13 great landmark destruction scenes from sci-fi films

Contributed by
Dec 14, 2012, 4:09 PM EST

In 2012, Roland Emmerich destroys, well, pretty much everything (but not quite). Since we can never get enough death and destruction, here are 13 landmarks reduced to rubble in earlier sci-fi films.

Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers (1956)

We gotta admit, here's one movie that lets it all hang out in the title. You don't wander into this one thinking it's Jane Austen. The property damage here includes a prominent shot of an alien vessel crashing into the Washington Monument. Stupid alien drivers.

The Giant Claw (1957)

A colossal bird composed of antimatter and some of the worst special effects of all time takes out its frustrations on the United Nations building. The edifice is accurately placed in Manhattan, but the aerial shots are of San Francisco. Don't ask us why.

20 Million Miles to Earth (1957)

A baby Ymir lands on Earth and grows quickly enough to suggest a glandular condition, ultimately throwing the mother of all destructive tantrums in the Roman Coliseum. (Well, at least that was already broken.)

Superman (1978)

Lex Luthor's evil plan to make a killing in the real estate business results at one point in the collapse of Hoover Dam. emit esrever nac namrepuS ,yletanutroF

Superman II (1980)

The three villains from Krypton show their contempt for everything that's good and decent by using their powers to resculpt the faces on Mount Rushmore into their own images. We didn't know that a bunch of Martians were watching on their telescopes and thought that this was a really neat idea.

Mars Attacks! (1996)

So the Department of the Interior sends a small army to South Dakota to repair the damage done by General Zod and his followers, working night and day to fix the faces on Mount Rushmore so the only people offended by the desecration of the site are the local Native American tribes. It's a project that costs billions of dollars and takes 15 years. The site has been open for less than a month when a bunch of wacky Martians invade Earth and, in between destroying places like Stonehenge and Las Vegas, fly over Mount Rushmore and do exactly what those three nasty Kryptonians did. Sigh. We're beginning to think that all these alien invasions could be avoided if we gave those pesky extraterrestrials their own mountain to play with. We couldn't find the Mount Rushmore scene, but here's some other collateral damage.

Godzilla (1998)

A monster not nearly as satisfying as a guy stomping around in a rubber suit invades the much-put-upon island of Manhattan and takes out, among other things, the Brooklyn Bridge.

Independence Day (1996)

The most astonishing thing is not the alien invaders announcing their hostile intentions by blowing the Empire State Building to smithereens. No, the most astonishing thing is that even before they fire their building-destructo beam, the venerable edifice has moved off the sidewalk and stands in the center of Fifth Avenue, blocking vehicle traffic. Maybe it knew what was coming and got caught trying to sneak out of town unnoticed.

V for Vendetta (2005)

The masked anarchist V shows his contempt for the fascists ruling a near-future Great Britain by blowing up Big Ben. Great. So now we're ruled by tyrants and we can't tell the time from across the river. Here's a later scene where he blows up Parliament.

The Day After Tomorrow (2004)

Global warming somehow causes Manhattan to flash-freeze. This is not nearly as fantastic as the massive tidal wave that engulfs the Statue of Liberty and goes on to roll down Fifth Avenue—following a course that suggests it comes from somewhere inland.

X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)

Magneto rips the Golden Gate Bridge from its moorings to provide it a fresh terminus at Alcatraz Island. What a guy. Couldn't he just take the ferry like everybody else?

Cloverfield (2008)

A bunch of irritating Manhattan yuppies wonder whether they should be concerned about the sounds of nearby destruction. They get their answer when the severed head of the Statue of Liberty smashes into their street at terminal velocity. You know what, guys? I'd pretty much say you're about to take a bath on those expensive lofts.

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009)

A bunch of green gook eats away at, and collapses, the Eiffel Tower. Don't you hate when that happens?

And just in case you're wondering why you're not seeing Charlton Heston falling to his knees at the wreckage of the Statue of Liberty, that's because we're skipping landmarks that have already been destroyed by the time we see them in favor of those we actually see go boom.