Some of the most iconic film scenes in history have taken place in some of the most innocuous of locations – including the bathroom. You may not realise it, but we guarantee you’ll be surprised. To prove that fact, here is a selection of the most iconic film scenes that have taken place in a bathroom.
The opening scene of American Psycho, in which Patrick Bateman pores over every single little detail of his lavish morning routine, is as famous a bathroom scene as any in cinematic history. He name drops as many lavish brands as possible, and carries it all out with meticulous precision. As a stickler for the best, we’d like to imagine Bateman would only use the best shower pumps as well. What at first appears to be, perhaps, at worst, an unhealthy self-absorption, eventually unravels into full-blown psychopathy. American Psycho is an intriguing cautionary tale of the repercussions of narcissism when it goes unchecked, and the opening scene detailing Patrick Bateman’s painstakingly scrupulous morning routine gives the audience an insightful glimpse into the mind of a man that is later capable of such demented behaviour.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Professor Quirrell’s squeal of “troll in the dungeon” has emerged as one of the most immediately recognisable lines in the entire Harry Potter franchise. It comes as a surprise then, when just five minutes later, Harry, Ron, and Hermione (and the audience) encounter the aforementioned troll in the girls’ toilets, not the dungeon. What ensues is a classic and unforgettable scene that combines action and comedy in equal measure as the first-year Hogwarts students manage to overcome a fearsome, if bumbling, troll.
While you wouldn’t typically associate bathrooms with the sleek, gratuitous violence that Quentin Tarantino is famous for, in Pulp Fiction, the bathroom is as important a location as any. Whether it leads to a drug overdose or a murder, lead character Vincent Vega (played by John Travolta) is inevitably always involved. The first time he emerges after a spell in the bathroom, Mia (Uma Thurman) mistakes his heroin for cocaine and very nearly dies for the error. The second time, he is shot and killed by Butch (Bruce Willis).
Theories for why bathrooms feature so prominently in the film vary, but the most widely accepted one posits that the juxtaposition of the bathroom with drug use and murder allows for a greater contrast between the mundane and the extreme – making the scenes all the more surprising and shocking.
While Pulp Fiction certainly ruffled a few feathers for its flagrant violation of American morals, Trainspotting seemed to go one step further – especially where bathrooms are concerned. Whilst Tarantino used bathrooms to provide a contrast, Danny Boyle uses The Worst Toilet in Scotland to display the downright desperation and depravity of drug addicts. A truly sickening sight on its own, it is awful to see Renton even bother to use the toilet, never mind dive head first into it in an attempt to rescue his treasured suppositories. Its notoriety as a scene can perhaps be credited to this grimace-inducing quality. Regardless, it remains an iconic scene that certainly sticks in the mind.
Walter Hill’s stylised depiction of gang violence in New York City has garnered an army of fans and The Warriors has become a cult film in the 38 years since its release. Amongst many, many memorable fight scenes, perhaps the most infamous is the one that took place in the most banal location. Seemingly cornered in the bathrooms of the New York subway, the Warriors manage to turn the tables and ambush the ambushers, leaving the Punks in a bloody heap in the process.