[[quoteright:350:[[Franchise/{{Superman}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/194261.png]]]]

The GiantWallOfWateryDoom is a pretty scary threat. Consider that a dam needs to contain outright gigantic amount of water, a bit of MonumentalBattle, or worse, threat of MonumentalDamage can be VERY scary. In the United States, the prototypical dam for this to happen at is Hoover Dam, thanks to TheEiffelTowerEffect and the big potential for SceneryPorn.

That's how you get a DisasterMovie with a Big Dam Plot, where a dam is threatened with destruction or actually destroyed in whole or part. Though a Monumental Damage threat can be very effective indeed, sometimes the attackers do manage to destroy it, or it just happens kind of randomly. In any case, you don't want to stay around.

The outdoor equivalent of the ExplodingFishTanks.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* The whole Yuda arc in ''Manga/FistOfTheNorthStar'' ends in a dam being destroyed
* ''Anime/MonsterRancher'' has [[TrueCompanions The Courageous Seven]] face this problem in the episode of the same name: [[HairRaisingHare Evil Hares]] see them entering a town and decide to destroy the dam, wiping out the whole place just to take care of them.
* In the Manga/DetectiveConan [[NonSerialMovie movie "Quarter of Silence"]], a jewel thief had hidden his booty in a village, and while he was imprisoned for the theft, the village was bought out by the government and a dam erected. So, when he gets out of prison, he blows up the dam, which threatens the new town further down the valley. Conan, in desperation, creates an avalanche to divert the disastrous deluge.
* This trope, and the conflict that accompanies it, makes up a large part of ''VisualNovel/HigurashiWhenTheyCry'''s backstory. At first, it's mentioned as your typical 'humble country folk band together to fight the oppressive government' plot, but later [[TheReveal reveals]] show it...wasn't as simple as all that. Even years later, the actions people took during that conflict strongly influence the present day.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In one of the Creator/DarkHorseComics' ''WesternAnimation/{{Shrek}}'' issues, Shrek tries to get rid of a dam that has flooded his swamp.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/IceAge2TheMeltdown'': The melting glacier creates a natural dam as most of the ice melts, leaving a thin wall. The animals try to get to the other end of the valley before it bursts.
* In ''Film/OsmosisJones'', the dam is in Frank's nose and it holds not water but mucus. A pollen allergy, compounded by Thrax's sabotage, causes it to break.
* In ''WesternAnimation/FlushedAway'', Toad's plan is to open the floodgates protecting the rat's sewer city so that it gets washed away during UsefulNotes/TheWorldCup halftime.
* ''Film/TeamAmericaWorldPolice'' uses the Panama Canal to the same effect.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TinyToonAdventuresHowISpentMyVacation'', Buster and Babs' subplot is kicked off when an [[EscalatingWar escalating water fight]] ends with Babs intentionally opening a dam and flooding Acme Acres.
* Just right after the Snuggly Duckling scene (and hence the song "I've Got a Dream") from ''Disney/{{Tangled}}'', Rapunzel and Flynn can actually be seen escaping a collapsing aquaduct when the latter is spotted by the palace guards outside the Snuggly Duckling.
* In ''WesternAnimation/SupermanShazamTheReturnOfBlackAdam'', Black Adam destroys a dam during his fight with Franchise/{{Superman}} and [[ComicBook/{{Shazam}} Captain Marvel]]. [[spoiler: Superman easily stops the water with his Arctic Breath]].
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Thumbelina|1992}}'' has a breaking dam as a plot point; Thumbelina must warn the prince about the dam or else, the prairie will be in a flood and the Little People will drown probably alongside many animals.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* The destruction of a Hoover lookalike dam figures prominently in the first ''Film/{{Superman|TheMovie}}'' movie.
* The Ents destroy a dam to wash away Isengard in ''Film/TheLordOfTheRings'' movies.
** The [[Literature/LordOfTheRings books]] have the inverse of this trope: the Ents ''build'' a dam to temporarily reroute the river into Isengard.
* ''Film/EvanAlmighty'''s climax has a dam breaking to justify the construction of the ark.
* ''Film/X2XMenUnited'' ends up with the destruction of the power station that houses the bad guy's anti-mutant operation.
* ''Film/DantesPeak'' also has a dam destruction at some point
* ''Film/TheDambusters'', as you'd expect, but then this is the dramatisation of [[RealLife Operation Chastise]].
* ''Film/ForceTenFromNavarone'': In this FilmOfTheBook (and the original book), a dam is destroyed in order to wash away a bridge and prevent Nazi troops from wiping out a group of Yugoslavian Partisans.
* The duel at the climax of ''Film/FrankensteinMeetsTheWolfMan'' ends in a draw when one of the nearby villagers blow up a dam to drown out Castle Frankenstein and kill the monsters.
* ''Film/OurManFlint''. The Galaxy organization uses its WeatherControlMachine to destroy a dam.
* One of the major set pieces in ''Film/{{Earthquake}}'' is the destruction of a dam.
* In ''The Emerald Forest'', the natives plan to destroy the dam that's going to flood their forest by singing to the frogs. Kinda makes sense in context... the American hero thinks their beliefs are quaint and plans to use dynamite instead. The dynamite fails, but the dam is brought down in a storm anyway. Did the frogs do it? You decide.
* The threat of a bursting dam - which will drown the entire town - if one of the elements that adds urgency to the plot of ''Film/HardRain''.
* Destroying the Della Norte Dam in Italy is the main objective in the film ''Film/HornetsNest''. It blows up real good.
* The piranha in ''Killer Fish'' become a bigger threat after the dam that they were behind of bursts due to a hurricane, and they end up in a larger body of water.

* In ''Death Or Glory'', Literature/CiaphasCain finds his ramshackle band of survivors pinned in a canyon between a hydroelectric dam and an Ork army. After discovering a tunnel through a nearby mountain to the other side, he decides to blow the dam to cover his retreat. A few decades later, he wants to try the same trick against a Chaos army, but is prevented from doing so by [[spoiler:Necrons teleporting in, stealing the ArtifactOfDoom and shutting down all the machines]]. We still get a climatic battle on top of the dam though.
* In ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'', the heroes supersize a beaver dam so that ''they'' can unleash a GiantWallOfWateryDoom on attacking Yeerks.
* Given all the attention given to Count Ugo Carnifex's aquaduct, and the unstable nature of its construction, a reader can make a shrewd guess about how the ''Literature/YoungBond'' novel ''Literature/BloodFever'' is going to end.
* The 1982 disaster novel ''The Dam'' by Robert Byrne.
* ''Literature/WetDesertTrackingDownATerroristOnTheColoradoRiver'': The bomber is aiming at bringing down Glen Canyon Dam.
* In ''The Eve of April 20'', a neo-Nazi organisation holds a rally beneath a dam as a suitably imposing backdrop before launching a coup, which is foiled when the protagonist blows not the dam, but the cliffs of the lake behind it, causing water to displace over the dam and wash away the DayOfTheJackboot before it happens.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/AftermathPopulationZero'': The Hoover Dam eventually collapses after 200 years, restoring the Colorado river's free access to the sea.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'': In "Before the Flood", the Doctor is trapped in a fake town beneath a dam that knows is going to break and flood the valley. [[spoiler: He ultimately ends up blowing open the dam and causing the flood himself in order to kill the Fisher King.]]
* ''Series/{{Scorpion}}'': In "Dam Breakthrough", Scorpion receives a mission on Christmas Eve from the DWP at the Augustine Power Station on Mount Baldy, which may go critical after a 50-foot pine tree uproots and crushes the building's wall. If the transformer gets flooded and shorts, 100,000 people will lose power on Christmas Day. After they re-boot the computer and engineer the roof, they notice a mudslide spilling into the reservoir has put a crack in the nearby dam's wall following torrential rains. Now, they have to stop the dam from breaking and wiping out the town down in the valley by repairing it.
* ''Series/JohnnySokkoAndHisFlyingRobot'': The episode "Destroy the Dam" as the title characters needing to bust open a dam to flood the water to deactivate the MonsterOfTheWeek

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' features the Hoover Dam as a major resource, since it's one of the only sources of power in the Mojave Wasteland. The end of the game involves a huge battle for control of the dam. Your character has to either defend it or take it over depending on which faction they're aligned with, and it's possible to destroy the dam or at least render it unusable.
* The ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto'' series. In both ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoSanAndreas'' and ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto2'', there's a mission where you must put bombs into a dam. Besides, the one featured in ''Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas'' is an {{Expy}} of the Hoover Dam.
* Speedy Dave's arc in ''VideoGame/MegaManBattleNetwork 2'' involves a dam going to be destroyed by explosives.
* In ''VideoGame/CityOfHeroes'', the Positron Task Force revolves around the Clockwork, Circle of Thorns, and Vahzilok all hatching plots involving the city dam in Faultline. The finale of the second part[[note]]the original version too, although that used a generic lab map and the mission entrance was in a different zone[[/note]] which awards the [[JustForPun Dam Hero]] badge has all three plans coming together simultaneously.
* ''VideoGame/BattlefieldBadCompany2'' includes a multiplayer map involving control of a village beneath a dam. If the Americans win, they blow it up.
* One of the missions in ''VideoGame/GoldenEyeRogueAgent'' has the protagonist searching and activating a seismic bomb in the Hoover Dam.
* ''VideoGame/{{Emergency}}'' and ''VideoGame/{{Emergency}} 4'' both include dam break scenarios. In the second case, the dam is already broken and a town is completely flooded when your crews get there.
* Stage 2 of the NES ''VideoGame/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles'' game has you attempting to stop the Foot Clan from blowing up a dam. It is the only stage in the game where [[DownTheDrain you are required to swim]], [[TimedMission you're on a time limit]] that will give you a NonStandardGameOver if you fail to find and disarm all eight bombs before time runs out (which you'll be hard-pressed to do without a map), and you have to do it while [[EverythingTryingToKillYou avoiding electric traps and electric seaweed that want to kill you]]. Yeah. It's ThatOneLevel for a reason.
* In the first ''VideoGame/{{Commandos}}'' game, an early mission has you take out a dam.
* ''VideoGame/DukeNukemForever'' has this in the penultimate level, appropriately titled "Blowin' The Dam".
* ''F/A-18 Hornet'' and its ''Korea'' expansion pack both have missions where you have to [[NukeEm nuke a dam]], namely "Pull the Plug" in the former and "Water Fall" in the latter.
* ''VideoGame/DieHardTrilogy2VivaLasVegas'' has a series of levels set at Hoover Dam where [=McClane=] has to disarm a virus bomb.
* ''Videogame/CommandAndConquerGenerals'' has one of these [[OnceAnEpisode once per single-player campaign]], and on two out of three occasions the player-controlled faction are the ones tasked with blowing it up. One suspects it was a royal pain to do in-engine, so the developers [[ShootTheMoney wanted to get their time and money's worth.]] It did look pretty cool though.
* ''[[VideoGame/SyphonFilter Syphon Filter: Logan's Shadow]]'' has this in the final mission.
* In ''[[VideoGame/AnnoDomini Anno 2070]]'', the first campaign missions revolve around the aftermath of the disastrous destruction of a hydroelectric power plant built into a giant dam.
* In ''VideoGame/PhantasyStarII'', after Climatrol blows up, water starts pumping into the central lake of Motavia, forcing Rolf and his party to travel to four dams and use their central consoles to unlock them and prevent the lake from flooding over.
* ''VideoGame/UnrealIITheAwakening'' has an interesting twist on this plot. Rather than protect a dam from suffering this trope, ''you'' are supposed to invoke this trope and destroy an enemy dam on Severnaya.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' episode "Brother from Another Series" involves Sideshow Bob's brother trying to frame Bob for destroying a dam he's building.
* ''WesternAnimation/ClassOfTheTitans''' second episode ("Chaos 102", part of the three-episode special) has the heroes fighting at the city dam. It's not clear whether the dam is ever actually threatened, though.
* The ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' episode "Jet" revolves around the titular character trying to destroy a dam so that the resulting flood will wipe out the valley and kill the Fire Nation soldiers occupying a village. Surprisingly, despite Aang and Katara's best efforts they ''fail'' to stop Jet, and the dam is successfully bombed. [[spoiler:Sokka, expecting that halting the destruction might fail, instead got the village to evacuate to safety instead.]]
* WesternAnimation/TheSmurfs have a dam protecting their village from flooding. Many stories have the dam breaking or threatening to break, like in Smurfette's initial storyline, where she is actually an agent of Gargamel's trying to flood the village.
* The villain's plot in ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDooCampScare'' involves dynamiting a dam to [[spoiler:get to a BuriedTreasure in a SunkenCity.]]
* In the first episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheTick'', the Idea Men hold the city dam for ransom with explosives.
* In the WesternAnimation/BugsBunny cartoon "WesternAnimation/WetHare", villain Blaque Jacques Shellaque dams the stream that feeds the waterfall Bugs is using [[WaterfallShower to shower]]. Bugs keeps destroying the dam and Jacques keeps rebuilding it, until Bugs builds a dam of his own. Jacques blows it up, but Bugs has built a series of dams for him to destroy, leading up to the Grand Cooler Dam. In an inversion of this trope, Jacques' cannon doesn't destroy it; instead, the cannonball bounces back and knocks Jacques into a waiting police wagon.
* Seen in the "Mega X" episode of the ''WesternAnimation/MegaMan'' cartoon.
* ''WesternAnimation/TomGoesToTheMayor'' episode "Bassfest" where the Mayor has the ''wonderful'' idea to hold a concert near a dam. A poorly built dam. Tom realizes that the vibrations from the music will cause it to break and tries to warn everyone or at least have the concert moved. But if you're familar with the gist of this show, [[FailureIsTheOnlyOption you know how well that goes]].
* {{Inverted}} in ''InspectorGadget''. MAD ''creates'' a dam so that it can sell water to Metro City at ridiculously inflated prices, and Gadget has to break MAD's dam and bring water back to the city.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/XMenEvolution'' episode "The Stuff of Heroes", the X-Men have to stop TheJuggernaut from destroying a dam.
* The ''WesternAnimation/{{Grojband}}'' episode "Six Strings of Evil" involved this, even though Corey smashed the evil guitar with help from his fellow bandmates and Trina's OnceAnEpisode Diary Mode, it didn't end well for the dam.
* ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog'' cartoons:
** In the ''WesternAnimation/AdventuresOfSonicTheHedgehog'' episode, "[[BabysittingEpisode Baby Sitter Jitters]]", Dr. Robotnik plans to destroy the Beaverville Dam to flood the valley and make room for Lake Robotnik Golf and Fishing Estates. His first attempt to destroy the dam is foiled by Sonic rebuilding it, and his second is foiled by a trio of baby beavers that Sonic and Tails were babysitting.
** In the ''WesternAnimation/SonicBoom'' episode, "Guilt Tripped", when Sonic and Tails finally get back home from the Gogoba Village, they find four messages on their answering machine, all of which are from Dr. Eggman, who tells them that he is planning to blow up the dam. However, because they spent a long time trying to get out of the Gogoba Village, Eggman thinks they're not showing up at all [[WhatAnIdiot and promptly goes to their house to find out why]].
* Parodied in ''WesternAnimation/TheAmazingWorldOfGumball'', where an evil plot to blow up Elmore's dam is foiled by [[spoiler: the fact that Elmore doesn't have a dam.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/BooBoomTheLongWayHome'': Episode 16 resolves around Boo-Boom, his animal friends, and a local story teller stopping the Germans from blowing up a dam.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheNewAdventuresOfSuperman'': In "The Tree Man of Arborea", the tree man destroys a dam in his insatiable thirst for water, forcing Superman to find a way of stopping the flood before it reaches the town below the dam.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddParents'': Timmy [[MirrorMoralityMachine becomes evil]] thanks to a wish with some poor ExactWords, and plans to use a volcano to destroy the Dimmsdale Dam, causing a flood that would destroy the makeup factory. Apparently, everyone is so ugly without makeup (especially the men) that this would collapse everyone's social life, and thus Dimmsdale would cease to be, the flood and lava flow notwithstanding. Luckily, the same ExactWords change him back to normal before it's too late.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Operation Chastise is the best-remembered wartime example of this. Although the actual damage and disruption was minor compared to the fire-bombing that came later in [=WW2=], it provided an [[StiffUpperLip important morale booster]] to the British public. It also showcased the engineering abilities of Barnes Wallis, who designed the "bouncing bombs" used in the mission.
* The Japanese I-400 class submarines (each of which could carry three seaplane torpedo bombers) were intended to destroy the outer locks of the Panama Canal, causing the canal (which is above sea level) to drain and become unusable for American warships. Later it was decided that torpedo attacks against dams and locks were unreliable, and that [[SuicideAttack kamakize attacks]] would be more successful, but by this point it was too late in the war to matter and the plan was cancelled.
* In 1977, bombing dams was outlawed in the [[UsefulNotes/TheLawsAndCustomsOfWar Geneva Convention]] "if such attack may cause the release of dangerous forces from the works or installations and consequent severe losses among the civilian population".
* In peace-time, various dam failures have occurred throughout history. The deadliest one was when the Banqiao and Shimantan Dams in China collapsed in 1975 due to excess rainfall from Typhoon Nina, killing over 170,000 people.