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The Towering Inferno (1974)

6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 26,497 users  
Reviews: 189 user | 89 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
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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

Taglines:

One Tiny Spark Becomes A Night Of Blazing Suspense. See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 December 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Flammendes Inferno  »

Box Office

Budget:

$14,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$116,000,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System) (5.0) (L-R)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The fancy "blinkenlights" computer which runs the Glass Tower is an IBM AN/FSQ-7 Combat Direction Central, built in 1954 to protect the US from Soviet bomber attack. About a dozen of them were installed around the US. Based on vacuum tube technology, the 'Q-7 in action took up the whole first floor of a "bomb-proof" concrete blockhouse, and generated as much raw heat as five single-family houses. The whole system became obsolete when missiles replaced manned bombers as the main threat. Components of decommissioned systems were sold for scrap and bought by film and television production companies who wanted futuristic looking computers, despite the fact they were built in the 1950s. The components used in this film were previously used in _The Time Tunnel (1966)_ and _Earth II (1971)_, and later used in Futureworld (1976) and Independence Day (1996). See more »

Goofs

The woman that was the first to go across on the breeches buoy is also in the group of women that was sent to the roof for the air lift attempt. Therefore she should have been in the scenic elevator and not in the breeches buoy scenario at all. See more »

Quotes

[Doug Roberts gets a call for Harry Jernigan from the Security station in the Tower basement]
Doug Roberts: Harry? It's for you.
Harry Jernigan: [Picks up the phone] Jernigan.
[There is a pause as Jernigan learns from a security officer on the other line that Lisolette Mueller is trapped on the 87th floor, trying to rescue the Albright family in their apartment]
Harry Jernigan: What? Damnit man, you should have sent a man up there!
[pause as the officer tells Jernigan that he called the Albright apartment earlier but there was no answer]
Harry Jernigan: How ...
[...]
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 Rhoda: Along Comes Mary (1975) 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 crowning glory of a much maligned genre.
4 May 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

A newly built state of the art high-rise is hosting a big society gathering when a fire starts up on the 81st floor...

Warner Brothers & 20th Century Fox were both keen to cash in on the success of 1972s The Poseidon Adventure, Warner's buying the rights to The Tower, and Fox buying the rights to The Glass Inferno, both novels about burning skyscrapers and seemingly ripe for a big screen adaptation. Enter producer Irwin Allen who smartly suggested that both studios should come together and produce one blockbusting genre defining film. Splitting the cost down the middle, The Towering Inferno was born and went on to make over $100 million across the globe, a very impressive take for its time, and certainly a shot in the arm for disaster genre enthusiasts.

The Towering Inferno is far from flawless, it contains some cheese sodden dialogue, and the film's running time doesn't quite do the film any favours. However, the film's strengths far outweigh the handful of negatives that are often used to beat it up with. The sets are fabulous (Academy Award Nominated) and all to perish in the fire, the cinematography from Fred J Koenekamp (Academy Award Winner) is lush and puts the fire in the eyes, while the score from John Williams (Academy Award Nominated) is suitably poignant and edgy. What about the action sequences? The set pieces? With many of the illustrious cast doing their own stunts! All impacting sharp on the ears thanks to the brilliant sound from Soderberg & Lewis (Academy Award Nominated), with the cast itself a reminder of a wonderful time when only the big names were considered for the big projects, McQueen, Newman, Holden, Astaire (Academy Award Nominated) & Dunaway rolling off the tongue like a who's who of entertainment heavyweights.

Some say that The Towering Inferno finally killed off the ailing disaster genre, no it didn't, it crowned it, and all the others that followed were merely trailing in its wake. The Towering Inferno is a spectacular production that positively booms with high entertainment values, no expense is spared in the pursuit of entertaining the masses, it's thoughtful in texture and it teaches as it plays and it remains to me a wonderful archaic gem. 9/10


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