We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. Click here for more information.

Soundtrack Mix #18: The Cinematic Swimming Pool Mix

Sultry strings, luscious lounge, joyous jazz and pop with plenty of splashes in between—pull up poolside with your headphones and zone out.
Florence Scott-Anderton
Soundtrack Mix #18: The Cinematic Swimming Pool Mix
Due to its persistent on-screen presence, the swimming pool can be taken for granted; but beneath the surface it is cinema’s Jungian friend, representing secrets lying underneath. It exudes glamour and danger, shifting beyond conscious realms. It is a key to transformation, coming of age tales and renewed relationships. It is a status symbol and whether or not the pool is intact says a lot about the mood of the film and the state of its characters.  
Away from states of intensity, the swimming pool emerges on screen as a signifier of a time to unwind and to forget life past the poolside. The films featured in this mix show how the pool alludes mysterious symbolism and sexual awakening; murder, lust, and love brush shoulders as sun kissed babes in bikinis whisper sweet truths or uncover deadly secrets (such as the strange swimming pool activities in Three Women or Drowning By Numbers).
It’s the sounds of the cocktail and cocaine Hollywood of Dirk Diggler (Boogie Nights) or the bourgeois upwardly mobile families of The Graduate and The Swimmer. It’s the erotic, like Denise Richards and Neve Campbell’s dangerous liasons in Wild Things or Phoebe Cates as Linda Barrett stepping out of the pool in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. There’s also full blown emotions; dangerous lust in Swimfan, the heartbreak in Romeo + Juliet or a deathly face off in Jennifer’s Body. The references run fast and thick and Faye Dunaway’s poolside Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest (two Frank Perry films feature in this mix) always takes my thoughts to her iconic post-Oscar Beverly Hills Hotel poolside photograph shot by Terry O'Neill. 
And so this mix spends an hour delighting upon some of the swimming pools' richest moments in sonic cinema history. Sultry strings, luscious lounge, joyous jazz and pop with plenty of splashes in between—pull up poolside with your headphones and zone out. 
  1. Lions Love (... and Lies) (Agnes Varda, 1969) excerpt 00:00
  2. Philippe Rombi, "Swimming Pool Theme," Swimming Pool (François Ozon, 2003) 02:30
  3. Dave Grusin, "Sunporch Cha-Cha-Cha," The Graduate (1967, Mike Nichols) 07:57
  4. Eric Burdon & War, "Spill The Wine," Boogie Nights (Paul Thomas Anderson, 1997) 10:40
  5. Romeo + Juliet (Baz Luhrmann, 1996) excerpt 14:32
  6. Des’ree, "I'm Kissing You (Love Theme from Romeo & Juliet)," Romeo + Juliet (Baz Luhrmann, 1996)  15:10
  7. Michel Legrand,  "Suspicion," La piscine (Jacques Deray, 1969) 20:00
  8. Cliff Martinez, "Your Friends Ain't Gonna Leave With You," Spring Breakers (Harmony Korine, 2012)  22:15
  9. Marvin Hamlisch, "Main Titles," The Swimmer (Frank Perry, 1968) 26:20
  10. Graham Nash, "Love Is The Reason," Fast Times At Ridgemont High (Amy Heckerling, 1982) 29:24
  11. Garden State (Zach Braff, 2004) excerpt 32:45
  12. Henry Mancini, "Lujon," Sexy Beast (Jonathan Glazer, 2000) 32:36
  13. Swimfan (John Polson, 2002) excerpt 35:06
  14. Can, "Mother Sky," Deep End (Jerzy Skolimowski, 1970) 35:50 
  15. Micheal Nyman, "Trysting Fields," Drowning By Numbers (Peter Greenaway, 1988) 41:32
  16. Jennifer's Body (Karyn Kusama, 2009) excerpt 44:56
  17. Mommie Dearest (Frank Perry, 1981) excerpt 45:25
  18. Juan Garcia Esquivel, "Mucha Muchacha," The Big Lebowski (Joel and Ethan Coen, 1998) 47:55
  19. Elizabeth Daily, "I’m Hot Tonight," Scarface (Brian De Palma, 1983) 50:10
  20. 3 Women (Robert Altman, 1977) excerpt 54:33
  21. Waterlilies (Céline Sciamma, 2007) excerpt  54:52 
  22. George S Clinton, "Main Titles," Wild Things (John McNaughton, 1998)  56:26
23. Somewhere (Sofia Coppola, 2010) excerpt 59:12


ColumnsSoundtrack MixesAudioSoundtracks
Please sign up to add a new comment.


Notebook is a daily, international film publication. Our mission is to guide film lovers searching, lost or adrift in an overwhelming sea of content. We offer text, images, sounds and video as critical maps, passways and illuminations to the worlds of contemporary and classic film. Notebook is a MUBI publication.


If you're interested in contributing to Notebook, please see our pitching guidelines. For all other inquiries, contact the editorial team.