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!

  • 5

    Alien Invasion, The Avengers

    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?
  • 6

    Terrorized by Giant Creature, Cloverfield

    The Cloverfield monster is malicious when it comes to beloved landmarks in this iconic found footage film. Clovie takes out the Brooklyn Bridge with its tail at one point, but that's nothing compared to what happens to Lady Liberty. Colverfield rips Statue of Liberty's head clean off and launches it into the night sky. The city itself doesn't fare much better by the end of things.
    Satisfying destruction?
  • 7

    Space Flames, Knowing

    Video: YouTube
    We're not really sure what happened here, but Nicolas Cage was involved so it was a wonky experience. Nicholas Cage *spoiler* fails to stop the end of all things, and then all of New York is engulfed in an enormous wave of space flames that destroy absolutely everything.
    Satisfying destruction?
  • 8

    Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, Ghostbusters

    New Yorkers are a jaded lot who've seen everything, but what comes stomping through Manhattan in this '80s classic would turn anyone white. The Marshmallow Man smashes his way through Columbus Circle and Central Park West. Even his destruction causes all manner of gross gooey ex-sentient marshmallow to blanket a big chunk of the city.
    Satisfying destruction?