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Monumental Damage
Poor Libby.

"Give us McNeal or we will lay waste to your cities with our anti-monument laser."
Lrrr, Futurama, "When Aliens Attack"

So you're a marauding monster, invading alien, or anything that has a tendency to cause massive collateral damage. But you are not going to destroy any random building, are you? No, where is the fun in that? You're going to behead the Statue of Liberty, or blow up the White House, or anything recognizable enough that by destroying it, you can show the world that you mean business.

If you plan on attacking all over the world make sure you target a wide range of easily identifiable landmarks throughout. Due to Small Reference Pools, no one will take you seriously unless you get the Pyramids, the Eiffel Tower, the Taj Mahal or the Westminster Clock Tower ("Big Ben", that is). Just killing people throughout the world won't cut it, we're afraid.

Avoid the Lincoln Memorial, though. No invading lifeform has ever attacked itnote . The stone must be cursed somehow.

Occasionally inverted when an occupying power takes control of a landmark of some kind, forcing the defenders to destroy said landmark.

A consequence of The Eiffel Tower Effect. Frequently seen in disaster movies. Compare Monumental Battle and Rushmore Refacement. Tokyo Tower gets messed up so much it's also its own trope. See Weaponized Landmark when the monument shoots back. Not to be confused with Monumental Theft or damage that is monumental in the "very big" sense.

Bonus Points if you knock them over.

Sometimes inverted: The monument - although battered - is the only thing left standing in the city After the End.

When characters deliberately aim for monuments for symbolic value, this overlaps with Smash The Symbol.

Compare Washington D.C. Invasion, Big Applesauce, Tokyo Fireball.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Averted in Digimon Adventure, when the very climatic battle against Myotismon takes place on top of Fuji TV Headquarters (known for its unique design by the architect Kenzo Tange) but neither the building or it's massive metal ball are (seriously) harmed. Incidentally or not, Fuji TV is the channel that broadcasts Digimon in Japan.
  • The very first missile shot by the Millennium assault force in Hellsing as they invade London soars through the sky... and blows up the Parliament Clock Tower.
    • The Major orders the Millennium soldiers to destroy all the other landmarks, too.
  • In a flashback to the depression era New York in Shakugan no Shana, both the Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building get blown up by Margery Daw. However, no one noticed and they were evidently repaired.
  • The Read or Die OVA has Gennai Hiraga blowing up the White House, with a so-not-George Bush lookalike being dragged out just in time.
  • In Macross II, the main characters go for a date in a place called "monument park," a collection of world monuments almost identical to the Futurama example, below. It is promptly attacked by aliens.
  • From Cannon God Exaxxion:
    "Humanity's gotta take one to the gut, here! Knock some sense into the damn peaceniks! And showing them ol' Mount Fuji going boom ought to do the trick!"
  • Fujiyama also takes damage from the final battle in Mazinkaiser vs. Ankoku Daishogun, first as collateral damage from Mazinkaiser's Rust Tornado, and again when the Daishogun rams Mazinkaiser with his Airborne Aircraft Carrier. During the end credits of the movie, the heroes can be seen fixing it afterwards.

    During the attack on New York, the Statue of Liberty is shown as having been decapitated. Just to add insult to injury, Great Mazinger is knocked through the remains of the statue and falls on the head. Elsewhere, the Great Pyramids, Sydney Opera House, and Great Wall are also damaged by Super Robot / Robeast combat.
  • In Gundam SEED Destiny, when the falling Junius Seven is destroyed by the Minerva's Wave Motion Gun, fragments of it scatter randomly around the world. One of them still manages a direct hit on the Parthenon in Greece.
  • Future War 198X - The White House, The Statue of Liberty, Tokyo Tower and the Eiffel Tower all are destroyed in a chain of nuclear blasts killing 13 million people planned by Dirty Communists.
  • Thundersub - The Statue of Liberty and Eiffel Tower are flooded by tsunamis.
  • Fuji gets hit by a giant, fist-shaped asteroid holding the dMp at the start of Ultimate Muscle / Kinnikuman Nisei.
  • Campione!'s protagonist Godou will accidentally destroy in the process any monument that is introduced in the story. So much that you could probably make a Drinking Game out of it.

    Comic Books 
  • In The Ultimates - some super powered soldiers push over the Statue of Liberty. Later, some superheroes pull it back up again. Averted in the same story where Ultimate Cap and The Colonel duke it out along The Wall (the Vietnam War Memorial) and it is not damaged.
  • In the Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew! the giant monster frog villain Frogzilla pulls up from its foundation the Statue of Ribbity (Earth-C's Statue of Liberty) and takes it with him into Gnu York (Earth-C's New York), thinking the statue was a real person (and trying to hit "her" up for a date).
  • Rare exception to the "Nothing harms Lincoln" rule: During the Amazons Attack miniseries, Hippolyta decapitates the memorial. Possibly referenced in the 2009 Wonder Woman animated movie, where an angry Steve Trevor rushes to the defence of the memorial declaring "no-one messes with Lincoln!"
  • In Asterix and Cleopatra, Obelix climbs The Sphinx and breaks its nose.
  • The Statue of Liberty really suffers during the Sinestro Corps War. First, Cyborg-Superman punches Superman through part of it. Then the Sinestros decide to just tear the whole thing down and replace it with a statue of Sinestro. Kyle Rayner and Guy Gardner fix her back up during the epilogue.
  • In Ultimate X-Men, where do the newly-formed Brotherhood of Mutants strike first? Why, London's Big Ben of course!
  • Squadron Supreme has Hyperion and his evil doppelganger from another universe fighting it out at Mount Rushmore (named President's Mountain in this reality), destroying it. It's later mentioned that it's being rebuilt.
  • DC Comics Steel and Non-Green-Lantern-Guy-Gardner-But-Rather-Warrior fought Rampage (DC villain that is somewhat Juggernaut-lite and couldn't put him down, until the Washington Monument fell on his head.
  • The issue #1 cover of Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth prominently shows a fractured Statue of Liberty listing in floodwaters.

    Fan Works 
  • Red Fire, Red Planet has an offhand mention that the Optimum (from Star Trek: Federation) dropped an asteroid on Mecca in 2060. The author's note explains this as their way of cowing the Islamic countries, which violently resisted their global takeover attempt, into submission.
  • The Tranformers World's Worst fanfics have turned the destruction of the Lincoln Memorial into a Running Gag. Two words: Abebird Files.
  • In The Moment It Began, Voldemort and the Death Eaters destroy the Palace of Westminster.
  • In a flashback from Just An Unorthodox Thief, Goemon cuts down the Golden Gate Bridge so that Lupin can escape Kiritsugu and Zenigata alike after the former attempts to assassinate one of Lupin's clients and he elects to stop the Magus Killer, as it would be "bad for business."

    Films — Animated 
  • The Golden Gate Bridge comes tumbling down in Monsters vs. Aliens.
  • Played for laughs in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, as giant food items start falling on various national monuments - pies on the faces on Mount Rushmore, a sandwich skewered on the Eiffel Tower, and so on. A weatherman even lampshades it by explicitly saying that the food storm is hitting monuments first.
  • In Wonder Woman, the Memorials, the Capitol, and the White House. While there was a battle in front of The Vietnam War Memorial, but it was spared.
  • The Sphinx's nose is destroyed in the animated film The Prince of Egypt and Disney's Aladdin as well as Asterix and Cleopatra.
  • In Astérix vs. Caesar, Obelix causes the partial destruction of the Colosseum by accidentally backing into a support pillar. This is despite the fact that construction of the Colosseum didn't start until 120 years after the time period those stories take place in.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Earth vs. the Flying Saucers - One of the earliest (1956) examples of this is the Washington Monument being cut at the base by a flying saucer beam in a nice piece of FX work by Ray Harryhausen.
    • Somewhat inverted in that in many cases, the aliens weren't intentionally destroying the landmarks; rather, the counterweapon developed by the Science Hero caused the saucers to veer off course and crash directly into the nearest monument or historic building. So this is one case where the heroes actually cause more damage to their landmarks than the aliens do (unless you interpret it as the aliens deliberately aiming their crashing ships at the landmarks out of spite).
  • Cloverfield. The Statue of Liberty's beheading was something Abrams got from a poster for Escape from New York... even though it's not in the actual Escape movie. The Woolworth Building and the Brooklyn Bridge get destroyed later on as well.
  • The Hong Kong Wuxia Manhua movie A Man Called Hero (and Chinese Hero, the Manhua that inspired it) features a final battle between the Greatest Warriors of China and Japan, who proceed to destroy the Statue of Liberty on which their final confrontation took place.
  • Roland Emmerich loves this trope :
    • Independence Day has the iconic shot of the White House being destroyed, as well as the Capitol building getting destroyed in the resulting wave of energy. In a scene showing the immediate aftermath of the attacks, the Statue of Liberty is shown being knocked down. The aliens seemed to station their ships right above famous monuments deliberately; in London it was Big Ben, in France it was the Eiffel Tower, in New York it was the Empire State Building. The Sydney Opera House and the pyramids both escape undamaged, though.
    • An errant missile shot in the 1998 Godzilla hits the Chrysler Building. The mayor is pissed, if for no other reason than the fact the military missed at all.
    • The Day After Tomorrow had tornadoes homing in on LA landmarks. The ice storm famously made a popsicle out of the Statue of Liberty.
    • 2012 has shown many of these monuments being destroyed by the destruction. And the fakes in Las Vegas, too.
  • Majority of Godzilla films, tend to use this.
    • The most notable is in the first film in which Godzilla destroys the Wako Clock Tower and the Diet Building.
    • In Godzilla Raids Again, Godzilla crashes Angurius completely into the Osaka Castle.
    • Another notable example is in Godzilla Final Wars where Godzilla throws his American counterpart into the Sydney Opera House... then blows the hell out of it with his Atomic Breath.
  • In The Core, the collapse of Earth's magnetic field targets the Colisseum in Rome, and the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, without touching much else.
  • In Armageddon, showers of small meteors come in advance of the Big Doomsday Rock. They could strike anywhere on earth. Where does the biggest of the Harbingers of Doom hit? Paris, with the Eiffel Tower being knocked over/split in half by the shock-wave, the de Triomphe however survived. Which city was the first to get hit by these small meteors? New York City. And said meteor shower damages/destroys several NYC landmarks, including Grand Central Station, the Chrysler Building — and the Twin Towers. (The third shower hits Shanghai, but fails to find a globally-recognisable monument.)
  • In Mars Attacks!, a saucer rolls a giant bowling ball and knocks over some of the statues on Easter Island. Next they cut down the Washington Monument as a Shout-Out to the aforementioned Harryhausen movie, plus keeps tilting it from one side to another so panicking civilians don't know which way to run.

    They are also shown melting the Eiffel Tower in the background while slaughtering the French President and his cabinet, and taking a picture in the Taj Mahal while blowing it up at the same time.
  • Subverted in Resident Evil: Extinction, where the Statue of Liberty is buried in sand... along with the Sphinx and Eiffel Tower, since they're all Las Vegas casino structures. Played straight with Las Vegas itself. The Las Vegas damage from Con Air pales in comparison, which is a pity because 1. it was filmed in the real Las Vegas, and 2. buildings marked for demolition in real life were destroyed for real in the movie.
  • Domino - A ballsy Vegas example has a character sympathetic to Afghani rebels blow half the top off the Stratosphere Tower, which is a real 1,000+ foot observation needle. Then, The Hero falls down the elevator shaft in a cabin just like the ones used at the actual tower (though real ones don't have an speedometer on the floor counter). The whole scene was done with startling accuracy and the Stratosphere signed off on it's name/identity being used all over the darn thing, giving it that Too Soon quality.
  • Planet of the Apes. They blew it up. Damn them all to hell!
  • In the Richie Rich movie, a lot of damage is done to Mount Richmore (if that counts as a monument) as The Dragon blasts at it with the sculpting laser at maximum power.
  • The titular group in Team America: World Police shows off its ability to cause massive collateral damage by destroying the Eiffel Tower and Louvre in France and the Sphinx, Pyramids, and Pharaohs in Egypt. (The Eiffel Tower even falls over onto the Arc de Triomphe, even though those two landmarks are nowhere near each other in Real Life.) Mount Rushmore is also destroyed during the course of the film, though not by Team America.
  • The Tokyo Tower gets destroyed a lot by Godzilla, Mothra, Gamera, Gyaos, and yes, even King Kong in various Japanese giant monster movies.
    • Actually averted in the first Godzilla film, which features the destruction of several Tokyo landmarks, but only as part of the general devastation with no undue emphasis.
  • GI Joe The Riseof Cobra depicts the Eiffel Tower being vaporized by Nanomachines.
    • In G.I. Joe: Retaliation One of Cobra's Zeus satellites turns the entire city of London into a crater, with Big Ben and the Eye / Millennium Wheel smack in the middle.
  • Averted (barely) in the Star Trek reboot film: When Nero attacks Earth, he fires his drill beam into San Francisco Bay. When the drill is cut, it falls into the bay, just missing the Golden Gate Bridge. (And miraculously avoids generating a tsunami that kills everyone in Oakland; surprising behavior for a multi-megaton structure falling from low orbit.) (Also see the entry under Live Action TV).
  • In The Avengers (1998), the bad guys damage two London landmarks:
    • An off course balloon knocks the Nelson statue off of Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square.
    • Lightning from a weather control attack damages the clock faces of the Big Ben clock tower.
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince has an example early on, where Death Eaters rip apart the Millennium Bridge in London. This is a mild example, since while the bridge is somewhat known, it's not as renowned as things like the Tower Bridge or the Clifton Suspension Bridge.
    • What did they do, walk across it in step with each other? No, they flew around it in step with each other. (aside note: if the film is set in the same year as in the book, the bridge is an anachronism as it was set in 1996 - the book destroys a generic one instead)
  • In Batman Forever, Two-Face's helicopter crashes into an obvious Expy of the Statue of Liberty, named "Lady Gotham".
  • In the first Transformers movie, Starcream partially destroys the water towers of the Hoover Dam. In the second film, the Pyramid of Khafre (Directly adjacent to The Great Pyramid) is partially destroyed to reveal the Sun Harvester.
    • The third adds another check to the decreasingly rare defacements of the Lincoln Memorial, when Megatron blows the statue to dust and claims the chair for himself, a nod to the G1 cartoon where his animated counterpart had already done the same.
  • In The Dark Knight Rises, Bane takes over Gotham by setting off controlled implosions of the Brooklyn Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge, and the Williamsburg Bridge. The Queensboro Bridge is not touched. His explosions also destroy the pitch at Heinz Field. Or stand-ins at least.
  • In X-Men: The Last Stand, Magneto rips the Golden Gate Bridge out of its usual position so the Brotherhood can cross it to reach Alcatraz Island. The first movie has the climax take place atop the Statue of Liberty, but other than the destruction of her torch by Magneto's machine (and a ray of her crown sliced off by Wolverine's claws) it is otherwise unharmed.
  • Superman.
    • In the first movie, the earthquake destroys Hoover Dam and starts bringing down the suspension wires on the Golden Gate Bridge (and in a deleted scene, knocks over the Hollywood sign while some Girl Scouts are hiking next to it).
    • In the sequel, General Zod, Ursa and Non damage the faces on Mt. Rushmore and the White House.
      • In the Richard Donner Cut, the Washington Monument is toppled by Zod and Co.
    • Not actual damage, but in Superman III Supes straightened out the Leaning Tower of Pisa for laughs.
    • In Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, Nuclear Man demolishes a chunk of the Great Wall of China, and later on, in a close call, drops the Statue of Liberty in the middle of Metropolis before Supes picked it up.
  • Parodied in UHF, which includes a spoof of Rambo, where "Rambo" (played by "Weird Al" Yankovic) starts blowing up famous monuments (including the Eiffel Tower and the Colosseum) for no reason at all.
  • The last shot of The Great Race is the accidental destruction of the Eiffel Tower.
  • The Ghostbusters uprooted the Statue of Liberty as a Rent-a-Zilla in the second film. In the process, the torch exploded into actual flame, was used to bash in a window, then the entire statue fell on its back once they were done with it. The city had it reinstalled and repaired by the end credits.
  • The War Of The Worlds (1953). A picture of Paris shows the top half of the Eiffel Tower broken and bent after the Martian attack.
  • Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning has the CPP Kickstart blow up the Statue of Liberty when Pirk's forces are invading the US.
  • One of the first things we see during Jack's Opening Narration in Oblivion (2013) is the Pentagon smashed almost beyond recognition by a huge crater. The New York Public Library is completely underground. The Empire State Building is buried up to its observation deck, leaving only the gift shop and the spire above ground. The Statue of Liberty is broken up and scattered, with the torch-holding hand visible during a high-speed canyon chase. The One World Trade Center building, taller than the ESB and prominent in the flashbacks, is nowhere to be seen in the present time, implying that whatever wasn't buried was demolished.
    • Averted in an early shot of Washington, DC. The Capitol Building and the Washington Monument are free and still standing, everything else is gone and replaced by mud flats.
  • The giant octopus in It Came From Beneath The Sea starts its attack on San Francisco by tearing down the Golden Gate bridge.
  • The Golden Gate Bridge was the first thing the Kaiju destroyed in Pacific Rim.
    • Possibly averted in the Sydney attack. While the Kaiju lumbers pretty close to the Opera House, it's never shown taking it out.
  • The Big Ben and Parliament in V for Vendetta.
  • In Gravity, a rogue cloud of debris destroys the International Space Station, and knocks China's Tiangong space station out of orbit. The Space Shuttle doesn't count, since it's a fictional one.
  • In Gorgo, the Tower Bridge and Big Ben get demolished during the rampage through London.

    Literature 
  • The second novel in The Bartimaeus Trilogy features a hilarious fight scene inside the British Museum where Bartimaeus, not knowing of its significance, uses the Rosetta Stone as a projectile weapon. Hilarity Ensues. In the third novel, Nelson's Column get sliced in half by Nathaniel trying out the Staff.
  • Legacy of the Aldenata - The Washington Monument comes under massive fire from plasma and HVM rounds, as a reaction to a human sniper using the monument as a firing point. The Lincoln Memorial also is destroyed, though by human forces.
  • Ciaphas Cain - Invoked by Ciaphas, Hero Of The Imperium, in Cain's Last Stand. He mentions that he hopes that an attack on the capital city of Perlia managed to destroy a particularly hated monument to him (a clock that features him decapitating an orc every hour), but he's disappointed to learn it's still standing.
  • Vixen 03, Clive Cussler's fifth Dirk Pitt book, features a rare attack on the Lincoln Memorial. The roof collapses and the columns are knocked down but the statue remains upright. Five books later, Cussler had already forgotten about that.
  • 1632 series:
    • During the climax of 1632, the Wartburg castle gets napalmed. Comments are made to the effect of "I bet that back in the future, that was a historic monument".
    • In 1634: The Baltic War, as part of the distractions during their escape from London, Harry Lefferts blows up the Tower of London, partially collapses the London Bridge and sets fire to the Globe Theater. Even funnier, his history teacher, Melissa "Schoolmarm from Hell" Mailey, is present, and goes utterly berserk.
    • The climax of 1635: The Cannon Law blows up a large part of the Castel Sant'Angelo to permit an escape.
  • The Dresden Files, Changes Harry and his friends wreck part of an Aztec temple when facing off against the Red Court vampires. Not surprising as this is Harry Dresden we're discussing.
    • Pretty much any major Chicago landmark is liable to suffer collateral property damage when Harry's around, sooner or later.
  • Various Doctor Who New Adventures novels destroy Canterbury Cathedral and (in an alternate timeline) Big Ben.
  • In the Bizarro Universe Transformers: Shattered Glass story "Eye in the Sky", Rodimus hijacks the USA's Kill Sat and uses it to hold the world hostage to his demands. To show his threat is serious, he uses his control of the satellite to destroy the sword-holding Statue of Liberty.
  • In The Last Ship an American ship steams up the Thames River to link up with friendly forces after a nuclear war. Through the irradiated fog can be seen the ruins of London and Big Ben.
  • One might get the impression that H. G. Wells didn't like the St. Paul's Cathedral in London very much...
    • In The War of the Worlds, it ends up with what the narrator describes as "a huge gaping cavity on its western side".
    • In The Shape of Things to Come, the cathedral even ends up completely destroyed, along with a great chunk of London's inner city at the northern shore of the Thames.
  • Star Trek: The Lost Era — The Sundered has a mention that Mecca was hit hard by World War III, including somebody detonating a nuke there in the 2050s.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Smallville, Salvation, Zod and his minions burns the crest of Zod onto the Great Wall of China, Temple of Athena, a pyramid and the Washington monument.
  • The Big One: The Great Los Angeles Earthquake and 10.5, both all-star mega-earthquake movies, both feature the Hollywood Sign being destroyed.
    • 10.5 also features the destruction of, among other landmarks, the Space Needle in Seattle and the Golden Gate Bridge.
    • 10.5: Apocalypse, the sequel to 10.5, features more U.S. landmarks meeting spectacular fates, among them Mount Rushmore.
  • The History Channel's Life After People speculated, among other things, how long certain man-made structures would last were people to suddenly disappear. Every episode had to have at least one famous monument destroyed by the ravages of time, with said destruction always featuring in promos.
  • The Golden Gate Bridge was pretty messed up in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine when the Breen attacked Earth. "The Changing Face of Evil"
    • As in Film (above), this isn't just wanton destruction, as Starfleet Headquarters is in the Presidio right next door.
  • The Seattle-based sketch comedy Almost Live! did a parody of Independence Day, which features the aliens blowing up various local landmarks.. that were all really ugly. The military is inclined to let the aliens carry on, until the attackers make the mistake of destroying Dick's Drive-In, the town's perennial favorite Local Hangout. "Nuke 'em!!"
  • Doctor Who - "Aliens of London" involves a convoluted alien hoax plot (well, a convoluted hoax perpetrated by aliens) where they deliberately crash their spaceship into Big Ben to put the world on high alert in order to get their claws on the UK's nuclear launch codes. A bit of Genre Savvy on display by the aliens here too...
    • The Doctor is equally Genre Savvy. "Just too perfect. I mean, hitting Big Ben, come on."
  • In an episode of The Event, all the non-humans are trapped in a church, surrounded by government forces. Sophia responds by using their portal technology to destroy the Washington Monument and claims this was only a taste of how far they're willing to go. Turns out, it was just a bluff. The portal device only had enough fuel to open a small "window". The President proceeds to order an Apache helicopter to kill all the "terrorists".
  • In the Alternate History of Fringe, on 9/11/2001, terrorists have successfully attacked the Pentagon and the White House. The World Trade Center towers are still intact. The White House was rebuilt with a glass roof.
  • The Goodies: The award-winning "Kitten Kong" episode sees the eponymous giant kitten destroying the Post Office Tower in London (now known as the BT Tower). Not exactly a world landmark, but pretty well-known in Britain. The shot became part of subsequent seasons' episode title montage.

    Music 
  • Part of the backstory for the Nine Inch Nails album Year Zero involves a terrorist attack on Hollywood, complete with a photo of the ruined Hollywood sign.

    Pinball 
  • Attack from Mars has the Attack Mode, wherein you travel to various cities and stop the Martians from damaging their famous monuments (i.e. straightening the Tower of Pisa).
    • Its sequel, Revenge from Mars, has a mode where you must stop the Martians from playing tug-o-war with the Tower of Pisa.
  • One animation in Johnny Mnemonic's "Yakuza Strike" mode shows a man firing a rocket launcher at the Golden Gate Bridge, destroying it.

    Video Games 
  • Deus Ex starts with the NSF blowing the head off the Statue of Liberty in the backstory. At the top level of the pedestal there is a fenced-off area with a sign, "This building had been condemned"; presumably the statue was no longer structurally sound. In the sequel, the statue is gone altogether and is replaced with a hologram.
    • On a similar note, when they forgot to add the World Trade Center to the game's skyline, they handwaved it by saying it was destroyed by a terrorist attack prior to the game's events. The game was released in the year 2000.
  • Modern Warfare 2: The level "Of Their Own Accord" starts in a damp basement assumed to be somewhere in the Washington D.C. area, filled with wounded and dead soldiers while artillery shells shake the ground above. When a Sergeant orders the player character to follow him outside into combat, the player emerges in a muddy trench and the first thing to be seen of the outside are the scorched remains of the Washington Monument, backlit by dark clouds that reflect the fires of Capitol Hill, which looks more like Berlin in 1945. The Washington Monument is still standing though, and the White House is later shown to be repaired.
    • The first two missions of Modern Warfare 3 prominently feature the New York City skyline in flames, pounded by a constant barrage of artillery and cruise missiles, though both the Freedom Tower and the Statue of Liberty are intact. The second Paris mission sees the Eiffel Tower literally destroyed by a series of friendly airstrikes meant to destroy Russian positions at the tower's base.
    • In the first game, during the helicopter rail shooter sequence at the beginning of "Shock and Awe", you can topple a statue of Al-Asad.
    • The first mission in Modern Warfare 3 features a firefight on the Wall Street trading floor.
    • The church in "Blood Brothers" seems to be stand in for the St. Nicholas church in Prague, but it's not an actual recreation. It still gets blown up, with you inside.
  • Call of Duty World at War, in the final American mission you get to call in an air strike on Shuri Castle, and in the last Russian mission you lay siege on the Reichstag.
  • Command & Conquer series.
    • If you won the Command And Conqueras Nod, you got to watch some Hollywood Hacking and then you got to choose which monument to destroy, options being the Brandenburger Gate (Berlin), Eiffel Tower (Paris), Tower of London or White House (Washington D.C.).
    • Red Alert has a cutscene of the Eiffel Tower getting nuked if you fail one mission as the Allies, and another cutscene of a Soviet air strike levelling the Parthenon.
    • In Red Alert 2, one of the Soviet missions involves turning the Eiffel Tower into a giant Tesla coil. Plus, you get to demolish the Pentagon and lots of other stuff. And in an unexpected inversion, the second to last mission of the Soviet campaign has you destroy the Kremlin. The Soviets also destroy the Statue of Liberty at the start of the Allied campaign.
      • This later led to some unfortunate implications due to 9/11, since the twin towers were destroyable structures in the game (and doing so actually rewarded the player with powerups). The games were pulled and later editions avoided calling the buildings by any names at all.
    • Red Alert 3 takes this to its most logical conclusion, combining it with Weaponized Landmark; the last mission for the Allies has you destroying Leningrad's Sts Peter and Paul Cathedral, which turns into a massive shuttle launch facility. That's not even the silliest part - that would be Mount Rushmore's Eye Beams or the Moai Head Man Cannon. It also has the Soviets destroy the Statue of Liberty in their campaign only to build a statue of Lenin pointing ahead of him instead.

      The Empire of the Rising Sun destroys the Kremlin. All of it, in fact, not just St. Basil's Cathedral. Although you do get to stomp on the cathedral with the King Oni.
    • Emperor Yoshiro's desire to destroy significant landmarks is in fact a point of contention between he and his son, Tatsu. Yoshiro believes crushing hearts and minds is crucial to victory, while Tatsu doesn't see why they should bother when they can just pummel the Allies and Soviets into submission.
    • In Tiberium Wars, the Scrin mission in London has you destroy Big Ben and Parliament, precisely because they are significant to the humans.
  • Metal Gear Solid 2 was scripted to have Arsenal Gear relocate the Statue of Liberty as it crashed into New York. this was cut from the final game because of being Too Soon after 9/11. Its crash deposits you onto a different landmark (Federal Hall) for the final Boss Battle.
  • You can cause a lot of this in Destroy All Humans!, especially in the final level of the first game.
  • Subverted in World in Conflict. The first mission takes place in downtown Seattle, so you might expect the Space Needle to go down. Nope. Instead, the Soviets destroy the Kingdome, a landmark that is 1) only recognizable to actual Seattlites, and 2) was demolished in 2000, seven years before the game was released (though it was around in 1989, when the game takes place).
    • You can however destroy the Space Needle by accident if your airstrikes aren't on the mark. It doesn't cost you the mission or anything, and it can't be garrisoned, but it's still destructible.
    • Later on - the Soviets invade New York and seize, among other things, the Statue of Liberty. If you fail the mission, the Statue is destroyed by an American airstrike.
  • One of the main draws of Fallout 3 is running around the ruins of D.C. two hundred years after a nuclear war and seeing what's still around and what's been reduced to ruin. Interestingly, the Lincoln Memorial is one of the least damaged structures in the Capital Wasteland although Lincoln's head is missing. You can get a quest to help restore it, though. The Washington Monument has steel rebar support inside of it, which is something the real world monument does not have: in the Fallout 'verse buildings were given reinforcement in expectation of a war with China. Though a big chunk is out of its iconic rotunda, the US Capitol, the meeting place of both houses of Congress, is mostly intact. You can even enter the congressional chambers and walk inside the rotunda (which is now a battleground between Talon mercs and Super Mutants).
    • Played chillingly straight with the White House. It is not dilapidated and abandoned, it is not occupied by an evil overlord, it is just... gone. Apparently it was Ground Zero. Two hundred years after the Great War, there is still nothing but an incredibly lethally radioactive crater at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
    • Averted in Fallout: New Vegas, as not only has the strip (and Hoover Dam) survived the war, some of the casinos (due to the retro-futuristic styling of Fallout) are of styles that have long been demolished in the real-world Vegas.
  • In Twisted Metal 2, the third level, fittingly titled "Monumental Disaster," is set in Paris, and you can blow up the Eiffel Tower with a well-placed remote bomb on the upper level. Not only does this look cool, it opens up the rooftops for combat — the top half of the tower tips over and forms a bridge to one of the roofs, while pieces of debris land elsewhere. You can also go in the Louvre and torch the Mona Lisa and a number of other priceless paintings. Apparently, this was so popular that the developers remade the level for Twisted Metal: Head-On.
    • Throughout the series, this happens quite a bit. You can blow up the Statue of Liberty and Hollywood Sign in 2 as well.
  • During the introduction to War Of The Monsters, anti-UFO devices are seen being built at various landmarks. When they turn on, the UFOs crash, one of them crashing into the Eiffel Tower. The rest of the monuments remain virtually unharmed, though until alien radiation creates the titular monsters, who then rampage and destroy the landmarks anyway.
  • SimCity's UFO disasters. As the SC3K Unlimited manual states: "Aliens who have attacked SimNation seem strangely attracted to landmarks."
  • The FMV scene in Parasite Eve: Eve transformed into a giant blob form, traveled across Manhattan, and then appeared near the Statue of Liberty. Aya who's piloting a helicopter shot her with a missile taking out the blob and knocking down the statue.
  • Mass Effect 2 - In the Kasumi DLC, Donovan Hock, the man whose manor you're infiltrating, has a large collection of various ancient (or at least very old) artifacts. Including the Statue of Liberty's head. In Jack's backstory, she mentions how she committed "Vandalism" towards the Hanar by crashing a space station upon their favorite moon.
    • And in the debut trailer of Mass Effect 3 there are eight Reapers just annihilating London. Big Ben's already partially wrecked, and a Reaper is about to land on the London Eye.
    • Big Ben gets a few scratches, but it actually stays up throughout the entire Reaper invasion, as you find out when Shepard lands in London. It's only destroyed if you don't put enough work into the Crucible.
  • Tetrastar - The first seconds of gameplay show the Statue of Liberty being destroyed by aliens. Then the camera moves to the right to show the World Trade Center and the surrounding buildings. The player spends the rest of the stage trying to prevent the aliens from blowing up the city.
  • In the Post-Apocalypse era of Duke Nukem: Zero Hour, the Statue of Liberty is half-buried/submerged, a Stock Shout Out to Planet of the Apes.
  • Captain America's stage in Marvel Super Heroes is in front of a destroyed Statue of Liberty (who knows for what reason).
  • In Emogame 2, the second level has you blowing up the Mall of America.
  • In Star Control 2, as part of the Ur-Quan's subjugation and imprisonment of the Earth, they destroyed every human dwelling, monument and archaeological site that was more than 500 years old.
  • You don't directly see the damage, but Battlefield 3 has Paris getting nuked by a stolen Russian bomb, and since you and your squad were within reasonable distance of the Eiffel Tower, it's pretty easy to imagine what happened to it. Thankfully, you manage to avert the same thing from happening to Times Square by the end of the game.
  • In Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, the ruins of Shibuya's Scramble are one of the first places to be visited. A possible case might be the Diet Building, but it got dimensionally-distorted in a M.C. Escher way rather than fully demolished.
  • In the first mission of Starcraft II you are given the optional sidequest of destroying Mengsk's holo-statues. There's some logic to this too, the statues have built-in speakers projecting propaganda.
  • The fourth chapter of Sam And Max Season One, "Abraham Lincoln Must Die" takes things in a weird way. Agents seeking to replace the President animate the Abraham Lincoln statue of the Lincoln Memorial and when Max wins the election, it goes on the run. To destroy it, Sam and Max us the Washington Monument (in actuality, missiles) to destroy the statue. You can also direct one of the Washington Monuments to destroy Krypton, too!
  • P-Jack's stage background in Tekken 2 has a Big Ben look-alike half-buried in sand; a possible Planet of the Apes reference.
  • The campaign of Emergency! 2012 destroys or endangers the Cologne Cathedral, Tower Bridge, the Eiffel Tower, Brandenburg Gate, the Matterhorn, Red Square, the Kremlin, and the Acropolis of Athens.
  • In Jeff Wayne's War Of The Worlds, destroying the British houses of parliament is the Martian victory condition. The ending cutscene that follows culminates in a fighting machine shooting at the clocktower, which then crashes down on top of the camera.
  • One loading screen in Sword of the Stars shows the Eiffel Tower being destroyed by the Hiver invasion of Earth.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Futurama sends up the trope in the episode "When Aliens Attack", by having the alien invasion occur on Monument Beach, where a former supervillain governor of New York left his collection of stolen world monuments, complete with the White House being blown up by an alien saucer in a parody of Independence Day. The aliens then go on to destroy Fry's sandcastle with a tiny saucer to complete the parody.
    • Mocked again in "That Darn Katz"; when the Earth stops spinning, we see a shot of the Eiffel Tower... which snaps off and flies offscreen, only for Big Ben to land in its place. Then Big Ben is hit by a flying Statue of Liberty.
    • The Leaning Tower of Pisa gets this again, being rebuilt in Pisa after having been destroyed in Monument Beach. In "The Cryonic Woman", Fry and Bender joyride across the world with the Planet Express ship hitting the tower upright then knocked down completely with the Planet Express building being tethered behind the ship.
  • The third and fourth episodes of Exo Squad each had a montage showing the Neosapien invasion of Earth that featured Neo E-Frames blowing up a number of world-renowned structures, including the Golden Gate Bridge, the United States Capitol, the Taj Mahal, and the Sphinx.
  • In the Ruby-Spears Mega Man cartoon, Megaman jumped in front of the statue of Abraham Lincoln when Protoman turned his blaster on it.
  • In Megas XLR, Coop once filled in the Grand Canyon to defeat the Monster of the Week. Granted, it's not man-made, but it's recognizable enough to count. He destroyed the Hoover Dam in the same episode; it was faster than turning off the power (the monster fed on energy) like a sane person would.
  • In Inhumanoids, Metlar animates the Statue of Liberty when he's been dosed with a love potion and is looking for a date. Possibly justified, as there aren't that many Inhumanoid-sized female statues made of metal he could choose from. Also, in the opening Story Arc, one of the statues in Metlar's army resembles the Colossus of Rhodes.
  • As mentioned under Film, in the original The Transformers the episode "Atlantis Arise" centered on the Decepticons allying with the city of Sub-Atlantica to attack Washington, DC. The Decepticons damaged the Washington Monument to the point where it would have toppled had the Autobots not intervened, and Megatron himself strode into the Lincoln Memorial and ripped the Abraham Lincoln part of the statue off to claim its chair as his throne. Impossible (hence why the movie version shot the statue), but the symbolism is still effective.
  • In Ben 10 the Heads of Mt Rushmore get destroyed, twice and have to be replaced by holograms.
    • In Ben 10: Omniverse, after the Incurseans conquer Earth, Emperor Milleous has the Waybads replace Lincoln's head with his own, as well as the Statue Of Liberty's with his daughter Attea's.
  • An old Donald Duck cartoon has him and a mountain lion cause a landslide that fills up the Grand Canyon. The cartoon ends with a park ranger making the both of them fix it by digging up the whole canyon again.
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 will at least play with the trope. The trailer shows Mount Rushmore getting pies in three of its faces.
  • In the Book 2 finale of The Legend of Korra the giant version of Unalaq pulls down the statue of Aang that looks a lot like the Statue of Liberty.

    Other 
  • Operation Teufelseelöwe is an AH.Com thread lampshading many tropes. The Tower of London is destroyed by Panza tanks (prior to which the Ravens fly off with the Crown Jewels'. The Nazi attack on London also gets Tower Bridge:
    'The beautiful Tower Bridge, a marvel of turn-of-the-century engineering...
    Bold and daring, she is, the perfect statement of Old World meets New as she lay in the shadow of the Tower of London. With a landmark of this fame, this glory, this history, you know it's totally fucked in a TL like this.'

    Real Life 
  • During the War of 1812, the British burned Washington, DC. They explicitly targeted government buildings, including the Capitol and the White House, to make a statement.
    • The idea that the British intended to make a "statement" has been debunked as nationalist myth-making; in reality the Burning was simple revenge: government buildings were targeted because burning private residences would have been unsportsmanlike.
  • The Giant Buddhas of Bamyan (Afghanistan) were destroyed by the Taliban in March 2001.
  • The collapsed National Palace of Haiti (basically the Haitian White House) after the 2010 earthquake. To give you an idea, this is what it looked like before). They say that the President was lucky he wasn't there when the earthquake hit.
  • The fall of the World Trade Center in New York, U.S.A., on 9/11, as well as the attack on the Pentagon and the planned attack on either the White House or the Capitol building. These targets were chosen specifically because they were highly recognizable landmarks that served as symbols of American power. (This is a popular trope with terrorists in Real Life, as such landmarks are usually popular tourist destinations as well as having great sentimental value. Successfully blowing one sky-high is a very effective way to get people's attention.)
  • Averted in the case of the Abu Simbel temple complex in Egypt, which was disassembled and relocated in the 1960s to prevent it from being submerged following the construction of Aswan High Dam.
  • On Febuary 18th, 1965, 3 members of the Black Liberation Front (and one white French-Canadian women, a supporter of Quebec liberation from Canada), were arrested in New York for a terrorist conspiracy to destroy the Washington Monument, the Liberty Bell and the Statue of Liberty. The suspected mastermind of the attack was Che Guevera.
  • Warsaw suffered (and heavily) this trope after the failure of its uprising against the Nazis in World War II. In fact, in order to rebuilt its monuments a painting of the city dating from the XVIII century was used as a model.
  • In fact, the Nazis organized an entire series of air raids that targeted cities that were strategically unimportant but contained famous architecture. The raids were referred to as the the Baedeker Blitz, the Luftwaffe high command chose the targets from the Baedeker's Tourist Guide.
    • Baedeker Blitz was in retaliation to the British bombing of Luebeck, which was targeted not because of its military value, but because it was filled with historic wooden buildings dating from the Hanseatic period that were easier to destroy than more modern buildings common in other cities.
    • Speaking of the Nazis, another result of them starting WWII is that over half the historical buildings all over Germany will usually be replicas of the actual buildings that ended up destroyed in the war. Thank you very much, Nazis...
    • The French memorial park for WWII was also destroyed by Hitler, and the carriage in which the 1918 Armistice was signed was taken to Berlin. All that Hitler left standing was the statue of the French General Ferdinand Foch, who was left to look over the wasteland.
  • The August 2011 Virginia Earthquakes was felt as far north as New York and shook enough to cause damage to the Washington Monument.
  • Older Than Steam: The Turks used the Parthenon in Athens, Greece as an gunpowder magazine during the 1687 Morean War; the Venetians hit it with artillery fire and BOOM! The Turks knew the risk, because they'd accidentally blown up the Propylaea a few years earlier with stored ammunition, but they still used the Parthenon to store gunpowder and civilians. It isn't certain if the Venetians deliberately bombed the Parthenon or hit it by accident, but it was almost completely destroyed, killing over 300 people, and the Venetians proceeded to loot it and destroy even more.
  • Big Tex, one of the Dallas area's most noted landmarks, was destroyed by an electrical fire at the end of the 2012 Texas State Fair.
  • Out of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, only the Great Pyramid of Egypt is still with us. The others had all been destroyed by the year 1500:
    • The Hanging Gardens of Babylon may or may not have actually existed, but they're definitely gone now.
    • The Colossus of Rhodes was destroyed in an earthquake in 226 BC, after standing for only 54 years.
    • The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus was destroyed twice. First, it was burned to the ground by some idiot named Herostratus in 356 BC. The guy's self-proclaimed only goal was to be remembered by history forever and, since we're talking about him over 2,000 years later, it obviously worked. Nevertheless, the temple was rebuilt, only to be sacked by Goths (not that kind, geddit?) in 262 AD.
    • The fate of the Statue of Zeus at Olympia is unclear. It may have been destroyed in 426 AD when Byzantine emperor Theodosius II ordered its temple destroyed for being all pagan and everything. However, the statue itself may have earlier been carried off to Constantinople (present-day Istanbul) because Constantine the Great decided he wanted it. According to this theory, the statue was destroyed in 475, when much of the city was wrecked by a great fire.
    • The Lighthouse of Alexandria was damaged by a series of earthquakes between 956 and 1323. Finally, in about 1480, the Citadel of Qaitbay was built on the ruins.
    • The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus was also destroyed by a series of earthquakes. Bodrum Castle was built on the ruins in 1494.
  • The Bolsheviks destroyed Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Savior in order to make room for the Palace of the Soviets, a totally epic structure which would have been the tallest building in the world at the time. They got as far as digging the foundation, but World War II intervened and derailed the project. Construction wasn't resumed after the war and, eventually, they just filled in the foundation with water to create a giant swimming pool. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the cathedral was reconstructed and today exists as it did before communism. Incidentally, this is the cathedral where Pussy Riot staged their famous protest against Vladimir Putin.
  • Some monuments (like e.g. the Great Sphinx of Giza or the Colosseum in Rome) have been in a damaged state since so long ago, that said damage itself has become part of their iconic appearance.
  • The St Mark's Campanile in Venice completely collapsed in 1902. And before you are wondering now why then it can still be seen on present day photos (or when you are in Venice yourself) - well, it simply got rebuilt exactly as before.


Kung-ShuiBreaking And Destruction TropesPriceless Ming Vase
Midair BobbingSpectacleMonumental Damage Resistance
Molotov TruckExample as a ThesisMonumental Damage Resistance
Monumental BattleAction Adventure TropesMonumental Damage Resistance
AftermathImageSource/Live-Action TVAlf
Mistimed RevivalOlder Than SteamMoral Myopia
The New TensImageSource/Live-Action FilmsSauna of Death

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