Design Inspiration: Postcards from Famous Landmarks Destroyed In Film


Hollywood loves to lay waste to famous landmarks around the world. It’s an effective tactic, especially for marketing the movie, as these famous landmarks which are cultural icons and symbols in their own right get blown to smithereens. It’s something that the brain can’t really comprehend seeing in real life. Something that almost never, ever happens in real life, too. So seeing a landmark getting completely destroyed has a very alluring quality. 

When you consider the budgets of some of these films, in some cases they completely dwarf the cost of the landmarks they destroy, so it could be argued that these projects to destroy them for cinematic effect are as big as the projects for constructing them in the first place. 

Pete Bingham (@peteboomdesign) made these awesome postcards from landmarks destroyed by movie monsters, finished in a retro travel poster style that we really enjoyed and want to share with you today.

The Hollywood Sign – Terminator: Salvation (2009)

An absolute icon in its own right, the Hollywood sign is a cultural symbol and included in countless films and TV shows, as well as having its own spoofs in The Simpsons and Shrek. The Terminator: Salvation film from 2009 has been chosen from a long list of films to destroy the Hollywood Sign. Destroyed by Skynet, the Hollywood Sign cost $21,000 to build. The film will perhaps always be known more infamously for Christian Bale’s on-set rant rather than the film itself.  

The Statue of Liberty – Cloverfield (2008)

A symbol of New York, America and of course, liberty and freedom, The Statue of Liberty was decapitated in Matt Reeves’ Cloverfield. Shot entirely in a first-person ‘recovered footage’ style, Cloverfield set pulses racing and gave us this stunning image of a decapitated Libertas. The Statue of Liberty would cost $1.2 million to build today, whilst Cloverfield had a budget of $25 million. 

The Golden Gate Bridge – Pacific Rim (2013)

Guillermo Del Toro’s 2013 film sees the Golden Gate Bridge of San Francisco, California get completely destroyed in its opening sequence. The bridge would cost $1.5 billion to build today and is one of Hollywood’s favourite constructions to destroy. It has met a grisly end in nine films in the last decade alone.

Potter School House – The Birds (1963)

In this case, the landmark was made famous by the film instead of the other way around. Alfred Hithcock decided to shoot his seminal film, The Birds at Bodega Bay in California, using the schoolhouse as a key location and making it an instantly recognisable icon of horror cinema. People will travel to Bodega Bay to see the famous schoolhouse which still stands there today.

The Millenium Bridge – Harry Potter & The Half Blood Prince (2009)

The sixth iteration of the Harry Potter series saw us lose one of our favourite characters, and gave us the high-drama shot of the Dementors laying waste to the Millenium Bridge which was used in lots of the marketing materials and the trailers. Opened in the summer of 2000, the bridge cost £18.2 million to build, whilst the sixth Harry Potter film had a budget of £200 million, so they could have done that shot in real life ten times over if they wanted. The film would have been considerably worse if they did, though…

The Taj Mahal – Mars Attacks (1996)

The Taj Mahal of Agra in India is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that gets destroyed in Tim Burton’s sci-fi satire Mars Attacks. It’s said that 20,000 artisans helped to construct the Taj Mahal and that in today’s money, it would cost $827 million to build. It is one of the many famous landmarks destroyed in the film by Martians in the film including the Palace of Westminster, Mount Rushmore and the Moai at Easter Island.