Lady liberty is among the most recognized landmarks in America. She is an icon of freedom, her torch, a beacon, lighting the way for immigrants sailing toward a better life.

She's so fucked and she doesn't even know it

Lady Liberty lighting the way


So lets blow her up!

Lady Liberty hasn’t aged well

Destroying the Statue of Liberty has become a standard of any film depicting large scale disaster, from the nuclear holocaust of Planet of the Apes (1968) to the renegade monster of Cloverfield (2008) forty years later. Showing the Statue of Liberty in ruin has become the preferred method of demonstrating that shit has hit the fan. The symbolism is so obvious that using any more of the internet to explain it would be a waste of ones and zeros.

JJ Abrams is so creative! Where does he get it?

Left: Escape From New York                                                        Right: Cloverfield

It’s time to think of a new thing to blow up!

Are filmmakers so uncreative that they just can’t think of another icon to blow up that would resonate just as much? Ok, don’t answer that! But still, maybe it’s not just what you destroy, but how you show it being blown up. Planet of the Apes was the first (I think) to blow up the statue and they did it off screen, thousands of years before when the movie takes place. There’s no huge special effects explosion, an entire nuclear war is only implied, but the implication is HUGE. Not seeing what happened is what gives the scene such gravitas and what makes Apes such a stand-out science fiction film. It’s not just about a planet of ape-people, it’s about Earth! There’s a message! Every subsequent film to include this image has only done so with the message: The Statue of Liberty got blew up. There is no substance, only a trope that grows more and more tiresome every time it rears its green head, or headless body, depending on how the director wants to do it this time.

Roland Emmerich hates the Statue of Liberty

Roland Emmerich has destroyed the statue in Independence Day (1996), The Day After Tomorrow (2004), and I’ll just say 2012 (2009) although it might just be in my head, either way, I’m not going to re-watch 2012 just to find out.

Got any ideas for what else Hollywood can blow up?

Leave a comment and let me know!