If there’s any doubt as to the potency of pop culture in chronicling an era, it’s washed away in the first few seconds of this supercut featuring the many big-screen appearances of the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers, which fell thirteen years ago today. Filmmaker Dan Meth has edited a three-minute video that spans the Towers’ entire history, from their construction in the early ’70s grittiness of New York City (scored to Dennis Parker’s “Like an Eagle”) to the New Wave ’80s (with The Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime” providing the music), straight through to the Hip-Hop ’90s (represented by DJ Cappel and Smitty’s Notorious B.I.G. vs. Frank Sinatra mashup “Juicy/New York, New York”). Sometimes the towers are on screen for a mere split second, as in Exorcist II: The Heretic. At other times, as in Dino Di Laurentis’ 1976 King Kong remake (pictured above), they’re practically a costar. But no matter how much screen time they’re given, after their debut in 1972’s The Hot Rock, we get to see them in classics like Dog Day Afternoon, Something Wild, and The Usual Suspects; cult films like The Toxic Avenger, Escape from New York, and Brother from Another Planet; and blockbusters like Superman, Men in Black, and Independence Day. Watch Meth’s video below.
As much as I love this supercut, it’s missing just one thing – my favorite big-screen appearance of the Towers, in the original trailer for Sam Raimi’s 2002 Spider-Man. As fans will recall, Sony removed the trailer from theaters following the attacks on 9/11. But those of us lucky enough to catch it beforehand, thrilled to the sight of perhaps the most clever cinematic use of the New York landmarks in their last great fictional role. Here’s the low-res version that’s now online.
Do you have a favorite on or off-screen memory of the Twin Towers? Share it with us below.