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7 Movie Moments Up, Through, And Over A Big Wall

Here's seven epic movie moments all about a big wall.

With the release of The Wall (2017), a film admittedly about a small wall, it got us thinking about big walls in movies, especially ones being defended from something trying to get inside. There have been a surprising number of fortress-type movies, but we narrowed it down to these 7 movie moments when someone or something went up, through, or over a big wall.

The Great Wall (2017)

A Big Wall
The Great Wall, 2017 © Universal Pictures

Might as well start with a movie that has the word ‘wall’ right in the title. This action/adventure film is based on Chinese lore and features a mostly Chinese cast, though its most widely-advertised face is Matt Damon, playing a European mercenary in China who comes upon the Great Wall, learning that it was built to fend against an army of underground monsters looking to breach and reach the capital. Some epic sequences follow with a mid-movie battle that sees the wall overrun a highlight. Read our review.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

A Big Wall
Monty Python and the Holy Grail, 1975 © EMI Films

Let’s get silly. In this classic satire from the British comedy troupe Monty Python’s Flying Circus, the boys take some stabs at the Legend of King Arthur, all in good fun. It follows the legendary King (Graham Chapman) on horseback … er, halved coconuts, traveling the English countryside looking for knights to join him on a quest to find the Holy Grail, but finding more misadventure than adventure. At one point, they come upon a French-controlled castle and encounter a rather rude soldier (John Cleese) atop the parapet walk along the outer wall who shouts nothing but taunts at the group … followed by a cow. Yes, a bovine catapult. This inspires Arthur and the knights to attack, though not with much success as a volley of livestock rains down upon them. Say it with us, “Run away!”

Starship Troopers (1997)

A Big Wall
Starship Troopers, 1997 © Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group

Set in the far future where humans have made space travel a way of life, those living on Earth live in a kind of global caste system where citizenship is a privilege, earned by serving in the military. Now under the threat of a new enemy–a race of insect-like beasts–the military take to attacking their home planet with both space and ground attacks. Setting up bases with high metal walls, one team of soldiers find themselves overwhelmed by a gigantic horde of car-sized ‘bugs’ who swarm the fort in a hive-mind attack, leaving the few humans defending in a state of gory slaughter. Messy.

Word War Z (2013)

A Big Wall
World War Z, 2013 © Paramount Pictures

While the ‘zombie movie’ continues to thrive, seemingly an unending tap of source material for all kinds of genres, Brad Pitt‘s foray into the mix met with mostly mixed reviews, centering on a former United Nations worker thrust into the chaos of a raging epidemic that transforms victims into flesh-devouring undead. Globetrotting from city to city in an effort to stop the spread, he ends up in Jerusalem, where the city has enclosed itself in a towering wall that seems impenetrable, until the zombies prove otherwise and use themselves as bodies to scale the exterior and horde upon the hapless, unprepared souls inside.

READ MORE: That Moment in the Brad Pitt zombie film World War Z.

Glory (1989)

A Big Wall
Glory, 1989 © TriStar Pictures

Shifting from fiction to fact, this epic American Civil War drama is based on the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, one of the first officially organized military Army units in the United States made up of African-Americans, though led by white officers. A harrowing story of dignity and honor while the fight between the North and the South rages on, the unit is eventually dispatched to South Carolina, to help in the attack of Fort Wagner, a highly-defending compound with high walls and only one accessible entry point. Led by Colonel Robert Gould Shaw (Matthew Broderick), the men volunteer to be the first in line and at night, attempt to scale the bulwarks and walls and win victory for the North. It’s a devastating moment of courage and chaos. War is hell.

King Kong (1933)

A Big Wall
King Kong, 1933 © Radio Pictures

This great ape has been on screen lots of times, his story one that continues to fascinate audiences, even today, but it is the original 1933 black and white classic that true fans hold as the best, its groundbreaking visual effects and terrifying story still great fun to watch so many decades on. In the story, as if you don’t know, a group of filmmakers and a young naive starlet (Fay Wray) head to sea looking for exotic locations and come upon Skull Island, where a giant gorilla rules the lay of the land, the natives in hiding behind a towering wall and, as the girl will soon learn, an ornate pedestal for sacrifices. Good thing Kong has a thing for blondes.

Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

A Big Wall
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, 2002 © New Line Cinema

The second installment of the Lord of the Rings franchise, this epic fantasy continues the saga of a group of men, dwarves, elves, and hobbits struggling to stop the evil Sauron from ruling all of Middle Earth. In this film, the parties are separated with the men traveling with the wizard Gandolf (Ian McKellen) to release the The King of Rohan, Théoden (Bernard Hill) from the clutches of Sauron, and end up at Helm’s Deep, a fortress in the mountains as Saruman (Christopher Lee), a dark wizard under Sauron’s control, sends a massive army of Uruk-hai soldiers to attack. It’s a breathtaking cinematic battle, one that reshaped the genre and the war film in one single scene. The greatest wall defense movie moment ever.

Got a favorite you want to share? Let us know in the comments below.

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