Rushmore Refacement

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
"So that's their plan? They wanna put Krang's face up there and scare the country into submission!"

Villains, especially cartoon villains, are remarkably narcissistic and prone to childish vandalism. Whenever there's a landmark with a famous face on it, there's a good chance the villain will demonstrate his need for attention by putting their own face on it instead (or some ridiculous caricature of a real face, to emphasize their whimsicality). Mount Rushmore (which features U.S. Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt and Lincoln, in case you've forgotten) is an especially frequent target of this; the Statue of Liberty and the Great Sphinx of Giza are other popular venues for refacement.

An alternative, less sinister refacement would be simply adding more heads, either for parody purposes, or of notable future presidents.

Compare Deface of the Moon. A Sub-Trope of Monumental Damage.

Examples of Rushmore Refacement include:

Comic Books

  • During The DCU's Last Laugh Crisis Crossover, some of the Jokerized villains added Joker smiles to Mount Rushmore, the Statue of Liberty, and other landmarks. The Joker himself seemed to view this as too obvious to be funny.
  • The Joker himself got in on this during the Rock of Ages arc when he temporarily gained godlike power. Pretty much the first thing he did was to create a 10,000 mile long Joker grin, causing huge earthquakes.
    • Likewise during the Emperor Joker storyline, the Joker acquires omnipotence again and remakes the world in his image including a cube shaped Earth with the major landmass on each side being shaped like his face. In a sense, this is ironically subtler than the above mentioned statue gag since you have to be in space to see it.
  • Noted comic book author Peter David tends to do this. Terrorists bomb emotionally vulnerable parts of America, including half of Mount Rushmore. Then The Hulk, who hasn't quite been mentally stable in a while, smashes the rest of it to powder. It's restored by the Deus Ex Machina "Molecule Man", who can do pretty much whatever he wants. Then some years later, Captain Marvel, a trained cosmically powered warrior, uses Rushmore to launch himself into Kree space (he had to power up to aim right as planets move). A few moments afterward...much of Rushmore crumbles. And IIRC, in DC continuity, in Young Justice George's face exploded outwards as there was a secret base inside it.
  • The Wolverine Arc "Old Man Logan" involved Hawkeye and Wolverine driving along the side of Mt. Rushmore while on their trip across the country. The two-page spread depicting this shows that the current President, assumed to be some version of the Red Skull, is shown to have had his "face" added on the left side of the mountain.
  • A one-time chapter opening page joke in Bowling King had all of the faces on Mount Rushmore replaced with main character Shautieh Ley's face. Uh, four of them, that is.
  • Not really refacement, but in Give Me Liberty, they added Quayle and Rexall
  • The Judge Dredd story The Cursed Earth featured Jimmy Carter's face added to the end of the lineup. Lincoln's nose and Carter's teeth got smashed in the Monumental Battle with some mutants.
  • In Superman, during Brian Azzarello and Jim Lee's "For Tomorrow" arc, a sorceress using Elemental Powers created giants composed of fire, air, water and earth to attack Superman. For the earth giant, she animated Mount Rushmore, turning it into a huge creature of living rock, speaking out of the four presidential heads.
  • Not in-story, but: the cover for a Dark Horse Comics anniversary paperback has a Rushmore of their characters (The Mask, Concrete, Grendel and a Predator).
    • Grendel itself shows Mt. Rushmore as sporting additional heads in the Orion Asante era.
  • For a time, the National Geographic Kids magazine featured a comic/puzzle called "Can You Rescue Flash Hawkins?" starring a young reporter, and readers had to help her escape from a sticky situation at the end of each short comic. One of these featured the bad guys (known as the "Nubbins Gang") using a gigantic spray paint cannon to vandalize the faces on Mount Rushmore.
  • A Spy Kids comic printed in Disney Adventures had the inverse: the bad guys planned to pull off the entire sculpture, place it onto a robot body, and make a gigantic Presidents robot. What they were they going to do with it? Even they didn't know...
  • In a Silver Age story, Lois Lane and Lana Lang somehow gained superpowers, which among other things they used to carve self-portraits into rock formations in close vicinity of Mount Rushmore.


  • In Mars Attacks!!, the Martians replace all faces of Mount Rushmore with their own.
  • The Kryptonian supervillains in Superman II stop by Rushmore to carve something new with their heat vision. No points for guessing what.
  • In Batman Forever, Two-Face defaces "Lady Gotham" (a Statue of Liberty stand-in and a Mythology Gag to the comics).
  • In Richie Rich the Riches avoid the evil route and make their own Mount Rushmore with their faces instead of refacing the existing one. A rare case where the characters are nice enough not to ruin a national monument, but narcissistic (and rich) enough to feel the need to make one of their own (it does cover their vault).
    • However, Regina mentions "Mount Richmore" was their sculptress' idea and Richard even lampshades how pretentious it is (though he seems more concerned over how his cheeks look "puffy"). The 'Richmore' is blasted to bejeebers by villains trying to kill the heroes.
  • Part of the Viral Marketing for the Watchmen film includes an informational video about the Keene Act which reveals the heads one at a time and fourth is not Lincoln but rather Richard Nixon. Yes, this makes little sense even given the Alternate History that Watchmen is in, just go with it. Also, it's not actually showing the monument, just an animated version, so it's possible it doesn't "really" look like that.
  • A deleted scene from the fifth Star Trek movie revealed that a fifth (presumably presidential) head—that of a black woman—had been added next to Washington sometime between now and the 23th century.
  • The Great Dictator pulls a similar stunt with the Thinker and Venus DiMilo.
  • The reverse of this is said to have happened in National Treasure; the creator of Mount Rushmore did so merely to cover up clues to a lost city of gold nearby, defacing what was originally there.
  • In The Return of Hanuman, Hanuman, did this. He is of course the protagonist of the movie, but he's known to be naughty so...
  • In The Muppets, Crazy Harry pulls this off.


  • This editor recalls seeing an edition of an Alternate History short story anthology with the Statue of Liberty's head replaced with Hitler's. Since the Statue of Liberty is a woman, this lead to an... interesting juxtaposition.
  • Not really a defacement, but other Alternate History stories have replaced Liberty with "the Statue of Remembrance holding forth the sword of vengeance" (in Harry Turtledove's TL-191) or Britannia with her trident (in cases where New York was reconquered by Britain at some point.)
  • In the novelisation of Red Dwarf, it's mentioned that Mount Rushmore in the future has five presidents' heads, the fifth being Elaine Salinger.
  • In Nineteen Eighty-Four, the statue of Admiral Nelson in Trafalgar Square (renamed Victory Square) is replaced with one of Big Brother.
  • In The Prefect by Alastair Reynolds, some of the action takes place in an abandoned 'Amerikano' base. The decor includes some scenic panoramas, including

"a rock face carved with enormous stone likenesses: eight vast heads, the fifth and seventh of which were women."

Live Action TV

  • Martha mentions the Master has added his face to Mount Rushmore in the Doctor Who episode "Last of The Time Lords". We never get to see this but we do see a huge statue of him made out of stone elsewhere.
  • During The Colbert Report's visit to Philadelphia, the large 'window' (plasma screen) behind the interview desk, which usually displays a stained glass window or view of New York, occasionally showed a slightly altered version of Mt. Rushmore. No prizes for guessing who the fifth face was.
  • Not actually Mt. Rushmore, but possibly inspired by it: in Doctor Who "The Face of Evil," the Doctor sees his own face carved into a cliff on Leela's (unnamed) home planet.
  • Referenced by Jon Stewart when Barack Obama was accused of being "elitist" during the 2008 election season;

You're running for a job where, if you do it really well, they carve your face into the side of a mountain! If you don't think you're better than us, what the **** are you doing?!

  • In one episode of Night Court, Judge Stone was planning to hang-glide onto the Statue of Liberty and put an enormous pair of Groucho glasses on it. He never actually did it.


  • The cover art of the Deep Purple album In Rock depicts Mount Rushmore with the presidents replaced by the band members.

Video Games

  • While he doesn't go around refacing monuments, Dr. Robotnik of the Sonic the Hedgehog games loves to put his face on everything else, up to but not limited to: space stations, aircraft, his own robots, and TV screens. The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog Robotnik actually had his base within a giant statue of himself.
    • In a somewhat ironic twist on this trope, Sonic pulled this off in the Adventures series, though they were on monuments that Robotnik had commissioned to be built.
      • This was actually lampshaded and used in an early Archie comic. Bunnie observes that Robotnik loves putting his face on everything, which inspires Sonic to make a gigantic mud-statue of the villain. While Robotnik is entranced by the "beauty", Sonic pushes it over on him, trapping him in the muck.
  • Pilotwings 64 allows you to do a little Rushmore Refacement of your own. One level includes Mt. Rushmore, plus Mario's face to the left of the presidents'. Shooting Mario's nose will morph the face into Wario's.
  • In a weird usage in Metal Gear Solid 4, Liquid Ocelot's base/submarine seems to have a pastiche of Mt. Rushmore on its hull, with the faces of Big Boss and his clones on it.
  • In the final act of Marvel Ultimate Alliance, you visit a version of Stark Tower (which was your base in the first part of the game) in a world run by Dr. Doom. The giant hologram of Iron Man in Tony Stark's lab has been replaced by...guess who?
  • In Red Alert 3, this comes up during the Allied campaign. The President turned all of the Rushmore heads into giant cannons, which you have to prevent from firing on Moscow.
    • And in the expansion to Red Alert 2, Yuri re-carves the Moai statues in his own image. They have Eye Beams.
  • One of the ending pictures you can get in The King of Fighters '98 Ultimate Match is a Rushmore Refacement featuring Geese Howard, Krauser, and Mr. Big.
  • In Brutal Legend you can carve the faces of various characters into Mt. Rockmore. The first time you do this, you replace the face of General Lionwhyte. Later, after you defeat Lionwhyte, Dovinculus will change Mt. Rockmore once more - to display his face. You can change it back again.
  • The protagonist of Number Munchers for the Apple computer does this in one Cutscene between levels.
  • Ape Escape 2's first level has you clearing monkeys out of Ellis Liberty Island, where the statue of Liberty has been replaced by the statue of Monkey, complete with a banana-torch.
  • The ending sequence of Saturn Bomberman shows Bomberman's head alongisde the other presidents.
  • In Cave Story, there is a chamber off of the Plantation containing statues of The Doctor and the three prior wearers of the Demon Crown. Just before the fight against the True Final Boss, it's possible to revisit this chamber. Shooting the statues at this point will destroy them, revealing statues of four heroes: the player character, King, Toroko, and Curly Brace.
  • In ,Awesome Possum Kicks Dr Machino's Butt, the main character gets his head added to the Mt. Rushmore in the ending.
  • Super Mario Land has this in Mario's castle. There's an M on it, but Wario inverts it.

Web Original

  • Played for laughs in the end of The Nostalgia Critic's review of Titanic: The Animated Musical, where he advertises some 'Geek Fight' cards, and wonders what he'll put his face on next. Cue three pictures, one with his face on Mount Rushmore, one with his face on the Statue of Liberty, and the final one having his face on Marilyn Monroe's body, in the iconic picture of her skirt flying up.
  • In The Dr. Steel Show Episode 2, a team of Toy Soldiers call Doctor Steel from the top of Mount Rushmore, informing him of their plans to alter Lincoln's head to look like Dr. Steel. It doesn't quite go according to plan...

Western Animation

  • In the Futurama episode "When Aliens Attack", it's mentioned that New York once had a super-villain governor who stole the world's most famous monuments, including Mount Rushmore. A sight-gag reveals he added his face to it.
    • Another Futurama example: The statue of Abe Lincoln in his DC Memorial was at some point replaced with that of an alien conqueror sitting on a throne of human skulls.
  • The Fairly OddParents episode/TV movie "Abra-Catastrophe!" has Crocker doing this not only to Rushmore, but to the sphinx and the Eiffel Tower—which doesn't even have a face! Early in the same storyline, Mount Rushmore was transformed to have Gorilla versions of the Presidents when monkeys took over the world.
  • In one of the season finales of the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon, it's revealed that the villains are headed towards Mt. Rushmore. Raphael theorized (and we're treated to his imagining) that Krang wanted to put his face on there and "scare the country into submission."
    • There's another episode where the Turtles go to a future ruled by Shredder and the Statue of Liberty has been changed to a statue of Shredder holding up a laser gun.
  • In the original series of Transformers, Megatron replaces the Empire State Building with a cybernetic likeness, featuring Optimus Prime's severed gun-wielding arm on the very top. During the same era, the comic books featured a story wherein the Battlechargers (imagine Beavis and Butthead as Decepticons and you're close) begin painting several national landmarks in alien graffiti that translates into ?humans are wimps!? Among the sites tagged are Mt. Rushmore and the Statue of Liberty.
    • Played with in the episode "Triple Takeover", where Starscream and the Triple Changers carve their own counterpart to Rushmore (in a previously unaltered cliff-face in the middle of the desert), with visages of Megatron and themselves. Then they destroy the Megatron face.
  • In the series finale of Fantastic Four (the 1990s Marvel Action Hour adaptation), Dr. Doom gained cosmic power; on his rampage across the globe, he transformed the Statue of Liberty into a statue of himself.
    • One version of the opening has the FF themselves turning Rushmore into self-portraiture.
    • Doom did the same thing in a Time Travel episode of the 2006 series, when he took control of New York.
  • On Phineas and Ferb the protagonists do this in "Candace Loses Her Head". They add their sister Candace's face to the left of Abraham Licoln's for her birthday. It doesn't last, being destroyed in a fight between Perry the Platypus and Dr. Doofenshmirtz.
  • The Joker did this in an episode of The Batman, using his patented "Joker Putty" to deface a famous Gotham City statue.
  • An episode of Biker Mice From Mars had Limburger and his crew fired by Chairman Camembert and cut off of his funds. To get on his good graces again, the crew come up with the idea of adding the Chairman's head onto Mount Rushmore and teleport the whole thing to Plutark. Through the action of the protagonists only the Chairman's head was teleported away, restoring the monument to normal.
  • In Teen Titans, Mad Mod does this, turning the four Presidents into extremely ugly versions of himself. (or are they the faces of the four Beatles members?)
    • Beatle faces, his 'do.
  • In an episode of G.I. Joe, several of the Joes are blasted "sideways" into an Alternate History where Cobra Commander has beaten them. They find that every national landmark from The Lincoln Memorial to the Statue of Liberty now sports a Cobra operative's likeness.
    • In Transformers Animated's Allspark Almanac II, Cobra Commander's is one of the two additional faces (well, insofar as his mask is his face) seen on Mount Rushmore. The other is Richard Nixon, as it happens. It's implied that Cobra Commander's presidency was completely legitimate, though.
  • The opening sequence of 2DTV had President Bush pushing the nuclear button, which causes his own carved head to emerge in the middle of Mount Rushmore, the top of its head to flip up, and a nuclear missile to come out.
  • In Gargoyles, Jackal imagines carving his own face into Goliath's stone form, not just as an ego trip, but most likely killing Goliath in the process.
  • More whimsical version appears in the credits of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs with the faces of Flint, Sam, Steve and Tim replacing the presidents.
  • In Asterix Conquers America as Asterix, Obelix and Dogmatix first arrive in America there is a shot showing Mount Rushmore with the faces of Native American chiefs in place of the presidents. Since this takes place in 50 BC this is an odd subversion where the "refaced" Rushmore is around before the normal one.
  • In Danny Phantom, Freakshow used the Reality Gauntlet to warp...well, pretty much the whole world. Including changing the faces of Mount Rushmore to his own in various expressions.
  • In Metalocalypse, Mount Rushmore was vandalised with paint to protest Dethklok refusing to play a concert for a specific album (that was marketed to fish). At another point, the Louvre was burned to the ground for Murderface's birthday since he said that the paintings were shit.
  • In Men in Black: The Animated Series, the finale has the Worms suggest to Congress that Rushmore be refaced in their likeness. They never got a chance to make good on it.
  • In The Centurions Power Xtreme, there is an episode where it is mentioned adding Christ to Mount Rushmore. Those familiar with constitutional law know why this is hilarious.
  • In the finale of Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, the heroes wind up in an old Plumber base (from the first series) inside Mount Rushmore. When Vilgax attacks them, Gwen reveals the defense systems, including Eye Beams built into George's head. They then lament how hard it will be to hide the fact that Vilgax ripped Washington's face off.
  • Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog has Robotnik often building large statues (including a Great Sphinx with his face), then Sonic deface them.

Real Life

  • During his reign over ancient Rome, considering himself the embodiment of a god, the emperor Caligula replaced the heads of many statues of the gods with his own. He also made his horse a consul, so go figure. This makes this trope Older Than Feudalism.
  • The Sphinx predates the ancient Egyptian civilization we are familiar with by quite some time and some Egyptologists claim it originally had the face of a lion, until a later pharaoh changed it to his own face. Said Egyptologists are savagely mocked and ridiculed by most historians, however, so this may or may not be true.
    • The Sphinx could even be an inversion, since the head appears to predate the body. They just had this big head statue, then they dug around it much later to give it a lion body. It explains the bad proportions, among other things.
  • Deface and Replace was a pretty common way for pharaohs to reuse their predecessors' monuments, Sphinx aside.
  • Romans sometimes used to build statues in a way that allowed the heads to be easily swapped out.
  • Around the time of his death in 2004, some conservatives wanted to add Ronald Reagan to Mount Rushmore, and there was even a bill in the House (H.R.4980) introduced with 18 co-sponsors.
    • The Reagan Legacy Project continues to push for this as part of their ongoing efforts to canonize Reagan everywhere.
  • Greenpeace managed to pull off unfurling a banner of President Obama as a fifth face, to prod the prez to push Global Warming legislation.
  • The Crazy Horse Memorial is actually in the same geographical area as Mount Rushmore (only about 17 miles away in fact) and depicts the eponymous warrior atop a steed and pointing into the distance. Far bigger than the depicted Presidents it is very much a Take That to the other memorial. Or rather it will be, as it was started in 1948 and is still unfinished...
    • Hilariously, the Sioux aren't too keen on it, and the picture of Crazy Horse used as a reference may or may not be an actual picture of him, since he usually resisted being photographed. Not only that, but depending on who you ask, the statue is also defacing a very revered mountain to make a statue of him pointing, which is something of a disrespectful gesture in Native culture. One person compared it to someone digging up Arlington Cemetery to build a statue of George Washington picking his nose, or worse.
  • A bit of a Memetic Mutation was an American flag sold in Christian specialty stores, with the stars rearranged in the shape of a cross.
    • There was a bit of controversy regarding a flag with Barack Obama's picture instead of the stars.
  • A more roundabout example: During the Restoration of 1814, the bronze statue of Napoleon on top of the column of the place Vendôme was taken down and molten down to make a replacement statue of king Henry IV for the equestrian statue on the Pont Neuf destroyed during the Revolution.
  • A Russian example: the city of Samara once had a monument to the tsar Alexander II the Liberator. When the Bolsheviks came to power, they replaced the statue with Lenin. The humorousness of the situation is that the statue of Lenin was too small for the huge pedestal.
  • A statue of Lenin in Odessa, Ukraine was altered into a statue of Darth Vader as part of a desovietization campaign. This was done because the relatively minor nature of the changes was far cheaper than building a new statue entirely.
  • During his term as president of the United States, Donald Trump expressed several times his desire to add his face to Mount Rushmore.
  1. For those not familiar with American currency, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the current iconic president of the Democratic Party is on the dime. The Republican party's iconic president on U.S. currency is Lincoln, but Lincoln doesn't appeal to some Southerners because of the Civil War and the Reconstruction. Also Lincoln is already on the penny and five dollar bill.