Film History Landmarks

The World Trade Center in its greatest film roles

How do you feel when you see the World Trade Center pop up in a movie from the 1970s and 80s? Sadness? Nostalgia? Or, with so many years gone by, do they just seem unusual to you?

Fortunately researcher and movie lover Donna Grunewald had documented every reference you need to revisit all those emotions.

The World Trade Center In Movies is a methodical look at the Twin Towers as they appear in motion pictures. (And recently updated fro 2021!) This site features buildings’ complete filmography, including silhouettes and appearances in skyline scenes.

Although the World Trade Center made many more appearances in the 1980s and 1990s, I prefer a good peek via a good 1970s film. Check out the extensive collection here. But here are a few of my favorites:

The World Trade Center, still under construction, appeared in The French Connection (1971), its jagged and unfinished silhouette adding to the film’s gritty ambiance.

The lovely 1975 Robert Redford/Faye Dunaway thriller Three Days Of The Condor focuses on the towers’ modern beauty.

The breathtaking scenery in 1977’s Saturday Night Fever.

The website is so joyously exhaustive that it even documents brief cameos like the nighttime fly-by in 1978’s Superman: The Movie.

And in the 1978 oddity Bye Bye Monkey starring Gerard Depardieu, the World Trade Center is just along for the ride.

And the towers make a rather ominous appearance in the 1979 science fiction film Meteor. (Click here so see the movie poster.)

For more information on the early years of the World Trade Center, listen to our show from earlier this year:

9 replies on “The World Trade Center in its greatest film roles”

There’s another nice “under construction” scene in the recent Amazon series “Good Girls Revolt” when some of the characters visit someone in Jersey City. The unfinished towers can be seen in the background towering even at that distance over the then low-rise Jersey City skyline. It’s all CGI of course but it still made me catch my breath for a moment.

Toward the end of Winged Migration the Canada geese are filmed with the World Trade Center in the background. It was so moving and beautiful! It caught me quite by surprise and it is my favorite scene.

In the Led Zeppelin concert film The Song Remains The Same, there’s a shot of the towers during the intro to Stairway. They come into focus just as Robert Plant says, “This is a song of hope.”

In the early 1980’s I worked on a film called “Wrong Is Right” starring Sean Connery. There a was a scene we filmed with Sean on the top of the World Trade Center at the base of the antenna.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *