Romantic Movies That Featured a Porcelain Clawfoot or Pedestal Bathtub Scene

By Kerry Knight

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The British author John Galsworthy once wrote, “Love has no age, no limit; and no death.” When you think about it, the same could be said for a physical substance we humans can’t live without: water  Embrace to the two and you’ve a potent mix for romance … especially in the bathtub. 

If you’re a fan of romantic dramas or comedy films, you have probably seen segments featuring an amorous bathroom scene in a huge porcelain Clawfoot or Pedestal tub.  You have to admit, these elegant bathing beauties are a perfect setting for love.  In this segment of Tub Talk, we will visit several of the best romantic movies that featured these tubs.  Here are some of my favorites: 

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Pretty Woman.  Who can forget the great roles Richard Gere and Julia Roberts played in this film? The 1990 movie, set in Los Angeles, is about a wealthy businessman named Edward, who is on a business trip.  (By the way, Roy Orbison’s song, “Pretty Woman,” helped popularize the movie.  Gere’s character needs an escort to accompany him to some social events, so hires a beautiful prostitute.  There are a couple of classic scenes in the bathtub.  The first has Roberts listening to her Sony Walkman and singing in the bathtub.  The second scene has Roberts holding Gere in the tub as he leans back against her, relaxing from a fast-paced business life that he hates.  She becomes his great escape.  Roberts was nominated for an Oscar as Best Actress; won the Golden Globes; with Gere being nominated for the Golden Globes.  The film won “Best Comedy” in the People’ Choice Awards.  You might rename the movie, “Falling in Love in the Tub.”

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Pillow Talk.  This film goes back a few decades, in 1959.  Rock Hudson and Doris Day were ideal in this giddy comedy about two people who share a party phone line (Boy, is this one dated.)  Hudson played a successful songwriter and Day was an interior decorator.  Their early phone conversations are rather cool and apathetic.  He pictures her as some jealous old maid.  Seemingly every time she picks up the phone to use it, he’s trying to sing some new love song to one of his admiring females. The bathtub scene is classic, even by today’s standards as we see them both (through the use of split screen), in their separate rooms and bathtubs, talking to each other on the phone.  As Hudson finds out just how beautiful and charming Day’s character is their romance begins to blossom. 

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Out of Sight, featuring with Jennifer Lopez and George Clooney, was released in 1998.  There was tremendous chemistry between these two principal actors.  Steven Soderbergh, the brilliant director, lights the bathtub scene with a soft red glow.  Sure, it’s only a dream, but the scene in which Lopez’ character, U.S. Marshall, Karen Sisco, climbs into the bathtub, fully clothed and wearing  high heels, with career criminal Jack Foley (played by Clooney), absolutely radiates with sexual heat and sophistication.

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It’s Complicated was released in 2009, starring Steve Marin, Meryl Streep and Alex Baldwin.  While attending their son’s graduation, a divorced couple (Streep and Baldwin) reignites the spark in their prior relationship.  The only problem is, they’re now divorced and Baldwin’s character has already married a younger woman.  Baldwin and Streep ignore the fact they were once married to each other before engaging in a torrid affair and fall in love all over again.  The scene by the bathtub illustrates how much Baldwin likes the changes that Streep has made in her life.  Jake says, “I’m so glad you stopped doing bikini waxes.  You’ve gone native.”  It is a laugh a minute with great performances by all. 
attending their son’s graduation, a divorced couple (Streep and Baldwin) reignites the spark in their prior relationship.

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The Reader, released in 2008, starred Kate Winslet, who won an Oscar and Golden Globes for “Best Actress.” The movie is set in post-World War II Germany.  A young man has an affair with an older woman, and does not see her again for many years.  They reunite as she defends herself in a war-crime trial.  During the earlier time of seduction, he reads to her while they take a bath together in a Clawfoot tub.  Somehow it seems to bring her out of an emotional fog.

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The Notebook was a real crowd favorite back in 2005, based on a popular novel by Nicholas Sparks.  James Garner, who plays the aged version of Ryan Gosling, was nominated for an Oscar for his role.  Gena Rowlands, who plays the aged version of Rachel McAdams, won the Golden Satellite Award for “Best Actress” in a supporting role.  And both Gosling and McAdams won a Movie MTV Award for “best kiss.”  The bathtub scene is purely romantic, as the two lovers fight against all odds to spend their lives together.

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Splash. Back in the mid-80s, this film became one of the most successful box office releases of the romantic comedy genre. It starred Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah.  Hanks played a man who is saved from drowning by a real-life mermaid.  They, of course, fall in love and the comedy is endless.  She’s able to function as a normal human female on land, for a while, but the fun begins when she’s taking a bath as a mermaid and Hanks wants to come into the bathroom.  This bathtub scene is priceless.

In all of these movie selections, one prop stands out above all others: the bathtub.  It allows the actors to present their emotional vulnerability as well as their seductive playfulness.  These Clawfoot and Pedestal bathtub beauties will always remind us of some of the greatest romantic movies of all time.

In this article, I talked about and featured some of the most memorable bathtub scenes in major romantic comedy films. I discussed some of the plot scenarios, mentioned the leading actors, listed key awards and nominations, described some of the bathroom scenes, and more. 

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Alan and Kerry Knight are owners of Tub King, Inc., and  in Jacksonville, Florida. Together they have many years of experience in the antique and senior bathtub industries. Their companies not only provide superior products, they are also award winners, receiving the “Best of Jacksonville Chamber Award” four years running. If you’d like to contact them, call (800) 409-3375 or (800) 843-4231; or send an email to

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