87 voters

Times New York Was Destroyed on Film

Updated October 9, 2019 356 votes 87 voters 6.2k views20 items

List RulesVote 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!

  • 1

    Mother Nature, The Day After Tomorrow

    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?
  • 2

    Alien Flame Ray, Independence Day

    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?
  • 3

    Mega Tidal Wave, Deep Impact

    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?
  • 4

    Asteroid Fragments, Armageddon

    Huge shards of an asteroid make their way through our atmosphere and begin ripping the city apart in giant plumes of fire and explosions in the style that only Michael Bay can provide. Thanks to Bruce Willis and a motley crew of oil drillers/astronauts, the full asteroid never makes its way to our doorstep, so we avoid global destruction, but New York still takes a licking.
    Satisfying destruction?