“A building is a symbol, as is the act of destroying it. Symbols are given power by people. Alone, a symbol is meaningless, but with enough people, blowing up a building can change the world.” – V For Vendetta
Monuments and famous or iconic buildings often come under attack in movies. We can expect to see a pretty spectacular example of this with White House Down, which released today. Often those buildings are American – Hollywood can’t quite recognize that there might be other iconic structures in the world. Every once in awhile a non-American landmark might creep in there, but for the most part, the end of civilization as we know it tends to take place on US soil. I wonder why that is?
Following the events of 9/11, we are unlikely to ever look at cinematic destruction the same way again. As V tells us in V For Vendetta, buildings are more than buildings: they are symbols, and the act of destroying them in films is symbolic too. Films sometimes remind us of how ridiculous we are for putting such faith in what’s basically a gigantic monument to our own arrogance. The destruction of a building in a film can be a rallying cry, an act that symbolizes the fall of a country, or the death of a single person. Only rarely in films does the destruction of a building or monument mean the destruction of life ; death is implied, but not shown. It’s what these buildings stand for that matter – but it’s also about what we put into them.
Here are 10 of the best, strangest, or funniest films in which famous monuments come under attack.