Times New York Was Destroyed on Film 

Coy Jandreau
Updated October 9, 2019 253 votes 77 voters 4.6k views 20 items

List Rules Vote up the most epic New York destruction, not the best films

As a culture, we really love to see the city of New York destroyed in blockbuster movies. Sure, the city looks great on camera, with its sprawling streets, mighty skyscrapers, and iconic landmarks. We all have some attachment to the city and sees its strength as well as its beauty. So why all the destruction porn around New York? Why are there so many movies where New York gets destroyed?

This city is shellacked on film more than any other. It's like NYC is a built-in spoiler: if the film you're watching is set in New York and isn't a romantic comedy (Sex in the City 2 is a different kind of disaster film), then by the third act there will be massive destruction! Whether it's flooding, alien invasion, riots, monster rampages, or whatever else might be wrong that day, it's going to end in massive damage to the Big Apple.

We decided to take a look at times the city was used as a cinematic disaster playground with this list of times New York was destroyed in films. Vote up your favorite examples of Manhattan madness below!

Mother Nature, The Day After Tomorrow
Mother Nature, The Day A... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Times New York Was Destroyed on Film
Photo:  The Day After Tomorrow/20th Century Fox
Even the combined might of young Jake Gyllenhaal and Dennis Quaid can't save NYC from mother nature. The city is first flooded (global warming y'all, but seriously..  it's a problem) and then frozen over with the onset of a new ice age. If you're a tourist, bring a sweater and be prepared to flee from CGI wolves.
Satisfying destruction?
Alien Invasion, The Avengers
Alien Invasion, The Aven... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Times New York Was Destroyed on Film
Photo:  Marvel's The Avengers/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
A portal in space opens up above the Big Apple and NYC gets trashed during the melee between alien invaders and superheroes. Midtown, where a lot of the heavy hitting takes place, is especially devestated. Earth's Mightiest Heroes do end up saving the city from a nuclear attack from our own side and total annihilation from the Chitauri, but a sizable amount of damage ($160 billion according to Hollywood Reporter) stacks up along the way.
Satisfying destruction?
Alien Flame Ray, Independence Day
Alien Flame Ray, Indepen... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Times New York Was Destroyed on Film
Photo:  Independence Day/20th Century Fox
Aliens came down and took out some serious American landmarks. We all remember what they did to Washington DC... oh the poor White House. But they also demolish huge portions of NYC too. The Empire State Building is completely laser-sploded and so many cars get flown through the air like giant building bullets.
Satisfying destruction?
Mega Tidal Wave, Deep Impact
Mega Tidal Wave, Deep Im... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Times New York Was Destroyed on Film
Photo:  Deep Impact/Paramount Pictures 
When a giant asteroid collides with Earth in the Atlantic Ocean, it sends a giant tsunami washing over the Eastern Seaboard. It completely engulfs NYC, leaving any structures not wiped out by the wave totally submerged.
Satisfying destruction?