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Thursday, March 19, 2009

The 10 Best Movies That Wreck San Francisco

Posted By on Thu, Mar 19, 2009 at 2:43 PM

click to enlarge The Core - PARAMOUNT PICTURES
  • Paramount Pictures
  • The Core

In real life, people are always fighting to preserve the beauty of San Francisco, but through the magic of the silver screen we can get the slightly wrong thrill of watching it get messed with just a little bit. We don't really want the Golden Gate Bridge to explode, crumble, or be swarmed by crazy creatures and we don't think cable cars should be used as weapons and flying machines . . . or, judging by the box office success of many of these films which depict these and other pyrotechnical acts on our fair city, do we?

10. Bullitt (1968)
Steve McQueen's infamous car chase left bullets, tire tracks and fire through the San Francisco streets. It has been duplicated countless times not only by television shows and commercials, but by amateurs with a bit of a death wish.

9. San Francisco (1936)
The 1906 earthquake is re-enacted thirty years later with the extra panache of leading actors Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy. The film received nine Oscar nominations that year.

8. Towering Inferno (1974)
Steve McQueen (who must have a thing about wrecking our town) and Paul Newman portray a fire chief and architect trying to quell a raging fire in San Francisco's 138-story fictional Glass Tower, the largest building in the world that's been erected right in the middle of the city's Financial District. There's also enough celebrity star power here to float a memorable episode of The Love Boat, including Robert Wagner, Fred Astaire, William Holden and Faye Dunaway.

7. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
This chilling movie explores an unusual blight on the city: Noise pollution. Those ear-splitting screams that are the pod people's calling card would be one of the worst things that could happen to the streets of San Francisco.

6. A View to a Kill (1985)
Grace Jones saves Silicon Valley? Improbable but true in this quintessential Eighties Bond thriller which features the nightclubbing icon as a villain turned martyr. The Golden Gate Bridge is once again a focal point for action as Bond (Roger Moore) and Zorin (Christopher "Needs More Cowbell" Walken) duel to the death over the Bay.

5. X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
In a desperate quest to possess the cure for the X-Men's mutant power forces, the Golden Gate Bridge is re-routed to Alcatraz, now being used as the site of a major pharmaceutical manufacturing plant. Neither monument is safe for long.

4. The Rock (1996)
More Alcatraz madness, this time it's the site of a dangerous hostage situation, with 81 lives in jeopardy. Throughout, the Rock stands strong, but it's a darned close call.

3. Monsters vs. Aliens (2009)
An unlikely monster named Susan uses moving vehicles on the Golden Gate Bridge as some rather fashion-forward footwear in Dreamworks' new animated 3D adventure. She and a slime ball named Bob are among the crew trying to save us from extra-terrestrial threats, and when there's a standoff on the bridge, the balance hangs over the audience in a breathtaking maneuver that even the most epic of two-dimensional action flicks can't duplicate.

2. It Came From Beneath the Sea (1955)
The headlines blare: "San Francisco is doomed! Golden Gate Bridge Topples! Thousands die on the streets!" But the best/most hilarious destruction in this awesomely bad movie is when the clearly peeved giant octopus uses his tentacles to strangle the life out of the Ferry Building clock tower. Take that, Father Time!

1. The Core (2003)
San Francisco -- and the whole West Coast, for that matter -- are obliterated following a series of electrical super-storms accidentally generated when America attempts to harness the Earth's seismic power as a force against terrorism. Looks like we might have a lot more to worry about than the Big One, and stop, drop, and roll ain't gonna help.

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Tamara Palmer


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