Remember the Alamo? Especially Jan Hooks’ cameo there in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure? And there was no basement there? Me too.
Prague Castle in The Brothers Bloom. This beautiful Bohemian castle is in other movies, like Mission: Impossible, but during the caper in this sequence they managed to catch some of my favorite statuary. This was at the point of the movie just before it started to go downhill, but at this point, what a glorious view.
Spoiler for H-scroll. No Solicitors, No Trespassing
The World Trade Center in Mazes and Monsters, King Kong (1976), The Cruise, the first trailer for Spider-Man, and Gangs of New York and many others. I hear Man on Wire is pretty good. Two towers that just overshadowed every other skyscraper in New York’s skyline. They embodied massiveness, stability, permanence…and I don’t mean to be flippant or disrespectful. Obviously they were destroyed, tragically. But while they were up they were an almost supernatural addition to the city: manmade and majestic. Of course a schizophrenic would mistake them as two magical towers in his not-D&D game. Of course a gigantic ape would climb them. Of course a tour guide would tell a kid to spin around between them, then look up at them. Of course the New Yorker of cinematic superheroes would use them to catch bank robbers. Of course a beautiful montage of low lower lowest Manhattan through the decades would feature them.
Runners Up: The Leaning Tower of Pisa in Superman III. He straightens it in a drunken stupor, then, after sobering up, knocks it askew again. Kind of a dick move in both cases.
The Eiffel Tower in The War of the Worlds (1953). There were no gratuitous shots of its destruction at Martian hands. When the aliens tore down the Eiffel Tower, a dedicated French sketch artist had to draw an artist’s depiction. That artifact of the fall of Paris was funneled to the leaders of Earth’s resistance, so they could harrumph at it and realize what a tight spot the Earth was in.