In original Planet of the Apes film, could it really be possible that the only remnant of the city would be the statue's head? Aren't there a lot of structures that would be more likely to survive all that time?

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    Yes, but those structures were intentionally destroyed. "You maniacs, you blew it up!" Sep 16, 2016 at 13:17
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    I think most of those structures are buried underground. In the sequel, they go underground into other New York City structures. Not sure why the other, taller structures are not also protruding, but it could just be Heston's angle of approach (SoL is geographically separated from the rest of the city).
    – Paul
    Sep 16, 2016 at 13:18
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    That wasn't a statue. It was the hand of the Mega Maid robot-ship.
    – RLH
    Sep 16, 2016 at 19:03
  • @Paul: were there any taller structures when the movie was made? (Just speculation, I have no idea.) Sep 16, 2016 at 23:15
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    @HarryJohnston - at the time the movie was filmed, there were at least six buildings in New York taller than the statue. In fact, the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building were more than 3 times as tall. When the movie took place - in the year 3978 - who can say what was left standing and what wasn't?
    – Omegacron
    Sep 16, 2016 at 23:26

5 Answers 5


A big assumption is that the statue remained on her pedestal on the island, and even that the statue is intact. It's entirely possible that she was ripped from her moorings and deposited elsewhere nearby, either in whole, or in part.

But, let's work with that assumption for the moment. I think some confusion comes from the fact that many of the images we see of Lady Liberty show her with the famous NYC skyline directly behind her. However, that skyline is actually off to her left (observers right). Directly behind her is New Jersey!

Heston is facing in roughly the direction given by the red arrow below:

enter image description here

As you can see, not a lot to see there.

  • I like this answer. However, it doesn't directly answer the question, but rather just posits why you didn't see any ruins of Manhattan (existing or not) in the shot. After all the whole point of that scene was that it was his first inkling of where he really was. If there were derilect skyscrapers around too (that the camera just didn't bother to pan to), it makes no sense.
    – T.E.D.
    Sep 16, 2016 at 19:48
  • @T.E.D. I wouldn't have high hopes of these things still standing a few decades after the humanity stopped caring for them. Sep 16, 2016 at 23:19
  • There's a big plastic dinosaur from Liberty Science Center somewhere in the direction of that arrow. Sep 16, 2016 at 23:59
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    interesting idea - though, the statue is certainly intact at least down to the shoulder since the head and arm are both in the same relative position. If the head had been torn off, it's unlikely it would be deposited in the same position next to the arm
    – NKCampbell
    Mar 8, 2019 at 20:19
  • Not quite sure why and I have not seen this film for at least ten years ( and never was interested in the newer rebooted ones ) but I always assumed it was the complete statue , at least the "body" part of it anyway discounting any build or mountings
    – AndyF
    Jan 7, 2020 at 18:28

In the second movie of this series, it is shown that the mutants living in the old city have the mental capability to project illusions - recall, Taylor disappears by falling through what appears to be a solid stone wall. The towers of NYC are hidden behind these illusions - as is shown later, when the ape army gets past the illusions and sees the heavily eroded skyscrapers.


Beneath the Planet of the Apes - New York (in the year 3979):


You do see the ruins of New York. In Beneath the Planet of the Apes, there is a model shot of the nuked ruins.

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    Can you provide a clip or a video to show what you're referring to?
    – Valorum
    Mar 8, 2019 at 18:21

Short answer: Yes, based on what is presented on-screen: It really is the only remnant. It is also the only remnant Taylor sees. I re-iterate: On-screen! We (the audience) have absolutely no way of knowing whether, in fact, there are also other remnants visible off-screen. For all we know, the Eiffel Tower might still be standing in Paris, and the Golden Gate Bridge might still be standing in San Francisco. That is the definitive answer about the appearance of remnants on-screen. If you have a question about what remnants might still be in existence elsewhere in the world off-screen - please submit a separate question.

  • Can you offer any evidence to substantiate this, or is it just your personal opinion?
    – Valorum
    Mar 8, 2019 at 18:20
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    "short answer": if you have a longer answer, with some evidence (analysis, quotes, you name it), we'd be glad to read it. Don't hesitate to edit your answer.
    – Jenayah
    Mar 8, 2019 at 18:37

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