Top 10 World Landmark Destruction Scenes in Movies



Top 10 World Landmark Destruction Scenes in Movies

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Nathan Sharp

Sometimes it's fun to watch iconic things go boom. Join as we count down our picks for the Top 10 World Landmark Destruction Scenes in Movies. For this list, we're looking at the most satisfying moments in movies when a world landmark is destroyed.

Special thanks to our user Jacob Koopmann for submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at http://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest
Script written by Nathan Sharp

Top 10 World Landmark Destruction Scenes in Movies

Sometimes it’s fun to watch iconic things go boom. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 world landmark destruction scenes in movies.

For this list, we’re looking at the most satisfying moments in movies when a world landmark is destroyed. We’re basing our picks on the dramatic impact of the moment, the destruction involved, and the scene’s legacy. Famous spots such as Times Square will not be included, as we’re only looking at landmarks, not locations – so sorry for those of you expecting that “Watchmen” scene. Oh yeah, and a SPOILER ALERT is most definitely in order.

#10: Great Wall of China Explodes
“Superman IV: The Quest for Peace” (1987)

Okay, so the film itself wasn’t exactly met with the greatest of acclaim and the effects haven’t exactly aged well but THIS scene is pretty damn entertaining! In it, Nuclear Man destroys part of the Great Wall of China, and the special effects actually look relatively decent, all things considered, as the bricks explode outwards and shower debris everywhere. Even with the budget cuts this panned sequel suffered through, the effect still manages to be pretty impressive. Though the Empire State Building and Mount Rushmore scenes from “Superman II” are memorable as well, we feel the fourth installment deserves at least SOME recognition.

#9: Great Pyramid of Egypt Gets Transformed
“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” (2009)

This “Transformers” sequel isn’t the best movie either, as we at WatchMojo may’ve mentioned once or twice; but you gotta admit Michael Bay sure knows how to destroy things. Case in point: this scene, which sees the massive Transformer Devastator – yes the one with the.... ugh, huge balls – rip apart one of the Great Pyramids of Giza to uncover an ancient device. Then, he gets shot up by a U.S. military rail gun. Although it sounds ridiculous, this scene is lent some real authenticity by the fact that Bay received permission to shoot at the actual pyramid site in Egypt. We don’t love seeing one of the Wonders of the World get pummelled, but just turn off your brain and enjoy the carnage.

#8: A Ship Destroys the Golden Gate Bridge
“San Andreas” (2015)

The Golden Gate Bridge can’t seem to catch a break, whether it’s being destroyed by a nuclear explosion or a vengeful mutant. In this disaster flick starring The Rock – who is definitely our choice to save us in an apocalypse, just FYI – the famous landmark meets its doom when a major tsunami sweeps up a massive container ship and slams it into the bridge, which snaps in half from the weight. The scene inthe disaster-fest is powerful not only due to the intense music, but also because we actually see innocent people being killed mercilessly by Mother Nature’s wrath. It doesn’t pull punches, and it looks and sounds fantastic to boot.

#7: The Colosseum Explodes
“The Core” (2003)

The Roman Colosseum is one of the most famous landmarks in the world, mostly due to its bloody history, immense size and beautiful craftsmanship. Of course, that all goes out the window in “The Core” when lightning strikes the building and blows it into a million tiny pieces that come whizzing at the camera. The effects are what you’d expect from a box office flop from 2003, but regardless, seeing something so large and so renowned get torn down is definitely shocking. The Colosseum was in fact historically struck by lightning in the year 217, with the resulting fire causing some very real damage… but that was nothing compared to this.

#6: The Statue of Liberty Drowns
“The Day After Tomorrow” (2004)

While some may say that this movie is a little too preachy in terms of its environmental message, it nevertheless features some amazing special effects and awe-inspiring moments. Here, a massive wave envelops New York’s Statue of Liberty in water. The result is breathtaking, and is helped by the immersive and realistic sound design. Lady Liberty, who’s over 300 feet tall from the ground to the tip of her torch, is engulfed by the water’s current, leaving the audience in shock at the sheer scale of the devastation. It’s not only thrilling from a technical standpoint; it also sets a tense, palpable tone for what’s to follow. Both the audience and the characters are definitely not prepared for what’s next.

#5: Say Cheese, Taj Mahal!
“Mars Attacks!” (1996)

This movie, about invading Martians (could you tell by the title?) features a lot of destruction scenes, including Las Vegas’ famous Landmark Hotel and Casino, but the Taj Mahal sequence is just too funny to pass up. Disaster movies are usually so serious, but this scene with Martians posing for a picture in front of the exploding Taj Mahal gives us the giggles. The effects are b-movie camp, let’s face it, but the scene’s use of humor makes it refreshingly unique. Hey, aliens like to play tourist too; so what if they’re in the middle of mass extermination? They have to see the world before they destroy it!

#4: The Eiffel Tower Collapses
“G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” (2009)

In this mesmerizing action sequence, the Joes chase after the Baroness and Storm Shadow, but the good guys are unable to reach the villains before they fire a missile containing nanomites into Paris’ Eiffel Tower, causing it to collapse. The scene looks terrific and eerily realistic as the tower’s base is slowly eaten away and the iron begins to snap under the weight. We see it coming, but it’s still jaw-dropping to witness it slowly crumble and fall into the road and water. Granted, “Team America” did it first, but we think this looks a little better.

#3: The Sphinx Gets Decapitated
“Team America: World Police” (2004)

Speaking of “Team America,” this puppet-filled load of satire DOES have a great destruction scene, but it’s not the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre. The team manages to send the terrorists they’re chasing and their Jeep flying into the Great Sphinx of Giza, causing its head to slowly separate from its body and crash into the ground. Ever the thoughtful group, the team celebrates, ignorant to the fact that they just ruined a world famous landmark that is thousands upon thousands of years old. Sure, this scene isn’t exciting or tantalizing, but it’s hilarious, and sometimes, that’s even better. Maybe that means Sphinxy’ll get a new head AND a new nose.

#2: Bombing of the Palace of Westminster
“V for Vendetta” (2006)

Has there ever been a more beautiful movie moment that contained millions of dollars worth of damage and untold consequences to theworld? In the final scene of this film, V’s body is placed aboard a train that contains a bomb, which explodes underneath the United Kingdom’s Parliament. It’s gorgeously shot and realistically executed, with Big Ben shattering into a thousand pieces as Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture plays, punctuated by a firework display. It truly lets V – both as a character and as a film – go out with a bang, and we can’t help but be riveted in spite of ourselves.

Before we look at our best destruction scene, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Grand Central Terminal Is Bombarded
“Armageddon” (1998)

- Capitol Building Explodes
“White House Down” (2013)

- The Kremlin Is Blown Up
“Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol” (2011)

- St. Peter’s Basilica Collapses
“2012” (2009)

- Brooklyn Bridge Is Attacked and Bombed
“Godzilla” (1998)

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

In what is easily the most popular landmark destruction scene of all time, visiting aliens set off a coordinated assault on Earth. The most astonishing part is when they send a beam from their massive ship down to the White House and vaporize it into tiny pieces, shocking theworld. This moment, with its amazing special effects and dramatic impact, became a phenomenon in pop culture, referenced and parodied for years to come and cheered from the moment audiences saw it in the trailer. There’s no denying that this climactic piece of destruction is spectacular and that it deserves its place as a seminal moment in science fiction film history.

Do you agree with our list? What landmark destruction scene is your favorite? For more accident-prone top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to
London Has Fallen also had some landmark destruction sequences.