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The Towering Inferno (1974)

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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
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Simmons
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Lisolette
...
Jernigan
...
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Bigelow
...
...
Paula Ramsay (as Sheila Mathews)
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Giddings (as Normann Burton)
...
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 minute you're attending a party atop the world's tallest skyscraper. The next... you're trapped with 294 other guests in the middle of a fiery hell. See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The largest set constructed for the movie was The Promenade Deck, the site of the party on the 135th floor. It covered a total area of 11,000 square feet, was 25 feet high and enclosed by a 340-foot cloth painted to resemble the San Francisco skyline. The set was around ten feet off the ground to allow the water in the climax to be drained off, and also to give a sense of height to the shots of people being forced through the windows. The set cost $300,000. See more »

Goofs

After Dan falls through and breaks the glass in the outer office, we see firemen in the same office, but all of the glass is intact. See more »

Quotes

[Returning after his failed attempt to escape down the stairs]
Roger Simmons: Pretty ridiculous spectacle. There's no way down.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. Pictures logos don't appear in the beginning. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Father Ted: Speed 3 (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

We May Never Love Like This Again
Maureen McGovern sings
Words and Music by Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Classic star-studded disaster film....

With the likes of INDEPENDENCE DAY and DIE HARD, which were both influenced by THE TOWERING INFERNO, a new awareness of the potential of the disaster film emerged, culminating in the likes of DEEP IMPACT, ARMAGEDDON and the more recent THE CORE.

The definition of 'all-star cast' and 'star-studded' has changed substantially in the last few years and in fact, the true star of THE TOWERING INFERNO wasn't any actor or star, but the late Irwin Allen, whose career in this type of film ended with the poorly-received WHEN TIME RAN OUT.

The film, which was adapted from two source novels, THE GLASS INFERNO and THE TOWER (both of which were bought by rival studios Fox and Warner to compete at the box-office - and then decided at the last minute to pool their resources into creating a single script) is impressive in scope and design.

For the uninitiated, one of the books deals with a disgrunted ex-employee who decides to cause an accident which starts a fire and in some ways that would have made a more intriguing storyline, but the plot of the actual film which involves cost-cutting to electrical circuits which causes the fire int the first place works as it is.

At a running time of 158 minutes some may think the film too long. In this day and age there would have possibly been test screenings and some cutting of the film, but since the success of TITANIC at the box-office longer films have become the norm. Indeed, the more recent HARRY POTTER and LORD OF THE RINGS movies are in this bracket (although the upcoming KILL BILL story that the three-hour film will be split in two may pave the way for shorter lengths!!) Mind you, THE GREAT ESCAPE is of similar length and that film moves at a cracking pace.

Steve McQueen is on screen less than some of the other stars in the film, but his performance is the best and complements others on show.




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