The Golden Gate Bridge celebrated its opening on May 27, 1937, and it seems like Hollywood has been doing its damndest to close the thing down ever since. The nearly two-mile-long wonder that connects California's San Francisco to Marin County has been the target of many ruthless attacks throughout movie history, from the earthquakes that might one day actually destroy the bridge to your garden variety monsters.
There's plenty of the latter on display in Guillermo del Toro monster mash "Pacific Rim," which eschews the typical landmark stomping of Kaiju movies … with the notable exception of pointy-headed beast laying waste to the Golden Gate in the film's opening prologue. Guess the temptation was too hard to resist, eh, Guillermo?
1. 'It Came From Beneath the Sea' (1955)
The late stop-motion animation genius Ray Harryhausen created the Kraken-like giant octopus for this '50s creature feature, although budget constraints forced him to remove two of the tentacles; thusly a "sixtopus" ravages the California coastline's most famous monument. As the trailer proclaims, "San Francisco DOOMED! Golden Gate Bridge UPROOTED!" It's not incidental that Guillermo del Toro dedicated "Pacific Rim" to Harryhausen's memory.
2. 'Superman' (1978)
This summer's "Man of Steel" had Henry Cavill's Superman showing more than a little negligence for collateral damage during his battle with General Zod, but in Richard Donner's original "Superman" Christopher Reeve actually gave a crap about saving lives. Thus, when Lex Luthor's missiles cause a fissure in the San Andreas Fault, triggering an earthquake that threatens to tear Golden Gate asunder, Kal-El swoops in and saves the day, even rescuing a schoolbus full of excited kids. Yay!
3. 'The Core' (2003)
Yeah, not many people bothered with this Johnny-come-lately "Armageddon," which cast never-stars Hillary Swank and Aaron Eckhart as scientists taking a journey to the center of the earth. Their purpose? To set off huge bombs in order to restart the Earth's … ah, who cares. The point is there's a scene where the bridge rips in half and sends lots of tiny little model cars toppling into the ocean like Cheerios into a cereal bowl.
4. 'X-Men: The Last Stand' (2006)
Ian McKellen's Magneto has lifted a lot of metal stuff with his mind: girders, police cars, Wolverine, etc. The third entry in the "X-Men" franchise offered him a chance to really strut his stuff by literaly ripping the entirety of the Golden Gate off its hinges and diverting it for easy access to Alcatraz Prison. What does he have against Marin County? This is easily the coolest set piece in any of the films, which makes it all the more mind-boggling that it was directed by Brett Ratner.
5. 'Land of the Lost' (2009)
Though it landed with a thud at the box office, this Will Ferrell vehicle is by far the biggest-budgeted stoner movie ever realized. Based on the trippy old Sid and Marty Krofft TV show, it finds Ferrell, Anna Friel and Danny McBride transported to a weird alternate dimension of dinosaurs, evil Sleestaks and horny monkeymen. Their first pitstop is a desert landscape littered with anachronistic junk, including a 76 gas station sign, Big Ben, Titanic and you guessed it, the remains of the Golden Gate Bridge.
6. 'Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus' (2009)
Perhaps the scariest thing to make its way across the Golden Gate since the Zodiac killer is the Megalodon, a massive skyscraper-sized prehistoric shark presumed extinct for 1.5 million years … presumed WRONG. This "Jaws²" takes a bite out of the bridge like it's a piece of Juicy Fruit thanks to the effects wizardry of low-budget direct-to-video shlockmeisters The Asylum. Only two people can stop it: Debbie Gibson and Lorenzo Lamas. God help us all.
7. 'Monsters vs. Aliens' (2009)
Only the master animators at DreamWorks could make the destruction of the Golden Gate Bridge so darn adorable. The cute-as-can-be Insectosaurus lays waste to an evil giant robot, inadvertently collapsing the structure in the process. This is almost a complete one-eighty from "Pacific Rim," where the robots are the good guys and in one scene actually take great pains to not step on a bridge while fighting a monster, a lesson Henry Cavill's Superman should take to heart.
8./9. 'Terminator Salvation' (2009) / 'The Book of Eli' (2010)
We've lumped these two together since they're essentially the exact same thing: a dude traveling over the abandoned wreckage of the Golden Gate in a post-apocalyptic future wasteland. Whether its Christian Bale's John Connor or Denzel Washington's Eli, they're both lone warriors looking to save the human race. They could start by giving that bridge a frickin' paint job!
10. 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes' (2011)
You know what's worse than one giant King Kong-sized monkey attacking a national monument? A bunch of super-intelligent regular-sized monkeys wreaking havoc along the fog-shrouded bridge, which is exactly what happens at the climax of this reboot/prequel to Fox's long-cherished "Apes" franchise. Cops in riot gear are no match for an orangutan with a bad attitude. Damn dirty apes.