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These big screen scenes will make you wanna duck and cover. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 nuclear bomb scenes in movies.
For this list, we’re taking a look at the most memorable big screen scenes that feature nuclear bombs. And, just so you know, there may be some spoilers ahead, so don’t say you haven’t been warned.
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#10: “The Wolverine” (2013)
Being nearly indestructible, Wolverine tends to pop up in the most unlikely of historical places. In this scene for instance, he is present during the atomic attack on Nagasaki in Japan. As the blast takes out most of the area, Wolverine saves a Japanese soldier by sheltering him under a big piece of metal. And surprise! Both survive the complete destruction in a scene that isn’t even the unlikeliest nuclear near miss on this list.
#9: “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” (2008)
Sadly, this entire movie could’ve been avoided if it weren’t for that meddling refrigerator. When Dr. Jones stumbles upon the model town at the Nevada Test Site moments before a nuclear detonation, he must find some means of protection from the blast. Luckily, there’s a lead-lined fridge. The explosion is much as you’d expect in terms of nuclear blasts, but unfortunately it’s not powerful enough to eradicate the plot of this movie that was disliked by many Indy fans.
#8: “The Dark Knight Rises” (2012)
Some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb. In what he meant to be a selfless act and the ultimate sacrifice, Bruce Wayne himself flies a nuclear bomb far enough away from civilization to save everyone, and seemingly dies in the ensuing blast in the final installment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. The scene would’ve been even more poignant if Batman had actually sacrificed himself, but it doesn’t matter; the view is impressive and Batman saved the day on his own terms.
#7: “Independence Day” (1996)
In “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” Klaatu and his robot Gort come down to warn us about impending nuclear war. It’s a good thing we didn’t listen to those tree-hugging hipsters because years later, we needed all of our atomic power to deal with more alien invaders out to steal our resources. Luckily, Will Smith and his computer hacking buddy Jeff Goldblum were on the case because we got to see some really great fireworks.
#6: “Armageddon” (1998)
Years after the Cold War, mankind is left with a bunch of useless atomic devices. What better way to get rid of them than to strap them to giant Earth-shattering asteroids? It’s time we used our most dangerous weapons against someone other than ourselves! Armageddon gives us a lot of great Michael Bay action sequences, but we get a little extra something when he sets off a nuclear explosion in space.
#5: “The Sum of All Fears” (2002)
But Ben Affleck’s flirtations with the threat of nuclear explosion weren’t over after Armageddon. Unfortunately however, Affleck as Jack Ryan wasn’t quite as successful when it came to the whole life-saving thing as Bruce Willis, as the bomb Ryan’s looking for goes off and kills a bunch of people in this political thriller. Luckily, Morgan Freeman lives long enough to give him a few words of advice.
#4: “Threads” (1984)
The 80s were a time of doom saying and fear of looming atomic war, so what better time to flood the media with movies about horrible nuclear destruction?! Threads tells this charming story from a European perspective with England as the victim of nuclear fallout. The result isn’t pretty as you might have guessed, but we’re still treated to some real rad explosion scenes.
#3: “The Day After” (1983)
While most nuclear destruction scenes tend to conclude a movie, after this one happens, we get to see a little of the aftermath as well. After NATO and the Warsaw pact come to blows, a nuclear war ensues and nukes are sent flying everywhere. In this disaster flick, which also happens to be the highest-rated TV film in history, a nuke lands in Lawrence, Kansas, and the survivors must deal with the fallout and try to put the pieces back together.
#2: “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991)
Think smarter machines are the way of the future? If Skynet had its say, the entire human race would be eradicated from the face of the planet and everyone would live happily ever after. In this dream sequence, Sarah Connor witnesses mind-numbing destruction as a nuclear bomb takes out everything she knows and loves. Luckily, when he’s not having a complete breakdown on set, her son John Connor returns to save our future.
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- The Avengers (2012)
- Broken Arrow (1996)
- Godzilla (2014)
- The Crazies (2010)
#1: “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” (1964)
Major King Kong can’t wait to nuke those damn commies, so much so in fact that when the bomb doesn’t drop, he helps it along manually. In a scene that is both hilarious and kinda poignant, Stanley Kubrick warns us about the dangers of war mongering and the arms race as the Major goes down smiling. Ironically, if the bomb hadn’t launched, the world could’ve avoided incineration.
Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite nuclear bomb scene from the movies? For more explosive Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.