Whether you have realized it or not, throughout the history of cinema, there are many scenes that take place with a shower and/or bathtub as an essential part. Probably the most unforgettable and the first one that comes to mind would be the shower scene with Janet Leigh from the 1960 Alfred Hitchcock film Psycho. Now that certainly was not an ’80s film (though its first two sequels were in 1983 and 1986), but the ’80s did have its share of memorable movie scenes in the tub or shower. And not just the gratuitous nudity scene that was forced into many films especially earlier in the decade (like in Stripes, Porky’s, or almost any R-rated comedy). Here is OLD SCHOOL’S TOP 25 SCENES FROM ’80s MOVIES FEATURING THE BATHTUB and/or SHOWER :
Honorable Mention. Pretty Woman just missed being an ’80s movie since it was released in March of 1990. It does have one of the best bathtub movie scenes and I am not talking about the one when Richard Gere joins her in the tub. I am talking about the one when Julia Roberts is wearing headphones and singing along to Prince’s “Kiss” (an ’80s song!) while relaxing in a bubble bath. Since she is singing a great 80s song while listening to a Walkman and the film just missed the ’80s by 86 days, I wanted to at least give Pretty Woman an honorable mention.
26. Young Guns (1988) – “Billy the Kid” (played by Emilio Estevez) takes an old-fashioned bath in this western which takes place in the 1870s. There is no doubt his six-shooter is not far from reach.
25. See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989) – A hard-of-hearing “Dave” (played by Gene Wilder) is trying to sneak a handbag out of the bathroom when a soapy “Eve” (played by Joan Severance) reaches out to get something out of the bag.
24. Wildcats (1986) – “Molly McGrath” (played by Goldie Hawn) is unexpectedly interrupted while trying to take a relaxing bath.
23. Arthur (1981) – As one of his many symbols of wealth, “Arthur” (played by Dudley Moore) sits in his gigantic bathtub usually accompanied by a drink. Even the movie’s poster shows this image with the question, “Don’t you wish you were Arthur?”
22. Scarface (1983) – In one example of over-indulgence, “Tony Montana” (played by Al Pacino) sits in his gold-plated extravagant tub.
21. Ghostbusters II (1989) – In the sequel, “Dana Barrett” (played by Sigourney Weaver) has a scary moment when supernatural slime tries to invade her apartment via her bathtub.
20a. Just One of the Guys (1985) – “Terri” (played by Joyce Hyser) can’t shower with the rest of the guys for obvious reasons, so she brings a doctor’s note and gets assigned to jockstrap duty instead.
20b. Revenge of the Nerds (1984) – “Takashi” (played by Brian Tochi) is assigned to laundry duty for the football team. As he stands outside the shower collecting jockstraps, one players asks “Do you know karate?” before stretching his jock over Takashi’s head. Combined these two together because they were similar, but I don’t remember having a jockstrap laundry person like this when I was in school.
19. Tango & Cash (1989) – Shortly after being set up and put in prison, Tango and Cash (played by Sylvester Stallone & Kurt Russell) have a charming scene together in the prison shower.
18. Say Anything… (1989) – In an emotional display, “Jim Court” (played by John Mahoney) seeks refuge in his bathtub as he tries to deal with his impending IRS investigation and possibly losing his beloved daughter in the process.
17. Tootsie (1982) – As Dustin Hoffman is making his transformation from “Michael Dorsey” to “Dorothy Michaels”, he shaves his legs while in the tub.
16. Rain Man (1988) – Tom Cruise’s “Charlie Babbitt” discovers why he called his autistic brother “Raymond” (played by Dustin Hoffman) “Rain Man” as well as why they had to move him to live in a mental institution. “Hot water burn baby!”
15. National Lampoon’s European Vacation (1985) – The original 1983 film has a simply gratuitous shower scene with “Ellen Griswold” (played by Beverly D’Angelo). Then the sequel finds “Ellen” innocently videotaped in the shower by her husband “Clark”, but after the camera is later stolen her image ends up on a billboard to her embarrassment.
14. Splash (1984) – We get to see “Madison” (played by Daryl Hannah) turn into a mermaid including her full tail fin on display in the bathtub of Tom Hanks’ apartment.
13. Money Pit (1986) – “Walter” and “Anna” (played by Tom Hanks and Shelley Long) buy a distressed mansion and it begins to fall apart from the moment they walk in. After they have experienced constant catastrophes, “Walter” can’t help but laugh after the bathtub falls through the floor and crashes to the level below.
12. The Toy (1982) – This is the scene that reminded me about this list after my interview with Scott Schwartz who plays spoiled rich kid “Master Eric Bates”. In a bonding moment, at one point both he and his hired friend “Jack Brown” (played by Richard Pryor) end up in a bubble bath together with their clothes on.
11. Short Circuit (1986) – While taking a bath, “Stephanie” (played by Ally Sheedy) hears an intruder which turns out to be Number 5. “Nice software!”
10. Better Off Dead (1985) – At the very beginning of the movie we meet Lane Meyer (played by John Cusack) and learn he is a little bit different when he gets up and proceeds to take his shower without removing his socks. You can watch it here.
9. Fatal Attraction (1987) – Anne Archer’s character “Beth” is attacked by “Alex Forrest” (played by Glenn Close) as she is about to take a bath. Her husband “Dan” (played by Michael Douglas) comes to her rescue wrestling “Alex” into the tub and seemingly drowning her. She then suddenly emerges from the water swinging her knife wildly when she is shot in the chest by “Beth” and finally killed.
8. Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985) – After Pee-wee’s bike goes missing, he goes to confront the prime suspect “Francis” (played by Mark Holton) while he happens to be taking a bath. The bathtub is more of a swimming pool and a battle ensues as Pee-wee attempts to find out the location of his precious bicycle.
7. The Lost Boys (1987) – Unsuspecting “Sam Emerson” (played by Corey Haim) is singing in the bath while his older brother (played by Jason Patric) is turning into a vampire.
6. Coming to America (1988) – Wealthy African “Prince Akeem” (played by Eddie Murphy) is enjoying his royal bath when a Nubian bathing attendant (played by Victoria Dillard) declares after emerging from under the water, “The royal penis is clean, your Highness.”
5. Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987) – Sharing a motel room with “Del Griffith” (played by John Candy), “Neal Page” (played by Steve Martin) tries to take a relaxing shower. When the water stops running and he has soap in his eyes, he tries to rinse it off in the sink when he comes across a disgusting surprise.
4. Weird Science (1985) – “Gary” and “Wyatt” (played by Anthony Michael Hall and Ilan Mitchell-Smith) always dreamed of showering with girls. Then they had “Lisa” (played by Kelly LeBrock) a beautiful woman all to themselves, but they are too intimidated and uptight to take advantage of the situation. This is best demonstrated by the fact they kept their pants on while in the shower.
3. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) – As he is getting ready for his day off, “Ferris” (played by Matthew Broderick) is taking a shower. He has his hair standing straight up molded into a fin with shampoo and he’s carrying on dialogue with the audience. He says, “I do have a test today, that wasn’t bulls**t. It’s on European socialism. I mean, really, what’s the point? I’m not European. I don’t plan on being European. So who gives a crap if they’re socialists? They could be fascist anarchists, it still doesn’t change the fact that I don’t own a car.” Then he sings a couple bars of Wayne Newton’s “Danke Schoen” into the shower head. “I recall Central Park in Fall, how you tore your dress, what a mess, I confess…”
2. Bull Durham (1988) – In an effort to scare the team into playing better, “Skip” (played by Trey Wilson) lectures them in the shower with the awesome “Lollygaggers” speech.
1. A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984) – This is a freaky scene! “Nancy” (played by Heather Langenkamp) is taking a bath and seems to be sleepy. Freddy’s glove pops out of the water between her legs almost like a shark’s fin, but disappears quickly when her Mom calls in to remind her not to fall asleep in the tub. “Nancy” dozes off anyways and her bath takes a scary turn for the worse.
There’s my list. Are there any bathtub or shower scenes from the ’80s that you feel I have overlooked? If so or if you’d rank any differently, please leave them in the comments section below. I intentionally left off the many spying on the girl’s locker room shower scenes that were prevalent back then and tried to keep it to traditional bathroom shower or bathtub scenes. It is interesting to think of how many movie scenes take place in a bathroom. As they say, cleanliness is next to godliness. But I like another quote I have heard even better: “Cleanliness becomes more important when godliness is unlikely.”