Brow Beat

The Cinematic Allure of the Swimming Pool

Filmmakers love to shoot pools, and they make for great visual subjects: inviting reservoirs of cool blue light stretching calmly into the distance. Pools in the movies are places of possibility, where you can escape the problems of the land-locked in a refreshing oasis—and perhaps make out. (Pool sequences often devolve into montages of characters hypnotically kissing.) In their stillness, they also offer a haunting backdrop for death scenes, from Sunset Boulevard to The Great Gatsby.

With Memorial Day weekend approaching we decided to bring together our favorite cinematic scenes of sex and death—and everything in between—that transpire in swimming pools. The video is scored to “Sometime” by DIIV. Below are all the movies we included, listed in order of appearance.


Swimfan (2002)

Boogie Nights (1997)


Harold and Maude (1971)

The Graduate (1967)

Rushmore (1998)

Old School (2003)

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

The Descendants (2011)

Somewhere (2010)

Water Lilies (2007)

Y Tu Mamá También (2001)

Romeo + Juliet (1996)

Almost Famous (2000)

Caddyshack (1980)

It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

They Came From Within (1975)

Whip It (2009)

Bathing Beauty (1944)

The Great Gatsby (2013)

This Is 40 (2012)

Swimming Pool (2003)

Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)

Something’s Got to Give (1962)

The Swimmer (1968)

Skyfall (2012)

Oblivion (2013)

Sunset Blvd. (1950)

The Big Lebowski (1998)

The To Do List (2013)

Let The Right One In (2008)

Viva Las Vegas (1964)

Reckless (1984)

Back To School (1986)

Hesher (2010)

Cat People (1942)

Garden State (2004)

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

Cocoon (1985)

Laurel Canyon (2002)

Wild Things (1998)

Spring Breakers (2012)

Hackers (1995)

Showgirls (1995)

Soy Cuba (1964)

Sexy Beast (2000)

A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)