Foxterra Design – Designing Pools & Building a Million Followers –

Swimming pools are a part of the fabric of our lives, our culture, and the movies we watch. Throughout the history of film, swimming pools, have played an important part on the silver screen. Consequently, actors have been taking the plunge as far back as the silent film era.

It should come as no surprise that of the 500,000 or so feature-length films in existence, that a fair percentage incorporate pools or swimming as a theme or central plot point. The world’s fascination with swimming pools dates back far greater than the advent of moving pictures. Charlie Chaplin made the swimming pool a focal piece of one of his films way back in 1917 and Hollywood has been following suit ever since.

Our 30 Favorite Film Scenes Featuring Swimming Pools

Today, we’re going to take a stroll down memory lane as we highlight some of the most memorable moments from film history featuring swimming pools. Let’s dive right in!

#1 – Cocoon

A pool played a central theme in the 1985 movie Cocoon. Extraterrestrials had a veritable fountain of youth in their swimming pool, something Jessica Tandy and Oscar winner, Don Ameche found irresistible. Cocoon was also a big movie for actors Steve Guttenberg and Brian Dennehy who spends half the film trying to keep them out of the pool without much success.

Swimming Pools in The Movies: Cocoon – 1985

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#2 – Cruel Intentions

The chemistry was undeniable between Ryan Phillippe and Reese Witherspoon in the 1999 film Cruel Intentions. Seduction lay at the heart of this swimming pool scene set at the often used Millenium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles which doubled for the Valmont Mansion in New York City.

Swimming Pools in The Movies: Cruel Intentions – 1999

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#3 – Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Nobody can quite forget this swimming pool scene. Phoebe Cates has quite possibly one of the memorable pool scenes of all time in the 1984 classic Fast Times at Ridgemont High. The MPAA originally slapped the movie with an X-rating because of the blatant full-frontal nudity in the film. You won’t see the whole scene here though, because hey, we’re a family magazine.

Swimming Pools in The Movies: Fast Times at Ridgemont High – 1984

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#4 – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Matthew Broderick had quite possibly the best hooky day ever in the 1986 film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Alan Ruck’s character Cameron Frye looks for the bottom of the pool when he has a complete mental breakdown after seeing the odometer on his father’s car.

Swimming Pools in The Movies: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – 1986

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#5 – Poltergeist

One of the scariest swimming pool scenes in film history is in the 1982 horror film Poltergeist. JoBeth Williams looks genuinely horrified to be swimming in her unfinished pool with skeletons. Perhaps because she knew that studio used real human skeletons because it was too expensive and difficult to locate and shoot with synthetic ones.

Swimming Pools in The Movies: Poltergeist- 1982

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#6 – Back To School

Who could ever forget Rodney Dangerfield in the campy ’86 comedy smash Back To School? Dangerfield goes for quite possibly the most memorable high dive of all time with his impossible “Triple Lindy” dive during the climax of the film.

Swimming Pools in The Movies: Back To School – 1986

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#7 – Boogie Nights

Director Paul Thomas Anderson is a master of the long cut as evidence in the pool party scene in the 1997 film Boogie Nights. John C. Reilly’s character Reed Rothchild does the worst back flop in movie history while attempting a full front flip. Don’t try that at home kids.

Swimming Pools in The Movies: Boogie Nights – 1997

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#8 – Old School

A children’s pool party sets the unlikely stage for one of the funniest moments in film history in the 2003 comedy Old School. Try not to bust a gut when Will Ferrell’s character, Frank The Tank accidentally shoots himself in the neck with a tranquilizer gun before stumbling into the pool and blacking out.

Swimming Pools in The Movies: Old School – 2003

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#9 – National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Chevy Chase spends the entire movie dreaming about how he’s going to spend his Christmas bonus. His plans involve building a swimming pool for the family but even his day dreams go awry in the 1989 classic National Lampoons Christmas Vacation.

Swimming Pools in The Movies: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – 1989

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#10 – Harold & Maude

Harold Chasen (played by Bud Cort) is obsessed with death in the 1971 dark rom-com classic Harold & Maude. Aside from driving a hearse and spending an inordinate amount of time attending funerals for people he doesn’t know, Harold is fond of faking elaborate suicides. So much to the extent that his own mother has built up an immunity to his shenanigans, as evidence to her ignoring Harold doing a dead mans float, in the swimming pool. She does the breaststroke, right past him and continues on as if he’s not even there.

Swimming Pools in The Movies: Harold & Maude – 1971

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#11 – The Graduate

Dustin Hoffman stars as 21-year-old Benjamin Braddock in the 1967 comedy cult classic The Graduate. One of the most memorable scenes involves a birthday gift Ben’s parents urge him to show off to his family and friends; a set of scuba diving gear they insist he demonstrate in the swimming pool. There was definitely some innovative cinematography in this film as evidence in the scene shot from the viewpoint of the inside of Ben’s diving mask.

Swimming Pools in The Movies: The Graduate – 1967

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#12 – Beverly Hills Cop II

Eddie Murphy reprised his role where he plays a fish out of water wisecracking, detective from Detroit in the hit 1987 sequel Beverly Hills Copy II. In this funny scene, Murphy is squatting in a tony mansion with a swimming pool and jacuzzi. In real life Eddie Murphy’s pool put’s this one to shame.

Swimming Pools in The Movies: Beverly Hills Copy II – 1987

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#13 – Lethal Weapon

One of the most famous action movie scenes involving a swimming pool was in the 1987 hit Lethal Weapon. Mel Gibson (Riggs) and Danny Glover (Murtaugh) played two crime-fighting detectives on a mission. Murtaugh’s mission was to stop the crooks without killing them while Riggs was on a mission to evidently ruin a perfectly good pool cover.

Swimming Pools in The Movies: Lethal Weapon – 1987

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#14 – Meet The Parents

One of the funniest scenes in the 2000 smash hit Meet The Parents is when Ben Stiller (Greg Focker) is forced to attend a pool party at his fiance’s ex-boyfriend’s palatial home. Greg clearly isn’t much of a volleyball player but the hilarity really ensues when his competitive streak comes out of him. He attempts to rise to the occasion by spiking the ball as hard as he possibly can.

Swimming Pools in The Movies: Meet The Parents – 2000

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#15 – Gremlins

When you own a pet that multiplies after getting wet, you should probably keep it as far away from the swimming pool as possible. Especially, once it’s turned into a gremlin after eating a midnight snack. Watch this pool scene from the 1984 blockbuster, Gremlins.

Swimming Pools in The Movies: Gremlins – 1984

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#16 – A Nightmare on Elm Street 2

Nothing can ruin a pool party faster than Freddy Kreuger showing up. What a buzz kill! The razor-fingered slasher shows up just in time to put a damper on the festivities in the 1985 sequel Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge. This wouldn’t be the last time that a pool scene would pop up in the Nightmare on Elm Street series, they used a swimming pool as a focal point of the film again in 2010 in the franchise reboot.

Swimming Pools in The Movies: A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge – 1985

Swimming Pools in The Movies: A Nightmare on Elm Street (Reboot) – 2010

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#17 – Anchorman

Will Ferrell’s hilarious 2004 comedy smash Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy has one particular pool scene at the very beginning of the movie that is very funny. Evidently he’s been going to the same pool party for the past 12 years and in no way is that depressing.

Swimming Pools in The Movies: Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy – 2004

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#18 – Caddyshack

Finding a floater in the pool is everyone’s worst nightmare come to life; depicted in this hilarious scene from 1980’s Caddyshack. Bill Murray plays quite possibly the funniest pool boy ever. We love a guy that isn’t scared to put a theory to the test right there on the spot. Incidentally, the scene involving a Baby Ruth candy bar being thrown in the pool was based on a true incident that occurred at Brian Doyle-Murray‘s high school.

Swimming Pools in The Movies: Caddyshack – 1980

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#19 – Wall-E

In the 2008 animated film Wall-E, humanity has polluted the planet to the point where we’ve been forced to evacuate to an interstellar cruise ship. Evidently, it’s a pretty big ship because the folks that live there didn’t know there was a pool on board.

Swimming Pools in The Movies: Wall-E – 2008

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#20 – Romeo + Juliet

Two star-crossed lovers find themselves again in the 1996 film William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes. Director Baz Luhrmann reimagined this famous scene from the play to occur poolside.

Swimming Pools in The Movies: Romeo + Juliet – 1996

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#21 – It’s a Wonderful Life

Perhaps the most iconic swimming pool scene of all time occurs in the 1946 Christmas classic, It’s a Wonderful Life. Definitely one of the more defining moments of the film is when George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) and Mary Hatch (Donna Reed) are dancing and the floor suddenly opens to an inground swimming pool underneath them. Suddenly a dance party becomes a pool party and no one seems to mind one bit.

Swimming Pools in The Movies: It’s a Wonderful Life – 1946

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#22 – The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is an American classic novel reimagined in the 2013 film starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Swimming pools play a prevailing role throughout the film staged in the decadent Jazz age of Long Island. Ultimately, Gatsby would reach his end in a swimming pool, murdered by a jealous husband George Wilson (Jason Clarke).

Swimming Pools in The Movies: The Great Gatsby – 2013

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#23 – National Lampoon’s Vacation

Chevy Chase stars in the 1983 hit National Lampoon’s Vacation. His character Clark Griswold has a nack for finding trouble and making bad decisions. Skinny dipping with Christie Brinkley in a motel pool was just one of them.

Swimming Pools in The Movies: National Lampoon’s Vacation – 1983

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#24 – Oblivion

We have to say, Tom Cruise‘s sky apartment in 2013’s Oblivion, is pretty amazing. Having a swimming pool like this one would be very Hollywood. The premise of the film is a little weird and perhaps Roger Ebert said it best “Harper and Vica spend their days fixing drones, eating candelit dinners, and swimming in a glass-bottomed pool.” Hey, if that’s what it takes, sign us up.

Swimming Pools in The Movies: Oblivion – 2013

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#25 – The Sandlot

The Sandlot (1993) had one of the most memorable pool scenes in film history. Not because of the beauty of the swimming pool mind you, but because of what occurred poolside. Try this one at your local pool club and you’re immediately banned for life. We’re not condoning what Squints Palledorous did mind you, but it’s still a pretty cool pickup move nonetheless.

Swimming Pools in The Movies: The Sandlot – 1993

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#26 – Grown Ups

Kevin James is hilarious as he takes one on the chin to debunk an old myth about peeing in the pool in 2010’s hit, Grown Ups. This one is just for entertainment value though, there really is no chemical that turns your urine blue when you pee in the pool. Then again, do you really want to take that chance to find out for yourself?

Swimming Pools in The Movies: Grown Ups – 2010

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#27 – Rushmore

Bill Murray clearly has no qualms about cannon balling into a green pool in 1998’s sleeper hit Rushmore. In fact, he dives into the murky swimming pool with a cigarette still in his mouth, so it doesn’t really look like he’s going to let a lil algae disrupt his day.

Swimming Pools in The Movies: Rushmore – 1998

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#28 – The Jerk

Steve Martin‘s 1979 comedy classic The Jerk has one memorable pool scene where he beats up a pack of racist real estate investors. This wouldn’t be the first memorable scene of Martin’s career where he showcases his incredible martial arts skills. You can copy his legendary kung fu style from scenes in “Fake Purse Ninjas” in the movie Bowfinger.

Swimming Pools in The Movies: The Jerk – 1979

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#29 – The Swimmer

Burt Lancaster plays Ned Merrill in the 1968 classic, The Swimmer – based on a short story originally published by John Cheever in The New Yorker. The Swimmer tells the tale of a middle-aged man who lands in a friends backyard pool party. Merrill becomes fixated with the idea that there are so many swimming pools in the neighborhood, they could practically form a river. He becomes intent on swimming his way home but realizes that with every stroke comes disillusionment.

Swimming Pools in The Movies: The Swimmer – 1968

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#30 – Home Alone 2: Lost In New York

Macaulay Culkin plays lovable Kevin McCallister in the smash sequel Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. Culkin always had a screen presence that belied his young age. In this scene, while staying at the posh Plaza Hotel, his character Kevin asks if any of the adults nearby would mind him working on his cannonballs. No one seems to mind. There is one thing though, that bathing suit looks a little big on him.

Swimming Pools in The Movies: Home Alone 2: Lost in New York – 1992

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What Are Your Favorite Swimming Pool Scenes?

We’re happy you stopped in with us today to read about some of Hollywood’s most memorable swimming pool scenes. It’s a fact that with so many films out there, we’re bound to have missed a few that probably made your list. Let us know your favorite pool scenes in the comments, we may revise this article in the future to include some of your suggestions.