Best Car Wash Scenes - Classic Movies & TV

A car wash scene in a film or television series episodes doesn’t have to be exclusively aimed at a comedic laugh or teenagers. Our Top Five Best Car Wash Scenes in Classic TV & Movies, with some honorable mentions thrown in. Here as some of the best car wash scenes from classic movies and TV (anything BEFORE 2000 is considered “vintage” for this purpose!). 

1. Cool Hand Luke (1967)

Number one on almost every “best of” car wash scenes lists, has to be Cool Hand Luke. George Kennedy, Paul Newman and the other boys on the chain gang are getting very hot watching actress Joy Harmon in this iconic car wash scene from the 1967 classic movie Cool Hand Luke. Both Paul Newman and George Kennedy have passed away.


Baby boomers are sure to recognize a lot of young (at the time, lol) stars in that movie, including a very young Dennis Hopper, among others. What kind of car is that, anyway?

Actress Joy Harmon is still alive (80 years old in 2020), but sadly both Paul Newman died in 2008, Dennis Hopper in 2010, and George Kennedy passed away in 2016.

2. Move Over Darling (1963)

The ever-adorable Doris Day with one of her best leading men, James Garner, is shown in this funny car wash scene clip from the 1963 movie, Move Over Darling


Sadly, both Doris Day and James Garner are also gone – Garner in 2014 and Doris most recently in 2019 at the age of 97.

3. Car Wash (1976)

In this video clip, Rose Royce sings the theme song Car Wash from the 1976 cult classic movie of the same name, in one of many car wash scene in the film. Seniors & baby boomers will recall the long list of comedy and music stars in the movie, including George Carlin, Richard Pryor, and The Pointer Sisters.

Once again (could it be we’re all getting older?), the film’s biggest stars are no longer with us – Richard Pryor died in 2005, and George Carlin in 2008.

4. Ally McBeal – Car Wash (1999)

Television screens across the world steamed up when Ally McBeal (Calista Flockhart) had sex in the car wash with Jason Gedrick. Unfortunately, no clip is available – but the scene is likely burned in the memory of anyone who ever saw it. The best part is – both Flockhart and Gedrick are still alive and acting.

5. Wild Things (1998)

Wild Things (1998) has co-star Denise Richards washing teacher Matt Dillon’s car with a pal.

Honourable Mention

AARP – Betty White Car Wash (2011)

Let us not forget Betty White, getting her car washed in this memorable clip for AARP when she was 89, in 2011. Ok it’s not “vintage” according to the year it was filmed, but Betty White is VINTAGE in capital letters.

AARP Betty White Car Wash from Charlie Brandwick on Vimeo.

Every Which Way But Loose (1978)

Clint Eastwood as Phil and his orangutan Clyde tangle with bikers in a scene that ends up at a car wash, in Every Which Way but Loose (1978), one of the handful of comedic films that Eastwood starred in.

More recently, car wash scenes seem to be almost exclusively the purview of (emphasis on perv) of teen comedy films. 

Note: This article was first published in 2015 as a series of 4 articles – Car Wash the Movie and Theme Song; Move Over Darling Car Wash Scene; Cool Hand Luke Car Wash; and Betty White Getting Her Car Washed. It has been updated with new & additional content.

Anita Hamilton

50+ World editor & baby boomer writer Anita Hamilton has always been interested in the "real people" stories behind the characters that create and inhabit the world of music, books, movies, television shows, current events, history, etc. A lifelong love of research (ok, nosiness) and writing, combined with a loving and supportive family complete with 3 mini-dachshund minions, keeps her busy.


Sarah September 13th, 2016 at 2:51am

It's a DeSoto. early 1940s lol

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *