The Eiffel Tower - on the Screen
A visual tour of the Eiffel Tower as seen in the movies.
Some quick facts about the tower -
The Eiffel Tower was constructed in 1889
It took 2 years and 2 months to complete construction
Principal designer was Alexandre Gustave Eiffel
It stands 1063 feet tall
It is made of iron
It weighs 10,000 tons
There are 1710 steps to the top
It has two elevators and two restaurants
It was the tallest man-made structure in the world for 41 years
until the Chrysler Building was constructed in New York in 1930
It is the most visited paid monument in the world
6.8 million people visit the tower every year
It has become the most prominent symbol of Paris and France
The Crazy Ray. A 1925 silent film directed by Rene Clair, a nightwatchman sleeping at the top of the Eiffel Tower wakes to find Paris has stopped moving. All the people frozen in mid movement. A mad scientist has invented a "crazy ray" which has immobilized most of Paris, only people high up seem to have escaped its effects.
"We'll always have Paris." Rick and Ilsa in Paris, a flashback scene from the Hollywood classic Casablanca (1942) directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt and Peter Lorre.
Nominated for 8 Oscars and winning 3 Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay.
The Man on the Eiffel Tower (1949) directed by Burgess Meredith and starring Charles Laughton, Franchot Tone, Robert Hutton and Burgess Meredith. Laughton plays Inspector Maigret who's on the trail of a cold-blooded killer (Tone), an uneven film with a famous chase climax through the streets and roofs of Paris and finally on top of the Eiffel Tower.
War of the Worlds (1953) directed by Byron Haskin and produced by George Pal, starring Gene Barry and Ann Robinson. Based on H.G. Wells classic novel.
Sir Cedric Hardwicke narrates - “The Martians had no resistance to the bacteria in our atmosphere to which we have long since become immune. Once they had breathed our air, germs, which no longer affect us, began to kill them. The end came swiftly. All over the world, their machines began to stop and fall."
Funny Face (1957) directed by Stanley Donen, starring Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire. A colourful musical set in Paris, Astaire is a 58 year old fashion photographer who loves taking photos of 28 year old Miss Hepburn, and who can blame him?
The Great Race (1965) directed by Blake Edwards and starring Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, Natalie Wood and Peter Falk. 1908 and The Great Leslie (Curtis) and his nemesis Professor Fate (Lemmon) enter a New York to Paris road race. The film ends with Professor Fate attempting to destroy the Great Leslie's car by firing a cannon at it, he misses and knocks down the Eiffel Tower instead.
Nominated for 5 Oscars, winning for Best Sound.
Thunderball (1965) directed by Terence Young and starring Sean Connery, Claudine Auger, Adolfo Celi and Luciana Paluzzi. The first appearance of the Eiffel Tower in a Bond film, Emilio Largo (Celi) on his way to a meeting with SPECTRE no.1 to discuss the 'NATO Project'.
Won an Oscar for Special Effects and Ken Adams set design was nominated for a British Academy Award.
"Is it safe?" CIA agent Roy Scheider looking out of his Paris balcony, about to be attacked by one of Szell's henchmen in the exciting thriller Marathon Man (1976) directed by John Schlesinger and starring Dustin Hoffman as Scheider's unknowing brother, Laurence Olivier as Nazi war criminal Szell and William Devane as a crooked cop.
Superman II (1981) directed by Richard Lester and starring Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder and Terence Stamp. Terrorists hiding in the Eiffel Tower threaten to blow up Paris with a nuclear bomb. Lois gets involved and it's Superman to the rescue.
2010 (1984) directed by Peter Hyams and starring Roy Scheider, John Lithgow, Helen Mirren and Bob Balaban. Based on the novel by Arthur C. Clarke and a sequel to Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). Scheider joins a Russian space mission to Jupiter to find out what happened to the U.S.S Discovery.
At the climax of the film, mysterious alien beings with god-like powers ignite Jupiter turning it into a second sun in our Solar System. People in cities round the world see a new bright star in the sky.
A View to a Kill (1985) directed by John Glen and starring Roger Moore, Christopher Walken, Tanya Roberts, Grace Jones and Patrick Macnee. James Bond chases the murderous May Day up the Eiffel Tower where she makes a quick exit by jumping off and gliding down in a parachute.
58 year old Roger Moore's 7th and last Bond movie. Timothy Dalton took over as 007 for the next two films.
Chevy Chase, Beverly D.Angelo, Dana Hill and Jason Lively pose in front of the Eiffel Tower in the hilarious comedy National Lampoon's European Vacation (1985) directed by Amy Heckerling.
Stewardess: Can I get you anything to drink?
Clark Griswold: Honey? I guess I'll have a Coke.
Stewardess: Do you want that in the can?
Clark Griswold: No, I'll have it right here.
Mars Attacks! (1996) directed by Tim Burton and starring Jack Nicholson, Glenn Close, Annette Bening, Pierce Brosnan, Danny DeVito, Martin Short, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michael J. Fox, Rod Steiger, Natalie Portman, Jack Black, Jim Brown and Tom Jones.
Martian invaders attack important landmarks around the Earth and chase Tom Jones around Vegas asking for his autograph. But they react badly to Slim Whitman's rendition of "Indian Love Call". Ack! Ack! Ack!
"Merde!" Paris is turned to rubble when it gets hit by a chunk of asteroid in Michael Bay's disaster epic Armageddon (1998) starring Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, Owen Wilson and Steve Buscemi. Nominated for four Oscars including Best Visual Effects.
Which begs the question why do asteroids or meteors always target major cities?
Team America: World Police (2004) directed by Trey Parker. Puppet animation by the makers of South Park. Terrorists blow up Paris and it's up to anti-terrorist force Team America to hunt them down before they destroy the world.
The film has violence, gore, profanity, vulgarity, nudity, sex (in every position imaginable for two naked puppets) and is hilarious if taken the right way. Inspired by Gerry Anderson's hit 60's series Thunderbirds.
Ratatouille (2007) directed by Brad Bird and with the voices of Patton Oswalt, Lou Romano, Ian Holm and Peter O'Toole. A Pixar animation. Remy the rat helps Linguini, a restaurant garbage boy, become a good cook.
Nominated for 5 Oscars, winning Best Animated Feature Film.
Rush Hour 3 (2007) directed by Brett Ratner and starring Chris Tucker, Jackie Chan, Max Von Sydow and Hiroyuki Sanada.
After an assassination attempt on the Chinese Ambassador, Detective Carter and Inspector Lee are sent to Paris to protect a French girl who knows the identity of Triads' secret leaders. The final fight sequence takes place on the Eiffel Tower.
28 Weeks Later (2007) directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo and starring Robert Carlyle, Rose Byrne and Jeremy Renner. A sequel to Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later (2002). The deadly Rage Virus has annihilated most of the population of Britain, turning the infected into rabid cannibalistic zombies. In the last shot of the film we see that the virus has reached Paris as the infected run out of a tunnel towards the city.
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009) directed by Stephen Sommers and starring Dennis Quaid, Channing Tatum, Sienna Miller, Marlon Wayans, Rachel Nichols and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Cobra agents fire a deadly new weapon based on nanotechnology at the Eiffel Tower, the vapor from the blast starts to dissolve the iron structure and the tower topples over into the Seine. Our heroes the G.I. Joe set out to stop Cobra from melting other famous landmarks. It's basically Team America without the strings, sex and gore.
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011) directed by Guy Ritchie and starring Robert Downey jr, Jude Law, Naomi Rapace, Rachel McAdams and Jared Harris.
The fate of Europe hangs in the balance as Holmes and Watson go after the Napoleon of Crime, Professor James Moriarty, the trail leads them to Strasbourg, Paris and Iceland.
Midnight in Paris (2011) directed by Woody Allen and starring Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams. Gil and Inez travel to Paris, he falls in love with the city but she doesn't share his idea that 1920s Paris was the golden age. One night she goes dancing with some friends while he walks around the streets, an old car stops by and the passengers invite him over to a party. Gil finds himself transported to 1920s Paris.
Nominated for four Oscars - Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Art Direction
Hugo (2011) directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Asa Butterfield and Chloe Moretz. 1930s Paris. A young orphan lives in a train station fixing clocks and other gadgets, one day he meets a cranky old man who owns a toy shop, his name is Georges Melies, one of the pioneers of cinema.
Nominated for 11 Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay.
More by this Author
A visual history of the Devil in cinema.
Superman - The Man of Steel in the movies and on TV with facts, quotes, ratings and photos.
A Chronology of Fantasy Film Posters 1980-1989. With facts and ratings.