World Trade Center in film

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This article is about films that showed the old World Trade Center prior to its destruction in the September 11 attacks. For films about the WTC on September 11, see List of cultural references to the September 11 attacks. For films about the new One World Trade Center, see One World Trade Center in popular culture. For other uses, see World Trade Center in popular culture.

This is a list of films that featured the World Trade Center. Most are prior to its destruction in the September 11 attacks, but some feature the new World Trade Center (see One World Trade Center in popular culture for the new One World Trade Center in film).

Alphabetical and numerical[edit]

0–9[edit]

A[edit]

B[edit]

C[edit]

D[edit]

E[edit]

F[edit]

G[edit]

H[edit]

I[edit]

J[edit]

K[edit]

L[edit]

M[edit]

N[edit]

O[edit]

P[edit]

Q[edit]

R[edit]

S[edit]

T[edit]

U[edit]

V[edit]

W[edit]

X[edit]

Y[edit]

Z[edit]

Detailed appearances[edit]

Date Title Set in Notes
1970 Loving 1970 The 1970 film Loving featured several scenes outside and inside of the "Lepridon Building" which was under construction. In real life, the construction site was part of the World Trade Center complex.
1972 The Hot Rock 1972 The 1972 film The Hot Rock includes footage taken from a helicopter flying toward the World Trade Center, still under construction.[1]
1973 Godspell 1973 The musical number "All for the Best" performed by film's cast at the top of a tower nearing completion.
1973 Live And Let Die 1973 In a shot of 'CIA Headquarters', the South Tower with its topmost floors still incomplete can be seen clearly in the background.
1974 The Taking of Pelham One Two Three 1974 The World Trade Center is seen briefly through the rear window of a police car Phil, Police Commissioner (Rudy Bond) before he went to the mayor's house.
1975 Three Days of the Condor 1975 Three Days of the Condor has Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) offices based in the World Trade Center.[2] James Sanders characterizes the World Trade Center and its offices as depicted in the film as "a cold, anonymous, largely soulless environment...The Trade Center was not in its design a humane public place, a soulful place."[3]
1976 King Kong 1976 In this version, the final scene took place at the World Trade Center, instead of the Empire State Building where the scene took place in the original film. The change was due partially to poster campaign[4] and to acknowledge that the Twin Towers had taken the Empire State Building's place as the tallest building in the world, the reason that the Empire State Building was chosen in the first place. In addition to the exterior scenes, shots were also taken of the South Tower's lobby and inside one of the skylobby elevators. The death of King Kong was filmed using a styrofoam stand-in, which was equipped with electrical wiring, hydraulic hoses and jacks to control its movements.[5]
1977 Bye Bye Monkey 1977 In Bye Bye Monkey the characters come across the carcass of King Kong from the 1976 film remake.
1977 Saturday Night Fever 1977 The film shows the towers several times: in the opening credits, when Travolta leaves, and when he comes back to Brooklyn.
1978 Superman 1978 The Twin Towers appear in a crucial scene as Superman performs one of his first rescues for the public, announcing his presence. The Twin Towers are seen in the background of the night sky as Superman turns around while flying. Later on, the Twin Towers are shown briefly as Superman takes Lois Lane on a flying tour of the city by night.
1978 The Wiz 1978 The 1978 film adaptation of the musical The Wiz uses the Twin Towers as a filming location.
1980 Dressed to Kill 1980 The characters played by Nancy Allen and Keith Gordon have a drink at Windows on the World, the restaurant on the top of the North Tower of the World Trade Center.
1981 Escape from New York 1997 In the 1981 film Escape from New York, the lead character lands a glider on the roof of the World Trade Center. The film also has a group of terrorists crash Air Force One into a different New York City building.[6]
1982 Mazes and Monsters 1982 The 1982 made-for-television movie Mazes and Monsters includes a climactic scene both inside and on the top of the South Tower, in which a character played by Tom Hanks tries to jump off when he thinks he can fly.[7][8] Extensive footage was shot in the lobby, inside the observatory elevator, and the observatory itself of the South Tower.
1982 Tempest 1982 The 1982 film Tempest, based on the Shakespeare play, features a scene with two of the main characters jogging on the seawall past the World Trade Center, and one featuring another main character exiting from a car and entering the lobby of the World Trade Center.
1982 Wrong Is Right 1982 The 1982 film Wrong Is Right features a plot by Islamic terrorists who threaten to detonate two stolen suitcase nuclear bombs in the United States while demanding that the President resign. The suitcase nukes are found at the top of the World Trade Center.
1983 Born in Flames 1983 A television transmission tower on top of the World Trade Center is destroyed by a bomb.
1983 Terms of Endearment 1983 Debra Winger gives a speech in front of the towers on a cloudy day.
1983 Trading Places 1983 The 1983 film Trading Places includes an external shot of the towers (at the plaza level) where Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy enter the COMEX commodities trading floor in 4 World Trade Center which is featured in the climax of the film.[9][10] The words "It's either kill or be killed in here" (referring to trading on the stock market) are often cut from post 9/11 showings of the film.
1984 Ghostbusters 1984 The 1984 film Ghostbusters featured several scenes where the iconic World Trade Center towers are clearly visible.
1985 Santa Claus: The Movie 1985 The 1985 film Santa Claus: The Movie; during the sequence where Santa is flying his sleigh around the skyscrapers of Manhattan on Christmas Eve, he attempts to perform a loop-the-loop up, and around the World Trade Center towers, only for one of his more timid reindeer to get vertigo and abort the stunt.
1986 Crocodile Dundee 1986 The 1986 film Crocodile Dundee; when the title character played by Paul Hogan is given a tour of New York by Linda Kozlowski, the pair visit the 'Top Of the Rock' observatory of the Rockefeller Center, and the Twin Towers are clearly visible in the background, for Mick to have his photograph taken posing towards the Manhattan skyline to send back home to his friends in Australia on a postcard. The Twin Towers appear again in an establishing shot of the night-time Manhattan sky in a scene when Mick commandeers a NYC taxicab and is heard (but not seen) shouting expletives at other motorists for "driving on the wrong side of the road".
1986 The Money Pit 1986 The Twin Towers feature prominently in the opening credits in various still shots of Manhattan (the opening shot looking uptown has clearly been shot from within one of the towers' upper floors. In a later scene shot on a rooftop running track, the towers can be seen in the immediate background – suggesting the area is either SoHo or Tribeca.
1987 An Autumn's Tale 1987 A Hong Kong romantic drama directed by Mabel Cheung, starring Chow Yun-fat, Cherie Chung, and Danny Danny Chan Bak-keung. The film features several backdrops and scenic views of the World Trade Center towers.[11]
1987 The Squeeze 1987 The poster for the 1987 Michael Keaton workplace comedy The Squeeze features Keaton sandwiched between the Twin Towers, as a hand squeezes them together.
1987 Wall Street 1987 Features the World Trade Center in numerous scenes; the opening credits have a number of sepia shots lingering on the towers. We also see the World Trade Center's PATH escalator bank.
1988 Bright Lights, Big City 1988 The towers are used at the end of the film as a symbol of hope and change.
1988 Working Girl 1988 Working Girl features the Trade Center complex in its opening sequence moving from the Staten Island Ferry to Lower Manhattan. Advertising and promotional pieces for the film also used images of the World Trade Center heavily. The film itself is set in 7 World Trade Center.[2]
1989 The Dream Team 1989 Features Michael Keaton playing a pathological liar. He points out the Trade Center, saying, "You see those two towers? World Trade Center. I was an architect working on them. First they just wanted to build one but I said, 'Hey, fellas, we're here – What the!?, let's throw another one up'. Turned out pretty well, didn't it?"
1989 Ghostbusters II 1989 The towers are prominently featured during the city wide blackout scene, in the scene where the Statue of Liberty (animated by positive mood slime) walks across the city, and they are the buildings from which the ghost nanny Janosz Poha flies to kidnap Oscar. The towers are also seen in a shot of the city at the end of the film.
1989 New York Stories 1989 Shows the towers in all three segments. The towers can be seen through the window of Nick Nolte's apartment. Later, Woody Allen's mother talks over the skyline.
1990 The Bonfire of the Vanities 1989 Features an opening sequence following Bruce Willis through the basement of the World Trade Center for nearly five minutes.
1992 Freejack 2009 Shows the Twin Towers standing in the year 2009. In the last scene of the movie, just before the credits start rolling, the towers are seen in the background, just to the left of the 200-story-tall "McCandless Building", which is in the future fortress of Battery Park City.[12][13]
1992 Home Alone 2: Lost in New York Winter 1991 Home Alone 2: Lost in New York features the Trade Center complex after Kevin McCallister realizes he's all alone in New York, he catches a taxi and arrives at the plaza and goes up to the observation deck of the South Tower.
  • In the first years after the attacks this sequence was omitted from broadcasts but have since been included unedited
1993 Super Mario Bros. 1993 The Twin Towers become the "Koopa Towers" in the film's parallel dimension, which is a dinosaur-laden Manhattan run by antagonist King Koopa (Dennis Hopper). The North Tower features a sharpened top while the South Tower is unfinished with a jagged top. Both are adorned with Koopa's signature "K" symbol. The towers briefly replace the World Trade Center towers in Manhattan when the two worlds are merged for a short time.
1993 We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story 1993 When the dinosaurs first arrive to New York City via the old Staten Island Ferry terminal they are shocked by how tall the Twin Towers are. One of the dinosaurs falls back into the East River. The towers are later seen several times throughout the film, sometimes portrayed as being side by side, other times with one tower being rotated at an angle.
1996 Joe's Apartment 1996 The film shows several scenic views of the towers.
1996 Independence Day 1996 In the 1996 movie Independence Day, the Trade Center appears several times in the New York skyline, as a large alien ship arrives over the city. They are the tallest remnants of a ruined New York in a later shot with a toppled Statue of Liberty in the foreground.[9]
1997 Jungle 2 Jungle 1997 The World Trade Center can be seen near the beginning of the film Jungle 2 Jungle. Tim Allen's character is shown walking out revolving doors. The scene then changes to an upwards shot of both towers while Allen's character continues with his dialogue. The camera then pans down towards the front of the complex while the main speaking characters continue to walk off screen.
1997 Men in Black 1997 Shows the Twin Towers in the background of the scene on the turnpike where the agents intercept a fleeing extraterrestrial family (one of whom gives birth). The finale of its 2002 sequel, Men in Black II, was set to take place atop one of the WTC buildings. Due to the fate of the towers, this was modified prior to release. The original ending can be seen on the DVD release as the "alternate ending".
1997 Picture Perfect 1997 A scene where Kate (Jennifer Aniston) and Darcy (Illeana Douglas) are sunbathing on the rooftop, the Twin Towers are seen from afar.
1997 Path to Paradise 1993 The made-for-television film Path to Paradise: The Untold Story of the World Trade Center Bombing chronicled the events leading up to and shortly after the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
1998 Aftershock: Earthquake in New York 1998 A TV reporter is reporting the damage from a news chopper; the Twin Towers had a few small fires, and the reporter said "They look good. They're both still standing." They also appear in the ending behind the Statue of Liberty, which was under reconstruction.
1998 Armageddon 1998 Depicts the Twin Towers (along with many other famous landmarks) severely damaged after New York City was struck by a meteor shower.

At first during a normal day in New York, the Twin Towers are shown in the background. Later, a meteor shower hits New York City in the beginning in the movie. The Twin Towers are shown three times during the meteor shower. The first appearance was a low point of view from between the towers looking up as large meteors pass over the towers. The second appearance is when the New York Financial District is shown as meteors passed by, one hitting the South Tower. The third appearance is New York City after the meteor shower. The North Tower had a hole on its north side of the tower while the top of the South Tower had been partially destroyed and was on fire.

As a result of the September 11, 2001 attacks, the scene showing the towers getting hit and being on fire were cut when the movie aired on ABC in April 2002.[9]
1998 The Cruise 1998 Bus tour guide Speed Levitch suggests to a tourist that she stand in the plaza between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and spin around in circles, then look up and experience the illusion of the towers toppling down on her. In a scene later in the film, Speed appears in the plaza of the World Trade Center, performing this very act.
1998 Deep Impact 1998 A comet hits the earth, causing a megatsunami that hits the east coast. As the tsunami strikes New York the Twin Towers are shown as the wave engulfs them. At the end of the tsunami scene the water recedes, and the Twin Towers can be seen poking out of the water as the only buildings left standing.
1998 Godzilla 1998 The two towers can be seen in various establishing shots, and appear numerous times throughout the film. At the beginning of the film, a T.V. reporter says that Godzilla's presence in the city is the worst thing since the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
1998 Jeans 1998 The site appears in the Tamil film, Jeans, with the lead pair, Prashanth and Aishwarya Rai, dancing inside the tower and in areas surrounding the tower.
1999 Bicentennial Man 2005 and later The future New York shows the World Trade Center three times its actual height.
1999 The Matrix 2199 Morpheus describes where Neo has gone by entering him into the Matrix system. He shows a scene from New York in a Matrix TV including the World Trade Center 200 years in the past, through to what the towers looked like 200 years later. The towers lost a heavy amount of concrete like most New York buildings, but they were still both standing.
1999 Trick 1999 Revolves around two gay men trying to find a place to have sex and who fall in love. Near the end of the movie, an establishing morning shot is shown centered on the Twin Towers in the early morning, and in the final scene a pan out moves from the main character to the Twin Towers and a portion of 7 World Trade Center from Greenwich Village.
2001 A.I. Artificial Intelligence 2142–4142 In the 2001 Steven Spielberg film A.I. Artificial Intelligence, the towers were shown standing in the year 2142 where global warming has flooded many cities, including New York City. Then, they are seen again, in the year 4142, many years after humanity has ceased to exist, this time covered in glacial ice, but were one of the few buildings standing above the ice. Less than three months after the release, the towers were destroyed in the September 11 terrorist attacks. Although risking controversy and criticism, Steven Spielberg left the towers in the DVD release.[2] The towers are in the Blu-ray release as well.
2002 Spider-Man 2001 After the terrorist attacks on the United States of September 11, 2001, Sony recalled teaser posters which showed a close-up of Spider-Man's face with the New York skyline (including, prominently, the World Trade Center towers) reflected in his eyes. Not all of the posters were recovered, however, and the ones still at large are now highly prized collector's items. The towers are seen in the movie, even reflected in Spider-Man's eyes. The makers of the film decided not to remove them digitally. The movie's original trailer, released in 2001, featured a group of bank robbers on their getaway in a helicopter, which Spider-Man catches in a giant spider-web between the two towers of the World Trade Center. The trailer was pulled after the events of September 11, 2001, attacks, but can be found on the Internet.[14]
2001 Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV 2001 In November 2001, this film premiered in New York City. During the months after September 11, nearly all movies made in New York had the towers removed either by editing the footage out or digitally removing them from the frame. Lloyd Kaufman relates in his book Make Your Own Damn Movie! that he felt audiences would be able to see the Twin Towers in film without being distressed. The opening narration features the Twin Towers prominently and it is reported that the audience cheered.[15]
2001 Vanilla Sky 2151 Premiered on December 14, 2001. The end segments feature the Twin Towers still standing in the panoramic city background. This is plausible as the ending scene to this is created from the lead character's memory. If he remembers the Twin Towers to still be standing, then they would still appear in the skyline.
2002 Gangs of New York 2001 Featured an ending sequence showing the city's skyline slowly progressing to its modern form. The final shot featured the World Trade Center restored to the skyline using computer-generated imagery. This scene also included a voice-over by one of the characters, who said, (to paraphrase) "those who lived in those times would never forget what it was like". Martin Scorsese chose to show the towers rather than remove them because the movie is supposed to be about the people who build New York, not those who tried to destroy it.
2002 Igby Goes Down 2001. Premiered September 13, 2002. One of the last films to show the Twin Towers. Establishing shots with the towers in prominent view were removed intentionally. Remaining in the final cut of the film are two brief, street-level shots from SoHo showing part of one tower in the background.
2002 You Stupid Man 2001. Premiered on October 18, 2002. In the opening credits there is a night time shot that pans the Lower Manhattan skyline which focuses on the two towers. There is also a scene with the towers as the backdrop around thirty minutes in and there is the 'standard' shot across the Brooklyn Bridge near the end of the film.
2002 25th Hour 2002 Directly incorporates the ruins of the Twin Towers. The opening credits are shown over views of the Tribute in Light, and one scene takes place at the apartment of Frank Slaughtery, which overlooks the site.
2002 Stairwell: Trapped in the World Trade Center 2001.9.11 This first 9/11 dramatization showed a number of different shots of the towers. The footage was shot in 1999 and was originally going to be used in a movie about the 1993 bombing. That movie, titled Hellevator, was shelved after the September 11 attacks.
2004 Miracle 1979–1980 Set in 1979 and 1980, the film features a digitally re-inserted shot of the towers just prior to the USA hockey team's exhibition game against the USSR at Madison Square Garden. The buildings of the World Financial Center, which would not be built for several years, are also included in the shot.
2005 Munich 1973 A period film ending in 1973. Despite the movie ending in 1973, several post-1980s skyscrapers are seen in the skyline.
2008 Man on Wire 1974 Man on Wire is a documentary film that chronicles Philippe Petit's 1974 high-wire walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. Despite being made in 2008, it makes no reference to the towers' destruction.
2006 United 93 2001.9.11 In the film's poster, the Twin Towers can be seen just under the Statue of Liberty's crown. The North Tower is on fire and a plane, United Airlines Flight 175, is heading towards the South Tower. In the film itself, the towers are the last glimpse of Manhattan caught by the passengers (most notably hijacker Ziad Jarrah, played by Khalid Abdalla), through a plane window as the flight departs Newark International Airport. While the intact complex was digitally re-inserted into the skyline, its destruction was shown through actual news footage.
2006 World Trade Center 2001.9.11 Oliver Stone directed World Trade Center (released on August 9, 2006), the first feature-length film about the attacks on the Twin Towers. It stars Nicolas Cage as Port Authority Police officer John McLoughlin, one of the first men called to the scene of the 9/11 attacks. Although it was the second film about the September 11th attacks to be released to theaters (following United 93), it is the first dramatic non-documentary film based on 9/11.
2007 The Kingdom 2003 The opening sequence revolves around the history of U.S. involvement in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. A map shows America as the number one oil consumer in 2000. A bar graph rises and soon turns into the South Tower of the World Trade Center, with United Airlines Flight 175 heading towards it. A quick cut shows Manhattan with the World Trade Center site on fire.
2008 August 2001.8 Tom Sterling fights to keep his start-up company afloat on Wall Street during summer 2001, a month before the 9/11 terrorist attacks which will decline the financial district. Around the end of the movie, Tom and his associates meet in a building of Manhattan a company which wants to invest. We can see the Twins Towers behind Tom when he is sitting in the waiting room. The towers are also briefly seen at the beginning of the film when Tom drives to work, and were featured on one of the film's posters.
2008 Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa 2005, Flashback: Before September 11, 2001 In a flashback, when Alex first came to the zoo as a cub, the skyline of New York is seen, showing the Twin Towers, which means he came before or during 2001, just before September 11.
2009 New York 2008 In the movie, the story is based on a former situation after the destruction of World Trade Center at September 11 attacks.[16]
2009 Watchmen 1985 The World Trade Center is present in New York, as the story is set in an alternate 1985. Both towers are shown several times inserted back into the skyline and even shown surviving a nuclear blast in New York City. The antenna is consistently depicted mounted on Two World Trade Center (the south tower), whereas in reality it was present on One World Trade Center (the north tower). However, as the story is set in an alternate history, this may have been deliberate.
2010 Remember Me 2001.9.11 Takes place in New York City in 2001. The date the movie is set is not initially revealed. Viewers are told there has been a ten-year lapse since the murder of Ally Craig's mother in 1991. As Tyler Hawkins makes his way downtown to visit his father's office, a reflection of the World Trade Center can be seen on a neighboring building. Once in the office, a pan-out reveals that he is on the uppermost floors of the North Tower of the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11, 2001, at the exact point that Flight 11 hit the tower.
2012 Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted 2005 The skyline of New York is shown when Alex and his friends are returning, showing the new 1 and 2 World Trade Center towers.
2014 The Amazing Spider-Man 2 2013 In some scenes, the new One World Trade Center is shown.
2014 A Most Violent Year 1981 When Abel Morales is turning Julian over to the police, the towers can be seen (though blurred) through the back window of Abel's car.

Notable movie posters[edit]

  • Godzilla vs. Megalon, (1973). In the American theatrical poster it shows Godzilla and Megalon fighting on top of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. The movie contained no scenes set in New York City, or in the United States in general, and only served to copy the 1976 King Kong remake's poster.
  • Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, (1992). The Twin Towers can be seen in the logo.
  • King Kong, (1976). Kong is shown atop the Twin Towers with one foot on each tower, grasping a burning fighter plane as other planes attack.
  • Manhattan, (1979). Both towers make up the two legs of the "H" of the title "MANHATTAN".
  • New York Stories, (1989). The poster shows a small apartment building with various people in each window, behind is the title and only the Twin Towers. They were removed in the 2003 DVD release.
  • Sidewalks of New York, (2001). The poster showed the World Trade Center in the background; the poster had to be changed, delaying the movie's release.
  • Spider-Man, (2002). Seen in Spider-Man's eyes in the pre-9/11 teaser poster. The poster is still at large, and now is a highly prized collector's item.
  • Splash, (1984). Seen in the background of the original poster. In the 2004 anniversary edition, it is changed to a view of the Empire State Building.
  • The Manhattan Dating Project, (2001). Seen throughout the film in the background and on the original poster. Later it has been replaced by the Singer Sha Sabi posing in front of a Limousine and the Empire State Building.
  • The Squeeze, (1987). The main character is actually being "squeezed" in between the two towers with a large hand.
  • Superman II, (1980). Both versions of the poster include the World Trade Center with the New York City skyline on fire, or in this case Metropolis.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Hot Rock". DVD Verdict Review. Retrieved 2007-04-12. 
  2. ^ a b c Mandell, Jonathan. "New York and Films". Gotham Gazette. Retrieved 2007-04-12. 
  3. ^ Wartofsky, Alona (January 27, 2002). "On-Screen, a City of Towering Achievement; Architect Explores New York's Stirring Roles". The Washington Post. 
  4. ^ "King Kong movie news and rumors". Kong is King.net. Retrieved 2013-03-28. 
  5. ^ "The King Leaks". Time Magazine. August 30, 1976. 
  6. ^ Berardinelli, James. "Review: Escape from New York". Reelviews. Retrieved 2007-04-12. 
  7. ^ O'Connor, John J. (December 28, 1982). "TV: 'Mazes and Monsters'". The New York Times. 
  8. ^ Jaffe, Rona. "Mazes & Monsters". RPGnet. 
  9. ^ a b c Gordon, William A. (1995). Shot on This Site: A Travelers Guide to the Places and Locations Used to Film Famous Movies. Citadel Press. p. 207. 
  10. ^ Roeper, Richard (September 23, 2001). "When trading movies' places falls". Chicago Sun Times. 
  11. ^ "An Autumn's Tale", @7:41
  12. ^ Brenner, Paul. "Freejack". Allmovie. 
  13. ^ O'Ehley, James. "Freejack". The Sci-Fi Movie Page. 
  14. ^ KJB (2001-09-13). "Sony Pulls Spider-Man Teaser Trailer & Poster". IGN. Retrieved 2007-04-28. 
  15. ^ ToxicAvenger.com
  16. ^ Aditya Chopra. Bollywood Movie New York. Yash Raj Films. 

External links[edit]