Skip to main content

Main navigation

The Harbor bridge and Sydney Opera House in front of a large object on fire.

5 Sydney Opera House near misses (in the movies)

Five times we've flirted with danger throughout our illustrious film career.

Dominic Ellis

Welcome to our new series Opera House: Unexpected, where we look at lesser known chapters from a 47-year career in the pop culture spotlight. First up, the on-screen close calls that have made the Opera House Hollywood shorthand for “this is of international importance”.

1. Independence Day (1996)

'96 was a big year for Sydney. Crowded House graced the Forecourt with their Farewell to the World show, the Sydney Swans made their first Grand Final appearance in 51 years, and an alien spaceship crashed down on Sydney Harbour, narrowly missing Sydney’s beloved icon (but wiping out most of Elizabeth Bay). Phew.

2. Sunshine (2007)

Another close call. As a band of heroes try to restore a dying sun, a couple of stragglers back on Earth look upon a glittery beacon of hope.

3. Pacific Rim (2013)

This giant kaiju was kind enough to sidestep us on its way to destroying the rest of the city. Fun fact: we also survive the sequel.

4. One Night Stand (1984)

As Nuclear War breaks out across the world, four friends take shelter (and play strip poker) in an empty Sydney Opera House. You’ll have to dig through the VHS archives to find this apocalyptic coming-of-age flick.

5. Godzilla: Final War (2004)

OK, maybe not quite a near miss. Unsatisfied with throwing his rival onto the Opera House and flattening our front half, Godzilla laser beams us for good measure. Hell hath no fury like a prehistoric creature who doesn't like opera.

Streamread & listen to more at the Opera House