The top ten sewers in film

We list the ten best film scenes set in sewers:

Here at Severn Trent Searches there’s nothing we enjoy more than producing lots of lovely CON29DWs. Honestly, we love it, we’d probably do it for free (note for any Severn Trent executives reading this, please don’t put this to the test). However, much as producing searches is our absolutely, utter, complete favourite thing in the world (is this fooling anyone?), we do occasionally like to do other things.

Amongst those things, we like to watch films. Admittedly it’s not the most exciting hobby, but it’s true, and also handily lends itself to clickbait-friendly articles.

So we thought, why not combine our two favourite things in the world and produce something that combined both films and sewers? Naturally our first thought was to set up a pop-up cinema in a sewer until we realised that was a very silly idea, and then it struck us – how about a list of our top ten sewers in films?

So, after literally minutes of research and without further ado (to be honest, there’s already been much ado, most of it about nothing (that’s us trying to prove we’re mildly cultured, before we start talking about films and sewers)), we proudly present our completely-original-and-in-no-way-similar-to-various-other-lists-of-sewers-in-films-you’ll-find-elsewhere-on-the-internet top ten sewers in films. Only ours is better since one of them has a Severn Trent connection!

10. Die Hard With a Vengeance

After destroying skyscrapers and airports, the third Die Hard gleefully destroyed half of New York. In one scene, the world’s most indestructible cop, John McClane (Bruce Willis) follows a convoy of hijacked bin lorries (or garbage trucks if you’re being American) into an under-construction aqueduct (which isn’t a sewer in any way but Severn Trent are a water company as well so yes we’re cheating already but it’s our list and we’re including it). Whereupon, he shoots several people, the pipe gets flooded, and he surfs out on top of one of the lorries. And it’s still more realistic than Die Hard 4 and 5.

9. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

No list of sewer-related films would be complete without filmdom’s most famous sewer dwellers. Couple of slight problems however: a) we’ve not seen the old films in a long time (we’re not saying how long, but Vanilla Ice’s Ninja Rap was probably still in the charts) and b) we’ve not seen/have no desire whatsoever to see the new ones as they look appalling and we’re not 12. Look, there’s four giant, mutant turtles named after classical artists who live in a sewer, eat pizza and fight crime. That’s got to be good. Hasn’t it?

8. Ratatouille

Early on in this Disney classic, loveable rat Remy is separated from his (extremely large) family and takes a trip through the sewers before eventually ending up in Paris (where he becomes a chef at a top restaurant, obviously). Being a rat, a trip through a full sewer is somewhat problematic (it’s only full of water, nothing unpleasant, this is a Disney film after all) and Remy is taken on a rollercoaster ride atop a cookbook. Look, we just wanted to get a Pixar film on the list and we can’t remember any sewers in Toy Story.

7. IT

The 1990 adaptation of Stephen King’s bestseller is fondly remembered by people who haven’t read the book. In one early scene, a young child loses his paper boat down a drain. Looking down it, he sees sinister clown Pennywise (Tim Curry) staring back at him from the sewer. Following a nice little chat between the two, well, bad things happen that we won’t go into here as this is a family website. Probably best not to watch if you suffer from coulrophobia (that’s fear of clowns in case you’re wondering. Not fear of overrated, horrendously dated horror films based on vastly superior books, where the scariest thing is the guy from Rocky Horror in a clown costume).

6. Terminator 2: Judgement Day

Ok, we’ll admit this one isn’t actually a sewer either, but it’s cool so we’re having it. Terminator 2’s truck chase (John Connor on motorbike, pursued by evil, shapeshifting Terminator in a HGV, pursued by Schwarzenegger on a bigger motorbike) takes place in one of LA’s flood control channels, which we’re going to call a glorified surface water sewer to justify including it here. Ironically, after this record-breaking (and rather fantastic) installment, the Terminator franchise itself headed down the toilet.

5. The Shawshank Redemption

Wrongly imprisoned for a double murder he didn’t commit, Tim Robbins spends years (spoiler alert, but it’s been out for over 20 years, get over it) digging an escape tunnel behind a poster in his cell. Once out, he escapes the prison by crawling through a rather unpleasant sewage pipe full of, well, that stuff that sewage pipes are full of. Strictly speaking it’s a drain and not a sewer (as we all know, a sewer takes waste from multiple properties, whereas a drain serves a single property) but Shawshank’s a great film so we’re including it. Plus we’ve been constructing a similar tunnel behind one of the noticeboards in the office.

4. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Severn Trent’s found many interesting things in sewers over the years, but never a knight’s tomb. That’s probably because none of our staff are Harrison Ford (at least we don’t think they are, we’ve not checked them all individually, there’s quite a lot of them). Searching a historic Venice library, Indy vandalises it, finds a rat-infested sewer underneath which leads to a tomb containing instructions on how to find the Holy Grail. Oh, and then it all catches fire. The most exciting thing that happened last time we went to the library was a 40p fine for an overdue Harry Potter.

3. The Fugitive

What is it about Harrison Ford and sewers? Not content with a great scene in Indiana Jones, he has another here. On the run (hence the title) for killing his wife, he’s chased by US Marshall Tommy Lee Jones into a storm drain atop a dam. “I didn’t kill my wife” he shouts (course he didn’t, he’s Harrison Ford), “I don’t care” shouts Jones, which probably isn’t the right attitude for a law enforcement officer really. The chase climaxes when he corners Ford at the top of the dam. We assume, given Ford’s affinity for sewers, if he had his way Han Solo would have escaped from Jabba’s palace by crawling down a manhole.

2. The Third Man

Just to prove we’re not complete philistines and have seen some proper films, we’d like to recommend this – one of the greatest film noirs of all time. The movie concludes with the film’s villain being chased into Venice’s surprisingly photogenic sewers. (See, we’re trying to avoid giving away the twist. We know we’ve spoilt the end of the Shawshank Redemption but we reckon everyone’s seen that, we’re assuming some people won’t have seen this because it’s old and black and white (not that we’re passing judgement about our readership you understand. We’re sure you’re perfectly film-literate)). Plus Orson Welles gives a great speech about a cuckoo clock.

1. The Italian Job

One of the most iconic British films ever, and one with a special link to ourselves. As Michael Caine’s motley crew flee the scene of their heist in their red, white and blue minis, they take a trip through some rather large sewers. They must have taken quite a detour however as although the heist is set in Turin, the sewer chase was filmed in a considerably less glamourous location. Namely the Coventry suburb of Stoke Aldermoor. (Don’t believe us? Have a look here.) Now Coventry’s a delightful place, but given the choice we’d rather go to Turin. Although the sewers in Coventry are now owned by Severn Trent, meaning any time we want to recreate it in our Peugeot 207 we only have to ask. (We’ve not actually checked the fine print of our contract, but pretty sure it’s in there somewhere).