The sewer is a necessary part of modern waste management, but it’s also a prominent feature in segments of modern cinema. Sewers have become a fixture in film and television. Whether characters live there, as in the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” movies, or use it as an escape route, sewer tunnels have become ubiquitous on film. So which depictions have been the best?
At Home In The Sewer Tunnels
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were overgrown reptiles living in a human world. Being so unconventional, they needed a place to hide out from the authorities. And since their sensei, Master Splinter, was a rat, what better place than a sewer?
The sewer is a perfect place to hide out for a crime-fighting turtle on the go. Appropriately moist for a reptile, the sewer also offered easy access to any location in the city. All the turtles had to do was find the proper manhole through which to emerge.
Escape Via The Sewer
“The Italian Job” films showcased sewer construction during their epic chase scenes. As the Mini Coopers sped by and eventually emerged, viewers rode the edges of their seats. These scenes were some of the most innovative and colorful uses of sewers on cinema.
“The Fugitive” also had a very memorable scene with the desperate Dr. Kimble jumping from the outlet of a huge sewer pipe into the roaring waters below. After eluding the authorities, Kimble returns to the city to hunt for his wife’s killer. This scene was one of the most iconic cinema images of the early 1990s.
Superheroes In The Sewer
Both Batman and Spider-Man have spent time in the sewer over the years. In ”Batman Returns,” our hero chases the Penguin through Gotham’s sewer tunnels in his Batboat. Eventually, the supervillain meets his demise there.
In the 2012 adaptation of ”Spider-Man,” Spidey fights The Lizard in an epic battle in the sewers. This scene was remarkable for its technical prowess. It was also a nice nod to the urban legend about alligators living in city sewers.
These five films are great examples of the uses of sewers on the big screen. Sewers are hidden space. Everyone knows they’re there, but few ever able to look inside. Movies take us all inside these spaces and satisfy that curiosity.
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