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Stuff Blowing Up / Live-Action Films

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  • Attack Of The Killer Donuts: At the film's climax, John and Michelle decide that the only way to end the threat of the killer donuts once and for all is to blow up Dandy Donuts.
  • Der Clown's love for spectacular explosions is continued in the movie Payday which features an Autobahn being blown up over its entire width with hand grenades, sending police cars flying, and an aircraft bombed with gold bars so it turns into one big giant fireball.
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  • The Joker in The Dark Knight really likes explosions:
    Joker: See, I'm a man of simple tastes. I like dynamite... and gunpowder... and gasoline! Do you know what all of these things have in common? They're cheap!
  • The Day After is a powerful Deconstruction, thanks to multiple nuclear missiles fired at Kansas City and Whiteman Air Force Base, resulting in a huge monstrous fireball that vaporizes all living things within its reach, and knocks over every building (the latter done via stock footage of the 1950s of real nuclear bomb tests).
  • The Die Hard film series has bigger and bigger explosions in each installment. Summing it up: the 1st has a floor of a building. The 4th has a building.
  • The climax of the movie version of Stephen King's Firestarter fits this trope quite well.
  • In Frankenhooker, a Mad Scientist invents a Fantastic Drug called "supercrack," which causes prostitutes who smoke it explode. A whole room full of them do.
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  • Help!: The cultists fire away and eventually do manage to take out the tank the Beatles were riding in. Luckily, the Beatles were no longer in it when it was hit.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy's trailer, framed as a Hitchhiker's Guide entry on movie trailers, notes "the goal is to create a piece of advertising that is original and exciting, yet intelligent and provocative. In other words: lots of things blowing up, [cue montage of movie explosions] occasionally interrupted by a girl in a bikini."
  • In Independence Day, the aliens apparently have firestorm cannons that blow up famous landmarks.
  • The Italian Job (1969): "You're only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!" As well as the van, the film heavily features three minis among its vehicles. The gang dispose of them by letting them fall off cliffs, whereupon the third mini blows up before hitting the ground.
  • James Bond has the usual exploding vehicles, villain lairs and general buildings of any action movie. And Q usually arms him with mines or some sort of exploding gadget (such as exploding toothpaste and a pen-grenade).
    • The video game, Golden Eye: 007, where—shot enough times—everything explodes.
    • At the climax of Live and Let Die, the villain — rapidly pumped full of high-pressure CO2 — explodes.
  • The original Jaws has Brody shoot a compressed air tank in the shark's mouth, reducing the shark's head to a raining cloud of fish meat.
  • This scene from the Mockbuster Jaws 5: Cruel Jaws is possibly the most contrived and WTF-enducing way to slip an explosion into a film ever.
  • Johnny Dangerously: "Knock down THAT wall, knock down THAT wall, and knock down THAT farging wall!" BOOM! "Now, I'm really mad. This is farging war!"
  • Koyaanisqatsi has sequences of quarry blasting, nuclear bomb tests, air-to-ground ordnance tests, vacant buildings being demolished, consumer durables fitted with explosives and an unmanned rocket being destroyed in flight with an extended take of the flaming pieces descending. All set to the Philip Glass soundtrack. And it's awesome in a sad sort of way.
  • Inverted in Last Action Hero, when Jack Slater is in the real world and the taxi he shoots doesn't blow up, he checks the gun he is using.
  • It's easier to list the things that aren't blown up, impaled by flying objects or crushed in Man of Steel than the things that are.
  • About half of The Marine is made of Stuff Blowing Up. Lots of it.
  • Mongolian Death Worm: At the end, everyone decides the only way to kill the worms is to blow up the oil facility, and their nest below it.
  • Tim from Monty Python and the Holy Grail introduces himself with various explosions. Perhaps that's why they used coconuts instead of horses.
  • The Mafia bombs The North Avenue Irregulars' church when they start getting too close to The Mafia's bank.
  • In Poseidon, one of the main characters pushes a cannister into the bow thruster, so that they can escape through it. Somehow, despite only damaging the thruster motor, a huge fireball is thrown out of both ends of the thruster. (Also, when the bow thruster was pushing starboard, the air was being pushed into the room. It was being sucked out when it started pushing to port. Since in either situation, air should just be sucked in one end of the thruster and blown out the other, there seems to be no reason for this. Air pressure in the thruster room should remain neutral, though there would be draughts.)
  • The Producers: ZE KVICK FUSE!?! (To a massive amount of kaboom.)
  • Speed has two buses (the second being the one most of the movie takes place on) go up in fiery explosions as well as a house and an airliner. At the end of of the sequel, a supertanker explosion takes out the Big Bad.
  • Speed Racer has loads and loads of gratuitous explosions, but the whole movie is built on rule of cool and car-fu so no one really cares.
  • The Star Trek reboot features things exploding. Many things exploding. Explodily. Which were produced by Industrial Light and Magic. And it was awesome.
  • Star Wars and the Death Stars, baby (in this case, the stations themselves, not their targets). You'd think a reactor would have fail-safes so that if containment was breached or the reaction controls were destroyed it would automatically shut down, rendering the station lifeless, but no, it goes kablooie. And it is sweet.
    • The first Death Star has an excuse - it was seconds away from firing a full-power, planet-destroying blast. Do you have any idea just how much energy would have been built up in the reactor at that point? It has to go somewhere. The second Death Star has less of an excuse, but the superlaser was in use, albeit only as an anti-ship weapon.
      • In addition, the guy who was shanghaied into designing the first Death Star deliberately engineered a tiny flaw and sent a message to the rebels to help them exploit it.
      • The second Death Star was unfinished at the time.
      • The novel Death Star explained the colossal explosion: hypermatter reactors of a size large enough to power the Death Star superlaser are experimental technology. The Battle Lance hypermatter testbed ship, with an unusually large one as a trial run for the Death Star's weapon, had an unknown screwup with its reactor, and suddenly and permanently ceased existing.
    • The X-Wing Star Wars Expanded Universe books like to describe exactly how each TIE fighter that's shot down explodes, in exquisite detail. Other stuff blows up quite frequently also. Lampshaded by this quote:
      Donos: Pretty. What do we blow up first?
      Wedge: Write that down. That ought to be the Wraith Squadron motto.
    • Many of the X-Wing books are written by Michael Stackpole, who loves this trope so much that his novels set in the BattleTech universe gave rise to the term "stackpoling" to refer to a fusion reactor exploding. He gets away with it because it's cool.
    • For that matter, Every TIE Is A Pinto. Witness tiny ships like TIE fighters exploding into fireballs, most noticeably when Han takes out the last one in Episode IV, resulting in a massive multi-stage explosion from something that carries very little fuel and no exploding weapons. In the Expanded Universe it's explained they don't even have any internal life support (it's built into the pilots' suits), so there's no atmosphere to burn.
    • In The Last Jedi, Poe Dameron makes it clear that his favorite way of solving problems is to jump into his X-Wing and blow something up. Exhibit A: Starkiller Base. Exhibit B: The Fulminatrix.
  • The finale of Suspiria (1977) has the whole Academy blowing up bit by bit, starting with a ceramic panther and then ending up with a classic explosion with fire.
  • Swordfish begins In Medias Res with a bank full of booby-trapped hostages. The police, being Too Dumb to Live, attempt to "rescue" one, despite her terrified resistance. The resulting explosion takes out dozens of cars and cops in Bullet Time.
  • Tremors:
    • The first film: "It's gonna be big!!!" "Is it gonna be today?!?"
    • The Aftershocks ends with a literal truckload of high-explosives (2.5 tons, to be exact) blowing up, along with the oil refinery where it was parked. It leaves a huge crater.
    • The Back to perfection involves Burt's truck and house blowing up.
  • Played for laughs in UHF during the Rambo parody scene, when air-to-air missiles fired from a helicopter cause giant structures such as the Eiffle Tower to explode, and the main character uses a bow-and-arrow to cause an enemy soldier to explode.
  • Pink Floyd's The Wall. It definitely does not get torn down at the end.
  • About half of xXx is made of Stuff Blowing Up. Lots of it.
  • At the end of Michaelangelo Antonioni's Zabriskie Point, a luxury designer house, built way out in the desert, explodes for no discernible reason whatsoever. Since this is a late-60s art film, with psychedelic dream sequences and a Pink Floyd soundtrack, it is probably an Angst Nuke played out in the head of the young woman protagonist watching it. This was once voted "Best Cinematic Explosion Ever". Just in case you miss it, the explosion is shown several times, and topped off with a trippy slo-mo montage of various domestic items being blown sky-high, all set to "Careful with that Axe, Eugene."
  • The whole premise of Steven Spielberg's 1941.
  • Played with 21 Jump Street. First subverted and lampshaded when neither propane nor oil cause an explosion after the vehicles in which they were transported have been hit, despite the main characters expecting them too, however, in the next scene, a chicken transporter explodes after being hit.
  • Michael Bay demands things to be awesome. And by 'awesome', he means 'stuff blowing up'.
    • It's a shame he didn't blow up the tiger.
      • There is a version where he blows up the Awesome Verizon Guy. Is that enough?
      • Apparently he saves the tiger-splosions for his attack tigers.
    • In his work on the Transformers movies, he's strived to outdo himself: the rendering of a giant robot caused a computer to overheat and catch fire! Although it didn't explode. Yet.
    • Surprisingly downplayed in Pain and Gain, as there is only one explosion in the whole movie.
  • Toho are the masters of this, showcased not only in their Kaiju films (especially Godzilla), but several of their disaster films as well.
  • In Willy's Wonderland, Siren Sara blows up the car Tex and Jed are in by pouring gasoline and igniting it with a lighter, killing them both as well as herself.
  • A lot of films involving black powder-age warfare tend to treat 15th-to-19th century cannons as if they were equivalent to modern artillery and fired shells filled with dynamite or other modern explosives. In nearly all depictions of battles from that era all artillery projectiles seem to be explosive, while in reality even by the early 19th century at most one-fifth of an army's pieces were howitzers (i. e. pieces able to fire shells, at a distinctly slower rate of fire) while the rest alternated between firing roundshot (solid cannonballs) and canister (at short range). Few films make the effort to try to imitate the effect of a cannonball ploughing through a unit, preferring the more spectacular, often exaggerated explosion of a shell. Thus in Cromwell the first battle of Edgehill (which happened at a time when field artillery was still in its infancy and played only a minor role on the battlefield) is opened by a barrage worthy of Paesschendaele with spectacular explosions all around, and at the end of Amistad a slavers' base on the West African coast is shelled and spectacularly destroyed by the Royal Navy (with only some very small cannons in evidence) at a time when naval artillery was practically solid shot only.
  • What happens in every action movie ever made to the point where it's a genre defining characteristic.

Alternative Title(s): Film


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