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Top 10 movie explosions.


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Simon Braund gives his reasons for choosing the following as his Top 10 explosions.

Given that explosions are such a ubiquitous movie staple, pages could be filled with a list of honourable mentions. I'll limit myself to a few. The Wild Bunch has, arguably, a better exploding bridge than the one on the river Kwai. But The Bridge On The River Kwai features a plummeting steam train so, to my mind, no contest. Die Hard, Mad Max 2, Independence Day and Dr. Strangelove were also mooted, and I agonised over the gremlin in the microwave from Gremlins. However, inspired though it is, that was suggested by my friend Lara so isn't really a personal choice. Close, as they say, but no (exploding) cigar.

10: Star Wars - 1977

It was good in '77, but even better with '97's Special Edition CG enhancement. Luke's destruction of the Death Star is one of cinema's greatest climaxes (it's very Freudian). An explosion so good, John Williams leaves a little pause in the music to let it breathe and billow.


9: The Day Of The Jackal - 1973

Preparing for an assassination attempt on Charles De Gaulle, hired killer The Jackal (Edward Fox) road-tests his new sniper's rifle by taking pot shots at a watermelon, sinisterly adorned with a crude human face. After a few standard rounds he switches to a custom-made, mercury-filled load. Kerblam! The melon explodes in a satisfyingly mulchy, slo-mo mess — a scene much admired by pro hitmen for its authenticity.


8: Swordfish - 2001

This routine action-thriller is remarkable for two things — okay three, if we're being strictly accurate: Halle Berry's proud and perky points, and the devastating explosion that opens the film. This jaw-dropping effect, wherein the action freezes but the camera keeps moving, was a breathtaking opening — but not nearly as disturbing as John Travolta's hair.


7: Bad Taste - 1987

In a memorable moment from Peter Jackson's splatter-fest, an innocently grazing sheep goes baa-boom when it's hit by a stray rocket-propelled grenade. This is, perhaps, the best example of a minor cultural phenomenon. Obscure 1973 sci-fi flick Godmonster Of Indian Flats features a mutant sheep that explodes at the end; Jon Hastings' comic-book Smith Brown Jones: Alien Accountant boasts exploding vampire sheep, and there are countless videogame examples.


6: Zabriskie Point - 1970

Michelangelo Antonioni'srib-shatteringly pretentious US debut reaches its prolonged climax with endless images of a modernist house exploding, shot from every conceivable angle at a variety of speeds. There is debate among film bores as to whether the destruction is 'real' or happening in the imagination of the girl watching. Inserts of a TV and a fridge going kaboom, however, confirm that this is a deep comment on the evils of materialism.


5: Apocalypse Now - 1979

In certain versions of Coppola's head-f*cking masterpiece (super-rare 16mm anamorphic rental prints, for example), the end credits roll over images of Kurtz's (Marlon Brando) compound being destroyed in a stupendous conflagration — essential viewing if you love the smell of napalm in the morning. The footage was captured during the demolition of the Philippine set, shot using multiple cameras with different film stock and lenses. Coppola replaced it with a black screen when he discovered that some audiences misinterpreted it as an air strike called in by Willard (Martin Sheen).


4: The Bridge On The River Kwai - 1957

His priorities obviously skewed by years of forced labour in a Japanese POW camp, Colonel Nicholson (Alec Guinness) initially attempts to foil an Allied plot to destroy the symbol of his and his fellow inmates' defiance of their captors. Eventually coming to his senses, he falls on the detonator himself. In a scene shot entirely without models, the bridge goes pop in spectacular style, sending a full-size steam train plunging into the river below.


3: The Italian Job - 1969

In a film more known for its genius stunt work than its impressive pyrotechnics, The Italian Job still manages to impress with its one use of a hearty explosion. During the dress rehearsals for the Turin bullion raid on a deserted sports field, Charlie Croker's (Michael Caine) henchmen overdo it with the jelly, reducing a stand-in armoured van to the proverbial smithereens when they were only supposed to… oh, you know. Interestingly, Caine's nettled response to the f*ck-up was proclaimed the most memorable line in screen history in a 2003 survey of UK film fans. Not a lot of people know that.


2: White Heat - 1949

The high point of Warner Bros.'gangster cycle' and of the incomparable Jimmy Cagney's career: Cody Jarrett, psycho hoodlum with a seriously warped Oedipal complex, finally makes it to the “top of the world!” In fact it's a flaming gasometer that promptly blows him to kingdom come. Symbolism, big bangs and Cagney in never-more-manic mode. That's the way to do it.


1: Scanners - 1981

The money shot of David Cronenberg's cult classic is among the most shocking and indelible moments in the history of movies. Renegade Scanner Darryl Revok (Michael Ironside) uses his telekinetic powers to blow up a fat, speccy guy's head. The effect was achieved in brutally low-tech style by stuffing a latex cranium with dog food and raw rabbit's liver (note: not calf's liver, not pig's liver — rabbit's liver), blasted from behind with a 12-gauge shotgun. In a word: freaking awesome!

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Credit: http://www.dictionary.com


ex·plo·sion (ĭk-splō'zhən) Pronunciation Key



1) A release of mechanical, chemical, or nuclear energy in a sudden and often violent manner with the generation of high temperature and usually with the release of gases.

2) A violent bursting as a result of internal pressure.

3) The loud, sharp sound made as a result of either of these actions.

4) A sudden, often vehement outburst: an explosion of rage.

5) A sudden, great increase: a population explosion; the explosion of illegal drug use.

I would say that Scanners is an explosion, and so would the dictionary definition of an explosion (sub-section 2).


To put it in even simpler terms, the man's head explodes. If his head explodes, how is it not an explosion?

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I like the explosion at the end of Die Hard 2, that serves for a decent ending. In regards to that list, I think Halle Berry's topless scene in Swordfish is overrated. She isn't that attractive in my opinion, less so with short hair (which I rarely find appealing on a woman). And her boobs are nothing special. I'm looking at them right now, and they're not that great. That's not to say I wouldn't motorboat them, but there are better breasts out there. I would post examples, but alas, that is against the rules. Edited by Red05
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I'm not arguing.


Just out of interest though, what constitutes an explosion in your opinion?


Anything not involving people and non living items. If a person just 'blows up' for no particular reason (mind control whatever) I don't count it. Note if a person explodes because something explosive is attached to him that is different and does count.

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Anything not involving people and non living items. If a person just 'blows up' for no particular reason (mind control whatever) I don't count it. Note if a person explodes because something explosive is attached to him that is different and does count.
So something/someone exploding is not an explosion?


The part in bold covers a lot of ground. A non-living item? Like a microwave?

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Guest Anime Otaku

I'm not a fan of AKIRA but Tokyo going BOOM is impressive. God bless Manga-ka and their Hiroshima Complex.

Also where's ID4? There's a few good ones in there, especially the White House going getting ripped apart and taking a few Helicopters with it.

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