Famous Sewers From Hollywood


Have you ever been to the Internet Movie Database? (www.imdb.com) It’s hard to describe it without using the word “depository.” It’s the website where you reference, cross-reference, and find out just about anything you want to about a particular movie.

So when we were thinking about sewers in movies (we think about sewers a lot), the first thing that comes to mind is one of the most well-regarded thrillers ever, 1949’s The Third Man. The movie stars Orson Welles and has a dramatic climax with a chase through Vienna’s brick-arched sewer system. An amazingly clean sewer system.

Internet movie database also has a section called “plot keywords” where it cross-references the movie with keywords that are relevant to every other movie. And look at that, there’s the keyword “sewer systems” that takes us to a list of other movies that have a scene taking place in a sewer system.

Well, we all use sewers every day (and we make sure to clean them out every day), so it’s not surprising that sewers would be showing up in a few movies. Here are some of our favorites that have big sewer troubles.


Batman Returns:

  • Plot: One of the most well-known movie with sewer connections is Batman Returns from 1992, the second Batman movie starring Michael Keatondreamstime_xxl_41494451 and directed by Tim Burton. Danny DeVito plays The Penguin, and as a baby his heartless parents toss him into the river, which runs to the sewers, which runs into an abandoned zoo waterway with some abandoned penguins. Later in the movie much of the action returns to the sewer where Penguin attempts to dispatch a corporate enemy, and Batman, via drowning.
  • Believability Grade — D+: Let’s take a look at that sentence again: “his heartless parents toss him into the river, which runs to the sewers, which runs into an abandoned zoo waterway with some abandoned penguins.” Did the screenwriters honestly believe that all of these water systems connected? Does the sewer flow directly into the river? And even if the those waterways were connected, how the heck did the baby float upstream from the sewer to reach the penguin habitat?

Finding Nemo:

  • Plot: I think most of you know the plot Finding Nemo, but here’s a quick refresher: Nemo is captured by an Australian dentist and put in the office’s fish tank, while Nemo’s father Marlin has to traverse the ocean in order to retrieve his son. At the end of the movie, Nemo plays dead so that he’s flushed down the dentist’s drains and then pops out of a nearby ocean pipe, where he’s soon found by his dad.
  • BelievabilityGrade — D-: If you’re enjoying the movie enough, you might not have noticed exactly what happens here. And you might ask “where’s the sewer you’re talking about, I don’t remember a sewer.” And our response is…exactly! All drains from homes and businesses do not go straight into the ocean, so there’s no way that Nemo is going to just “pop out” into the ocean. Sorry, everybody, but Nemo never would have made it.

Phew, that was exhausting railing on two movie that many people love. Oh well, it was fun. (If we’d been thinking about janitors and drain cleaning, we probably would have been talking about The Toxic Avenger all this time.) When we’re not watching movies, we’re cleaning your drains…so when you need sewer drain cleaning, give Garvin’s Sewer Service a call!