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Monumental Damage

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"Give us McNeal or we will lay waste to your cities with our anti-monument laser."

So you're a marauding monster, invading alien force, overblown natural disaster, fanatical terrorist, 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, the Westminster Clock Tower ("Big Ben", that is), or in works made before 9/11, the World Trade Center (quite a lot of funny aneurysm moments were born out of the latter). Just killing people throughout the world won't cut it.


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. When characters deliberately aim for monuments for symbolic value, this overlaps with Smash the Symbol. Sometimes inverted: The monument —although battered— is the only thing left standing in the city After the End.

Compare Big Applesauce, Monumental Battle, Rushmore Refacement, The Tokyo Fireball, Tilting Tower of Pisa, and Washington D.C. Invasion. Tokyo Tower gets messed up so much it's also its own trope. See also Weaponized Landmark when the monument shoots back.

Not to be confused with Monumental Theft.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Averted in Digimon Adventure, when the very climactic 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 nor its massive metal ball is (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 Hellsing Ultimate Abridged the Major also orders this, but explicitly forbids destroying the Holocaust Museum as there will be no denying what they did.
      • Hans burnt down London Bridge while singing "London Bridge is Falling Down".
  • 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!
  • In the Mazinger series:
    • In the Mazinger Z vs Great General of Darkness feature film, the Mykene army struck Paris, London, New York, Moscow and Tokyo. During their attacks, the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, the Empire State Building, and the Tokyo Tower got wrecked.
    • In the Mazinkaiser movie, the first shot features Paris and the Eiffel Tower burning. The next scenes depict the main characters trying to fight the Mykene War Beasts in different locations. 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. Mount Fuji also takes damage from the final battle between Mazinkaiser and Ankoku Daishogun, first as collateral damage from Mazinkaiser's Rust Tornado, and again when Daishogun rams Mazinkaiser with his Airborne Aircraft Carrier. During the end credits of the movie, the heroes can be seen fixing it afterwards.
    • In the first appearance of Great General of Darkness in Shin Mazinger Zero, he split the Mount Fuji into two halves with a single stroke.
  • In Mobile Suit 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.
  • Space Carrier Blue Noah: 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.
  • In-universe example: Boruto: Naruto Next Generation Begins by showing The Hokage Mountain, the most easily recognizable landmark of Konoha Village, completely smashed alongside with the rest of the village.
  • Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou: In this Cosy Catastrophe, the top of Mount Fuji is no longer symmetrical. Like much else in the series, this goes unexplained.
  • I Am a Hero subverts this. Buildings are usually left standing possibly because the Infected are an attempt to wipe out humanity but not its infrastructure. La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona and Sunshine 60 in Tokyo aren't destroyed, but are transformed by Hives into a part of their structure.

    Card Games 

    Comic Books 
  • In general, superhero comics and other superhero-related media will often show their own fictional, yet still iconic, monuments being damaged instead of real ones. The Daily Planet, Wayne Tower, and Stark Tower are frequent victims, with the Daily Planet in particular having its giant globe knocked off practically every week.
  • 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 Sledge (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.
  • During the Inferno, the villains take over the Empire State building and turn it into their demonic Evil Tower of Ominousness.
  • The first visual of Earth's surface in Transformers: Regeneration One, 21 years after the end of the Marvel series, is of a destroyed Golden Gate Bridge lying on the bed of the vaporized strait. Several other cities are shown as destroyed as well, including Washington, D.C., where the Capitol Dome is visible among the ruins, and where Megatron once again has a throne, though this time it's not the chair from the Lincoln Memorial (instead being cobbled together from various buildings and structures).
  • The Juggernaut destroys the Twin Towers in the "Sabotage" storyline; oddly enough, they return within only a few issues, and the story is rarely spoken of today.
  • Downplayed in issue #23 of The Transformers. The Battlechargers Runabout and Runamuck are revealed to be plotting something against various United States landmarks, such as Mount Rushmore, Independence Hall, the Washington Monument, and especially the Statue of Liberty. What is their nefarious plan? To...vandalize them by spray-painting "humans are wimps!" on everything. The Battlechargers are a couple of numbskulls after all.
  • Judge Dredd:
    • In America, pro-democracy terrorists attempt to blow up the already degraded Statue of Liberty as a symbol of protest against the oppressive rule of the Judges.
    • During Day of Chaos, the Statue of Justice is destroyed in a missile attack. Done for both symbolic and practical reasons; as the building also functioned as a surveillance center, it crippled the eyes and ears of Justice Department.
  • Godzilla in Hell features an apocalyptic battle between Godzilla and Space Godzilla in Rio de Janeiro where "Christ the Redeemer" is one of the last things standing before it too ends up demolished and the Earth is blown up.
  • In the Green Arrow (Rebirth) storyline "Rise of Star City", the villains, discussing their plan to remould Seattle in their image, explain how every city has a heart, and if you cut that out you demoralise the populace. Cut to the Space Needle collapsing.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1942): Issue 32 seems to open with the Empire State Building being blown up by the alien invader Uvo, but the next page reveals it was a scale model built to test out invasion plans.
    • Wonder Woman (1987): Decay destroys the foundation of the Boston Massacre Monument and when Diana prevents the monument from landing on tourists Decay reduces the whole thing to dust. The comic's monument is a bit different from the real one, putting the Spirit of the Revolution at the top of the tapering column.
    • Wonder Woman (2006): The Washington Monument is destroyed in one of the tie in issues for Amazons Attack!.
  • Superman:
    • In one storyline, the Eradicator, in his "Krypton Man" persona, alters the Lincoln Memorial so that Honest Abe is instead standing and wearing Kryptonian robes.
    • Two for the Death of One: The nose of the Great Sphinx of Giza gets crushed into dirt during the final battle between Superman and Lord Satanis (time travel was involved).
    • In Strangers at the Heart's Core, Klax-Ar wants to begin his planet-wide destructive rampage by blowing the Statue of Liberty up, but his weaponized flying sled malfunctions before he can do so.
    • At the start of Superman vs. Shazam!, the Brooklyn Bridge gets shattered, and Captain Marvel and Mary Marvel must stop it from crumbling down. Later, Karmang's visions include a tsunami sweeping over the Big Ben and a lightning storm battering Saint Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.
  • Recurring in Über
    • During the retreat from Paris, the Allies are forced to destroy many landmarks to keep the Nazis from using them as vantage points; the Eiffel Tower is shown exploding.
    • During the invasion of London, Sieglinde decapitates Nelson's Column and places Churchhill's head on top.
    • The cover of the first issue of Invasion shows the Statue of Liberty with its face partially melted off. In the comic proper, Siegfried begins the invasion by reshaping the White House into an enormous swastika.
    • A later issue of Invasion shows the Statue of Liberty's head reshaped into a swastika as well.

    Fan Works 
  • An attacker in Heroes of the Desk: Repercussions does a threefer by smashing up the London Bridge, Big Ben, and the Eiffel Tower.
  • 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."
  • In The Moment It Began, Voldemort and the Death Eaters destroy the Palace of Westminster.
  • 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.
  • Code Prime: At the beginning of R2 — Revolution, the Autobots and Black Knights blow up Mt. Fuji to deny the Decepticons access to its massive Energon deposits. Notably, the Japanese Black Knights do so despite how sacred Mt. Fuji is to them, as it's been defiled beyond recognition by the 'Cons.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Asterix 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.
  • Played for laughs in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, as giant food items start falling on various national monuments in an ironic fashion - a sandwich skewered on the Eiffel Tower, fortune cookies on the Great Wall that predict what will hit it next, pies hitting Mount Rushmore, and so on. The newscaster even lampshades it by explicitly saying that the food storm is hitting monuments first. Naturally, only Lincoln's gets hit in the back of the head.
  • Downplayed in Despicable Me 3, not only does the 'Hollywood' Sign only get partially destroyed (and not Roland Emmerich like) by Bratt's robot, the Capitol Records Building (named the World Records Building), while it does collapse, we only get to briefly see the top part of it fall onto the ground. As for the rest of Hollywood? It's sadly offscreen.
  • The title character of Hercules also breaks the Venus de Milo's arms while skipping stones. Megera claims it looks better that way.note 
  • The Prince of Egypt: During their chariot race at the start of the film, Ramses and Moses drive into a construction area at one of the main temple complexes in Memphis, causing some damage (including inadvertently breaking off the nose of a colossus of Ramses' father, Seti).
  • Played with in Home. We see several Earth monuments, but many aren't really damaged, just floating in air. The ones with faces have been modified to look like Captain Smek. In the end, the Boov fix it.
  • The Golden Gate Bridge comes tumbling down in Monsters vs. Aliens.
  • Taken Up to Eleven in Tom and Jerry: The Fast and the Furry. The title characters are given jet planes so they can race around the world "in 5 minutes". The monuments destroyed (and how) in order of appearance, are:
    • The island of Borneo (set on fire)
    • Taj Mahal (largest onion dome turns upside down, spins like a top, and bumps into the other parts of the building)
    • Mt. Everest (jets rammed through. Reduced to rubble except for the peak, which falls to the ground)
    • Great Wall of China (jets rammed through, reduced to rubble)
    • St. Basil's Cathedral (treated like a pinball machine until it collapses)
    • Leaning Tower of Pisa (straightened, received with applause. No damage occurs)
    • Coliseum (jets rammed through, reduced to rubble)
    • A castle (transformed into a trailer park)
    • Eiffel Tower (uprooted, bent into a pretzel shape)
    • Big Ben (one clock face ripped off, revealing a cuckoo bird)
    • Stonehenge (reduced to rubble without the jets touching it)
    • Loch Ness (water removed, revealing the famous monster)
    • Statue of Liberty (cloak removed, revealing a bikini. She promptly changes her pose)
    • Grand Canyon (both sides make contact, shutting the canyon, now just flat desert)
  • The Sphinx's nose is destroyed in the animated film Aladdin as well as Asterix and Cleopatra.
  • In Wonder Woman (2009), the Memorials, the Capitol, and the White House. While there was a battle in front of The Vietnam War Memorial, it was spared.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Ah Boys to Men, several prominent Singaporean landmarks such as the Merlion Statue and the Esplanade get obliterated by missile fire during the Action Prologue. A comedic instance happens to the Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort, where an explosion sends a slot machine spinning towards the camera in slow-motion. Displaying a full 7 row. Jackpot!
  • Earth vs. the Flying Saucers. Some of the earliest (1956) examples of this are the Washington Monument being knocked down after an out-of-control flying saucer rams into it near its base, the front of the Supreme Court building being damaged by flying saucer beams, and another saucer ramming into and destroying the Capitol Dome. All of these were nice pieces 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).
    • Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers provides probably the most iconic instance of this trope from Harryhausen's filmography, but not the first: The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms climaxes with the monster destroying the Coney Island amusement park, and It Came from Beneath the Sea's Signature Scene shows the Golden Gate Bridge being pulled into the water by a gigantic octopus.
  • 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, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Time Warner Center get destroyed over the course of the film. The monster is also seen on top of Grand Central Station but the cast don't hang around long enough to find out how much damage it takes.
  • 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 Flatiron Building is also accidentally blown up after Godzilla ducks out of the way of some missiles, the Brooklyn Bridge and Madison Square Garden are destroyed deliberately, and the MetLife Building is seen with an impossibly huge hole through it.
    • 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.
    • Outright lampshaded in Independence Day: Resurgence when David Levinson watches Dubai's Burj Khalifa getting dropped on top of London's Tower Bridge. "They like to get the landmarks." Subverted when the giant spacecraft slides to a halt just before hitting the rebuilt White House. The Eiffel Tower also surprisingly survived Paris being laid to waste.
    • Played straight and downplayed in White House Down. The Capitol Building is mostly destroyed, while the White House is mostly still standing, though rather worse for wear.
  • This trope naturally crops up here and there throughout the Godzilla films.
    • 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.
    • The Diet Building has a gigantic cocoon spun all over and around it in Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth.
    • 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. Earlier on, Anguirus destroys the (then three-year-old) Pearl Oriental Tower while rampaging across Shanghai.
    • The Golden Gate Bridge and (in a tongue-in-cheek version of this trope) the replica Statue of Liberty and Eiffel Tower in Las Vegas are among the landmarks that get torn apart in Godzilla (2014). Waikiki, with 90% of the hotels on Oahu, gets flooded. Many notable San Francisco buildings are trashed.
    • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) has King Ghidorah starting a massive storm above Washington DC, and a climactic battle that destroys Fenway Park and most of Boston.
  • In The Core, the collapse of Earth's magnetic field targets the Colosseum 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 Arc 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.)
  • Subverted in Live Free or Die Hard, The terrorists transmit an image of the U.S. Capitol building being blown up but when the FBI agent in charge runs out to see for himself it turns out to have been faked and the real building was undamaged.
  • 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 a speedometer on the floor counter). The whole scene was done with startling accuracy and the Stratosphere signed off on its name/identity being used all over the darn thing, giving it that too soon quality.
  • Planet of the Apes (1968). 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.
  • G.I. Joe: The Rise of 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.
  • Star Trek:
    • Averted (barely) in the Star Trek (2009) 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.)
    • In Star Trek Into Darkness, the Dreadnought-class Starship Vengeance crash-lands into San Francisco, crushing Alcatraz Island and reducing the prison to rubble, and giving the Transamerica Pyramid a very close call. The Golden Gate Bridge is spared again, though.
  • 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".
  • Transformers Film Series:
    • In the first Transformers movie, Starscream 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.
    • Transformers: Dark of the Moon 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. (or at least their stand-ins, given Gotham City isn't exactly New York City) His explosions also destroy the local stadium, though it's based on Pittsburgh's Heinz Field.
  • X-Men Film Series
    • X-Men 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.
    • 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.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past:

      Taken Up to Eleven. Magneto uses one national monument as a weapon against another in the climax. Specifically, he picks up RFK Stadium, levitates it across DC, and drops it in a circle around the White House. Later in the fight, he pulls a panic room out from under the White House through the walls and floors to get at the people inside it.

      In 2023 Moscow, the Kremlin and other Red Square monuments are in shambles (although scaffolding indicates someone is at least trying to repair it).
    • In X-Men: Apocalypse, Apocalypse brings Magneto to Auschwitz knowing the painful memories will strengthen his magnetic powers, and he proceeds to fully destroy the abandoned concentration camp. Once this "using Earth's magnetism for massive damage" is used in a global scale, the bridges of New York and the Sydney Opera House are wrecked.
  • Superman.
  • 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 Ghostbusters II. 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. Though 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.
  • Subverted to the point of parody in Pacific Rim. Aside from the Golden Gate Bridge getting destroyed by the first Kaiju attack, no other famous landmark is directly attacked by the monsters. In fact, in the Sydney attack, Mutavore walks near the Sydney Opera house but she completely ignores it, instead choosing to attack the city itself.
  • The Old Bailey and Parliament get blown up by the end of 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 Hellboy (2019), during Nimue's siege of London in the climax, one of her demons completely wrecks London Bridge. "London Bridge is falling down", indeed.
  • In Gorgo, the Tower Bridge and Big Ben get demolished during the rampage through London.
  • In Sharknado 2: The Second One, The Statue of Liberty lost her head and nearly killed the protagonists.
  • In Edge of Tomorrow, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and other Paris landmarks have been seriously damaged by the aliens.
  • Low-budget example: In the Asylum film Rise of the Zombies, an SUV full of refugees crashes while zigzagging its way down San Francisco's Lombard Street, barrel-rolling over its ornamental flowerbeds. Alcatraz later becomes a refuge for survivors and gets pretty well trashed over the course of the movie.
  • Played as a Historical In-Joke in The Rocketeer. The villain is sent crashing into the Hollywoodland sign, destroying the "LAND".
  • Flodder: At the end of the second movie, Mother Flodder accidentally ignites a water tank that Son Kees had been filling with stolen gasoline, causing it to fly into the Statue of Liberty and destroy the head.
  • In Pixels, both Taj Mahal and Washington Monument are pixelated.
  • A Curious Conjunction of Coincidences ends with the destruction of the city center of Amsterdam, including most notably landmarks like The Royal Palace and the World War II monument.
  • In The Purge: Election Year, the Lincoln Memorial is ransacked, with dead and burning bodies on the steps. The word "PURGE" is either spray-painted or written in blood across the columns.
  • DC Extended Universe.
    • After the events of Man of Steel a War Memorial for the Battle of Metropolis is erected and gets destroyed over the course of the next two movies.
    • In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the United States Capitol Building is destroyed when Lex Luthor blows it up both to kill Senator Finch, a Senator who stood against him, and to break Superman, who's inside the building but doesn't see the bomb before it explodes, killing everyone in the room except him. Unlike most examples of this trope, the destruction is treated as a serious tragedy, with shots of the injured being treated and the dead being carried out, and being unable to prevent the destruction sending Clark into a Heroic BSoD.
    • A twofer in SHAZAM! (2019): the statue of William Penn atop Philadelphia City Hall is smashed in the climactic battle, and the statue's head falls onto the "LOVE" sculpture in John F Kennedy Plaza.
  • Happens accidentally in National Lampoon's European Vacation. The Griswolds visit Stonehenge just before they leave England and Clark knocks down the thing after backing into one of the stones with their rental car. Ironically, he'd just given a speech about how the landmark would endure much longer after they left. At the end of the film, Clark accidentally ends up in the cockpit of the plane taking them home and causes the pilot to hit the Statue of Liberty's torch, knocking it over.
  • In Olympus Has Fallen, a plane piloted by North Korean paramilitary clips the top of the Washington Monument, causing a large chunk of masonry to fall.
  • Big Ass Spider!: While it's not a world-famous landmark, of course the giant rampaging alien-hybrid spider chooses the Los Angeles City Hall as the location for its nest.
  • Deep Impact has the World Trade Center be among the buildings destroyed by the titular impact of the comet.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog (2020), while Robotnik pursues Sonic through ring-induced portals, he shoots the Sphinx of Giza.
  • Ultraman Zearth has the gold-feeding kaiju, Cotton-pope, who gains power by absorbing gold. Not content with draining resources from the earth's core, Cotton-pope made itself known to humans by sucking all the gold off the Kinkaku-ji Temple turning it into grey rust.


By Author:

  • 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.

By Work:

  • 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 Theatre. 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.
  • James Lovegrove's The Age of Zeus features a whole series of these to punish the protagonists for their acts of insurrection. Zeus himself destroys the Sydney Opera House with a series of lightning bolts, Poseidon sweeps away the Golden Gate Bridge with a tidal wave, Hades (who has a death touch) and Dionysus (who can induce madness) team up to massacre the crowd in front of St. Peter's Basilica, Ares and Heracles smash the faces on Mt. Rushmore, and Hephaestus crumples the Eiffel Tower into a ball.
  • The second novel in The Bartimaeus Trilogy features a hilarious fight scene inside the British Museum where Bartimaeus, not knowing its significance, uses the Rosetta Stone as a projectile weapon. Hilarity Ensues. In the third novel, Nelson's Column gets sliced in half by Nathaniel trying out the Staff.
  • 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). The Evil Plan involves terrorists (actually a False Flag Operation) using a decommissioned battleship to shell Washington D.C. It becomes a Discussed Trope during the attack when it's pointed out that a car bomb that killed a few innocents would quickly be forgotten, but a warship raining down fire on the nation's capital causing Monumental Damage would long be remembered.
  • Doctor Who Expanded Universe:
    • Doctor Who New Adventures novels:
      • Canterbury Cathedral is destroyed in Warlock.
      • In No Future, terrorists (in an alternate timeline) bomb Big Ben.
    • The novelization of "Rose" has the London Eye collapse when the Nestene Consciousness' lair beneath it is destroyed. (Only the novelization, mind.)
  • The Dresden Files:
    • Changes: Harry and his friends wreck part of Chichén Itzá 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.
  • 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.
  • Jesus destroyed the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem at His Second Coming in the Left Behind book Glorious Appearing.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Dark near-future thriller Victoria sees many iconic American monuments smashed as the nation descends into depression, disorder and civil war. Washington itself is ravaged by looters and rioters when the Federal Government evacuates to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and the halls of government are ruined and defaced much like those of Detroit in real life. Protagonist John Rumford comments bitterly:
    In the former District of Columbia, the Capitol and the White House were vandalized, partly burned and finally taken over by bums and crack-heads as places to squat. Having ruined the nation, they became ruins themselves.
  • Warhammer 40,000: 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.
  • Campione!'s protagonist Godou will accidentally destroy in the process of fighting any monument that is introduced in the story. So much that you could probably make a Drinking Game out of it.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Aftermath: Population Zero: Famous monuments such as the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty begin to degrade from unaddressed rust decay and erosion after about a century. The Eiffel Tower eventually disappears in a new swamp that appears in the former Paris metropolitan area. The Statue of Liberty falls apart and its pedestal is ground down by the expanding Ice Age glacier in North America.
  • 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!!"
  • 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.
  • Designated Survivor: The U.S. Capitol Building is blown up in a terrorist attack during a State of the Union address, which decapitates the whole government so severely that the 11th person in the line of succession (the character of the title) is sworn in as President.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "The Dalek Invasion of Earth": Nelson's Column gets some "Dalek graffiti" on itnote . Elsewhere, landmarks such as Battersea Power Station had fallen to Dalek bombardment (the extent of the damage is much clearer in the Special Edition DVD).
    • "Aliens of London"/"World War Three" 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.
      The Doctor: Just too perfect. I mean, hitting Big Ben, come on.
    • "In the Forest of the Night": The sudden worldwide forest causes Nelson's Column to fall, nearly hitting the Doctor and Clara.
  • 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 For the People Pilot, Sandra is assigned to defend a young man accused of trying to blow up the Statue of Liberty.
  • 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.
  • Full Frontal. A spoof of Independence Day has a group of Australians having a barbeque and watching with mild annoyance while the aliens are "destroying our national monuments". Cue a Flying Saucer blowing up the Big Pineapple and showering them with pineapple slices.
  • 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.
  • The Handmaid's Tale: When June visits Washington D.C. with Serena and Fred, she sees now that the whole Washington Monument is no more, replaced by a huge cross. The statue at the Lincoln Memorial has been half destroyed and left that way.
  • 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 Man in the High Castle: In season 3, the Nazis initiate a plan to tear down former American monuments, such as Mount Rushmore and the Statue of Liberty, and replacing them with ones exalting National Socialist ideology. They succeed in blowing up the Statue of Liberty in a pompous ceremony.
  • The Outer Limits (1995):
    • In "Inconstant Moon", Professor Stan Hurst imagines New York City, with the Statue of Liberty and the World Trade Center in full view, being destroyed as a result of The Sun going nova.
    • In "Dead Man's Switch", Washington, D.C. is in ruins after the alien attack. The White House, the Capitol Building, and especially the Washington Monument are severely damaged.
    • In "Final Appeal", Ezekiel's cold fusion device detonates in the Supreme Court Building and the blastwave destroys the Capitol Building and the Washington Monument within seconds. Assuming Ezekiel was telling the truth about its blast radius, half of the Eastern Seaboard is devastated by his device.
  • In Smallville, "Salvation", Zod and his minions burn the crest of Zod onto the Great Wall of China, Temple of Athena, a pyramid, and the Washington Monument.
  • 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 Strain: In the closing scenes of the Season 3 finale, the Master's stolen nuclear bomb is detonated on Liberty Island, destroying the Statue of Liberty.
  • One episode of Ultraman had Osaka Castle get completely plowed down by the Monster of the Week Gomora.
    • in a later season, Return of Ultraman, Ultraman Jack has to battle the beetle kaiju Nokogilin in Tokyo. During battle Jack dodges Nokogilin's antenna-ray, which ends up hitting the Tokyo Tower and bending into half.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • According to the "Would the Avengers be Better off Without the Hulk?" episode of Plumbing the Death Star, the Hulk's absence from The Avengers (2012) would force Thor to handle the nuke at the end of the movie. While he'd stop it from destroying New York, he'd probably try to return it to its owners - at the Pentagon. Needless to say, Washington D.C. would not have fared too well.

    Theme Parks 

    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 didn't have enough space 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.
  • Call of Duty:
    • Call of Duty: World at War: Inn the final American mission you get to call in an airstrike on Shuri Castle, and in the last Russian mission, you lay siege on the Reichstag.
    • Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare: During the helicopter rail shooter sequence at the beginning of "Shock and Awe", you can topple a statue of Al-Asad.
    • Call of Duty: 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. Half of the Capitol's dome has been destroyed as well, but it too is still standing.
      • Also in Modern Warfare 2, in a desperate attempt to give the American forces a fighting chance, a nuke is launched and detonated in the vicinity of the International Space Station to trigger a massive EMP over the fighting, which kills everyone up there. Thanks, Captain Price.
    • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3:
      • The first mission in Modern Warfare 3 features a firefight on the Wall Street trading floor.
      • 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. These examples pretty much overlap with Scenery Gorn, given how much detail is given to the destruction.
      • The church in "Blood Brothers" seems to be a stand-in for the St. Nicholas church in Prague, but it's not an actual recreation. It still gets blown up, with you inside.
      • The Siberian diamond mine from "Down the Rabbit Hole" does exist in real life, but it isn't a monument. It too collapses, on top of Team Metal and the remaining Ultranationalist forces.
    • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare sees part of San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge torn asunder by explosive drones taking out the cables of the bridge.
    • Call of Duty: Black Ops III: In a post-apocalyptic Singapore, several Supertrees in Gardens by the Bay gets obliterated by drone missiles and later on, the entire Singapore Flyer Ferris Wheel gets toppled; all in the 54 Immortals attempts to kill the player(s) and his/her team.
  • Command & Conquer series.
    • If you won the original Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn as 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.).
    • Command & Conquer: 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 airstrike levelling the Parthenon. This highly upsets General Stavros, who vows revenge on Stalin.
    • In Command & Conquer: 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.
    • Command & Conquer: 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 him 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 Command & Conquer: 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: Sons of Liberty 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 close to the September 11th atacks. 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 Seattleites, 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. Justified in both cases; Mr. House's defense systems, while imperfect, still managed to shoot down most of the incoming nuclear warheads, thus keeping it mostly intact, while Hoover Dam is nearly six million tons of concrete and would be fine even with a direct hit.
      • Parodied in the DLC Lonesome Road. If you have the Wild Wasteland trait (which activates the game's Silliness Switch) and launch a nuke at both the NCR and the Legion, you are treated to an ending slideshow that parodies Planet of the Apes. In place of the Statue of Liberty is the NCR's Ranger Statues near Mojave Outpost. The narrator, Ulysses, is a Cold Ham here as he speaks in the same dry monotone voice despite his words dripping with ridiculous drama.
  • 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, until alien radiation creates the titular kaiju, 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 (1968).
  • 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 II, 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. This included several sites that humanity weren't even aware were important to their history (a stretch of the Atlantic Ocean floor, some of the Amazon Basin, and Antarctica).
  • 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.
    • This is pretty much a staple in the ''Shin Megami Tensei" series as you can find recognizable Japanese landmarks such as Tokyo Tower.
  • 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 use 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 (1968) 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.
  • One of the trailers for Wolfenstein: The New Order shows the Nazis dynamiting Mr. Rushmore after America's surrender.
  • Most of The Wonderful 101 is you protecting several Lady Liberty lookalike statues from invading alien force. It's actually justified in this case, as the statues have reactors in them powering a forcefield around Earth that's holding the aliens off.
  • Each of Octogeddon's titular cephalopod's rampages culminates with the destruction of an incredibly famous landmark, like the Eiffel Tower or the Statue of the Liberty. The final one, the White House, turns out to be a war machine called Mech Force One.
  • Invoked in The Omega Stone, in which you have to blow up a moai on Easter Island to access a hidden lava-tunnel network. Blatant vandalism, but excusable considering how the alternative is letting a comet collide with the Earth.
  • Spider-Man 2: Mysterio's ersatz alien invasion features his equally-false defacement of the Statue of Liberty.
  • The first boss fight in Super Godzilla is against King Ghidorah, who makes his entrance by destroying Osaka Castle.
  • The teaser trailer for Splatoon 3 showcases a broken and upside-down Eiffel Tower, situated in a desolate desert.
  • It appears that in the upcoming indie game Kaichu, meeting up to destroy a famous landmark is kaijus' idea of a date.


    Web Original 
    • Operation Teufelseelöwe is a 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.
    • The Anglo/American – Nazi War , another thread from, has a particularly tragic example of this. After a number of key victories for the Allies signals the defeat of the Reich, the increasingly insane Nazi leadership adopt Order 571, a policy of systematic destruction across Western Europe, to basically deprive future generations of the European untermensch of centuries of European cultural heritage, and to spite the winners. Several irreplaceable monuments and works of art, including the Eiffel Tower, the Notre Dame, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, and the Lourdes Grotto, are not only reduced to rubble but the destructions are filmed and broadcast to Britain.
    • Another one, For All Time, has the Nazis launch an air raid on New York City. Most of their Ju-390's don't manage to get past the anti-air guns, but one manages to start a fire that damages much of Harlem and another crashes into the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty and the impact detonates its onboard stockpile of bombs, toppling the statue into the fire. It's rebuilt after the war.
    • In A Giant Sucking Sound, members of the Armed Islamic Group of Algeria hijack a plane and crash it into the Eiffel Tower in December 1994, causing it to collapse and kill 1,157 people. This event triggers a European War On Terror.
  • The Statue of Liberty is Cracked's #1 Iconic Building That Was Barely Saved from Destruction because "when Lady Liberty gets destroyed, it means the apocalypse is here".
  • In one of the Cheat Commandos shorts on Homestar Runner, the villainous Blue Laser plot to blow up the ocean.
    Crackotage: Those loonies are gonna blow up the ocean!
    Blue Laser Commander: We'll blow up the ocean!
  • The Monument Mythos:
    • The Cairo Tower is entirely destroyed after a run-in with a crab-like creature awakened in the Suez Canal, which carried the Evergiven freighter ship on its back right until it tripped on the tower and dumped the ship's contents into it by accident; the events killed well over a thousand people.
    • Mount Rushmore is afflicted by some manner of infection thanks to the ADA. The nature of it is unknown, but whatever it does seems to cause the whole mountain to grow bizarre stains, let the presidents' visages slowly seep into the Uncanny Valley, and sprout dozens of enormous spikes of unknown material, origin or nature by the end of the week. It's unknown, however, if this is actual damage to the monument or simply unmasking its (unknown) nature.
    • The Statue of Liberty remained unharmed for quite a while, despite its base housing some kind of corpse-eating monstrosity". At some point in time, however, it seems to have just disappeared, pedestal and all; as of 2003, the Statue of Liberty is just entirely gone.
    • Attempted with the Statue of Freedom standing atop the Capitol Building during a massive ADA riot; the rioters succeeded in shooting it off the dome. Unfortunately for them, however, the monument fought back in spades, with about 150 deaths to follow.

    Western Animation 
  • Futurama:
    • There's a send-up of 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. The aliens even refer to their weapon as an "anti-monument laser".
    • 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 fourth episode of the Ruby-Spears Mega Man cartoon, Mega Man jumped in front of the statue of Abraham Lincoln in Washington DC when Proto Man turned his Proto Buster on it-
    Mega Man: Missed me again, number one son!
    Proto Man: But I won't miss this time! [Turns toward the Lincoln statue and begins charging up a shot]
    Mega Man: Oh no, HE'S GONNA BLAST PRESIDENT LINCOLN! [Jumps in front of Proto Man's shot to protect the statue as he fires.]
    Proto Man: HA! I knew you'd risk yourself for Mr. Lincoln!
  • 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 the finale of the five-part episode of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero where Serpentor was born, the eponymous villain leads an attack on Washington DC, and while he doesn't damage the Lincoln Memorial, he is enough of an egotist to use it as a throne until the heroes arrive to kick him out. (As even many members of Cobra said but only Cobra Commander would say out loud, the rather spontaneous and reckless assault was the first sign that Serpentor would be no better than the guy he replaced.)
  • 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.
  • The Donald Duck cartoon "Grand Canyonscope" has Donald and a mountain lion cause a landslide that fills up the Grand Canyon. The cartoon ends with Ranger Woodlore making the both of them fix it by digging up the whole canyon again.
  • 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.
  • Played for Laughs in the MGM cartoon "Little Johnny Jet". As the protagonist and his son (both anthropomorphic airplanes) rocket around the world at high speed, some famous monuments get the Trope equivalent of Amusing Injuries; the Sphinx is given a crew cut, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is tilted the other way, the Eiffel Tower barely avoids a collision by lifting its "legs", and rushing past the Statue of Liberty results in a Panty Shot as her dress is blown to the side. (Seriously.)
  • Tends to be played for laughs in Metalocalypse:
    • The Louvre was burned to the ground as a birthday present for Murderface after he declared all the art in it stank.
    • Mount Rushmore was defaced by fans in protest of Dethklok's delaying their album.
    • The Sphinx ends up beheaded after a performance in Egypt, when cats started going berserk and jumped on the button that turned up the bass, the vibrations causing the Sphinx to break apart. It's seen being repaired at the end of the episode, only for the sarcophagus containing Toki's dead cat to fall on it, crushing it.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: Since Ladybug's restoration power allows her to repair any damage done fighting the villain, monuments get destroyed on a semi-regular basis.
    • The Eiffel Tower is damaged in some episodes, notably in "The Mime" and "Gigantitan", where the whole tower is cut down and toppled. Fortunately, they use Ladybug's power to return everything to normal.
    • In "Anansi", Ladybug tricks the titular villain into destroying the Arc de Triomphe and causing it to fall on her. As usual, the damage is repaired by the end of the episode.
    • In "Startrain", Ladybug has the newly empowered Pegasus teleport an entire train back to Earth after defeating the villain that had turned it into a spaceship. However, his aim is off and he crashes it through Elizabeth Tower in London. Again, Ladybug magics that damage away.
    • Played as a Running Gag in "Optigami", when they repeatedly rely on Kaalki to transport them around. Each time, monuments, buildings and vehicles end up in the strangest places (deserts, the ocean, a volcano, the moon...). None of these things were even nearby; Kaalki's Power Incontinence is just that bad.
  • One episode of the Baby Huey Show has the fox try to kill Huey with a nuke. Cue a rip off the Liberty Statue scene.
  • On The Fairly OddParents, when Timmy accidentally frees all the anti-fairies, their bad luck spree destroys several monuments, like the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty.
  • Rick and Morty: During Rick and Morty's Thanksploitation Spectacular, Morty mishandling a laser while helping Rick steal the Constitution ends up destroying it, the Lincoln Memorial, the Liberty Bell and the Statue of Liberty (as well as unleashing a gigantic, steam powered robot assassin hidden inside the last as a Trojan Horse by the French). Later in the episode, the Washington Monument gets converted into a weapon to turn all of America's turkeys into super-soldiers and Morty ends up destroying it and the Lunar Flag Assembley.

    Real Life 
  • Out of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, only the Great Pyramid of Egypt is still with us, and even then most of its outer limestone has been looted or eroded. 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) 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 Library of Alexandria, one of the largest collections of written knowledge in the Classical Mediterranean, was accidentally burnt down during Julius Caesar's invasion of Egypt. The Romans rebuilt it, but it was burnt down again during the Third Century Crises.
  • The Great Sphinx of Giza is missing a few of its original features, most notably its nose. Although some apocryphal stories attribute the loss to acts of vandalism by Napoleon's army, they are false, as artistic depictions of the monument dating to the mid-18th Century also show it without the nose. One of the more likely theories pins the blame on Muhammad Sa'im al-Dahr, a Sufi Muslim from the 13th Century who defaced the Sphinx's face in order to discourage its use as a pagan idol. And, according to some local legends that persisted after the ignoble deed, there was a noticeable increase in the amount of sand around the Giza Plateau after the Sphinx's nose was removed, presumably as a vengeful curse to punish al-Dahr.
  • The Turks used the Parthenon in Athens, Greece as a 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. The Ottomans believed that the Venetians wouldn't attack the Parthenon. The roof of the Parthenon and supporting structures collapsed and 300 Turkish civilians died and the ruins were looted by the Venetians.
  • During the War of 1812, the British burned Washington, DC. They explicitly targeted government buildings, including the Capitol and the White House. Urban legends state that the British generals sat down in the Capitol and voted on whether they should burn the place down.
  • During the Greek War of Independence, Lord Elgin claimed that he obtained permission from Turkey to take several vital statues and relics from the Parthenon to England. He also used the fighting between Greece and Turkey during the Greek War of Independence as justification, claiming that he was protecting the relics from wartime damage. Many critics disagreed, including Lord Byron (who fought and later died in the Greek War of Independence) who felt that Elgin was a mere looter. The incident remains contentious in the 21st Century where the likes of Stephen Fry, George Clooney, and Matt Damon arguing that the marble structures be returned to Greece.
  • In the Second Opium War, when a British delegation and escort was sent to the Emperor under truce to negotiate a surrender, they were captured, imprisoned, and tortured, and twenty of them killed. In retaliation, Lord Elgin (son of the Lord Elgin who took possession of the marble pieces from Greece) ordered the destruction of the Old Summer Palace (where looting had already begun before the incident), held to be one of the oldest and most beautiful examples of Ancient Chinese architecture. It took 3500 British and French soldiers three days to set fire to the complex, much larger than Vatican City and remains a contentious issue to this day.
  • 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.
  • The Bolsheviks destroyed Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Savior in 1931 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.
  • World War II, the most destructive and extensive war in all of human history, has no shortage of examples of Monumental Damage, whether accidental or deliberate.
    • Hitler had a bone to pick and didn't hesitate to lord over the French for World War I after France's surrender in 1940. The French memorial park for WWI was destroyed on Hitler's orders, 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. A repeat of the trope on a much wider scale against many cultural sites in the city was averted in 1944 as the Allies closed in on Paris; General Dietrich von Choltitz was ordered by Hitler to destroy the city as he retreated, but the order was never carried out. There is debate about why this did not happen — Von Choltitz claimed he refused due to his love of the city as well as its pointlessness from a military perspective; others, remembering his prior atrocities, have found the prior point unconvincing. Still, others believe the Germans weren't capable of that level of destruction by that point in the war, but many museums, bridges, etc. were found to have been wired with explosives.
    • The British bombing of Lübeck, 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, and the Nazi retaliation in the form of the Baedeker Blitz against Exeter, Bath, Canterbury, Norwich, and York, none were strategically important but all held many famous architectural buildings which were specifically targeted because of them. The latter was called the Baedeker Blitz after a comment from the German Foreign Office made a quip that the Luftwaffe would specifically target all the buildings in Britain given three stars by the Baedeker tourist guide.
    • Warsaw suffered heavily from this trope after the failure of its uprising against the Nazis in World War II. In fact, in order to rebuilt its monuments landscapes of the city dating from the 18th century needed to be used as a model.
    • Close on Warsaw's heels in terms of wartime destruction, among Allied cities at least, is Manila, capital of the Philippines, which itself was subjected to a monumental (pun intended) case of this during World War II when extreme American shelling and ferocious Japanese house-to-house fighting practically levelled the old, Spanish/American colonial metropolis. Within the walls of Intramuros (its Citadel City core) alone, almost all of the grand old colonial-era churches and government buildings were mostly, if not completely, obliterated; only the San Agustin cathedral survived it mostly intact. The comparisons to Warsaw among destroyed Allied cities are well-known and often-shared. Unlike with Warsaw, though, Manila's record of restoring prewar architecture is … largely hit-and-miss.
      • In all fairness, however, this isn't entirely new to Manila (or many other Philippine cities for that matter); they and the entire archipelago they're on lie smack along the Pacific Ring of Fire, which means periodic volcanic eruptions and earthquakes galore. Many of those same, iconic Manila churches and public buildings, even before WWII, already have a prior record of cyclical destruction and rebuilding. (As recently as 1863 and 1880 there were major earthquakes, already with photographic evidence, that laid low belfries and even caused the total redesign of some churches.)
      • Going further back to early Spanish rule, the frequent and destructive earthquakes forced revisions to colonial building codes and led to the development of the unique, hybrid bahay na bato style, consisting usually of a stone ground floor and wooden upper floors. (Bahay na bato literally means "stone house" in Tagalog, but it's applied as well to those hybrid houses.) On the other hand, other colonial buildings were made exceptionally strong and durable, with squat profiles and detached belfries, in even more earthquake-prone locations; see the Ilocos region, where most colonial houses and churches are at their sturdiest.)
    • The Nazis anticipated this would happen to Munich during the war, and took extensive photographs of the city so it could be rebuilt to its former glory. In reality, Munich's postwar rebuild is rather Zigzagged. The city was bombed so much, that the reconstruction of the Bavarian Palace is still ongoing and is expected to be completed in the 2040s. Despite this, the four tallest pre-War structures still stand with only one taking minor damage (from an Allied Plane crashing into the spire, knocking the top part off). This is because they were aligned in the cardinal directions and Allied bombers would use the building as a compass to their target in the city, and purposely avoided this trope. The U.S. was able to find all the documentation of Munich in a bunker after the war and was able to rebuild it.
    • One side effect of the war is that over half the historical buildings in Germany will usually be replicas of the actual buildings that ended up destroyed in the war.
    • Berlin's monuments were not spared either. If you look closely you can still find bullet holes in the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag building, which were heavily fought over during the Battle of Berlin.
    • Much of the Nazis' own monumental architecture was built in order to Exploit this trope. Nazi architect and urban/industrial planner Albert Speer called it "ruin value" and argued that should the Thousand-Year Reich's millennium run out prematurely, the ruins of what they built should continue to serve as symbols of the glory that was Germany for thousands of years more, citing the ancient ruins of Greece, Egypt, and Rome (much of which are also listed here) as examples.
  • The Iraq War claimed numerous artifacts and buildings, some dating back to the earliest human civilizations:
    • While the U.S. didn't bomb the Iraqi National Museum during the initial invasion, they neglected to secure the museum in the massive wave of looting that took place after the fall of Saddam's regime. Thousands of statues, vases, steles, friezes, and pieces of pottery were stolen or broken, while the Harp of Ur and an ancient Mesopotamian calendar considered to be the oldest written calendar in the world were destroyed. To date, only a fraction of the missing pieces have been recovered.
    • Al-Askari Shrine in Samarra, built in 944 AD and one of the most important Shia Muslim shrines in the world, was bombed twice by extremists in February 2006 and June 2007. Fortunately, the shrine's golden dome and minarets were restored relatively quickly and the building was reopened in 2009.
  • Shuri Castle, the political center of the Ryukyu Kingdom on Okinawa for four and a half centuries, was destroyed five times since it was first built, two of those times in the years after said kingdom had been annexed by Japan. During the Battle of Okinawa, with its underground complex being used by the defending Imperial Japanese Army as a headquarters, it was shelled for three days by the United States Navy and caught on fire for several days before United States Marines captured it. After the war the complex was eventually rebuilt and reopened to the public as a park in 1992...and then burned down again in 2019, this time by accident.
  • On February 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.
  • Averted in the case of the Abu Simbel temple complex in Egypt, which was disassembled and relocated in 1968 to prevent it from being submerged following the construction of Aswan High Dam.
  • The 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake damaged the upper deck of the eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, as well as causing the Cypress Structure, a double-decker freeway in Oakland, to collapse. The hated Embarcadero Freeway along the San Francisco waterfront was so heavily damaged that it was demolished, with the city redeveloping the area with vintage streetcars.
  • In 1992, a political rally of Hindu Right-Wing extremists attacked and destroyed the Babri Masjid, a four hundred and sixty-five hundred-year-old structure and an example of early Mughal architecture.
  • The Giant Buddhas of Bamyan (Afghanistan) were destroyed by the Taliban in March 2001.
  • The fall of the World Trade Center in New York, U.S.A., on 9/11, as well as the attack on the Pentagon (which unlike the Twin Towers managed to be rebuilt) 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.
  • The Old Man of the Mountain in New Hampshire was a large granite cliff edge that resembled the profile of an old man's face. The formation was a famous landmark for centuries and a subject of Sigil Spam for New Hampshire, appearing on highway signs, toll tokens, license plates, and the state's quarter. Years of erosion took its toll on the cliff and the formation collapsed in 2003, much to the state's heartache. A memorial for the formation opened in 2010.
  • 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 August 2011 Virginia Earthquakes was felt as far north as New York and shook enough to cause damage to the Washington Monument, forcing it to close for almost three years as it underwent repairs.
  • 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.
  • At the height of its rampage in the mid-2010s, the Islamic State was notorious for destroying several ancient ruins in the lands it conquered. Sadly, this was among the least of their atrocities.
  • On April 15, 2019, Paris' iconic Notre Dame Cathedral was severely damaged in a fire. The blaze engulfed much of the upper part of the cathedral and caused the central spire to collapse.
  • The Last Supper, despite being a world-famous painting, has suffered an astonishing amount of abuse over the centuries. With the combination of the unconventional painting techniques Leonardo used (making it less stable than a regular fresco) and severe environmental damage (moisture and smoke inside the chapel made the paint deteriorate; then there was the vandalism during the French Revolution, bombing during World War II, multiple bungling "restoration" attempts, and some complete bozo cutting a door through Jesus' feet), it's a wonder the painting has survived at all. The Other Wiki has the gory details.
  • Some monuments (like e.g. The Noseless 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. In fact, these ruins and others (such as the Parthenon) played a major influence on Albert Speer's theory of ruin value.
  • By The '70s, the Hollywood Sign overlooking Los Angeles was falling apart. A picture of its dire state before its 1978 restoration serves as the page image for the Fall of the Studio System, showing it missing the last O, the first O having become a U due to damage, and the other letters all showing wear and tear, such that it looked like it said "Hullywo d".


Video Example(s):


New York Tsunami

The Statue of Liberty gets caught in a humongous storm surge.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / MonumentalDamage

Media sources:

Main / MonumentalDamage