Statue of Liberty in popular culture

Statue of Liberty in popular culture

After the Statue of Liberty's 1886 unveiling, it quickly became iconic, featured in scores of posters, pictures, and books. The statue's likeness was also used or featured in motion pictures, television programs, music videos and video games. Images of the statue have been used as a logo, on commemorative coins, and in theatrical productions. It remains a popular local, national, and international political symbol and marketing image.


  • Books and stories 1
  • Coins 2
  • Comics 3
  • Films 4
  • Logos 5
  • Music videos 6
  • Political symbolism 7
  • Pranks 8
  • Sports 9
  • Television 10
  • Theme parks 11
  • Typography 12
  • Video games 13
  • Visual arts 14
  • As damaged and destroyed 15
  • References 16

Books and stories

Statue of Diana
  • A 1911 O. Henry story relates a fanciful conversation between "Mrs. Liberty" and another statue;[1] "The Lady Higher Up" relates a fanciful dialog between the statue and the then-famous Statue of Diana at Madison Square Garden. In the story, Diana asks "Mrs. Liberty" why she speaks with what Diana terms a "City Hall brogue." Liberty answers: "If ye'd studied the history of art in its foreign complications ye'd not need to ask. If ye wasn't so light-headed and giddy ye'd know that I was made by a Dago and presented to the American people on behalf of the French Government for the purpose of welcomin' Irish immigrants into the Dutch city of New York."[1]
  • In Amerika by Franz Kafka, the author inaccurately depicts the statue as holding aloft a sword rather than a torch.
  • During the 1940s and 1950s, the iconography of science fiction in the United States was filled with images of ancient, decayed Statues of Liberty, set in the distant future. The covers of famous pulp magazines such as Amazing Stories and Astounding Science Fiction all featured Lady Liberty at one time, surrounded by ruins or by the sediments of the ages, as curious aliens or representatives of advanced or degenerate humans of the future gazed upon her remains. The February 1941 cover of Astounding showed a primitive man and woman approaching on a raft a Statue of Liberty surrounded by wild growth.
  • In the final scene of Maggie-Now (1958) by Betty Smith, two characters scatter Maggie's late husband's ashes from the statue's torch.
  • Jack Finney's 1970 novel Time and Again takes advantage of the presence, in 1882, of just the arm and torch of the statue in Madison Square Park – where they were exhibited to help raise funds for the pedestal – for an important plot development.
  • The final chapter of Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach (1981) reveals that "The Glow-worm became the light inside the torch on the Statue of Liberty, and thus saved a grateful City from having to pay a huge electricity bill every year."
  • Ellen Kushner's 1986 Choose Your Own Adventure book Statue of Liberty Adventure has the protagonist exploring the statue to find its original inspiration.
  • In the disaster novels Her Name Will Be Faith[2] and Category 7: The Biggest Storm in History,[3] hurricanes cause storm surges that topple the statue into the Hudson River.
  • In the Southern Victory series book How Few Remain (1997), the Statue of Liberty does not exist in New York City, as relations between the United States and France are poor. This is due to France supporting the Confederate States in the Civil War and the Second Mexican War. However, Liberty Island is taken up by a similar but more grim-looking statue called "The Statue of Remembrance", given to the US by Germany. This statue carries a sword in its right hand and a shield in its left. Its full name is "Remembrance, holding aloft her bared sword."
  • Nevada Barr's 1999 mystery novel Liberty Falling is set on Liberty Island and Ellis Island, and features deaths caused by falling from the Statue of Liberty.
  • The history of the Statue of Liberty is told in the 2008 book Lady Liberty: A Biography., written by Doreen Rapppaport, illustrated by Matt Tavares.
  • Giannina Braschi's dramatic novel United States of Banana (2011) takes place after the September 11, 2001 attacks, at the Statue of Liberty, where a political prisoner from Puerto Rico is trapped in the dungeon of liberty beneath the 11-pointed star that serves as the base of the Statue.
The Statue of Liberty is on the reverse of all Presidential $1 coins
S.M.S. Sankt Georg commemorative coin showing the Statue of Liberty


  • The Statue of Liberty has been depicted on several coins, not only in the USA, but all over the world. One of the most recent silver coins is the 20 euro S.M.S. Sankt Georg commemorative coin. The obverse shows the armored cruiser S.M.S. Sankt Georg sailing into New York Harbor on May 17, 1907; passing right in front of the Statue of Liberty. This was to be the last visit of an Austrian naval vessel in the U.S.A.
  • The Statue of Liberty was also depicted on the Freedom Tower Silver Dollar coin minted in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.


  • In a 1970s issue of DC Comics' Wonder Woman, villainous sorcerer Felix Faust turns the Statue of Liberty into a living enemy of the Princess.
  • In the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures issue "Something Fishy Goes Down", Shredder tries to destroy the Statue of Liberty.[4]
  • The DC Comics superhero Miss America was originally granted her powers by the Statue in a vision. This was later retconned to have been a dream; she had really gained her powers from an experiment.
  • In the Marvel Comics universe, the torch of the Statue of Liberty is the secret meeting spot between superheroes Spider-Man and his friend and confidant Human Torch.
  • The cover[5] of the fourth volume of the comic series Universal War One depicts a shattered shell of the Statue of Liberty to represent the destruction of Earth by the Colonization Industrial Companies.
  • In the Sinfest webcomic "Lady Liberty", a humanized version of the Statue, is the spouse of a similarly humanized Uncle Sam. Owing to their iconic status as embodiments of current America, while Uncle Sam is shown as often worried, affected by financiary woes and bouts of depression, Lady Liberty is shown as a quiet, nurturing and loving spouse, doing her best to help her husband around, but still prone to overreaction.


Amuse, Inc.'s logo


  • In March 2011, Nike SB released a two-layer sneaker featuring the Statue of Liberty logo on the tongue. When skated, the sneaker turns the oxidized color (seagreen) back to copper.[6]
  • New York and New Jersey have both featured the statue on license plates. The statue was on the regular New York plate from 1986 until 2001. A New Jersey speciality plate[7] celebrating Liberty State Park has been available for many years and is still available as of 2005.
  • The Central Railroad of New Jersey used the national monument as its logo. Its main station, Communipaw Terminal, is located on Upper New York Bay nearby.
  • The Japanese entertainment company Amuse has a replica of the Statue of Liberty above the word Amuse as its logo.
  • The mission flight patch of STS-51-J (debut launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis) has the Statue of Liberty embossed on the mission patch worn by the crew.
  • The statue appears in the logo of the insurance company Liberty Mutual. A series of television commercial for the company begun in 2013 show the statue in the background, with each commercial being shot from a different angle from places in New York City and New Jersey.

Music videos

Joseph Pennell, That Liberty Shall Not Perish from the Earth (1918)

Political symbolism

  • The artist Joseph Pennell created a poster 1918 for the fourth Liberty Loans campaign of 1918, during World War I, showing her headless and torchless while around her the New York area was in flames, under enemy attack by air and by sea. The poster is sometimes referred to on the Web as "That liberty shall not perish" since these are the first words that appear on it.[8][9][10]
  • Many [14][13][12][11]
  • The Conservative Party of New York uses the statue's torch and flame as its symbol.


  • In 1978, at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Jim Mallon and Leon Varjian of the "Pail and Shovel Party" won election by promising to give campus issues "the seriousness they deserve." In 1979 (and again in 1980), they created their own version of the Planet of the Apes scene by erecting replicas of the torch and the top of the head on the frozen surface of Lake Mendota, creating a fanciful suggestion that the entire statue was standing on the bottom of the lake.[15][16]



  • On April 8, 1983, CBS broadcast a program, the fifth of a series featuring illusionist David Copperfield, in which he made the statue apparently vanish. The effect took place at night. The program showed the statue from the point of view of an audience seated on a ground-level platform, viewing the statue between two scaffolding towers in which a large curtain was raised.[18]
  • On the television show Fringe, Liberty Island is the militarized stronghold of the Department of Defense in the alternate universe, and scenes from several episodes take place on or around the island. In the show's alternate universe, the statue has not acquired a green patina and is its original copper color.
  • In the Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda episode "The Sum of Its Parts", Captain Dylan Hunt quotes the poem on the Statue.
  • In the Doctor Who episode "The Angels Take Manhattan", the statue is depicted as a colossal Weeping Angel.
  • In the Family Guy episode "Death Has a Shadow", the Statue is shown on television at a stag party and all the guys there drink until she "looks hot". In the episode "I Take Thee Quagmire", Peter gets Quagmire the Statue's foot as a wedding present, leading Mayor West to believe that the Statue was blown up.
  • In Courage The Cowardly Dog The statue can be seen in a few episodes (Like in A Beaver's Tale the statue can be flooded)

Theme parks


  • The statue has its own Unicode character: 🗽

Video games

  • The 2008 video game Grand Theft Auto IV features a parody of the statue called the Statue of Happiness, which holds a coffee cup instead of a torch. The coffee cup is the tribute to the infamous Hot Coffee mod in San Andreas.
  • In the 2014 video game Assassin's Creed Unity, the statue appears in a time distortion Rift Mission which features 1889 Paris as a paradox; the statue should have been shipped from France to America by that year as mentioned in the game.
  • It is a playable character in Lego Marvel Super Heroes, and Lego released a minifigure of it at the same time.
  • It appeared in the final downloadable content for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare as a map on multiplayer.

Visual arts

As damaged and destroyed

As a famous landmark, damage and destruction of the statue has been used to symbolize the end of mankind or the destruction of New York City. The table below lists some examples of movies which feature the statue damaged or destroyed.

There have been questions raised about how the statue would hold up for thousands of years, based on her current corrosion patterns. Studies done during various repairs in the past hundred years show that the copper "skin" of the statue herself will hold up, but her insides may not.[21] The copper has aged and chemically changed to create a patina, which on metal is a coating of various chemical compounds such as oxides, carbonates, sulfides, or sulfates formed on the surface during exposure to atmospheric elements. This patina is what gives the statue her sea-green coloring, due to the oxidation of the copper. It also means that the statue's deterioration by seawater and winds is greatly slowed. The only thing that still poses a threat to the patina is acid rain, which has the power to corrode through the surface.

The joints holding the statue together have had some damage by seawater, and have been periodically replaced or repaired. The greatest damage comes in the form of a weakening to the arm holding up the torch, as that is one of the areas of the statue that supports the most weight over a small area.[22] This arm weakness was most recently repaired in the mid 1980s. The torch that the statue holds was also replaced during these repairs, as the original torch was irrevocably damaged from water and snow seeping in through the windows. The old torch now sits in the Statue of Liberty Museum. The stone at Liberty's feet has also needed repair in the past. 50 years after the statue was first erected, in 1937, it was discovered that water was leaking in to the pedestal that the statue stands upon. A giant copper apron (250 ft. tall) was placed over the pedestal to prevent future damage. Overall, the majority of the statue would likely survive the test of time if an apocalyptic event happened on Earth, as it does in many of the following movies.

Year Media How it is damaged or destroyed Image
1933 Deluge The statue is surrounded by a tsunami. [22]
1959 The World, the Flesh, and the Devil The statue is seen in an abandoned Manhattan.
1968 Planet of the Apes Thousands of years in the future, the statue is seen half buried in sand. Astronaut Taylor sees it and realizes he has been on Earth the whole time. [23]
1970 Beneath the Planet of the Apes The half-buried statue is again seen at the beginning of the film.
1979 Meteor The statue is seen when the meteor fragment enters New York City. Although its destruction is never shown, this scene shows that the statue might have been destroyed by the meteor fragment.
1981 Escape from New York The statue's head is seen decapitated and in the streets of New York City on the poster. However, it is intact in the film. [24]
1983 2019, After the Fall of New York The statue is seen abandoned on Liberty Island. [25]
1985 National Lampoon's European Vacation The Griswold family, returning to U.S., sees the Statue of Liberty. Clark accidentally opens the cockpit door while searching for a bathroom, bumps the pilot, and causes the plane to hit the statue's torch, damaging it.
1987 Superman IV: The Quest for Peace Nuclear Man lifts The Statue of Liberty from her pedestal and hurls her towards Metropolis. Superman catches and re-attaches her to her pedestal. [26]
1989 The Abyss Special Edition The statue is nearly threatened by a tsunami, but is ultimately not destroyed. She is incorrectly depicted facing the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. [27]
1989 Ghostbusters II The statue is brought to life by the Ghostbusters to help save New York City. After she helps, she is seen lying on the street. At the end of the film, she is rebuilt. [28]
1995 Batman Forever During the opening sequence of the movie, while Batman is chasing Two-Face in the helicopter scene, it crashes into the front of the statue and is heavily damaged. The statue itself is notably different from its real-life counterpart. Having a Gothic design, the name "Gotham" imprinted on the crown, and the torch is instead a rotating light - similar to a lighthouse. [29]
1996 Independence Day The statue is seen after the satellite crashes into the mother ship and the camera points at her tablet to indicate July 4, Independence Day. The statue is also seen being covered in the shadow of an alien destroyer that arrives in New York City. After the aliens destroy New York City, the statue is seen toppled into the river. [30]
1996 Twisted Metal 2 On the New York level of this video game, you can ignite the statue's torch by firing missiles at her. Further missiles will blow off her robe, revealing a bikini underneath. Still more missiles will destroy her.
1997 The Fifth Element The statue can be briefly spotted as the spacecraft takes off over New York Harbor. The oceans have receded drastically so that the pedestal under the Statue of Liberty, roughly five times as tall as it currently is, is now connected directly to the mainland. [31]
1998 Deep Impact The statue and the island of Manhattan is flooded by a tsunami created from an asteroid impact. The severed head is later seen in the now submerged streets of New York City. [32]
1998 Earthquake in New York In this made-for-TV movie, the torch of the statue collapses during an earthquake.
1999 Aftershock: Earthquake in New York The pedestal collapses during the earthquake, causing the statue to fall either on Liberty Island or into New York Bay, most likely destroying the statue. At the end of the film, it is shown being rebuilt. [33]
1999 Futurama episode "When Aliens Attack" The statue is seen being covered in the shadow of an alien destroyer that arrives in New York City. After the aliens leave Earth, there is a shot of the torch of the statue collapsing, due to it being damaged by the invasion.
2000 The Busy World of Richard Scarry episode "The Big Apple Christmas Caper" The statue is depicted as a pig. A giant magnet rips the crown and torch off. Later, the torch and crown fall into the streets of the city after the villain with the magnet is defeated. In an error of continuity, the torch and crown are seen to have fallen on top of skyscrapers, and the spire of the Chrysler Building is shown to have fallen onto the head of the statue, serving as the "new crown" of the statue. [34]
2001 A.I. Artificial Intelligence The statue is seen submerged in the ocean up to the bottom of her torch due to global warming. [35]
2004 The Day After Tomorrow The statue is hit by a tsunami and is later shown to have frozen due to global warming. [36]
2004 Godzilla: Final Wars The statue is seen destroyed after Rodon destroys New York City.
2005 Category 7: The End of the World The statue is hit by a tsunami and destroyed by tornadoes due to global warming. The torch is ripped off by a tornado and thrown into the streets of New York City, narrowly killing some main characters (Tommy Tornado and Faith Clavell). [37]
2006 Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut Superman is kicked into the torch of the statue by General Zod, destroying it. The destruction is later reversed when Superman turns back time to repair the damage caused by the three supervillains.
2006 Disaster Zone: Volcano in New York The statue is seen several times in the skyline, but is not destroyed. A fishing boat is blown up by a volcano in the harbor very close to the statue at one point.
2006 Children of Men In an advertisement stating that the whole world was destroyed due to infertility except Britain, the statue is seen being destroyed in a nuclear bomb attack in New York City.
2008 Life After People The documentary and pilot episode of the spinoff series show the statue slowly deteriorating until about 300 years after the human race ceases to exist. After the 300 years (approx.) have passed, the steel connecting the "skin" of Lady Liberty to the main steel frame begin to fail, causing first the torch arm and face fall into the harbor. The narrator suggests it continues on like this until the entire structure has collapse. [38]
2008 Aftermath: Population Zero Similar to Life After People, but is shown deteriorating at a faster rate. Beginning to collapse after 230 years rather than 300 years. Also, large sections of the statue collapse in stages soon after each other, rather than slowly peeling away as in Life After People.
2008 Cloverfield The statue is decapitated by a giant monster and the head is thrown into the streets of New York City. The decapitated statue is later seen from the Brooklyn Bridge.
2008 Disaster Movie One of the movie's posters depicts the statue wearing scuba gear while being hit by a tsunami. This is a parody of The Day After Tomorrow‍ '​s poster. [39]
2008 NYC: Tornado Terror A tornado forms over the statue, ripping the torch and tablet off.
2008 Lost City Raiders The statue is submerged due to global warming.
2008 Turning Point: Fall of Liberty The statue is destroyed by German bombers in 1951.
2010 Skyline The statue is seen when the alien destroyer abducts people in New York City.
2012 Iron Sky The statue is destroyed by the Nazis when they invade New York.
2013 Oblivion The statue's torch is seen in a canyon 60 years after the destruction of New York. [40]


  1. ^ a b Henry, O., Sixes and Sevens, "The Lady Higher Up." Project Gutenberg text
  2. ^ Marlow, Max (1988). Her Name Will Be Faith. New English Library.  
  3. ^ Evans, Bill; Jameson, Marianna (2007). Category 7: The Biggest Storm in History. Tor Books.  
  4. ^ "TMNT Adventures #5". TMNT Entity. October 1989. Retrieved 8 January 2015. 
  5. ^ Bajram, Denis UW1 vol 4
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ UCSD History Project, Slide: WP-A-29 "Poster: That Liberty Shall Not Perish from the Earth"[41] (512x768 pixel image) Caption: "Poster, "That Liberty Shall Not Perish from the Earth... Buy Liberty Bonds. Fourth Liberty Loan, 1918. The Statue of Liberty has been attacked. The head and arms have been knocked off and lie by the edge of Bedloe's Island as enemy planes fly over New York harbor in a fiery red glow. Joseph Pennell." Citation from the page: "Public domain. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, DC 20540. LC-USZC4-1347. In Walton Rawls, Wake Up America!, 1988, p. 66."
  9. ^ Royal Albert Museum, "That at Liberty Shall Not Perish From The Earth 1918, Joseph Pennell (1857-1926), U.S.A. 103 x 71 cm"[42]
  10. ^ "Posters American Style: Advice to Americans" (website)
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ Lady Liberty on Lake Mendota, pictures of the University of Wisconsin prank
  16. ^ Foss, Cindy (February 16, 2009). "History of Lady Liberty on Lake Mendota".  
  17. ^ New York Liberty website, showing Statue of Liberty in logo. Note that the team's mascot is not the statue, but a dog, named Maddie after Madison Square Garden.
  18. ^ Willian Poundstone. (1986). Bigger Secrets. Houghton Mifflin
  19. ^ "The New Moneyed Art". Huffington Post. April 8, 2011. 
  20. ^ "Thenceforward, and Forever Free. (2012)".  Patrick and Beatrice Haggerty Museum of Art Marquette University
  21. ^ Peterson, I. (Jun 29, 1985). "A Statue of a Different Color". Science News 127 (26): 404.  
  22. ^ "Reclothing the First Lady of Metals". Copper Development Association Inc. Retrieved 2015-01-21.