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The Towering Inferno (1974)

 -  Action  -  14 December 1974 (USA)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 24,766 users  
Reviews: 185 user | 85 critic

At the opening party of a colossal, but poorly constructed, office building, a massive fire breaks out that threatens to destroy the tower and everyone in it.

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(novel), (novel), 2 more credits »
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Title: The Towering Inferno (1974)

The Towering Inferno (1974) on IMDb 6.9/10

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Won 3 Oscars. Another 9 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
Patty
...
Simmons
...
Lisolette
...
Jernigan
...
...
Bigelow
...
...
Paula Ramsay (as Sheila Mathews)
Norman Burton ...
Giddings (as Normann Burton)
Jack Collins ...
Mayor Ramsay
Edit

Storyline

Doug Roberts, Architect, returns from a long vacation to find work nearly completed on his skyscraper. He goes to the party that night concerned he's found that his wiring specifications have not been followed and that the building continues to develop short circuits. When the fire begins, Michael O'Halleran is the chief on duty as a series of daring rescues punctuate the terror of a building too tall to have a fire successfully fought from the ground. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

fire | party | trapped | architect | skyscraper | See more »

Taglines:

The tallest building in the world is on fire. You are there with 294 other guests... ...There's no way down. There's no way out. See more »

Genres:

Action

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 December 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Towering Inferno  »

Box Office

Budget:

$14,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$116,000,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(35 mm magnetic prints)| (35 mm optical prints)| (70 mm prints) (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Paul Newman's and Steve McQueen's names are staggered in the opening credits, closing credits, and on the posters so that, depending on which way you read it (top to bottom or left to right), both appear to get top billing. This is known as "diagonal billing", This strategy was being worked on when Newman and McQueen almost co-starred together in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), but McQueen eventually dropped out of the project and was replaced by the lesser known Robert Redford. See more »

Goofs

After the helicopter has crashed on the top of the tower during an aborted rescue, the second of the two ladies who caused the crash by running into the path of the helicopter gets up from the ground, revealing a knee pad she was wearing to protect her knees under her dress. See more »

Quotes

[Duncan is talking about Roberts' unemployment after the Tower job]
James Duncan: You know, there's a saying that goes "No matter how hot it gets up there during the day...
James DuncanDoug Roberts: [in unison] There isn't a damn thing you can do at night."
James Duncan: That's right. Now what the hell are you going to do at night in the middle of nowhere?
Doug Roberts: Sleep like a winner.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the comic magazine MAD's version of the film, there is a question asked by the character played by Fred Astaire, that does NOT appear in the film, but by logic should have been asked: "Ten minutes ago we couldn't get down from the building. Now we all are down on the street. How did that happen?" See more »

Connections

Referenced in Flash Forward: Curtain Call See more »

Soundtracks

The Morning After
(uncredited)
Written by Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn
Played at the party when Roberts is first reporting the fire to Duncan
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
The more I think about it, the less I enjoyed it.
27 March 2002 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I saw "The Towering Inferno" when it was first released in theaters in 1974. I was about 12 years old. I thought it was really cool to see all of this death and destruction. I felt sorry for the so-called innocent or heroic characters who met their doom and hissed at the villain(s) who met their makers. It was big and bombastic, with, as a voice-over artist would say in the trailer "...an all-star cast" (long-term stars, has-beens, and the ones who are stars only from the eyes of their agents). I thought the movie was the best film I saw in my short life.

I've seen the movie several times since then and it's like watching a bad wreck. A semi-entertaining one but still a wreck.

I was looking at the list of other disaster movies Irwin Allen produced (which includes "The Poseidon Adventure", "The Swarm", "When Time Ran Out", etc.) and it's interesting how quickly the genre became a cliché:

***POSSIBLE SPOILERS***

1. If your name is above the title, you will survive.

2. If your name is below the title, you might die.

3. If you are a precocious child and you have a sibling, you'll survive.

4. If your role is to save a number of people from disaster in earlier scenes, very likely, you will die later in the movie. No worry, the audience will have "genuine sympathy" because you sacrificed your life so that others can live.

5. If you play the villain, YOU WILL DIE!!!!

6. If your character is a jealous spouse or is having an illicit affair, YOU WILL DIE A HORRIBLE DEATH!!!!!

7. If you're an extra, no matter which movie you're involved in, YOU WILL DIE A VERY, VERY HORRIBLE DEATH!!!!!!!!!


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