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The Most Epic Ways Los Angeles Was Destroyed on Film

Updated September 19, 2020 1.3k votes 310 voters 26.0k views25 items

List RulesVote for the most epic onscreen destructions of LA - you are not voting on the acting or overall movie quality here

Of all the films that take place in Los Angeles, the one thing many of them have in common is that they find some way to destroy a large part of the city. Whether LA is visited by angry aliens, or a biblical plague, you best believe that the City of Angeles is going down. Why is it that filmmakers are obsessed with destroying the city from which most of their funding comes? Could it be a safe way to bite the hand that feeds? Or is it just fun to see Hollywood landmarks exploding across the silver screen? Microwave some popcorn, and dig out your 3-D glasses, this list of ways that Los Angeles was destroyed on film is going to blow you away.

While working on this list we realized that there are only a few ways that filmmakers envision destroying the movie capital of the world, and most of them involve either earthquakes or “dirty bombs.” We found this to be kind of lazy, so here are some inventive ways that we believe Los Angeles can be destroyed on film in the future: puppy flood, the entire city starves to death while stuck in traffic, brunch apocalypse, or have a doomsday cult poison every burger at In-N-Out. See Hollywood? It’s not that hard to come up with new apocalypse scenarios.

Vote up the most epic ways the city was destroyed in these films set in Los Angeles, and leave us a comment letting us know if you prefer man made destruction, or if you’re more of a “mother nature’s wrath” kind of person.
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  • 1

    An Alien Invasion in "Independence Day"

    Photo: Metaweb / CC-BY
    Roland Emmerich is the master of destroying the world in his overblown explosion porn films, so it's no surprise that he blows up Los Angeles real good in Independence Day. The unnamed aliens start their destruction with the US Bank Tower - they must have been early adopters of the Occupy Movement.
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  • 2

    Devastating Earthquakes in "San Andreas"

    Photo: flickr / CC0
    In the film San Andreas, a devastating earthquake hits California, and a Los Angeles Fire Department rescue-helicopter pilot played by The Rock attempts to get the heck out of LA and save his daughter in San Francisco. 
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  • 3

    A Gang of Tornadoes in "The Day After Tomorrow"

    In Roland Emmerich's The Day After Tomorrow, mother nature gets her revenge by sending a storm of tornadoes to destroy the movie capital of the world, before freezing the rest of the earth.
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  • 4

    EXPLOSIONS (!!!) in Speed

    Photo: Metaweb / CC-BY
    In one of the only films ever to take place mostly on a bus, Speed, does its best to destroy Los Angeles with explosion after explosion caused by a series of increasingly silly time bombs. Thank heavens for Keanu Reeves.
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