable mention for me though would be the bathroom scene from Stripes where Bill Murray’s John Winger gets his ass kicked by his drill instructor Sgt. Hulka.

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    Lights Camera Reaction Reply

    All terrific mentions! I’d include the bathroom scene in High Tension – so tense!

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    Dan Grant Reply

    Terrific list and well written. We could include a few more on here, but the list is eclectic enough that it makes you want to go out and watch those films again.

  17. Avatar
    Dan Grant Reply

    I’ll toss my vote in for Fast Times as well.

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