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05.16.2014by: Alex Maidy

Top 10 Most Destructive Movies of All Time (Video Edition)

The time has come for some kaiju devastation in the form of GODZILLA! Gareth Edwards reinvention of the classic Japanese monster movie brings with it the promise of large scale cinematic destruction. Holding to a long tradition in Hollywood of blowing shit up real good, here is a ranking of the most destructive blockbusters of all time. If your favorite 'splosions didn't make the list, feel free to add them to the talk backs below.

#10 - BAD BOYS II

While it may not be the first choice for a list like this, there is something deeply unsettling about the wanton violence in Michael Bay's action-packed sequel. Whether it be the callous treatment of corpses or the insane highway car chase, BAD BOYS II is chock full of jaw-dropping, butthole puckering sequences. But, what got this movie on the list was the sheer audacity of having a chase through a shanty town in Cuba where I would have to imagine numerous innocents would have been killed.

#9 - MARS ATTACKS!

Done in a very cartoony manner that didn't click with as many audiences as it should have, Tim Burton's ode to 1950s B-movie scifi is replete with landmarks being destroyed and humans being disintegrated. The sheer amount of death and devastation in MARS ATTACKS! should make people take pause. Well, maybe after they stop laughing.

#8 - THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS

Sure, the fight between Neo and Agent Smith that concludes THE MATRIX trilogy takes place within a virtual reality, the anime-like destruction of cityscapes resulting in massive craters and assumed fatalities is quite stunning to see on the big screen. It may not have made you think twice, being within The Matrix and not the "real world", but this is one damn destructive scene.

#7 - TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON

Michael Bay is back on the list, this time with the third entry in the already massively destructive TRANSFORMERS franchise. Whether it be the Pyramids of Giza or other cities, Bay didn't quite hit the peak of his massive metropolitan violence until he took down the entire city of Chicago in DARK OF THE MOON. Chicago is often overlooked in favor of Los Angeles or New York, but Bay's movie certainly shows Chi-town can blow up with the best of them.

#6 - THE AVENGERS

Ah, THE AVENGERS. When it comes to superhero destruction, the Battle of New York is at the top of real cities being collateral damage between superheroes and villains. The Chitauri invasion didn't take down any landmarks but it definitely left rubble and debris to be felt through the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I bet AGE OF ULTRON will do the same for other countries.

#5 - MAN OF STEEL

And here we are the the most destructive superhero sequence of all time. A contentious scene for movie fans, the question is just how much death and destruction was caused by Superman's fight with General Zod. Bringing to mind flashbacks to 9/11, MAN OF STEEL's closing battle coupled with the World Engine terraforming our planet make MAN OF STEEL one of the most destructive films in recent memory.

#4 - INDEPENDENCE DAY

From the iconic image of the White House being blown up to New York being burnt to a crisp, Roland Emmerich's alien invasion film takes all the humor out of global destruction but not the fun. Like any good popcorn movie, we cheer seeing so much death and violence because we know it isn't real. But damn if it isn't unsettling when thought about in retrospect.

#3 - ARMAGEDDON

Two years after ID4, Michael Bay upped the ante with the global threat of asteroids that could wipe out all of civilization. With Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck there to save the day, ARMAGEDDON was the feel good movie of the summer that is really a depressing movie, if you think about it. But I'll be damned if the explosive destruction of the world isn't one hell of a roller coaster ride. Too bad about Paris, though.

#2 - THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW

Roland Emmerich was not about to sit back and let Michael Bay have all the fun. The ante was raised once again in 2004's THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW where global warming takes a serious "f*ck you" turn and wipes out civilization with flooding and a new ice age. The resulting movie is goofy as hell but holy shit if it isn't mind-bogglingly destructive. Critics be damned, THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW is one hell of a catastrophic big screen epic.

#1 - 2012

2012 came and went and nary a city was destroyed, but we will always have Roland Emmerich's paranoid blockbuster to remember for reinforcing the fears that the Mayan calendar was truly predicting the end of days. Completely and utterly ridiculous, Emmerich somehow managed to find a way to up the ante of not just Michael Bay level destruction but even his own track record of the same time of carnage. 2012 remains the single most destructive movie of all time and for that the gauntlet is now thrown to see if anyone can top it.

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10:58PM on 05/16/2014
Deep Impact I thought had more destruction than Armagedon
Deep Impact I thought had more destruction than Armagedon
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-1
2:57PM on 05/16/2014
-MATRIX 3-1/10
-TRANSFORMERS 3-6/10
-AVENGERS-9/10
-MAN OF STEEL, INDEPENDENCE DAY and ARMAGEDDON-5/10
-DAY AFTER TOMORROW and "2012"-7/10
-MATRIX 3-1/10
-TRANSFORMERS 3-6/10
-AVENGERS-9/10
-MAN OF STEEL, INDEPENDENCE DAY and ARMAGEDDON-5/10
-DAY AFTER TOMORROW and "2012"-7/10
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11:15AM on 05/16/2014
CineRam beat me to it, but Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has them all beat.
CineRam beat me to it, but Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has them all beat.
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+1
9:40AM on 05/16/2014
There's a great episode of Justice League Unlimited called "Clash", most of it is basically just a super-powered fistfight between Superman and Captain Marvel. This sequence from Man of Steel reminds me a lot of that episode.
There's a great episode of Justice League Unlimited called "Clash", most of it is basically just a super-powered fistfight between Superman and Captain Marvel. This sequence from Man of Steel reminds me a lot of that episode.
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11:30AM on 05/16/2014
I love how manipulative Luthor was in that episode.
I love how manipulative Luthor was in that episode.
+0
9:35AM on 05/16/2014
Gods I love this movie.
Gods I love this movie.
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+0
9:26AM on 05/16/2014
I used to think the same thing about the shantytown destruction sequence, but then I noticed in the movie, someone who's with the cops mentions that this shantytown is where they make the drugs. It's almost a throwaway line and it's easily missed amongst all the explosions going on. The purpose of this line is to make it morally okay for the good guys to go rampaging through the town as they do, because it's not the homes of innocent villagers they're plowing through, but rather the hideouts
I used to think the same thing about the shantytown destruction sequence, but then I noticed in the movie, someone who's with the cops mentions that this shantytown is where they make the drugs. It's almost a throwaway line and it's easily missed amongst all the explosions going on. The purpose of this line is to make it morally okay for the good guys to go rampaging through the town as they do, because it's not the homes of innocent villagers they're plowing through, but rather the hideouts of drug manufacturers.
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9:23AM on 05/16/2014
Great idea for this week's top ten list. Large-scale destruction is one of the most obvious ways to make audiences feel like they're getting their money's worth and if pulled off well, it can be astounding spectacle. Thing is, moviegoers have on the whole become harder and harder to impress. Being dismissive of entire cities being levelled in a movie sounds like a ridiculous notion, but many of us feel that way, and hopefully filmmakers will continue to be inventive when it comes to knocking
Great idea for this week's top ten list. Large-scale destruction is one of the most obvious ways to make audiences feel like they're getting their money's worth and if pulled off well, it can be astounding spectacle. Thing is, moviegoers have on the whole become harder and harder to impress. Being dismissive of entire cities being levelled in a movie sounds like a ridiculous notion, but many of us feel that way, and hopefully filmmakers will continue to be inventive when it comes to knocking this over and blowing this up - they're only so many ways to do it.
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9:20AM on 05/16/2014
Guess we won't always have Paris.

Okay, so I've hated on Michael Bay a lot, but this film is really close to my heart as I believe it's the first movie I remember watching in cinemas. And "Don't Wanna Miss a Thing" is the definition of a guilty pleasure song.
Guess we won't always have Paris.

Okay, so I've hated on Michael Bay a lot, but this film is really close to my heart as I believe it's the first movie I remember watching in cinemas. And "Don't Wanna Miss a Thing" is the definition of a guilty pleasure song.
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9:19AM on 05/16/2014
A howling good time. The Nostalgia Chick did a very good two-part video comparing Independence Day with Spielberg's War of the Worlds, examining the different climates in which both films exist and why Independence Day is so beloved while War of the Worlds is forgotten or dismissed.
A howling good time. The Nostalgia Chick did a very good two-part video comparing Independence Day with Spielberg's War of the Worlds, examining the different climates in which both films exist and why Independence Day is so beloved while War of the Worlds is forgotten or dismissed.
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9:18AM on 05/16/2014
It more than made up for the lack of action in Superman Returns. I can totally understand the complaints and the concerns over Superman causing so much collateral damage when he has in past comics and animated series/films purposely directed his battles away from populated areas, but I think the griping has gotten excessive.
It more than made up for the lack of action in Superman Returns. I can totally understand the complaints and the concerns over Superman causing so much collateral damage when he has in past comics and animated series/films purposely directed his battles away from populated areas, but I think the griping has gotten excessive.
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9:16AM on 05/16/2014
To say this one was better than Revenge of the Fallen is to say cold pizza is better than cold mac and cheese (and not the pasta salad kind either). The behind the scenes stuff was fascinating; all the effort that the production went to. Really wanted to enjoy this one. It's a shame it was so difficult to care about the end result.
To say this one was better than Revenge of the Fallen is to say cold pizza is better than cold mac and cheese (and not the pasta salad kind either). The behind the scenes stuff was fascinating; all the effort that the production went to. Really wanted to enjoy this one. It's a shame it was so difficult to care about the end result.
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9:15AM on 05/16/2014
Dragonball Z comparisons have been made ad nauseam, and with good reason.
Dragonball Z comparisons have been made ad nauseam, and with good reason.
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9:14AM on 05/16/2014
B-movie with an A-cast. A great time.
B-movie with an A-cast. A great time.
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9:14AM on 05/16/2014
I wonder how many entries on this list will be Michael Bay films. A good number, I bet.
I wonder how many entries on this list will be Michael Bay films. A good number, I bet.
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+1
8:15AM on 05/16/2014

Nice list.

Two others I would've mentioned, but I get why they're not on here because the sequences themselves are pretty brief. KNOWING (Entire surface of Earth incinerated by a gigantic solar flare) and THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY (Earth itself is disintegrated in a blink). Of course, the original STAR WARS blew up a whole planet as well. It may not have been Earth but there were plenty of people on it.
Two others I would've mentioned, but I get why they're not on here because the sequences themselves are pretty brief. KNOWING (Entire surface of Earth incinerated by a gigantic solar flare) and THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY (Earth itself is disintegrated in a blink). Of course, the original STAR WARS blew up a whole planet as well. It may not have been Earth but there were plenty of people on it.
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