Top 10 Awesome Movie Explosions

Nothing screams eye candy like a big badda boom! If there's one thing an action movie needs to have, it's an explosion that lights up the screen! These come in the form of explosives used by and against the hero, as well as for comedic effect, and to give a satisfying finale. Just to be clear, we’re taking a pop culture angle, focusing on the explosions that remain our memorable favorites, without focusing too much on pesky details like realism. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down the top 10 awesome movie explosions.
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Top 10 Awesome Movie Explosions


Nothing screams eye candy like a big badda boom! Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down the top 10 awesome movie explosions.

Just to be clear, we’re taking a pop culture angle, focusing on the explosions that remain our memorable favorites, without focusing too much on pesky details like realism.

#10: Hanger “Stealth” (2005)


Kicking off our list is the explosion from a movie that was a definite bomb. Reviews aside, this incredible hanger explosion punctuated this flick about a rogue drone fighter. Showcasing a real life 500-gallon fuel explosion so huge that NASA had to be warned, the damage it caused got environmentalists to take legal action. We’re guessing it wouldn’t have caused such a ruckus if the film were any good…

#9: Airstrike “Tropic Thunder” (2008)


Next up is the explosion that literally introduced most moviegoers to actor Danny McBride. One heck of a welcome scene, he played an explosives expert making in charge of the pyrotechnics for the most expensive war movie ever made. When he mistakenly thinks he’s given the go, he inadvertently, and hilariously, wastes 450ft feet of jungle and one thousand liters of rigged fuel. The result is a 1.25-second blast reaching 350ft into the air.

#8: Old Bailey & Parliament “V For Vendetta” (2005)


If you’re a classy mask wearing revolutionary of the far future, the only respectable way to blow things up is to do so with a musical accompaniment! Blowing up English landmarks, his garnish is Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, cleverly timed alongside fireworks. Of course, these scenes didn’t involve the real buildings, but 30 feet high 10th scale models that were destroyed at the Shepperton studios and blended with computer effects.

#7: Nakatomi Plaza Roof “Die Hard” (1988)


It just wouldn’t be an action stapple featuring John McClain without a memorable explosion. Here, John evacuates hostages before being forced by friendly fire from the FBI to wrap a fire hose around himself and leap from the roof. This is probably the moment that elevated John’s status from modern day cowboy to action hero legend! Of course, the series has been trying to up the ante ever since…

#6: Gotham General Hospital “The Dark Knight” (2008)


WatchMojo is stocked with a healthy amount of comicbook geeks, and we simply couldn’t go without mentioning this one. With Joker destroying the Hospital, just as he threatened, he gets in a hilarious moment of disappointment and surprise when his detonator craps out. This gag was Heath’s idea, as the scene initially called for him to walk away not looking all badass-like. That’s what we call an Oscar well earned. The blast? That’s mostly stunt glass detonations mixed with soft cork fired from metal drums.

#5: The IED “The Hurt Locker” (2008)


In a flick about a bomb defusal in Iraq, there had to be a standout boom to highlight the danger involved. The showstopper is an extreme slow motion IED blast from the first scene in the film. Unlike others on this list, it gives you time to take in the true spectacle of seeing the effects on the environment…and people. Incredibly, this one was made using real high-order explosives instead of gasoline, which is why you’ll see no fiery orange mushroom clouds here.

#4: Helicopter Crash “The Matrix” (1999)


Another unique entry is this one featuring a helicopter crashing down into a glass skyscraper within a virtual reality world. It’s tons of cool stuff here, shockwave, disintegrating propeller blades, Trinity swinging to safety: all wicked. This was a mix of CGI, a helicopter on a swing arm along and a one-quarter-scale model building being hit with one kilogram of explosives.

#3: The Vision “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991)


Okay, two explosions from Terminator 2. The first is a nuclear blast that is often considered the most realistic depiction of such a horrifying event ever put to film! It was crafted by studying nuclear test footage. A terrifying vision of a nuclear apocalypse, the scene literally transfers the traumatic terror of the nightmare from the Sarah Connor to the viewer.

#2: The Death Star “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope” (1977)


Even before George Lucas added his Praxis CGI shockwave effect, there was nothing more incredible or thrilling then seeing this massive battle station get blown the eff-up, especially in its single large concussive blast. It was so wild and popular that they had to do it again in Return of the Jedi! As you may have imagined, the only real victims here were miniature models. It’s a shame really, imagine what you could get for one of those on Ebay.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

#1: The White House “Independence Day” (1996)


Taking the top spot on our list is the explosion that keeps the American secret service night. Combining one of the most memorable Alien invasion scenes with one of the most memorable iconoclasts in movie history, it’s the definite money shot for the whole movie. Sure, in real life it’s just a relatively small-scale blast merged with CGI and models, but damn… it leaves an impact!

Agree with our list? Which movie explosion is burned into your retinas, and memories? For more explosive top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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