Top 10 Destruction Scenes: USA Edition


5. Chrysler Building – Armageddon

It’s no surprise Michael Bay is on this list, with his penchant for blowing up almost anything he can. In this 1998 action sci-fi about a Texas-sized asteroid heading for Earth, we follow Bruce Willis’ Harry Stamper and his team of rough-nut oil drillers, appointed with the task of drilling into said asteroid and injecting it with a nuclear bomb. Obviously. One of the film’s many energetic scenes sees a meteorite shower destroy everything from the New York Public Library to Grand Central Station. The famous Chrysler Building is torn in half and the top half crashes down on the streets below. New Yorkers everywhere scream in panic and run for their lives as a once great city is reduced to rubble and a great skyscraper, part of the city since 1928, is destroyed.

4. Hoover Dam – San Andreas

2015 delivered this epic disaster film starring the super charismatic Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. The plot revolves around a scientist discovering that the San Andreas Fault is due for a massive shift, and in turn will destroy anything in between San Francisco and Los Angeles. One famous landmark situated around the fault is the Hoover Dam. We drop in on a couple of scientists getting some readings when they feel the ground begin to tremble. The canyon walls around the dam shake until the dam gives out. Unable to contain the sheer power of the water, the road is broken into pieces and tossed around like a paper cup. The infamous dam that had been around since 1936 is broken down and washed away like it was never there.

3. Washington Monument – Mars Attacks!

Made as an homage to the alien attack films of the 1950s, this 1996 Tim Burton-directed film was almost an instant cult classic. It blended action, sci-fi, comedy and even romance extremely well, and is one of Burton’s most underrated films. The film boasted a huge ensemble cast, including Jack Nicholson, Michael J. Fox, Glenn Close, Martin Short and Pierce Brosnan, to name a few. Martians have arrived on Earth for reasons unknown. After a dove is released as a sign of peace, the aliens take it as a threat and begin to decimate helpless bystanders. The world is attacked in hilarious fashion, from bowling down the statues on Easter Island to defacing Mount Rushmore. They also comically shoot down the Washington Monument and proceed to tilt the Monument in multiple directions in an attempt to crush a bunch of kids on a school field trip. The scene is hilarious and is a perfect mixture of terror and comedy, two of Burton’s defining attributes as a filmmaker.

2. Statue of Liberty Cloverfield

Unless he wants you to, you will never know what J.J. Abrams is working on. Back in 2008, working as producer, he released this found footage horror film. The film centred on a group of friends at a farewell party who feel the building shake. They discover there has been a potential earthquake. Realizing they may be able to learn more from the roof, they head up only to witness a massive explosion. With fireballs raining down around them, they head back downstairs and onto the street, where they notice a small ball-like object in the distance, coming towards them. When it smashes onto the ground in front of our group, we realise it is the head of Ms Liberty herself. The infamous landmark has had its head torn off and launched across the city by some unknown force. This scene really hits hard, and it has only just begun.

1. Everything – Independence Day

Given he has already been on this list twice, it seems fitting that Roland Emmerich would top the list. This 1996 blockbuster told of massive spaceships heading to Earth and positioning themselves above major landmarks all over the globe. Seemingly just sitting there, the U.S. President is anxious; are they hostile or not? The landmarks they’ve chosen include the White House in Washington, the Empire State Building in New York and the U.S. Bank Tower in Los Angeles. Finding a signal hidden in our satellites, our hero Jeff Goldblum discovers a countdown. As the clock approaches zero, the spaceships show signs of movement. A space ship begins to open up underneath, with an eerie blue/green tinge, some form of energy building up towards the middle. Suddenly, a beam of light shoots straight down. The White House is soon blown to smithereens and a massive wall of fire starts to spread across the city. Worst of all, every other alien craft is doing the same thing. This├é┬ádaunting sequence is masterfully crafted and truly iconic. When you think of movies destroying landmarks, this is the one you go to. Famously referenced throughout pop culture since release, it is the obvious winner that deservedly sits at the top of our list.