I hear all the time that I live my life too much in the movies and sometimes I wonder to myself, is that really a bad thing? In the movies the imposing Twin Towers of the World Trade Center are still standing in Lower Manhatten, they are still dominating the New York skyline and inspiring characters to achieve their goals and reach for the stars.
In the films I can remember the New York skyline as it should be and through films they will live on longer than you or I and for the generation who are just growing up at school now and never lived in the same time when they stood, the Towers will be remembered by their cameo (and sometimes supporting character!) appearances in films.
P.S. – this article is not an exhaustive list of the Twin Towers in film. There’s many, many places on the web with those. These are simply my favourites and the ones I remembered as I went searching on Google this past week. I would love to hear in the comments other movies you remember the World Trade Center making a cameo appearance as we remember them how we should, and not with the images/video the media want us too;
The Hot Rock (1972)
Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)
Three Days of the Condor (1975)
Robert Redford’s thriller is the ultimate tribute to the World Trade Center.
King Kong (1976)
Saturday Night Fever (1977)
Kentucky Fried Movie (1977)
Terms of Endearment (1983)
Trading Places (1983)
The Pope of Greenwich Village (1984)
The Squeeze (1987)
Working Girl (1988)
When Harry Met Sally (1989)
The Godfather: Part III (1990)
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1982)
Wall Street (1987)
Dream Team (1989)
Michael Keaton plays a pathological liar in the film, who comes up with this gem of a quote;
“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 hell, let’s throw another one up’. Turned out pretty well, didn’t it?”
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)
Hudson Hawk (1991)
Die Hard With A Vengeance (1995)
Cop Land (1997)
Being John Malkovich (1999)
In Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi film the twin towers survive a flood caused by global warming in the year 2142. The film also depicts that they are still standing in the 4142 though covered by ice, long after all the humans have been wiped out.
Vanilla Sky (2001)
“The idea of wiping them away by the computer – I couldn’t do it”, “They’ve already been taken away once; they’ll stay in the movie. Hopefully, the audience will understand it’s a tribute.”
The use of the Twin Towers in the film are further rationalised by this being David Aames’ memory of what New York was, not specifically what it is 100% accurate. In David Aames’ created canvas of New York, the Towers still stand proud.
Gangs of New York (2002)
Martin Scorsese’s movie about mid 19th century five point gangs ends on a shot of the World Trade Center towers, created digitally for the film. Gangs of New York was released over a year after the events of 9/11 but were left in by Scorsese because his film was about the ‘The Hands That Built America’ (as the U2 song accompanying the film says) and not those that tried to destroy it.
The final shot of Steven Spielberg’s 2005 movie Munich but set in 1973, a reminder that our problems with the Middle East still haunt us decades on.
Man on Wire (2008)
This article is dedicated to the 3,000 people who lost their lives ten years ago and the thousands more who lost friends, loved ones, work colleagues on that day, and in the months/years that followed.